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Extended Learning

Online Human Resource Management Certificate


The Professional Certificate in Human Resource Management (HRM) prepares you to excel and stay relevant in today’s global HR field. You can complete the certificate in approximately one year, with eight total courses, each meeting once a week for seven weeks. This flexible schedule is designed to fit your busy lifestyle, so you can complete the entire certificate or register for individual courses.

Spring 2024 Business & Professional Development Catalog Cover
Click the image above to read how Amy forged a new career path with CSUSM's HRM program.

Program Details

    Course Dates Registration

    Training and Development 2.0

    Jan. 9 - Feb. 20, 2024

    Training and Development Registration

    Strategic Role of HR* 

    *capstone, must complete all other courses before taking this course

    Jan. 11 - Feb. 22, 2024

    Email Chelsey Novak for registration at

    Benefits Fundamentals

    March 5 - April 16, 2024

    Benefits Registration

    Compensation Fundamentals

    April 30 - June 11, 2024

    Compensation Registration

    HR Role in Today’s Workplace

    July 2 - Aug. 13, 2024

    HR Role Registration

    Legal Issues for HR Professionals

    Aug. 27 - Oct. 8, 2024

    Legal Registration

    Talent Acquisition and Retention Strategies

    Oct. 22 - Dec. 3, 2024

    Talent Registration

    Performance Management

    2025 TBA

    Performance Registration

    Entire HR Program


    Entire Program Registration

    Course Details

    • Classes will be held from 6 - 9 p.m. on Tuesdays
    • Classes will be held online utilizing Zoom and an online resource center
    • Each course is $569

    Fee Includes

    • All electronic course materials and parking. Required textbooks are not included in program fees


    Please note: All rates are subject to change without notice.


    This program focuses on myriad day-to-day HR-related responsibilities and is designed for:

    • HR professionals
    • Small-business owners
    • Anyone responsible for the HR function within their companies

    Human Resources’ Role in Today’s Workplace

    This foundation course provides you with an overview of the human resources function and the key roles and responsibilities for helping an organization become an industry employer of choice. Class discussions focus on a variety of topics, including recruiting and retention, managing a diverse workforce, legal issues, compensation, safety issues, performance management, and future trends in human resources.

    Workplace Applications:

    • Understand the purpose of human resources management within the organization
    • Demonstrate an understanding of employment and labor law
    • Develop a successful recruiting strategy
    • Understand the value of the training process
    • Create an environment that retains top talent
    • Implement a successful safety management program

    Course Pre-work: Read Chapter 1: Human Resource Management in Organizations, and Chapter 3: Equal Employment Opportunity

    Required Textbook: Human Resources Management, 16th Edition. Authors: Robert L. Mathis, John H. Jackson and Sean R. Valentine. This book is available through Cengagebrain or Amazon.

    Legal Issues for HR Professionals

    Each day, HR professionals interpret a variety of state, federal and local laws associated with various employment-related situations. This course will assist you in becoming better informed about how your role and responsibilities can impact the organization’s overall bottom line. You’ll also learn how written policies and procedures impact employees and the organization, and how you can minimize the company’s exposure to costly employee lawsuits and administrative fees.

    Workplace Applications:

    • Realize the various legal considerations of hiring, promotion and termination issues
    • Correct structuring of employee handbooks, documentation and employment policies
    • Distinguish between state and federal regulations and guidelines for anti-discrimination laws
    • Conduct workplace investigations and understand how to effectively deal with employee privacy issues

    Course Pre-work: Read Chapter 3: Recruiting and Hiring, and Chapter 5: Verifying Eligibility to Work

    Required Textbook: 2024 California Labor Law Digest. Order the textbook online or call 800-331-8877 to receive a student discount. Please request the newest version available.

    Talent Acquisition & Retention Strategies

    In this course, you will learn about legal considerations in employment to keep your company safe. We will discuss the importance of company culture and ideas on how to create a talent acquisition strategy. You will learn how to develop a recruiting plan that quickly and efficiently attracts and retains the workforce talent that your organization needs to succeed in today’s competitive workplace. In-class discussions and projects will incorporate your own work-related situations and highlight ways to simultaneously increase the candidate selection pool, heighten employee loyalty and improve retention rates.

