Online Degrees In Human Resources

Businesses are always competing for top talent. Human resources professionals work with the administration of businesses and organizations to help make sure everything runs smoothly. You, as a human resources professional, can play a critical role in managing business talent acquisition. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) expects the demand for human resources managers to grow as companies continue to expand their operations or as new ones are established.

With workers hopping from job to job frequently for higher wages and better job satisfaction, human resource (HR) professionals can play a critical role in a business environment that is competing to attract and retain a highly-skilled workforce. Technology tools may help to drive recruitment and innovation in HR functions.

Human resources careers may suit individuals who have good interpersonal skills as their jobs involve interacting with people on a regular basis, according to the BLS. Leadership, organizational and decision making skills can also be an asset. Online human resources degree programs can help you hone your skills in personnel management and can be completed at home — allowing you to maintain your work and personal commitments.

Human resources managers are employed in nearly every industry. Their duties can include different aspects related to managing a workforce – from administrative details to strategic planning. Key responsibilities include the following:

  • Recruiting and interviewing job candidates
  • Hiring and orientation
  • Training and development
  • Compensation and benefits
  • Employee and labor relations
  • Health, safety and security
  • Dispute resolution

Human resources professionals work with the administration of businesses and organizations to help make sure everything runs smoothly. From screening job applicants to understanding the details of benefit plans to participating in corporate strategic planning, human resources experts may find themselves handling a wide variety of tasks.

The following chart lists some of the most popular careers related to the field of human resources, along with wage and employment data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics:

Career
Employment
Median Salary
Projected Job Growth
Training and Development Specialists312,450$65,6409.4%
Training and Development Managers38,510$123,4708.1%
Human Resources Managers154,800$129,5707.1%
Compensation, Benefits, and Job Analysis Specialists89,300$69,8405.9%
Human Resources Specialists633,040$67,7605.3%
Compensation and Benefits Managers16,900$134,2102.9%
Human Resources Assistants, Except Payroll and Timekeeping117,340$42,620-4.1%
Source: 2019 Occupational Employment Statistics and 2018-28 Employment Projections, Bureau of Labor Statistics, BLS.gov.

Choose a degree that can help you meet your career goals

Online degrees in human resources degrees are available at all levels, from associate to doctorate programs.

Certificate programs may help small business owners or working professionals to develop basic HR skills.

Most HR professionals begin their careers with a bachelor’s degree in human resources. In fact, O*Net shows that 74% of human resource managers have a bachelor’s degree but the BLS projects that individuals with a master’s degree are likely to have the best job prospects.

A doctoral degree in human resources is the terminal degree in the field, one that could help open doors to university appointments, political aspirations and higher levels of executive leadership within a company.

What can I expect to learn in an online certificate program?

Online certificate programs in human resources can give you a foundation in the basic HR principles and theories behind running an effective workforce.

Typical duration: Up to one year of part-time study

General prerequisites: High school diploma or equivalent

Typical coursework: The curriculum of a certificate course can help you learn about HR policies, hiring techniques, employee benefits and more. Some courses you may take include:

  • Human relations in administration
  • Organizational behavior
  • Employee and labor relations
  • Employee selection
  • Equal employment opportunity

Possible electives: Employment law; training and development; compensation and benefits

What can I do after earning an online certificate in Human Resources?

A certificate in human resources may qualify you for entry-level jobs like HR generalist. However, you may be able to transfer your credits toward a bachelor’s degree or an associate degree program in human resources to further your chances of getting human resources specialist jobs.

What can I expect to learn in an online associate degree program?

An online associate degree program in human resource management can help you learn how to carry out generalist HR tasks from screening job applicants to understanding the details of benefit plans to participating in corporate strategic planning,

Typical duration: Two years of full-time study

General prerequisites: High school diploma or equivalent

Typical coursework: Apart from core courses, you usually have to take a selection of general education and humanities classes. Core courses may include:

  • Human resources management
  • Employment law
  • Training and development
  • Employee benefits
  • Recruitment, selection and staffing

You may have to complete a capstone project or an internship to fulfill your human resources degree requirements

Possible electives: Depending on the program you choose, your choice of electives may include economics, psychology or general education courses.

What can I do after earning an online associate degree in Human Resources?

An online associate degree in human resource management may help prepare students for work in industries and organizations that have an HR or personnel department. With an online associate degree in human resources, graduates may qualify for a variety of entry-level positions assisting more experienced HR professionals with tasks such as maintaining employee records or posting new job openings online. Potential job titles include:

  • Human resources assistant
  • Payroll and timekeeping clerk

What can I expect to learn in an online bachelor’s degree program?

Online bachelor’s degree programs in human resources build on the skills learnt during an associate degree and can help students learn how to refine a company’s overall recruiting efforts, interpret benefit plans, initiate new hires, and help current employees continue to grow through skill-development programs.

