Essentials of Human Resources

Now offered in the evenings in five, online, virtual (live) sessions!

Created by, and offered in partnership with the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM), this course is intended as an introduction to Human Resource basics and incorporates six key topics from the SHRM Body of Competency and Knowledge™ (SHRM BoCK™). The primary focus of this course is to provide participants with both a broad overview of the human resource functions and affiliated concepts.

This SHRM course is designed for the following individuals:

  • Individuals interested in the field of human resources
  • Entry-level human resource professionals
  • Supervisors and line managers who have the responsibility for interviewing and training employees
  • Employees with management responsibilities
  • Staffing specialists
  • Benefits coordinators
  • HR administrators
  • Recruiters
  • Payroll assistants

SHRM educational products are developed according to the highest quality standards. HR professionals and subject matter experts review each product to ensure accurate, real-life applications. In addition, SHRM programs are “living documents”-improvements and revisions are included in each reprint to incorporate the latest changes in HR practices and legislation.

Course Topics

By covering a breadth of practical HR topics, the SHRM Essentials of Human Resources course provides the knowledge to perform daily tasks. Through this course, you will also:

HR Essentials website and book.
  • Review key pieces of federal legislation on sexual harassment, age discrimination, and the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA)
  • Gain insights into employee recruitment and selection while avoiding legal pitfalls
  • Enhance your skills related to total compensation systems, pay increases and incentives, and employee benefits.
  • Increase your knowledge of employee orientation, onboarding, professional development, and training.


  • Understanding that curriculum is based upon US laws and practices
  • Use of personal email address versus a business email address to avoid spam or connectivity issues
  • Consistent access to the internet during program 
  • A computer with both microphone and camera abilities. The ability to both hear and speak with instructor and other students is required for participation in this program. Lack of such computer capability will require the student to log-in via a smart phone
  • Be fluent in the English language (including reading and writing)
  • Be familiar with how online programs work and be comfortable using them
  • Meet the computer technical requirements specifications listed above
  • Be able to open Word and PowerPoint documents if required
  • Tuition paid in full prior to the start of the program

Admission is discretionary. Duke Continuing Studies-Professional Certificate Programs- requires students be a least 18 years of age and meet minimum suitability standards. Students are not matriculated Duke University students and university student privileges do not apply to Continuing Studies students.

Duke Continuing Studies reserves the exclusive right, at its sole and absolute discretion, to withhold registration or require withdrawal from the program of, any student or applicant.

The certificate is noncredit and does not apply toward a degree.

Certificate requirements

  • Attendance required for all sessions with video “on”
  • Participation in class activities and any outside assignments/tests is met to the discretion and timeline of the instructor 
  • Minimum score of 70% attained on the in-class exam


Wednesdays,  6:00-9:00 PM EST

October 18, 25

November 1, 8, 15


Registration Methods

  1. REGISTER ONLINE using a credit card with our secure, real-time registration system.  Add the course to your shopping cart and follow the instructions for checking out.
  2. Register by Phone at 919-684-6259 during our business hours (Monday through Friday, 8:00am to 5:00pm EST) to register.

Who should take this course? 

Designed as an introduction to Human Resource basics, this SHRM course provides a solid foundation in human resources concepts and is effective training across multiple job responsibilities and career paths such as:

  • Individuals investigating HR as a career option
  • New and junior HR practitioners who need to expand their knowledge base
  • Small business owners or office managers who perform the HR function for their company
  • Business managers who want to learn basic HR best practices 
  • New or experienced managers interested in learning more about employee management skills

International HR professionals desiring to increase their knowledge of U.S. HR practices

Why should I enroll in Duke’s program? 

Offered in partnership with the SHRM, the Essentials of HR course is designed by global subject matter experts and incorporates six key topics from the SHRM Body of Competency and Knowledge™ (SHRM BoCK™). This course is designed to help the learner better retain the material by combining use of the SHRM official learning materials with live instruction from a HR certified and industry practitioner.

Is the cost of books and parking permits included in the cost of tuition?

