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Public Sector HR Essentials Program FAQs

Tags:  (2017)

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 the students and the instructor have to log in or can the work be done at your own pace?
Each module has an approximately two-week timeframe to be completed. During those two 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 new to the public sector. It can also serve as a refresher course.
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. 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 sectors 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 conducting 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.
7. How long are the modules?
Each module lasts approximately two weeks and contains roughly 7-12 parts.
8. What is the time commitment for the program?
The course materials can be read at your own pace within each module timeframe (approximately two weeks). It is the expectation that the coursework be completed within that time. 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 somewhere between 8-12 hours on the other modules as there is more content to cover.
9. What materials are needed for the course and can they be purchased through IPMA-HR?
The required text for the course is the 14th Edition of Human Resource Management 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 a variety of online retailers, such as
10. How do I log in to the course?
Before the class begins, please whitelist

After you register for an IPMA-HR course, you will receive a confirmation email. Please note the email will be sent from “” Please add this email ( 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.
11. What do I need to do to receive the certificate?
In order to earn the certificate, an individual must complete all eight modules including the written assignments and exams and achieve a 60% or better as an average of all their test scores.
12. 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 forum.
13. What do I do if I have a technical issue?
Send an email to:
14. How many exams are there?
There is an exam at the conclusion of each module. Once you have completed the activities for each module, the instructor will send you the link to the exam.
15. How long do I have to take each exam?
You have two weeks to complete each module exam.
16. Can I start the exam and come back later to finish it?
No. Once you start an exam, you have to finish it. The window will close automatically after a period of inactivity.
17. My initial program email went to spam. What domain should I use to avoid my emails going to spam?
Please add to your contacts list to avoid course emails going to your spam folder.
Didn't find what you were looking for? Please direct any further questions to or call Jacqueline Snyder in the Professional Development Department at 703-549-7100.

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