2018 Winter Public Sector HR Essentials Program Online Closed

January 15 to May 29, 2018 at Online

Registration for this course is not available.

A foundational course, IPMA-HR's Public Sector HR Essentials program is recommended for those HR professionals new to the public sector. It is designed to ease the transition of HR professionals from the private sector and advance their professional development with invaluable expertise and specific strategies for success in the public sector.

IPMA-SCP/CP: 24 points HRCI: 48 credits SHRM: 48 credits

Members: $999.00 Non-members: $1299.00

  • Public Sector HR Essentials
Program Description

A foundational course, IPMA-HR's Public Sector HR Essentials program is recommended for those HR professionals new to the public sector.  It is designed to ease the transition of HR professionals from the private sector and advance their professional development with invaluable expertise and specific strategies for success in the public sector.

This popular program covers all the major areas of public sector human resources operation, including Public Sector HR Basics, Job Classification and Compensation, Recruitment and Selection, Labor and Employee Relations, Employee Benefits, EEO and Diversity, and Organizational Development.

Key Takeaways:

  • Gain critical knowledge of key HR topics through the eight expert training modules (see Modules below).
  • Achieve in-depth knowledge of key HR principles and concepts.
  • Learn specific strategies for success in the public sector
  • Earn the prestigious Public Sector HR Essentials Certificate

The program provides flexible online format to meet your demanding schedule.

The Public Sector HR Essentials Program contains 8 Modules, which are facilitated online by an expert instructor.  You can expect to:

Complete each module at your pace over a period of 2-4 weeks

Receive valuable interaction through online discussions with your peers and expert instructor

Have key principles and concepts reinforced through online materials and written assignments 

Enjoy seamless guidance through the process via the program calendar and assistance from your instructor

Walk away with the prestigious Public Sector HR Essentials Program certificate upon completion of the eight modules.

Government executives, this is the perfect program to recommend to your frontline and mid-level human resources staff.  The expertise, strategies, and expanded professional network they'll gain will benefit your organizations for years to come.
Key Audience

IPMA-HR's Public Sector HR Essentials program is recommended for entry-level HR professionals and anyone new to the public sector. 



This course was designed specifically for new Human Resource professionals, or those seeking knowledge of other HR disciplines outside of their normal work assignments. The course will cover all of the major areas within a full-functioning Human Resources operation. The information presented is intended to provide a working understanding of each of the following disciplines:

  • Public Sector HR Basics
  • Recruitment
  • Selection
  • Job Classification and Compensation
  • Employee Benefits
  • Labor and Employee Relations
  • EEO and Diversity
  • Organizational Development

The course is divided into the eight subject areas, or Modules, listed above. Each Module is self-contained, and can be used as a stand-alone session. Where appropriate, we have included cross references to material or information contained in other Modules. This reflects the inter-relatedness of each of the functional disciplines within the HR umbrella.

Materials used as part of this course include:

  • Human Resource Management, Fifteenth Edition, by Robert L. Mathis and John H. Jackson (must be purchased separately)

At the beginning of each module, we have listed the reading assignment from the Mathis and Johnson textbook, which is the main text for this course.

This online course provides a number of benefits to participants:

  • Ability to select those portions of the course that are of value to you;
  • Flexibility in completing class assignments on YOUR schedule, with the freedom of location and time of day;
  • Opportunity to interact with other HR professionals from around the country;
  • Addresses the needs of all types of learners, and those reluctant to speak in groups are drawn more readily into the discussions.

Coursework (to include required reading, both textbook and IPMA-produced material, responding to exercises throughout the course, and successful completion of 8 exams (one at the end of each module) for all modules must be completed during the twenty (20) week session to be eligible for the HR Certificate. Those who complete individual modules are eligible to receive a certificate of completion for individual modules.

Required Resources

Human Resources Management, 15th Edition

Textbook 15th Edition Image

By: Robert L. Mathis, John H. Jackson, Sean R. Valentine, and Patricia Meglich

*This textbook is required for the course and is not included in the registration fee for the course.The exams are based heavily on readings from the textbook.

Click on the image above to purchase the textbook separately.


Module One - Public Sector HR Basics:

January 16-January 30, 2018

This module provides an overview of the HR function in public organizations, and includes:

  • Understanding the differences between public and private sector HR operations;
  • History of laws that have affected the development of the public sector HR function;
  • Review of the major laws and regulations that govern HR operations;
  • Roles and responsibilities of HR professionals in organizations;
  • Discussion of typical organizational structures;
  • Use of Information Technology to enhance HR operations;
  • Strategic HR operations;
  • Professional HR Organizations;
  • Importance of Ethics in HR.

Module Two – Recruitment:

January 30-February 13, 2018

  • Role of workforce planning;
  • Planning and utilizing recruitment strategies;
  • Executive recruitment strategies;
  • Long term recruitment strategies;
  • Importance of background and reference checks;
  • Negotiating with selected candidates;
  • Importance of evaluating recruitment strategies.

