Online Master's Degree in Human Resources
Whether creating innovative recruiting strategies, resolving labor disputes, or helping develop effective corporate training programs, the leadership and expertise of HR professionals can be vital in creating a productive and happy workplace. For those who want to advance in the field, a master's degree in human resources may help put them on the right track. Students can choose to enter into a human resources management program, or they might pursue a Master of Business Administration (MBA) with an emphasis in human resources.
Often, online master's degree programs in human resources also offer specializations, allowing students to focus on a specific aspect of HR, such as labor relations, psychology or employment law. One such specialized degree is a master's in industrial-organizational psychology, which focuses on human behavior in the workplace.
In most cases, a master's degree takes two years to complete. However, those who pursue online master's degrees in human resources might be able to complete the work in less time, depending on the program. Students may be able to pursue an online master's program with a flexible format, which could allow them to continue working while attending courses at a time that is most suitable or convenient for them.
Online master's degree programs in human resources usually do not require general education courses or electives. Rather, these programs are strongly focused to provide students with the intensive training they need to build upon the skills and knowledge they earned during pursuit of their bachelor's degree. Example courses include:
- Employment and Labor Law: This course explores state and federal laws that govern employee and employer relations, emphasizing both theory and practical application in the workplace. Topics can include affirmative action, equal employment, disability laws, workplace privacy, compensation and wage regulations, dealing with unions, and more.
- Recruiting and Staffing Strategies: Learning how to recruit, place and retain the best talent is a key component of this course, as well as how these efforts fit into a company's short- and long-term goals. The course may explore topics such as the major challenges of staffing and recruiting, along with the federal laws that must be adhered to while enticing talent to join the ranks.
- Safety and Security in the Workplace: This course focuses on both the physical and informational security of the workplace, helping train students to spot potential threats, take steps to enhance security and keep important information within the boundaries of the company. Additionally, classes typically look at corporate threats, vulnerabilities, workplace violence, premises liability and other issues that pertain to keeping a business and its employees safe and secure.
- Managerial Leadership: What makes a good leader, and what works best to motivate people? These and other issues of leadership are discussed, as well as keys to unlocking potential management skills. This courses might also include case studies of great business leaders who inspired their employees to bigger accomplishments.
MBA programs with an emphasis in human resources often address similar topics, but may also include courses in advanced marketing, financial issues, managerial accounting and the like. Most online human resources master's programs require students to complete a capstone seminar or master thesis before graduating, which demonstrates their cumulative education in the field.
While HR positions can often be entered with a bachelor's degree, employers may look for those with the more advanced skills and knowledge offered by a master's, especially for upper-level management positions, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Earning work experience while engaging in a human resources master's degree program may also provide employers with a favorable impression of hard work and motivation, and previous management and/or HR experience is beneficial for those looking to advance to supervisory roles. The BLS expects employment of human resources managers to increase by 13 percent nationally between 2010 and 2020 (bls.gov/ooh, 2012).
Other potential positions include compensation and benefits manager as well as training and development manager. Earning an MBA may also put human resources experts on track to become top management executives.
"Human Resources Managers," Occupational Outlook Handbook (2012-13 Edition), Bureau of Labor Statistics, March 29, 2012, http://www.bls.gov/ooh/management/human-resources-managers.htm
"Master of Human Resource Management," HR People, Accessed May 2013, http://hrpeople.monster.com/education/articles/1386-master-of-human-resource-management
"Top Executives," Occupational Outlook Handbook (2012-13 Edition), Bureau of Labor Statistics, March 29, 2012, http://www.bls.gov/ooh/management/top-executives.htm
Online Degree Programs in Human Resources
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