    Workplace Applications:

    • Awareness of legal considerations in employment
    • Crafting a talent acquisition strategy
    • Developing a recruiting plan that efficiently attracts top talent
    • Incorporating various assessments to increase your selection success rate
    • Creating a culture to retain top talent

    Course Pre-work: Read Chapter 3: Equal Employment Opportunity

    Required Textbook: Human Resources Management 16th Edition. Authors: Robert L. Mathis, John H. Jackson and Sean R. Valentine. This book is available through Cengagebrain or Amazon.

    Performance Management

    Creating effective systems that provide the information necessary to manage employee performance is more critical than ever. You will learn strategies and methods for evaluating performance and diagnosing performance problems, interpersonal skills and competencies for improving communication with employees, and coaching and counseling techniques that make performance interventions more effective.

    Workplace Applications:

    • View performance management as a systematic process
    • Link individual performance to organizational goals and objective
    • Effectively design performance appraisal tools
    • Enhance coaching skills to make performance interventions more effective
    • Handle terminations and disciplinary actions with confidence

    Course Pre-work: Read Chapter 10: Performance Management Chapter and Appraisal

    Required Textbook: Human Resources Management 16th Edition. Authors: Robert L. Mathis, John H. Jackson and Sean R. Valentine. This book is available through Cengagebrain or Amazon.

    Training & Development 2.0

    This highly interactive course will provide you with knowledge of current trends in training and development and gives you hands-on experience in applying the major elements of training. This includes conducting a needs assessment, designing and developing a training module, facilitating training and applying the best evaluation methodologies to measure the effectiveness of your training. You will be able to link training to your organization’s business objectives, training and development strategy and employees’ development needs.

    Workplace Applications:

    • Use a performance consulting approach to determine if training is the right solution to a performance issue
    • Conduct a needs analysis to identify gaps in performance
    • Write measurable learning objectives
    • Design a training module
    • Facilitate an organization development intervention
    • Define four levels of evaluation and use two of them
    • Give constructive feedback in evaluating a training design

    Required Textbook: There is no textbook required for this course

    Benefits Fundamentals

    Explore the use of benefits and services that meet both your employees’ needs and company’s vision. Class discussions will focus on various welfare (life insurance, medical, dental, vision) and pension plans, pricing strategies, employee services and how to administer each. You will also learn about the latest innovations in benefits and services that other companies have installed as part of their total benefits package.

    Workplace Applications:

    • Incorporate appropriate government regulations of benefits plans
    • Know the difference and applications for health, welfare and retirement plans
    • Administer and communicate employee benefits
    • Analyze employee benefits programs and identify the critical issues associated with different types of benefits

    Required Textbook: Human Resources Management 16th Edition. Authors: Robert L. Mathis, John H. Jackson and Sean R. Valentine. This book is available through Cengagebrain or Amazon.

    Compensation Fundamentals

    In today’s economy, it is critical for an organization to offer a competitive compensation package that is appealing to potential employees as well as cost effective for the company. This course covers the essentials of compensation management, including organizational strategies; program development and design; important terms and definitions; and a review of the related legal environment. You will use examples from your own work environments to immediately integrate your new knowledge and skills into your compensation responsibilities.

    Workplace Applications:

    • Identify and use competitive practice information
    • Know applicable government regulations, including reporting and disclosure requirements
    • Review variable pay programs and how to create an appropriate pay structure design
    • Understand and apply appropriate job analysis and evaluation processes
    • Realize the importance of identifying the organization’s philosophy, objectives and strategy

    Required Textbook: Human Resources Management 16th Edition. Authors: Robert L. Mathis, John H. Jackson and Sean R. Valentine. This book is available through Cengagebrain or Amazon.

    The Strategic Role of Human Resources*

    *This is a capstone course for the program. Students must have completed all other courses before enrolling in this course.

    This capstone course integrates all of the program courses and provides strategies and skills needed to position HR as a strategic partner in the organization. HR professionals will need to be knowledgeable about addressing issues such as change management, appropriate restructuring options, and essential core competencies needed for the organization’s employees. In this class, you will focus on measuring HR’s overall effectiveness in implementing initiatives such as change management, restructuring options and developing the core competencies of a successful senior-level HR professional.

