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Associate Professional in Human Resources Certificate Program with Externship

Program includes National Certification & an Externship Opportunity

The Associate Professional in Human Resources

Formerly known as Personnel, Human Resources (HR) departments are fast-becoming a significant player in organizations across the country. Previously, these divisions handled mainly administrative functions like managing employee benefits, recruiting, interviewing and hiring new staff as directed by management. Today’s HR professionals, on the other hand, are increasingly involved in company initiatives and strategic planning. With this evolving role, HR departments are now able to offers unprecedented opportunities for those entering the field. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the number of HR professions in the U.S. will rise faster than the national average over the next 10 years, making this a great focus for students looking to enter the business world.

The Associate Professional in Human Resources Program

The Associate Professional in Human Resources Program introduces human resources (HR) functions and related elements and activities to students wishing to enter a career in this field or anyone who runs or may start a business of their own. This program will outline for students the roles and responsibilities of members of a typical HR department, educating the staff that make up a particular firm in various corporate policies, rules and/or procedures as well a show their individual role will include HR-related activities, whether officially part of an HR department or not. Students will move through the evolution of HR management through to the modern functions of most HR divisions from the perspective of both management and subordinate employees. Further, students will explore various compensation structures and gain an understanding of the importance of maintaining fair and equitable compensation and benefit programs.

Program Objectives

  • Solve mathematical problems using whole numbers, fractions, and decimals
  • Reconcile bank statements
  • Solve equations
  • Analyze business problems using percentages and statistical concepts
  • Apply mathematical concepts to business problems involving pricing and discounts
  • Explain various payroll issues that affect employers and employees
  • Apply mathematical concepts to business lending transactions
  • Apply mathematical concepts to business transactions involving annuities and stocks and bonds
  • Calculate various mortgage problems
  • Apply various depreciation methods
  • Apply mathematical concepts to business transactions involving inventory
  • Calculate various insurance and tax transactions
  • Analyze financial statements using mathematical concepts
  • HR Operations
  • Employee Relations
  • Recruitment and Selection
  • Compensation and Benefits
  • Human Resource Development and Retention
  • Health, Safety, and Security


  • Explain what HRM is and how it relates to the management process
  • Propose appropriate HRM-related steps required to set up an HR department
  • Recommend HRM functions for HR managers to manage their teams
  • Analyze how the HR functions contribute to the success and failure of the working of an organization
  • Explain the importance of a strategy-oriented HR system
  • Outline the steps in the strategic management process
  • Explain the steps in the HR Scorecard approach to creating HR systems


  • Identify the key jobs for each unit within the organization
  • Use methods, such as interviews, questionnaires, and observation, to collect job analysis information
  • Write job descriptions, including summaries and job functions, using the Internet and traditional methods
  • Explain the techniques used in employment planning and forecasting
  • List the internal and external sources of candidates
  • Identify the steps to recruit job candidates effectively
  • Develop a strategy to advertise the available positions
  • Identify screening methods for hiring
  • Explain the key points in conducting background investigations
  • Develop criteria for evaluating each candidate's scores, responses, and credentials
  • Create and implement interview questions for candidates


  • Identify the role of new employee orientation
  • Describe the basic training and development process
  • Identify opportunities to use employee development to retain employees
  • Describe the importance and use of the performance appraisal process
  • Identify the problems that should be avoided in appraising performance of employees in an organization
  • Identify the advantages and disadvantages of using the various appraisal methods
  • Describe the guidelines to conduct an effective performance appraisal interview
  • Compare employers' traditional and career planning-oriented HR focuses
  • Explain the employee's, manager's, and employer's career development roles
  • Identify the issues to consider when making promotion decisions
  • Describe methods for enhancing diversity through career management


  • Explain the process of establishing pay rates
  • Evaluate the differences in compensating managerial and professional jobs
  • Outline the steps involved in developing effective financial incentive plans for different types of employees in an organization
  • Describe the role of employee benefit plans and services in employee retention and increased productivity


  • Describe the main features of employment discrimination laws
  • Describe the main features of the collective bargaining process
  • Describe the key components of the grievance procedure
  • Describe the basic facts about OSHA
  • Identify the role of a manager in minimizing unsafe acts by employees
  • Describe the importance of ethical behavior at work
  • Analyze the role of HRM in improving workplace ethics, employee discipline and privacy, and managing dismissals
  • List the important factors in managing employee dismissals effectively


  • List the HR challenges of international business
  • Illustrate how inter-country differences affect HR management
  • Describe ways to improve international assignments through effective HR practices
  • Describe how to staff, train, and manage international employees
  • Use an integrated software package, specifically the applications included inthe Microsoft Office suite
  • Demonstrate marketable skills for enhanced employment opportunities

Note: This program can be completed in 6 months. However, students will have online access to this program for a 24-month period.

Education and National Certifications

  • Students should have or be pursuing a high school diploma or GED.
  • There is a National Certification exams that are available to students who successfully complete this program:
    • Human Resources Certification Institution® (HRCI) Associate Professional in Human Resources (aPHR™).

National Certification

Upon successful completion of this Auburn University program, students would be eligible for the Professional in Human Resources® (PHR®) certification exam. Students who complete this program are encouraged to complete the externship option with their program. Upon completion of this program students can and do sit for the PHR national certification exams and are qualified, eligible and prepared to do so.Auburn University works with each student to complete the exam application and register the student to take the certification exams.

Externship / Hands on Training / Practicum

Although not a requirement, once students complete the program, they have the ability to participate in an externship and/or hands on practicum so as to practice the skills necessary to perform the job requirements of a professional in this field. Students will be assisted with completing a resume and/or other requirements necessary to work in this field. All students who complete this program are eligible to participate in an externship and will be placed with a participating organization near their location.Auburn University works with national organizations and has the ability to place students in externship opportunities nationwide.

Note: No refunds can be issued after the start date published in your Financial Award document.