Human Resources Certification Prep Course

Distinguish yourself as an HR professional and move your career forward—with a self-paced or instructor-led certification prep course.

Register for the instructor-led course by October 2 and take 20% off tuition.*


QUICK Details

Towson University's Human Resources Certification Prep Course teaches you the technical and operational aspects of HR management to prepare you for a more senior HR position. Upon completion, you'll be prepared to sit for the PHR®, SPHR®, SHRM-CP®, and SHRM-SCP® certification exams.

Course Format: Students choose between either an instructor-led or self-paced course option.

  • The instructor-led option meets via Zoom on a set schedule with a cohort of students.
  • The self-paced option is completed independently with some instructor support.

Total Hours: 40 hours (instructor-led) or 120 hours (self-paced) 

Tuition: $2,399

Materials: Tuition includes all instructional materials including access to HRCP exam prep digital textbook and a hard copy set of books.

Register for the instructor-led option at least 30 days in advance of the start date and receive a 5% discount on the price. WIOA and other tuition assistance programs are not eligible for this discount.

This course is WIOA approved and is on the Maryland Eligible Training Provider List (ETPL).

Upcoming instructor-led course dates

Dates Schedule Register
October 3–November 30, 2023
Class not held November 21 and 23
Tuesday & Thursday, 6–8:30 p.m. Register
February 24–April 27, 2024 Saturday, 8:30 a.m.–12:30 p.m. Register
May 7–June 27, 2024 Tuesday & Thursday, 6–8:30 p.m. Register

Self-paced course option

Dates Schedule Register
Open enrollment. Begin anytime. Set your own. Must be completed within six months of registration. Register

More about the HR course

HR instructors

Meet our HR instructors

Our courses are taught by HR experts with varying viewpoints who have real-world, first-hand knowledge of human resources management.

Meet the instructors
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Student success stories

Learn how these students found career success with our HR course.

Read the stories
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Why you should earn an HR certification

Earning a human resources certification will provide you with industry-relevant knowledge that will keep you one step ahead of your peers.

Learn More


Course Overview & Technology Requirements

Towson University’s Human Resources Certification Prep Course is an interactive, engaging course that prepares HR professionals for more senior HR positions. Our course is industry neutral, comprehensive, and focuses on the five functional areas of the PHR/SPHR exam — employee and labor relations, business management, talent planning and acquisitions, total rewards, and learning and development.

Completion of this course, along with the required professional HR experience,  prepares you to take the PHR®, SPHR®, SHRM-CP, and SHRM-SCP certification exams.

For more information about exam requirements, visit or

This course focuses on the five functional areas that are the focus of the PHR/SPHR exam.

Functional Area 1: Business Management

Using information about the organization and business environment to reinforce expectations, influence decision-making, and avoid risk.

  • Interpret and apply information related to general business environment and industry best practices.
  • Reinforce the organization’s core values, ethical and behavioral expectations through modeling, communication, and coaching.
  • Understand the role of cross-functional stakeholders in the organization and establish relationships to influence decision-making.
  • Recommend and implement best practices to mitigate risk (for example: lawsuits, internal/ external threats).
  • Determine the significance of data for recommending organizational strategies (for example: attrition rates, diversity in hiring, time to hire, time to fill, ROI, success of training).
  • Change management theory, methods, and application Risk Management.
  • Qualitative and quantitative methods and tools for analytics.
  • Dealing with situations that are uncertain, unclear, or chaotic.

Functional Area 2: Talent Planning and Acquisition

Identifying, attracting, and employing talent while following all federal laws related to the hiring process.

  • Understand federal laws and organizational policies to adhere to legal and ethical requirements in hiring (for example: Title VII, nepotism, disparate impact, FLSA, independent contractors).
  • Develop and implement sourcing methods and techniques (for example: employee referrals, diversity groups, and social media).
  • Execute the talent acquisition lifecycle including interviews, extending offers, background checks, salary negotiation, etc.
  • Applicable federal laws and regulations related to talent planning and acquisition activities.
  • Planning concepts and terms (for example: succession planning, forecasting).
  • Current market situation and talent pool availability.
  • Staffing alternatives (for example: outsourcing, temporary employment).
  • Interviewing and selection techniques, concepts, and terms.
  • Applicant tracking systems and/or methods.
  • Impact of total rewards on recruitment and retention.
  • Candidate/employee testing processes and procedures.
  • Verbal and written offers/contract techniques.
  • New hire employee orientation processes and procedures.
  • Internal workforce assessments such as: skills testing, workforce demographics, analysis.
  • Transition techniques for corporate restructuring, mergers and acquisitions, due diligence processes, offshoring, and divestitures.
  • Metrics to assess past and future staffing effectiveness including cost per hire, selection ratios, adverse impact, etc.

Functional Area 3: Learning and Development

Contributing to the organization’s learning and development activities by implementing and evaluating programs, providing internal consultation, and providing data.