Typical duration: Four years of full-time study

General prerequisites: High school diploma or equivalent

Typical coursework: Curricula typically consist of general education courses, core courses that include the foundations of good business practices, and courses that target human resources. Examples of human resources classes include:

  • Industrial relations
  • Workforce Planning: Recruitment and Selection
  • Benefits and Compensation
  • Human resource strategy and development
  • Human resource technology management

You may have to complete a capstone project or an internship as a part of your human resources degree requirements

Possible electives: Employee and labor relations; managing organizational change; business law

What can I do after earning a bachelor’s degree?

With a bachelor’s degree in human resources, you may pursue a range of career opportunities, such as:

  • Human resources specialist
  • Compensation and benefits manager
  • Labor relations specialist
  • Public relations specialist
  • Research and development specialist

Human resources specialists, who possess a thorough knowledge of their organization, as well as an understanding of regulatory compliance needs, may advance to senior human resources managerial jobs.

What can I expect to learn in online master’s degree program?

Online master’s degree in human resources can be strongly focused to provide students with the hand-on skills they need to build upon the knowledge they earned during pursuit of their bachelor’s degree.

Typical duration: One to two years of full-time study

General prerequisites: A bachelor’s in human resources or related field

Typical coursework: Online master’s degree programs in human resources usually do not require general education courses or electives but instead include advanced topics within the field of human resource. Topics you may study while earning your online master’s degree may include:

  • Human resource management strategy
  • Human resource analytics
  • Negotiating and consulting
  • Leading and managing workplace learning
  • Budgeting and resource allocation

You may have to complete a master’s thesis or a capstone project as a part of your online master’s degree program in human resources.

What can I do after earning a master’s degree?

Pursuing an online master’s degree in human resources can help students sharpen their managerial skills and may prove beneficial for those looking to advance to supervisory roles, such as:

  • Human resources manager
  • Compensation and benefits manager
  • Chief learning officer
  • Training and development manager

What can I expect to learn online doctoral degree program?

An online human resources degree program at the doctoral level can allow students to study an HR topic that interests them in depth. Graduates of a human resources Ph.D. program may walk away with a host of new skills and knowledge, including experience with teaching, networking, grant writing, academic presentations, comment review and response, and making organizational contacts, among many others.

Typical duration: Three to seven years of full-time study

General prerequisites: A master’s degree in human resources or related field

Typical coursework: Courses required for the doctoral program in human resources include clearly focused and targeted subjects, such as classes in economics, psychology, social sciences, negotiations, labor markets, history and legal foundations. The multidisciplinary courses blend theory and practice, requiring in-depth research and collaboration with fellow students. Courses may include:

  • Creating adaptive, innovative workplaces
  • Attracting and retaining talent
  • Human resource practices for developing talent
  • Research processes, theory and practice in global business

Dissertation: In addition to the core courses required for the program, students must also complete a research project and dissertation, and then mount a defense of the dissertation before a committee.

What can I do after earning a doctorate degree

With a doctoral degree in human resources, graduates may find many new employment opportunities open to them, including moving into executive positions in their company or teaching at colleges and universities. Potential job titles include:

  • Director/vice president human resources
  • Human capital manager
  • Human resource business partner
  • Business researcher
  • Dean or associate dean of a business program

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.

Watch This Success Story: Three years, two online degrees, one class at a time

“Is earning a bachelor’s healthcare management degree online and a master’s degree in human resources online in just three years possible?As an operations consultant for Rehabcare, a physical therapy rehabilitation management company, Linda Rich traveled five days a week and helped hospitals and other facilities manage their rehab programs. In three years, Rich earned both a bachelor’s degree and a master’s degree. Find out how Linda Rich did it while working full-time”     — Linda Rich

Accrediting bodies for human resources programs

Prospective employers may tend to prefer candidates who have graduated from an accredited school. Attending an accredited school can serve to demonstrate that the education you have received meets the high quality standards needed to work in the field today. It can also be an important prerequisite while transferring educational credits, applying for federal funding or for professional certifications. Professional bodies that accredit human resources programs include:

Specializations in Human Resources

Online degree programs in human resources may also offer specializations, allowing students to focus on a specific aspect of human resources, such as:

  • Labor relations management
  • Training and development
  • Employment law
  • Recruitment

Certifications:

BLS states that although certification in human resources is voluntary, it may show professional expertise and credibility, and it typically enhances advancement opportunities. Many employers prefer to hire certified human resources candidates, and some jobs may require certification. The HR Certification Institute is a major professional body that offers human resource certifications. Certifications offered by HRCI include:

  • Professional in Human Resources (PHR) certification
  • Senior Professional in Human Resources (SPHR) certification

A few other well-known certifying bodies are:

You may find there are plenty of financial aid programs, grants and scholarships available to eligible students working toward earning their human resources degrees online. A few scholarships to help you get started on your search are:

Employment Statistics

Human resources managers

Industries with the highest concentration of employment
  • Management of Companies and Enterprises
  • Office Administrative Services
  • Management, Scientific, and Technical Consulting Services
  • Audio and Video Equipment Manufacturing
  • Other Information Services
States with the highest level of employment
  • California
  • New York
  • Illinois
  • Texas
  • Florida
Top-paying metropolitan areas
  • Newark, NJ-PA Metropolitan Division
  • San Jose-Sunnyvale-Santa Clara, CA
  • San Francisco-Redwood City-South San Francisco, CA Metropolitan Division
  • Bridgeport-Stamford-Norwalk, CT
  • Camden, NJ Metropolitan Division

Compensation and Benefits Managers

Industries with the highest concentration of employment
  • Management of Companies and Enterprises
  • Office Administrative Services
  • Agencies, Brokerages, and Other Insurance Related Activities
  • Accounting, Tax Preparation, Bookkeeping, and Payroll Services
  • Insurance Carriers
States with the highest level of employment
  • New York
  • Illinois
  • Massachusetts
  • Texas
  • Florida
Top-paying metropolitan areas
  • Oxnard-Thousand Oaks-Ventura, CA
  • Camden, NJ Metropolitan Division
  • Fayetteville-Springdale-Rogers, AR-MO
  • Newark, NJ-PA Metropolitan Division
  • New York-Jersey City-White Plains, NY-NJ Metropolitan Division

Source: 2016 Occupational Employment Statistics, Bureau of Labor Statistics, BLS.gov.

Sources:

  • “Summary Report for: Human Resources,” O*Net OnLine, U.S. Department of Labor, www.onetonline.org/link/summary/11-3121.00, accessed January 2019
  • “11-3111 Compensation and Benefits Managers” in Occupational Employment Statistics, Bureau of Labor Statistics, accessed January 2019, www.bls.gov/oes/2017/may/oes113111.htm
  • “11-3121 Human Resources Managers” in Occupational Employment Statistics, Bureau of Labor Statistics, www.bls.gov/oes/2017/may/oes113121.htm, accessed January 2019,
  • Administrative Service Managers in Occupational Outlook Handbook, www.bls.gov/ooh/management/administrative-services-managers.htm, accessed January 2019
  • Associate Degree in Human Resources, Ashworth College, https://www.ashworthcollege.edu/associate-degrees/human-resource-administration/, accessed June 2019
  • Bachelor of Arts in Human Resources Management, Ashford University, https://www.ashford.edu/online-degrees/business/bachelor-of-arts-human-resources-management, accessed June 2019
  • Bachelor of Science: Business – Human Resource Management, Western Governor’s University, https://www.wgu.edu/online-business-degrees/human-resources-bachelors-program/, accessed June 2019
  • Business Administration (BS), Human Resources Management Degree, Southern New Hampshire University, https://www.snhu.edu/online-degrees/bachelors/bs-in-business-administration/human-resources-management, accessed June 2019
  • General Program: MS in Human Resource Management, Walden University, https://www.waldenu.edu/online-masters-programs/ms-in-human-resource-management/curriculum/track-i/general-program, accessed June 2019
  • HR Certification Institute, accessed January 2019, www.hrci.org/our-programs/what-is-hrci-certification/accreditation
  • Human Resource Management (Certificate), Southern New Hampshire University, https://www.snhu.edu/online-degrees/certificates/human-resource-management, accessed June 2019
  • Human Resource Management Certificate – Online, University of the Pacific, https://www.pacific.edu/academics/university-college/professional-development/certificate-programs/human-resource-management-certificate-/, accessed June 2019
  • Human Resource Management Specialization, Doctor of Philosophy in Business Management, School of Business and Technology, Capella University, https://www.capella.edu/online-degrees/phd-human-resource-management/, accessed June 2019
  • Human Resources Managers, Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, https://www.bls.gov/ooh/management/human-resources-managers.htm, accessed January 2019 Human Resources Specialist Associate Degree, Bryant & Stratton College, https://www.bryantstratton.edu/degrees/associate-degrees/aas-human-resources-specialist, accessed June 2019
  • Human Resources Undergraduate Certificate online, Ashworth College, https://www.ashworthcollege.edu/undergraduate-certificates/human-resource-management/, accessed June 2019
  • International Foundation of Employee Benefit Plans, www.ifebp.org/Pages/default.aspx, accessed January 2019
  • Master of Science in Human Resource Management, School of Business and Technology, https://www.capella.edu/online-degrees/masters-human-resource-management/, accessed June 2019
  • Master’s in Human Resource (HR) Management Online, Saint Mary’s University of Minnesota, https://onlineprograms.smumn.edu/hr/masters-in-human-resources, accessed June 2019
  • World At Work, www.worldatwork.org/, accessed January 2019
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