Yes, the official SHRM Learning System® for SHRM-Essentials of Human Resource preparation book will be mailed to the address provided before the start of class. 

After registering, when will I receive additional program details?

Registered students will receive additional program details via email prior to the start of the program.

Is access to a computer required during this program? 

This is an online, virtual (live) class, through Zoom. You must have computer access during the scheduled class times and the ability to both hear/speak and see instructor/classmates via use of a microphone and camera. Lack of such computer capability will require the student to log-in via a smart phone.

What are the requirements to earn a certificate of completion?

To earn a Certificate of Completion from Duke University-Continuing Studies the following criteria must be met:

  • Full Attendance at the entire 4-day course with video on
  • Participation in class activities/discussions
  • Satisfactory test completion as determined by the instructor

Does this program apply toward a degree?

No, this program is a non-credit (non-degree) offering and does not transfer towards a degree.

Will Continuing Studies assist me in finding a position upon completion of this program?

It is incumbent upon the student to seek his/her own employment through their own endeavors. Duke Office of Continuing Studies provides no assistance with career placement and/or internships nor make any claim or warrant this program will result in obtaining a position as a result of completion.

Is this curriculum designed and taught by Duke Faculty?

While, the curriculum is neither designed nor taught by Duke Faculty, it is both designed by SHRM, and taught by SHRM certified professionals best able to address and explain HR concepts applicable to real-world scenarios as they currently practice in the industry themselves. 

Is this program affiliated with any other departments at Duke University?

This program is not affiliated with any other office at Duke and is instead offered exclusively through a collaboration between Duke Continuing Studies and SHRM.

Are the sessions recorded?

No, the sessions are not recorded. Student are expected to attend class to gain the most from the subject matter through live interaction with instructor and classmates.

Barry Brown, B.S, PHR, SPHR

Barry holds a B.S. in Criminal Justice from Appalachian State University. After working in the private security and staffing industry, he entered the Human Resource (HR) Management profession. With a passion for the HR world, combined with learning and development, he has been instructing part-time for 15 years. He has taught both HR certification exam preparation programs and the Essentials of Human Resources.

Barry enjoys fishing, tennis, and running.

Sandy Epperson, SHRM-SCP, SPHR.

Sandy Epperson, SHRM-SCP, SPHR

In a role as HR Business Partner, Sandy has successfully consulted on numerous projects with a variety of companies. Recent projects have included HR audits, benefit analysis, performance management, HR policy and employee handbook development, training design and facilitation, talent acquisition and workplace investigations. Through the scope of her career, she has worked with many different industries and supported internal functional groups including: healthcare, life sciences, retail, distribution, recreation, hospitality, technology services, restaurant, legal, security, aviation, home services, finance, sales/marketing, education, and county and city governmental entities.

Sandy has a B.S. dual degree in Business Management and Human Resource Management from Franklin University. Additionally, she holds both her SHRM-Senior Professional Certification (SHRM-SCP) and Senior Professional in Human Resources (SPHR) certifications. Sandy is currently the Eastern District Director for the North Carolina Society for Human Resource Management (NCSHRM). Previously, she served as Past President of the 1100-member Human Resource Association of Central Ohio as well as Chair of the Jacksonville, NC affiliate of the Lower Cape Fear Human Resource Association. Additionally, Sandy is on the board and executive committee for the Twin Rivers YMCA. For the past 3 years, she has participated as a presenter at the Entrepreneur Series at Craven Community College as well as the small business committees of local Chambers of Commerce.

Tuition: $635

The course fee includes:

  • Live instruction from a certified and practicing HR professional
  • Official SHRM Book(s)
  • Access to the SHRM online site to supplement classroom instruction
  • Certificate (upon successful completion of requirements)

This class is offered online, virtually (live) via Zoom. 

Books will be shipped the week prior to the start of the program.

Duke Employee Discount

  • $50 off the fee of $635; Duke employee pays fee of $585
  • Student must register and pay tuition in full prior to the program start date in order to reserve space in the program for that term.
  • Questions:  Contact Program Manager at 919-668-1836

Discount must be requested and applied during the registration process and cannot be applied in addition to any other discount that may be offered. You may be asked to verify your status as a Duke employee.