    Workplace Applications:

    • Learn how to conduct and utilize a SWOT analysis
    • Distinguish between the three major business strategies: low-cost leadership, differentiation and customer relationship
    • Prepare an HR action plan that is aligned with the business plan
    • Use power and influence to significantly increase the likelihood of getting people to do what you need them to do
    • Address the challenges and strategies for managing a change initiative
    • Developing and leveraging a strategic mindset

    Required Textbook: There is no textbook required for this course


    Jenn Acfalle, SPHR, SHRM-SCP

    Jenn Acfalle has over 24 years of general human resources experience in both the private and public sectors collaborating with stakeholders to develop HR strategies that align with organizational objectives and add value. Jenn has a doctorate's degree in Educational Leadership (Ed.D.), with an emphasis in post-secondary education and a masters in business administration degree (MBA), with an emphasis in human resources management. Jenn is certified as a Senior Professional in Human Resources (SPHR) and Senior Certified Professional (SHRM-SCP). Jenn is currently a Principal Human Resources Analyst for the City of Oceanside.

    Kristina Afonso

    Dr. Kristina Afonso has her Doctor of Business Administration (DBA) in Human Resources Management. Kristina has more than 20 plus years of experience in human resources, working in manufacturing, education, and healthcare. Kristina is a Senior HR Consultant who partners with businesses to strengthen their HR strategy and practices while cultivating positive company culture. Her teaching philosophy is to ensure the lessons being taught involve multiple learning modalities, so students learn through their preferred learning style.

    Kyle Anderson

    Kyle has worked in the talent acquisition and human resources field for 12 years. He is currently the business development manager for Suna Solutions, a leading national staffing firm located in Del Mar, Calif. He holds a bachelor’s degree in business administration from California State University San Marcos, where he also was a part of the men’s golf team. In addition to teaching the Talent Acquisition & Retention Strategies class, Kyle serves as the Co-Founder of the San Diego Talent Acquisition network and an active member of the Century Club of San Diego that supports 10-youth based charities.

    Jason Fischbein

    Jason Fischbein represents and counsels employers in all aspects of labor and employment law, including employment discrimination, wrongful termination, harassment, retaliation, and wage-hour class action lawsuits. An experienced trial attorney, Jason also advises employers regarding all areas of their daily employment practices and other developments in the legal landscape. Jason speaks Spanish fluently and particularly enjoys utilizing his Spanish language abilities in his legal practice. Jason graduated from Stanford Law School with Pro Bono Distinction, where he served as Associate Editor of the Stanford Law and Policy Review.

    Lois Hall

    Lois brings more than 20 years of independent and corporate business experience in training, development, coaching and management. She has designed training and coaching programs and facilitated workshops for all levels of employees, with emphasis on skill and career development. Her emphasis is in leadership and management development, performance management, succession planning, talent management and customer care. Lois holds a master’s degree in counseling from Assumption College in Worcester, Mass., and an undergraduate degree in psychology and sociology from Annhurst College in Woodstock, Conn. She is a certified Myers-Briggs Type Indicator professional and incorporates this instrument into many of her programs. 

    Jennifer Marlow,  CCP, CBP

    Jennifer brings 29 years of diverse Human Resource experience contributing to domestic, global, private, and public organizations. Over her career, she has held positions in all functional areas within HR including but not limited to payroll administration, performance management, talent acquisition, Affirmative Action, HRIS management, benefits management, and employee relations. For the last 20 years, her emphasis has been Compensation Management. In addition to earning her bachelor’s degree in Human Resources Management from California State University Long Beach, Jennifer holds two World at Work professional certifications as Certified Compensation Professional and Certified Benefits Professional. Jennifer currently participates on the Board for the CBASD (Compensation and Benefits Association of San Diego) and is the Compensation Manager for Jack in the Box.

    Julie Smith

    Julie Smith is a seasoned professional with over 15 years of leadership, operations and HR experience across industries including non profit, public, and private for profits. She currently is the head of the HR department at Soapy Joe's Car Wash, where she has focused on developing industry leading HR programs for their over 600 employees across 30 locations. Julie has her masters of science in HR development from Villanova, as well as her SPHR certification. As a teacher, you can expect Julie to thoughtfully pair the curriculum, theory, and studies that guide HR principles with real world experience and examples. Julie's goal is to help prepare the learner to practically utilize their education in their professional ventures. 