Module Three – Selection:

February 13-March 6, 2018

  • Selection in the public sector;
  • Merit system considerations;
  • Typical selection methods;
  • Test development and design;
  • Test administration considerations;
  • Scoring methodologies;
  • Use of preference points;
  • Use and management of eligible lists;
  • Other qualification considerations.

Module Four – Job Classification and Compensation

March 6-March 20, 2018

  • Applicable laws and regulations that govern job classification activities;
  • Concepts and principles of job classification;
  • Job analysis techniques;
  • Classification processes;
  • Methods for establishing classification relationships;
  • Importance of classification strategies to other HR disciplines.
  • Translating classification into compensation;
  • Pay for performance;
  • Executive compensation;
  • Importance of compensation strategies to other HR functions. 

Module Five – Employee Benefits:

March 20- April 10, 2018

  • Benefits terminology;
  • Types, characteristics, and funding of benefits;
  • Selection and negotiation with providers;
  • Budget and cost control;
  • Applicable laws that govern benefit plans;
  • Retirement Plans;
  • Importance of benefits strategies to other HR functions.

Module Six – Labor and Employee Relations:

April 10-April 24, 2018

  • Applicable laws and regulations that govern labor/employee relations activities;
  • Bargaining units;
  • Collective bargaining models;
  • Forms of collective bargaining agreements;
  • Work interruptions/stoppages;
  • Laws and regulations that affect collective bargaining processes;
  • Discipline procedures;
  • Grievance administration and arbitration;
  • Labor/management relations.

Module Seven – EEO and Diversity:

April 24-May 15, 2018

  • Laws that govern EEO and Diversity strategies;
  • Regulatory/oversight agencies;
  • EEO concepts and employer’s policies;
  • EEO Uniform Guidelines and selection policies;
  • Discrimination complaints, investigations, and resolution;
  • Reasonable accommodations;
  • EEO reports and monitoring;
  • Importance of diversity programs to other HR functions.

Module Eight – Organizational Development:

May 15-May 29, 2018

  • Organizational culture and change strategies;
  • Employee development;
  • Performance management;
  • Progressive discipline and counseling and coaching;
  • Application of organizational development strategies to succession planning.

*** There is a practice test at the end of each module.  You must take the test before you can view the content of the next module.  The tests are there as tools for testing your knowledge on the material learned in the module. The score you receive will not, however, determine if you pass the course.  It is highly recommended that you do take the exams as they will help with preparation for the IPMA-CP exam and help you asses your knowledge.****

An Important Note On IPMA-CP Exam

Once you have completed the 8 modules of the Public Sector HR Essentials Program, you will receive an email containing a certificate of completion along with an exam declaration document attachment.   The exam declaration document needs to be filled out and sent back to Debbie Tankersely-Snook at certification@ipma-hr.org.  A link to the online exam will then be administered to you within 48 hours and you will have 30 days to take the IPMA-CP Exam.  This does not require going to a testing center.  The exam can be taken in the comfort of your home or office.

If you have any questions or concerns, please email training@ipma-hr.org.


1. Is the course online or in person?

The IPMA-HR Public Sector HR Essentials Program is offered entirely online.   The program provides you with flexibility and helps you work around a demanding schedule.  

2. Is there a set time where all students and the instructor have to log in or can the work be done at your own pace?

Each module has an approximately two-three week timeframe to be completed. During those two-three weeks you can log in and work at your own pace.  There are no set times where the students and the instructor have to log in.

3. What are the qualifications for the program?

Participants should be entry-level human resource professionals or new to the public sector.   Although not required, it is helpful for participants to have at least one year of work experience in the public sector.

4. Who is the target audience?

The target audience is those who are new to HR or the public sector.  It can also serve as a refresher course for those at the executive level.  All public sector entry level HR professionals are eligible to take the course and the IPMA-CP exam.  You do not have to be in a current HR position.  You could have been previously employed in HR, currently employed in HR or seeking a position in Public Sector HR.  

5. How is this course different from other HR Courses?

This course is different from other HR courses because of its focus on the public sector environment.

6. How is this course different from the IPMA-HR Developing Competencies for HR Success?

7. What does the course consist of?

The course consists of eight (8) learning modules covering the basics that every HR professional in the public sector needs to know

Module 1- Public Sector HR Basics: This module describes the practice of human resources management in the public sector environment.  The private and public sector can differ in important ways from the laws that govern employees to the roles that are required of a public sector practitioner.   This is an important course for anyone interested in working for or with a government employer.

Module 2- Recruitment- This module provides a comprehensive overview of the recruitment function from developing a strategy to conducing background investigations and negotiating with prospective employees.   The course also includes a section on evaluating recruiting strategies.