  • Provide consultation to managers and employees on professional growth and development opportunities.
  • Implement and evaluate career development and training programs such as career pathing, management training, mentorship, etc.
  • Contribute to succession planning discussions with management by providing relevant data.
  • Applicable federal laws and regulations related to learning and development activities.
  • Learning and development theories and applications.
  • Training program facilitation, techniques, and delivery.
  • Adult learning processes.
  • Instructional design principles and processes (for example: needs analysis, process flow mapping).
  • Techniques to assess training program effectiveness, including use of applicable metrics.
  • Organizational development (OD) methods, motivation methods, and problem-solving techniques.
  • Task/process analysis.
  • Coaching and mentoring techniques.
  • Employee retention concepts and applications.
  • Techniques to encourage creativity and innovation.

Functional Area 4: Total Rewards

Implementing, promoting, and managing compensation and benefit programs in compliance with federal laws.

  • Manage compensation-related information and support payroll issue resolution.
  • Implement and promote awareness of non-cash rewards, for example: paid volunteer time, tuition assistance, workplace amenities, and employee recognition programs to name a few.
  • Implement benefit programs such as: health plan, retirement plan, employee assistance plan, other insurance, etc.
  • Administer federally compliant compensation and benefit programs.
  • Applicable federal laws and regulations related to total rewards.
  • Compensation policies, processes, and analysis.
  • Budgeting, payroll, and accounting practices related to compensation and benefits.
  • Job analysis and evaluation concepts and methods.
  • Job pricing and pay structures.
  • Non-cash compensation.
  • Methods to align and benchmark compensation and benefits.
  • Benefits programs policies, processes, and analysis.

Functional Area 5: Employee and Labor Relations

Manage, monitor, and/or promote legally compliant programs and policies that affect the employee experience throughout the employee lifecycle.

  • Analyze functional effectiveness at each stage of the employee lifecycle (for example: hiring, onboarding, development, retention, exit process, alumni program) and identify alternate approaches as needed.
  • Collect, analyze, summarize, and communicate employee engagement data.
  • Understand organizational culture, theories, and practices; identify opportunities and make recommendations.
  • Understand and apply knowledge of programs, federal laws, and regulations to promote outreach, diversity and inclusion.
  • Implement and support workplace programs relative to health, safety, security, and privacy following federal laws and regulations such as: OSHA, workers’ compensation, emergency response, workplace violence, substance abuse, and legal postings.
  • Promote organizational policies and procedures, for example: employee handbook, SOPs, time and attendance, expenses, etc.
  • Manage complaints or concerns involving employment practices, behavior, or working conditions, and escalate by providing information to appropriate stakeholders.
  • Promote techniques and tools for facilitating positive employee and labor relations with knowledge of applicable federal laws affecting union and nonunion workplaces.
  • Support and consult with management in performance management process including employee reviews, promotions, recognition programs, etc.
  • Support performance activities such as coaching, performance improvement plans, and involuntary separations).
  • Support employment activities such as: job eliminations or reductions in force by managing corresponding legal risks.

Download Course Outline (PDF)

No prerequisites are required to take this course. However, the certifying body has requirements to take the certification exam.

Upon successful completion of the course, you may sit for exams from either SHRM or HRCI.

Instructor-led course instructors

Maria Green, DBA, SPHR, SHRM-SCP, CEBS has over 20 years of human resources experience in healthcare, higher education, hospitality, and human services. She is currently Director of Human Resources at Melwood, where she manages HR administration including employee relations, benefits, compliance and HRIS.

Gina Pomilla, MBA, SHRM-SCP, GPHR is an HR leader specializing in global benefits and total rewards at the corporate level and is dedicated to leading change management initiatives and maximizing organizational efficiency. She currently serves as Director, Human Resources, Compensation, Retirement, Classification and Benefits, at District of Columbia Public Schools (DCPS).

Self-paced course instructor

Jennifer Stano DM, PHR, SHRM-CP, serves as Director, Talent Management and Total Rewards, at Towson University. Jen has been with TU for over 11 years and has implemented several new programs, including a hiring pipeline with workforce development partners, moving talent acquisition from paper to an online applicant tracking system, and applying research to create evidence-based HR practices.


Hardware Requirements

  • This course can be taken on either a PC or Mac.
  • Webcams are strongly recommended.

Software Requirements

  • PC: Windows XP or later.
  • Mac: OS X Snow Leopard 10.6 or later.
  • Browser: The latest version of Google Chrome or Mozilla Firefox are preferred. Microsoft Edge and Safari are also compatible.
  • Microsoft Word (not included in enrollment).
  • Windows Media Player.
  • Adobe Acrobat Reader. Download the Acrobat Reader.
  • Software must be installed and fully operational before the course begins.


  • Email capabilities and access to a personal email account.

This course is approved by HR Certification Institute. PHR®, SPHR®, and SPHRi ™, are trademarks of the HRCI.

This course is approved by SHRM. SHRM-CP® and SHRM-SCP®  are trademarks of SHRM.

*NOTE: WIOA and other specialized workforce assistance programs are not eligible for discounts.