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Learn human resources with online courses and programs

Human resources (HR) refers to the people within a company or organization, which includes their talents, expertise, and labor. As a department, HR handles employee benefits and relations, onboarding, and other cultural aspects of running a business.

What are human resources?

In addition to ensuring smooth operations, a business must also pay attention to the people conducting its day-to-day functions. Human resources (HR) departments serve as liaisons between employees and the larger organization, fulfilling a wide range of duties, such as:Footnote 1

  • Crafting job descriptions that will bring in qualified applicants.

  • Conducting interviews and vetting potential new hires.

  • Developing accurate and engaging training materials.

  • Researching and implementing employee benefits such as health insurance and paid time off.

  • Providing resources related to employee conflict or other hardships.

Working in HR can be a rewarding and highly variable career path. After all, humans can be unpredictable, and workplace issues can arise at any time. Your success as a human resources professional will depend on your ability to balance different priorities while fostering a positive organizational culture.

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Human resources course curriculum

Whether you want to learn about labor relations and compliance or enhance your interpersonal abilities, edX courses can help you build your human resources knowledge. Interested in the strategy behind successful HR management? Look for courses that cover relevant topics, including:

  • General HR competencies

  • Trends affecting the future of work and HR

  • Contributing factors in people and talent management

  • Key components of diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) measurement and reporting

  • Methods for evaluating people analytics

As you progress through your education, you may decide to focus on more specific aspects of human resources. For example, learners interested in learning about HR in the context of hospitality might choose to learn about managing human resources and how to practice important research skills toward solving unique industry challenges.

Start building the knowledge you need to work in the human resources field with edX. From accelerated boot camps to comprehensive programs that allow you to earn a bachelor’s degree or (for more advanced learners) a master’s degree, there are many different learning formats available to fit your needs. Busy professionals can even take advantage of executive education courses tailored to those in leadership and management positions. Find the right course for you.

Explore human resources jobs

Being able to understand and apply human resources (HR) practices, strategies, and approaches can be valuable in a wide range of job roles and industries. Here are some examples of jobs that benefit from this knowledge:

  • HR director: Oversees all aspects of the HR function within an organization, including hiring, training, employee relations, benefits administration, and compliance.Footnote 2

  • Recruiter: Uses effective sourcing strategies and assessment techniques to find and attract qualified candidates for job openings for an organization.Footnote 3

  • Safety manager: Ensures compliance with safety regulations, manages worker's compensation programs, and develops emergency response plans.Footnote 4

  • Small business owner: Manages their own HR functions, including hiring, onboarding, and managing employees while staying compliant with regulations.Footnote 5

  • Public relations (PR) specialist: Works closely with HR to manage external communication during periods of change or crisis involving employees.Footnote 6

Each of these roles will have different education and skills requirements. Some employers may seek candidates with a degree in engineering or environmental safety, depending on the role. Before deciding on a specific learning path, research the positions you hope to pursue and align your coursework with your career goals.

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