Module 3- Selection- Selection in the public sector differs greatly from the private sector. Merit system principles often apply requiring a high level of transparency.   The course covers selection from beginning to end including how to administer a test, creating and maintaining eligible lists and how to handle the appeals process in the event of a challenge.

Module 4-Classification and Compensation- This module provides a comprehensive look at classification and compensation in the public sector setting.  Students will learn the basics of classification from concept to application, how to translate classification into compensation and different strategies.

Module 5-Benefits-Students will learn about all types of benefits typically offered by employers including retirement, health, work/life programs, wellness programs and more.   This course covers the laws governing benefits, trends and strategies in providing benefits and how to negotiate in a unionized environment.

Module 6-Labor and Employee Relations- This module provides an overview of collective bargaining laws, models, and agreements. Students will learn about the collective bargaining process, outcomes. as well as discipline, grievances and enforcement of agreements.

Module 7- Equal Employment Opportunity (EEO) and Diversity- Students will learn about EEO and diversity from recruitment and selection to managing the employee relationship.  An overview of relevant laws is provided, along with practical information on their application.  Students will also learn about diversity programs and strategies. 

Module 8- Organizational Development-This course provides a comprehensive look at organizational development including employee development, performance management, progressive discipline, succession planning and how to use information technology to enhance service delivery

8.  How long are the modules?

Each module lasts approximately two-three weeks and contains roughly 7-12 parts

9.  What is the time commitment for the program?

The course materials can be read at your own pace within each module timeframe (approximately two-three weeks).   It is the expectation that the coursework be completed within the scheduled dates laid out for the course.  The amount of time required for each module is dependent on the amount of content.  You can expect to spend anywhere from 5-6 hours on the shorter modules (5 and 7) and 8-12 hours on the other modules as there is more content to cover.

10. What materials are needed for the course and can they be purchased through IPMA-HR?

The required text for the course is Human Resource Management, 15th Edition, by Robert L. Mathis and John H. Jackson.  The exams are based heavily on readings from the textbook.  IPMA-HR does not provide the textbook, but it can be purchased through the link to Amazon.com under "Required Textbooks and Resources" above.

 11.  After registering for the course, how do I gain access to the course?

After you register for an IPMA-HR course, you will receive a confirmation email.  Please note the email will be sent from sqldba@ICohere.com.  Please add this email (sqldba@ICohere.com) to your agency's "safe senders" email list to ensure it is not marked as undeliverable spam.   You will be sent a confirmation email that contains information about the course, including the site URL, your login credentials, and your initial password.

12. What do I need to do to receive a certificate of completion?

In order to earn the certificate of completion for the course, an individual must complete all eight modules including the written assignments (posts) and  attempt all practice exams.

13.  What do I do if I have a technical issue?

Send an email to: support@icohere.com

14. How involved is the instructor with the students?

The instructor is readily available to answer questions.  The instructor will review the written assignments and provide feedback.   Facilitators will be experienced professionals from the public sector and will be able to address issues unique to the environment.  Students will have the opportunity to interact with each other through a discussion board.  Participants of this course are all over the country and are employees of state, federal, and local government agencies.  It provides a great networking opportunity.

15. How many exams are there?

There is a practice exam at the conclusion of each module.  Once you have completed the assignments, the practice exams are tools to test your knowledge and to use as study tools for the final IPMA-CP exam.

Did you not find the information you were looking for? 

Send an email to meetings@ipma-hr.org.

Trainer Highlights

Learn from experts in public sector Human Resources.

You'll benefit from the expertise of top public sector HR professionals who understand the unique issues, challenges, and opportunities of human resources in the government environment.  A public sector HR expert will instruct you through each module.

Richard Heil, The Curtis Group, IPMA-SCP, helped write and develop the course.   Heil also serves as our primary instructor.



"I recently completed IPMA-HR's Public Sector HR Essentials Program.  To say that was satisfied with the course would be a severe understatement. I was thoroughly impressed and challenged by the depth of study and knowledge obtained through this course.   While I personally do not engage in all the aspects covered during the course on a daily basis, I was left with a solid foundation of information to support me when I do encounter those areas.   The instructor's commentary was thoughtful and fitting for public sector HR professionals, and the discussion boards provided useful insight into the various challenges we face and the methods for addressing those challenges.  I highly recommend this program to all persons desirous of a successful career in public sector human resources." 

Miriam Stuart, Employee Relations Specialist, NYS Teachers' Retirement System

 The IPMA-HR Public Sector HR Essentials online program touches all elements of the HR environment.  It also demonstrates the relationship of HR in both public and private sectors.  After evaluating the program, I decided to encourage my HR staff to enroll and benefit from the comprehensive training and online convenience. 

Marcia Lowry, Human Resources Manager, SPHR, IPMA-CP, Columbia County, Georgia