The world of Human Resources offers a buffet of fulfilling and diverse career paths. Whether you're an aspiring HR assistant or a seasoned HR manager, the key gaining opportunities is continuous professional development (CPD) and keeping your HR training up to speed.

If you want to develop your own HR skills or those of your team, investing in yourself (and your staff) is absolutely vital. A well-chosen HR management course can be a game-changer; sharpening your skills, enhancing your understanding of people management, and boosting your earning potential.

HR is a quickly growing field with heaps of opportunities. It's the backbone of any business with more than a couple of employees. So there'll almost always be a need for those with HR prowess in a wide range of industries.

Here’s how learning & development in HR works (in the United Kingdom).

The HR training landscape: from entry-level to postgraduate

Thinking about what to enrol in? There's a broad spectrum of HR courses catering to various levels of education that can bolster your HR career.

Entry-level: If you're new to the field of Human Resources, or you fancy a career switch, you don't necessarily need to head back to school. An online distance learning course could be just the ticket. It's a flexible learning solution for acquiring new skills without shaking up your routine or breaking the bank.

Short courses: These offer bite-sized modules that often hone in on one aspect of HR, like employee relations or HR administration. They can span a few weeks, with part-time or evening options. Once you've completed one, you'll usually be awarded a certificate to celebrate your achievement.

Professional: These are your heavyweight qualifications, often at graduate-level or above. They include courses like CIPD Level courses, MSc in Human Resource Management and more. They can take a fair few months or even years to complete, requiring a solid commitment from learners.

Informal: Consider these your 'life-long learning' options. They could be books, podcasts, social media resources, lectures, or other nuggets of knowledge that can help you refine your skills in a non-certified way.

Top 10 HR courses

Below, you'll find a list of ten of the best HR courses that we believe are worth the investment. We recommend doing your own research and looking for reviews before starting any training courses. And while the pricier accredited courses can make a big difference to your career prospects, the shorter, more affordable courses can be a great foundation to begin with.

When you're done perusing, pop over to our career advice for HR professionals for more guidance.

1) The Knowledge Academy - Introduction to HR

This is a one-day, instructor led course that covers everything you need to know about HR.

You don't need any existing qualifications beforehand and there's no exams you need to pass.

The online course is £895, so it's not cheap. But there are discount codes available and if it'll kickstart your career in HR it's certainly worth a go.

2) FutureLearn HR Fundamentals

Similar to the above, this course is a bit less detailed but still has a broad syllabus that'll get beginners up to scratch on HR in no time. It covers general HR, people and strategy, rewards and recognition, as well as recruitment. The course takes 5 weeks and you can learn at your own pace, studying around 3 hours per week. You can subscribe for £29/month which gives you access to other FutureLearn courses and a digital certificate of completion.

There are loads of positive reviews from previous students - why not give it a go?

3) CIPD HR Business Partner Programme

For those that want to take the leap from HR generalist or work in other 'people professions' this course will help you become an HR Business Partner. As the CIPD mentions, "HR Business Partners (HRBPs) work closely with business leaders and line managers to build their people capability, plan and manage talent and develop approaches that achieve shared organisational objectives."

If you're ambitious and ready to take on a more senior role within HR then this course, from the UK's most highly-regarded certification body, is the one for you. The course takes 4-6 months to complete and costs £2250+VAT for non-members, with CIPD members getting a 15% discount.

4) CIPD HR Business Partner Practitioner

This one's aimed at HR business partners who are already established in their career but want to take things to the next level. It's a high-level, strategic and interactive course that'll help you develop your business mindset along with using data to make HR decisions. By the end of it, you'll have developed skills in building commercial acumen, data analytics, influencing and coaching.

The fee is £1350+VAT for non-members, with CIPD members getting a 15% discount. It takes place three hours a week over the course of four weeks.

5) The Payroll Centre - Payroll qualifications

This is actually a range of courses provided by The Payroll Centre, that goes from entry-level Payroll Assistant courses with no required experience, to International Payroll Manager.

If you're looking to specialise in payroll or are already partway through a payroll career, each of these courses could take you up to the next level in your professional life. Prices and durations differ, of course, but each one is available to study online.

6) CIPD Meaningful Work and Organisational Leadership Essential Insights

We're back with the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development, this time with a short deep-dive into one of their specifics. We’re all about meaningful work here at Timetastic, and integrating that with HR practice is a great way to run a business with impact.

This short course provides a practical explanation of meaningful work and why it matters, introducing how organisation design and development can create meaningful work that helps people use their talents effectively. Learners will gain an understanding of principles, dimensions of work quality, and finding personal meaning to develop conversations and identify actions in their firm.

It’s online, 60-90 minutes long, and only costs £49.50+VAT.

7) Reed HR Courses

Reed has a massive range of online HR courses that appear to be heavily discounted - for example, an RRP of £395 selling for just £10. Here's a tip - anything that says "sale ends tomorrow" can be ignored, online courses like these (or ones you find on Groupon or Udemy) are almost always on sale, so the real RRP here is £10.

These can be genuinely good value, but the low price means you might not be as motivated to complete them as you would having spent hundreds on them. Some of them say they'll hundreds of hours to complete and have tutors, exams and certificates. At those prices, you'd have good reason to be skeptical.

If you do a ‘CPD accredited Human Resource Management course’ that costs £12 with no entry requirements, you can’t expect it to get you a top HR role straight away. But it could be worth doing as a refresher or introduction to the topic.

You're not guaranteed a great experience or worthwhile certification with these, so be careful and do your research before you commit time and money.

8) TED talks on HR and culture

TED talks are always good for expanding your brain, and of course free to watch. You can't get better value for money than that.

In this case, try searching for 'HR' or 'company culture' - you're almost guaranteed to find something inspiring and enlightening from the original thinkers on show.

Patty McCord's 'HR lessons from the world of Silicon Valley start-ups' is a good place to start, as well at the timeless Stefan Sagmeister on why his studio takes a sabbatical every 7 years.

9) Degree in HR

It's possible to study for a full time, three-year degree in Human Resource Management at universities around the country, which could set you up for a promising career in HR. With one of these, you could end up as a HR business partner, recruitment consultant, trainer, equality advisor, consultant or something else.

Have a look at your options on WhatUni - there are 79 institutions available offering HR studies. That said, this is by far the priciest option - £9k upwards per year means it's not for everyone.

10) Masters in HR

And once you've got that degree, the next logical step would be to get a masters degree. You could study for one straight away, or you might be better off working in the field for a few years before returning. Full-time masters HR degrees are usually one year in length, and you can study them at various universities and business schools around the country.

Pricing depends on the institution you choose, but it will be in the multiple thousands of pounds. It's a rather large commitment financially, even if you secure funding assistance, so make sure you're ready to work hard and see things through.