Group Discount

Do you have a group (Duke or non-Duke entity) interested in training? Contact the Program Manager for details.

Company Pay

Many companies will reimburse employees for educational expenses. Contact your manager or HR department for more information.

Funding Sources

No loans can be construed to imply any degree-seeking status for students of Duke Continuing studies. Duke Continuing Studies courses are non-credit.

Duke Continuing Studies (DCS) will not certify (approve) loan amounts greater than the amount of the tuition regardless of the amount approved by the lending agency. DCS reserves the right to reject any loan which exceeds the tuition amount. DCS will not be responsible for refunding monies in excess of the tuition. Students needing to secure loan funding for books or other items in relation to the program are responsible for making separate loan arrangements with the funding agency. No loan funds will be refunded to the student.

Should a student choose to borrow less than the tuition amount, the balance must be paid prior to the close of the registration period.

Funding Sources

Our Professional Certificate programs are non-credit (not degree applicable); therefore, they are NOT eligible for federal education loans. DO NOT SUBMIT FAFSA FORMS for these programs. Some of our programs may offer payment plans. Please see individual program web pages for those details.

Other Funding Sources

The funding options listed below may not be applicable to all programs at this time. Please contact the organization offering the funding to see if you qualify and if the funds can be used for the program in which you are interested.

Duke Hospital Employees

Duke University Hospital employees may be eligible for support from the Employee Development Initiative (EDI), which helps employees pay for short-term career-related programs, workshops, and seminars. For more information, visit the Employee Development Initiative site or call Duke Hospital Human Resources at (919) 668-2170.


AmeriCorps Education Awards are available only for AmeriCorps volunteers and can be used for educational expenses for non-degree courses, such as Continuing Education courses offered by qualified schools. For more information on qualified schools and programs, contact the National Service Trust at 1-800-942-2677, or visit the FAQ page of the AmeriCorps website.

Wire Transfers

Contact our registration office at for details on how to send wire transfers. Very specific instructions must be followed in order for our office to receive a successful transfer.

Refund Policy

Refund and Change Requests must be in writing. To receive a refund, minus a processing fee for each course cancelled, we must receive your written cancellation request at least two weeks prior to the start of the program or course. Processing fees are:

  • $20 for course fees under $500
  • $100 for course fees $500 or more

To submit a cancellation request:
Registration - Duke Continuing Studies
Box 90700
Durham, NC 27708-0700

Include your name, address, phone number, and course title to be dropped. Refunds will be made in the manner you paid us. Should books have already been ordered at time of cancellation notice (per verification from program manager) the cost of the books will be deducted from the refunded tuition.

Online Refund Policy

There are no refunds or cancellations for online courses.

Bad Checks

If a check is returned for insufficient funds, we will charge a returned check fee of $35. Checks will not be resubmitted. The replacement payment must include the additional $35 and be in the form of cash, money order, or credit card.

Course is Filled / Waiting List

If a course is already filled, a waiting list is usually available instead. If you are interested in placing your name on the waiting list, follow the checkout instructions to do so. If a space becomes available, a registration staff member will call you and ask if you are still interested. If you are interested, registration staff can take your payment information over the phone and complete your registration at that time.

If We Cancel a Course

Sometimes we have to cancel a course that does not meet minimum enrollment, or due to unforeseen events. If that happens, you will receive a full or pro-rated refund. Duke Continuing Studies reserves the right to substitute instructors or change the day a course meets.

Tax Deductions

Course fees and expenses are sometimes tax deductible. Please consult an accountant concerning this matter. Non-credit programs at Duke Continuing Studies do not generate 1098-T forms, in accordance with the following IRS guideline:

  • Instructions for Forms 1098-E and 1098-T published by the Department of the Treasury, Internal Revenue Service, states “You do not have to file Form 1098-T or furnish a statement for: Courses for which no academic credit is offered, even if the student is otherwise enrolled in a degree program…”