The circulating precursor cells that give rise to human resident memory T cells (TRM) are poorly characterized. We used an in vitro differentiation system and human skin-grafted mice to study TRM generation from circulating human memory T cell subsets. In vitro TRM differentiation was associated with functional changes, including enhanced IL-17A production and FOXP3 expression in CD4+ T cells and granzyme B production in CD8+ T cells, changes that mirrored the phenotype of T cells in healthy human skin. Effector memory T cells (TEM) had the highest conversion rate to TRM in vitro and in vivo, but central memory T cells (TCM) persisted longer in the circulation, entered the skin in larger numbers, and generated increased numbers of TRM. In summary, TCM are highly efficient precursors of human skin TRM, a feature that may underlie their known association with effective long-term immunity.