Are you passionate about helping organizations and individuals meet their highest potential? If so, consider a well-paying career in human resources. Earning a human resources degree online can provide you with a fast track to the professional skills you’ll need to build a career in the field.
To help you get started, we’re spotlighting several outstanding schools that provide students with high-quality, accredited online programs and affordable tuition rates. These schools offer flexible online classes and accelerated course formats, allowing students to earn their HR degree online on their own terms.
We’re starting by introducing you to three outstanding schools, but check back later in 2023 for the full list of online human resources degrees.
Maryville University of St. Louis
Maryville University of St. Louis offers a 100% online Bachelor’s in Human Resource Management. This program, which is aligned with the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) curriculum, focuses on modern emerging human resources trends to prepare graduates to face the demands of today’s HR landscape. The program’s core is a strong business curriculum in finance, managerial accounting, marketing, and project management. As a result, students are well-grounded in the fundamentals of running efficient and effective businesses. Coursework includes studies in recruitment and talent management, HR employment law, labor relations and negotiations, managing a diverse workforce, and risk management.
Electives allow students to tailor their degrees to their individual career goals. Throughout the program, students gain hands-on experience through HR projects, simulations, case studies, and optional internships. Potential students can apply with no admission fees or SAT/ACT scores required, which makes this program exceptionally accessible for students, regardless of previous educational background.
- Online Bachelor’s in Human Resource Management
- Credits: 128
- Length: 4 years
- Cost: $500 per credit
- Mode: Fully online
- Accreditation: Higher Learning Commission
At McKendree University, students can earn an online human resource management degree in a convenient online course format. The curriculum is aligned with SHRM’s HR Guidebook and Templates to ensure students receive the skills and tools they’ll need to excel in the current market.Modern HR professionals must be prepared to rise to the ever-evolving interests and concerns facing today’s businesses and organizations. To meet this need, McKendree’s coursework focuses on a solid foundation in core business principles, personnel management and retention, employee and labor relations, diversity management, and organizational development.
Busy working adults who are balancing career and life obligations will particularly appreciate this program’s flexibility. Each course is offered over eight-week periods, and most students can take two courses per session. Upon graduation, McKendree alums are prepared to successfully manage and recruit talent, oversee benefits and compensation initiatives, and guide employee training and development.
- Bachelor of Business Administration in Human Resource Management
- Credits: 121
- Length: 4 years
- Cost: $405 per credit
- Mode: Fully online
- Accreditation: Higher Learning Commission
Texas A&M University – Central Texas (TAMUCT)
Texas A&M’s online Bachelor of Business Administration in Human Resource Management prepares students to take on general human resources roles in various industries. The curriculum is aligned with SHRM standards. After completing all coursework and graduating from the program, students are well-prepared to take the SHRM-CP certification exam. In addition to the core course requirements, students can add to their qualifications with a micro-credential in Business Analytics & Intelligence, Cybersecurity, Financial Management & Analysis, Project Management, or Supply Chain Management.
An interesting aspect of this program is TAMUCT’s emphasis on early student transitions into HR positions as they work toward their degrees. Accepting a position as an HR assistant while taking courses adds to a student’s educational experience and can accelerate their career path into higher HR positions. Coursework for this program is offered 100% online, so students have maximum flexibility in completing their studies.
- Bachelor of Business Administration in Human Resource Management
- Credits: 120
- Length: 4 years
- Cost: $463.08 per credit in-state | $885.69 per credit out-of-state
- Mode: Fully online / Hybrid
- Accreditation: Accreditation Council for Business Schools and Programs (ACBSP), Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB)
What You’ll Learn in Your Online Human Resources Degree Program
As you pursue a human resources degree online, you’ll take courses in topics relating to fundamental business principles, legal issues, the ins and outs of leadership and employee development, and how to handle payroll.
With an HR degree online, you won’t just learn how to effectively manage people and maintain company policies. You’ll also learn how to encourage effective communication between managers and employees, mediate conflict, and recruit and develop talent. After graduation, you can take the SHRM-CP certification exam to validate your knowledge and expertise.
Below is a list of some of the main topics you can expect to cover when you earn your human resources degree online.
Main Topics You’ll Cover
- Human resource management
- How to keep up with and comply with employment law
- Diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) best practices
- Recruitment and Staffing dynamics
- How to manage compensation and benefits
- Principles of business ethics
- Leadership principles and practices
Lower Division Curriculum (Years 1 and 2)
The first two years of an online human resources degree include a fair amount of general education classes required for all bachelor’s degrees. In addition to completing these basic courses, you’ll enroll in several introductory human resources classes that will introduce you to the basic principles of the profession, help you form an understanding of business, and give you a big-picture view of standard topics in business and human resources.
- Interpersonal Communication: This course guides students in analyzing verbal and non-verbal communication between people in personal and professional settings. Students learn how to understand, evaluate, and improve communication skills.