    Cole Williamson, SCP, SPHR-CA

    Cole Williamson has been with the Jacobs and Cushman San Diego Food Bank (SDFB) since October of 2023, where he is the Vice President of Administration. Our vison at SDFB is to end hunger in San Diego County. Cole oversees, Human Resources, IT, and Facilities. Most recently, Cole was with Silvergate Bank as the Managing Director of People and Culture Services. Cole has been a human resource practitioner for more than 30 years in various industries, retail, life sciences, banking, and non-profits. Cole has served as an instructor for California State University San Marcos in the Extending Learning program for more than 20 years. He holds a wide variety of certifications in the fields of Executive Coaching and Human Resources. Cole is a licensed coach for the International Coaching Federation as an Associate Certified Coach (ACC); Global Professional in Human Resources (GPHR); Senior Certified Professional in Human Resources (SCP) and California Certified Professional in Human Resources (PHR-CA). As an instructor for CSUSM, Cole has assisted more than 400 students in passing their SHRM HR Certification exams.

    If you are interested in sharing your knowledge and expertise with our students, consider submitting an instructor application or course proposal for consideration.  Please contact Cathy Scavone at or 760-750-8706 for more information.

  • FAQ

    What services do you offer to active military, veterans and dependents?

    Please visit our military and veteran services page to learn how we can help.

    Does this program qualify for any SHRM recertification PDCs?

    Yes, this program is valid for 20 PDCs for the SHRM-CP or SHRM-SCP.

    Do you offer a SHRM certification exam prep program?

    Yes, CSUSM offers a SHRM-CP/SHRM-SCP certification exam prep program.

    What do former students say about the program?

    “This was a great course. I never realized how much work went into training and development. I feel I am better prepared now to present after much practice in a professional way.”

    - Tabitha A.

    “Great class, loved the interactive, engaging environment. Can use information on the job.”
    - Maria C.

    “Excellent teacher. Excellent materials - will use them for work and personal life. Relevant and current information in the workforce.”
    -Tamara Y.

    “Enjoyed every class session - each was very thought out and effective.”
    - Damayanti R.

    “Good real-time info for the real world!”
    - Ron D.

    “This was a great course. I enjoyed having two instructors who provided different perspectives and opinions. I felt the class was extremely helpful in preparing for the exam!”
    - Ruth L.

    “The instructor made the course very interactive and shared her valuable real-life experiences as examples of subject matter.”
    - C.M.

    “Clear, comprehensive learning. Awesome class!”
    - C.H.

    “Fabulous teacher! Changed from not interested in topic to engaged and interested!”
    - P.G.

    How can I be considered for an instructor position or send in a course proposal?

    Thank you for your interest in becoming an instructor!  Please contact Cathy Scavone ( to receive an application and course proposal form.

Flexible program

This certificate program offers evening classes and the flexibility to take the entire certificate program or just a few courses

Adapt to changing regulations

Stay updated and informed of the changes in the U.S. and global workforce HR requirements with this professional certificate program

Learn from the best

Learn from experienced and professionally certified instructors who provide expertise, insights and one-on-one guidance

Immediately applicable

Content is relevant and immediately applicable to your HR role and responsibilities


Although I have a lot to learn – and am excited to keep learning – I feel that I have more knowledge, skills and mentors to help me take on any projects that come my way.

– Monica Patrick

Graduate; Human Resources Coordinator, PolyNovo

– Monica Patrick

There are a lot of really important practical things that we learned,” Ian says, “but even more than that, we got a big-picture view of what’s important not only for employees but for the business’s interest.

– Ian Caster

Graduate; Grocery Retail

– Ian Caster

(This certificate) opens the opportunity for growth in my professional career. But most important, the experience I had during this program, the friendships I created, the knowledge I acquired and the relationships that were made between myself and the instructors are things that I will always appreciate and remember.

– Allyssa Mendoza

Graduate; Human Resources Technician, Oceanside Unified School District

– Allyssa Mendoza

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