Program Design

The SHRM Foundation’s Human Resource Registered Apprenticeship Program (HR RAP) provides employers with a proven talent development solution for onboarding or upskilling HR Specialists. It also provides apprentices with a cost-effective and efficient point of entry into a well-developed career pathway in HR.

Like all registered apprenticeship programs, the HR RAP requires employers to provide apprentices with:

Paid Employment
Employers have control over the selection of who becomes an apprentice. The SHRM Foundation will assist in finding possible apprentices by identifying local workforce agencies and other community-based organizations that may be sources of talent. The apprentice will be a full-time employee, NOT part-time, and eligible for merit-based wage increases over the term of the program.

On-the-Job Learning Experiences
The employer agrees to provide the apprentice with on-the-job learning (OJL) coupled with the necessary coursework that leads to satisfactory understanding and performance of the position’s technical competencies. Apprentices will be expected to:

  • Understand and apply human resource policies, procedures, laws, standards or regulations
  • Acquire knowledge of the hiring process and hiring-related paperwork
  • Assist leadership in addressing employee relations issues
  • Maintain and update HR documents
  • Conduct background research and provide information, and/or confer with management on business strategies, practices, or policies and/or projects
  • Coordinate with outside staffing agencies to secure temporary employees, based on departmental needs
  • Maintain HR-related data in HR information systems or databases; prepare operational reports as needed and inform individuals or internal divisions/organizations of status and/or findings

The apprenticeship program is based on the SHRM Body of Competency and Knowledge and the O*NET description of the occupation HR Specialist and has been approved by the Department of Labor.1 , The program allows for some flexibility in the content so as to best fit the needs of the employer and to take into account the apprentice’s previous experience. Modifications to the program can be explored on an individual employer basis. The SHRM Foundation expects it will take the apprentice between 18 and 24 months to complete the program; this may vary depending on the apprentice’s previous learning and work experiences and the employer’s requirements.

In addition to the foundational competencies of the HR Specialist, employers may include other areas of specialization in the apprentice’s training. These areas may include benefits, employee relations, HR information systems, recruiting, risk management, and training and development.

Apprentices will also be expected to demonstrate a variety of behavioral competencies, many of which are considered employability skills, that should be addressed in both the related instruction and through the OJL with the help of the supervisor/mentor.

Included in the apprenticeship is 144 hours of required technical instruction aligned with the outlined competencies. This instruction can be delivered virtually or in person. The coursework is divided into two segments: Core and As-Assigned.

CORE COURSES cover topics for which all apprentices must demonstrate competency. An employer may determine that the apprentice already has sufficient knowledge in some of these areas, which would reduce the number of technical instruction hours required.

Apprenticeship Employer Onboarding16
Introduction to Human Resource Management24
Staffing, Recruiting and Performance Management24
Employment Law16
Training and Development16
Managing Compensation and Benefits16
Strategic HR Management Key Areas16
Professional Skills16

AS-ASSIGNED COURSES cover topics that an employer may require as preparation for a particular role. The topics may differ for each participating apprentice. In addition, the number of hours required to complete each course varies and is adjustable based on the employer’s needs and areas of emphasis.

SHRM Certification Preparation24
Employee and Labor Relations16-40
HRIS Administration16-40
HR Recruiting16-40
Risk Management16-40
Training and Employee Development16-40

Where is the coursework available?
Employers should choose how to provide the best learning experience for their apprentice taking into account cost, accessibility, existing partnerships with educational institutions and learning styles. SHRM provides learning modules to meet most of the requirements.  Recognizing that an employer may prefer to provide the apprentice the opportunity to fulfill their instruction requirements from an educational institution, SHRM Foundation has a partnership with Southern New Hampshire University (SNHU). Employers may also choose to explore alternatives with two- and four-year degree institutions.

SHRM Coursework
Apprentices may take advantage of the self-study learning modules provided by SHRM on the apprenticeship page of the HR RAP website. All of the Core courses except the Apprenticeship Employer Onboarding instruction, which is the standard onboarding provided by each employer, are available at no cost. In addition, the majority of the As-Assigned courses are also available on the SHRM website. The SHRM Foundation will work with employers to determine the amount of coursework that will have to be taken at another institution. The optional SHRM Certification Preparation class is offered by SHRM.

SNHU HR Certificate Program
The apprentice may apply for its HR certificate program or other degree programs to complete the apprenticeship program. SNHUs HR program is affiliated with SHRM and is offered at a reduced rate to HR RAP participants. Additional information on SNHU’s program is available here.

Alternatively, an employer’s internally developed training material can be reviewed to determine whether it can be included as part of the required instruction.

Are these classes credit or non-credit?
Classes taken through SHRM are non-credit. For any classes taken from a college or university the institution’s policy on credit will apply. It may also be possible to receive credit for knowledge the apprentice can demonstrate or by taking SHRM self-study courses, through a college’s prior learning assessment (PLA).

How much will the education portion of the apprenticeship cost?
For Core courses and As-Assigned courses taken through SHRM, there is no cost to the employer. Completing any courses with another provider would be the cost of the course. If the employer recommends taking the SHRM Certification Preparation class, the cost will be the current member pricing. The cost of attending any other institution is at their discretion.

Research shows that mentorship is a key component of an apprentice’s success. The employer identifies an appropriate person(s) to mentor the apprentice during the apprenticeship as he or she performs each of the job responsibilities of an HR Specialist. The SHRM Foundation will recommend resources for the employer to utilize in developing mentor relationships that bring value to both the employer and the apprentice.

A Nationally Recognized Credential Upon Completion
The capstone of any apprenticeship program is the earning of a credential with market recognition. In addition to culminating in the US Department of Labor’s Certificate of Apprenticeship Completion, the apprenticeship program is designed to give the apprentice the education and experiences necessary to prepare for and take the SHRM-CP exam. The SHRM-CP credential demonstrates to the global business community that the credential-holder has strong capabilities in both aspects of HR practice—competency and knowledge—that are required for effective job performance.

] The SHRM BoCK is based on extensive global research that included employers, academics and practicing HR professionals at all levels. It defines the standards for knowledge, strategies and competencies required of HR professionals around the world. 
] O*NET/SOC Code -13-1071.00


Apprentices trained by your team are better-equipped to address the unique challenges of your business and are more likely to become long-term employees.



You will have the opportunity to earn a nationally recognized credential with value in the marketplace and take your first step onto a career pathway.