SHRM Learning System® - Online (FAQs)

I am new to HR. Is this program for me?

No. We recommend that students with little HR experience or with less than two years of exempt level HR experience take Essentials of Human Resource Management.

Why should I take this course at Bellarmine University?

Bellarmine University and the instructor, Nancye Combs, have been successfully delivering the SHRM Learning System® course for 7 years. We have had many requests to offer the course online from those who would like to take the course in-class but they live too far away to do so.

How long am I required to be online each week? Do I have to be online at any specific day or time?

The time spent online will vary from student to student depending on experience. To obtain the maximum benefit from this online course, it is recommended that you spend a minimum of 3 hours per week online completing assignments and participating in discussions. You will also need to spend an additional 3-5 hours reading/studying the SHRM Learning System materials. An average of 10 hours per week devoted to this course is not unusual. Students who are unwilling or unable to devote this much time to the program seriously diminish their chances of successfully passing the certification exams.

You are not required to be online at any specific day or time. We have designed the coursework to allow you to access the material at your convenience. You are free to log in at any time to check on or submit assignments, post and read forum messages, or leave a note for your instructor. Be aware, however, that the course does have deadlines for assignments, so while you may access the material at your convenience, you will be required to meet strict coursework deadlines.

Can I take the course from any location?

Certainly - as long as you can access the Internet and your firewall does not block our content. We run access to our course material through a web server, so if you are not blocked from typical web access from your location, you should be fine.

What are the computer / technology requirements?

The main requirements are Internet access, email, and Netscape or Internet Explorer web browser. Naturally, the faster your Internet access, the more responsively the material will be presented to you. However, you should be fine even without DSL or cable modem access.

What are some of the additional advantages of taking this course online?

Some of the advantages are:
  • Online testing with immediate feedback on results
  • Structured weekly contact with an instructor familiar with the special needs of students in the virtual environment
  • Chat rooms for student interaction
  • E-flashcards for reviewing key HR terms
  • Easy links to Internet-based content, allowing both instructor and students to identify real-world examples of HR issues that relate to each course module

How does the online course compare to the in class version?

These courses are exactly the same in terms of content. The only difference is that you will have face-to-face interaction with the instructor and students in a classroom and you will not have this online. You will be provided with the best possible learning experience whether you choose in class or online.

If I register for the online program, what materials will I receive?

The most current SHRM Learning System print-based materials with the online access component, the most current HR Certification Institute Handbook, and the SHRM Learning System Launch book - a guide to study skills and preparing for the certification exam.

Once I register, when will I have access to the online component of the course?

As of the orientation date (January 31), you will have full access to the program.

Am I a good candidate for an online course?

You will need to make that decision for yourself. In order to be a successful distance learning student, you need to be a self-motivated, disciplined visual learner. Distance-learning student must be able to commit time for online work, often while being surrounded by the comforts and duties of home life.

Procrastinating on posting and reading discussion entries, or putting off completing an online quiz is easy to do when the baseball game is on in the next room or the kids are asking for more of your time. This course is very challenging as an online course due to the amount and depth of material.

What are the requirements to take the PHR/SPHR Certifications?

You must have at least 2 years of exempt level HR experience to take the PHR and SPHR certification exams. These exams are offered separately from our program through the HR Certification Institute. For additional information regarding exam qualifications, applications, fees, exam dates, deadlines, etc. visit

Where and when are these exams offered?

All PHR and SPHR exams are computer-based. The exams are administered at 250 Prometric testing centers across the United States and Canada during two annual windows: May 1 – June 30 and December 1 - January 31. Students will know immediately if they passed or failed the exam (before leaving the testing center).  

Does one have to pass the final exam in the SHRM Learning System course in order to take one of the certification exams?

You do not have to pass our course to sit for a certification exam. However, performance in our program is a good indicator of performance on any certification exam.

Is there a test I can take to assess my current level of Human Resources knowledge?

Yes. Visit hrci.organd click on the Assessment Exam.