- Management for Organizations: Students in this class are introduced to management theory and practice and how it can be applied to real-life situations. Often, there is an emphasis on planning, organizing, and leading in modern workplaces in the context of multicultural, technological, and global organizational concerns.
- Human Resource Management: This class provides an overview of how to communicate with, motivate, and manage employees and personnel within a larger organization. Students will gain a general understanding of human resources and learn about the current standards, practices, and legal concerns.
- Accounting: An introductory business course, the curriculum in your accounting class focuses on general financial accounting principles and operations. For HR students, this course often includes lessons on reporting to outside individuals and agencies.
- Principles of Macroeconomics: You’ll learn about the broad concepts that affect the overall economy in this common lower-division class. Topics covered usually include gross domestic product, inflation, government fiscal policy, and supply-and-demand framework.
Upper Division Curriculum (Years 3 and 4)
After completing the initial two years of study, students will move on to more advanced topics during the final two years of a human resources degree online program. These courses typically focus on a topic that’s smaller in scope while going into more detail on each subject. Students gain a deeper understanding of human resources principles, regulations, and best practices, and how they transfer to an organizational setting.
- Employee and Labor Relations: This course focuses on employee relations and the history of relationships among unions, workers, management, laws, government, and regulation. Students build skills in negotiation, labor conflict, and understanding public labor policy.
- Compensation & Benefits Management: In this course, students learn about the basic principles of wage and salary programs, including how to evaluate and adjust pay and manage benefit programs for organizations.
- Human Resource Development: You’ll learn how to design, implement, and manage employee orientation, career development, and training programs in this class. Students learn how to assess needs, train people, and design effective programs.
- Ethics in the Workplace: This is a study of ethics as they play out in the workplace environment. Students concentrate on learning these themes and how they apply to individuals and organizations, as well as the ethics of corporate social responsibility.
- Employment Law: This class offers an in-depth look at federal legislation and regulation as it affects employers and organizations. Students build a strong foundation on interpreting legal principles to support employer awareness.
Admissions: Getting into a Top Online HR Degree Program
Before earning your HR degree online, you’ll have to narrow down your list of schools and investigate their application processes. Generally, applying for an online human resources degree is much like going through the admissions process at a traditional college or university.
The process begins with reviewing your chosen school’s admissions criteria. Be sure to double-check requirements with the specific human resources degree online program, as individual programs often maintain separate academic standards and GPA minimums than what’s required for a school’s general application.
Admission criteria vary by school, but you can find a typical example of the admission process for most online human resources degrees at Penn State World Campus. Here’s a closer look at typical admission criteria:
- Complete an electronic application
- Maintain a competitive GPA, especially in business-related courses
- Provide high school and college transcripts
- Supply placement test scores from the ACT or SAT
After you’ve filled out an online application and paid related fees, you’ll provide your prospective school with information about your educational background. If you’re applying as a new incoming freshman, be prepared to provide high school transcripts and standardized test scores. The required minimum score for admission depends on the school. For example, the University of Toledo requires a minimum score of 25 on the ACT or 1200 on the SAT.
Transfer students will need to supply transcripts from previous college courses. Consult your new school for detailed information about how many credits will apply toward your HR degree online and if any additional prerequisite courses are required before entering the program.
Paying for Your Online HR Degree: Costs and Financial Aid
Earning your HR degree online is a considerable expense, and it’s important to understand the costs associated with an online human resources degree and make a plan for how to pay for tuition.
While the cost of an online HR degree varies widely, you can expect to pay between $30,000 and $80,000 for your education, depending on the institution. Factors that affect tuition include whether the college is public or private, as well as whether you qualify for in-state or out-of-state tuition.
To help you better understand what your online human resources degree could cost, we’ve put together this table of the cost per credit at five colleges that offer an HR degree online. We’ve included real-world examples from private not-for-profit, private for-profit, and public universities to provide you with a sample of various available programs.
|School Name||School Type||Total Credits||In-State||Out-of-State|
|Liberty University||Private not-for-profit||120||$390 / credit||$390 / credit|
|Penn State World Campus||Public||123||$620/$664 / credit||$620/$664 / credit|
|Columbia Southern University||Private for-profit||120||$245 / credit||$245 / credit|
|Louisiana State University||Public||120||$379 / credit||$379 / credit|
|University of Arkansas||Public||120||$302.77/ credit||$302.77/ credit|
Taking advantage of financial aid opportunities can provide much-needed monetary support and lower the overall cost of earning your human resources degree online. In addition to federal and state-based programs that award funds based on academic merit or financial need (like the Federal Pell Grant), individual schools and human resources-related organizations often award scholarships and grants.
For example, Liberty University’s online students can apply for scholarships based on family heritage or ethnicity, organizational affiliations, and military service. At Western Governors University, students can apply for the Online Access Scholarship, which helps students obtain the proper equipment to pursue an online degree. The SHRM Foundation also awards several annual scholarships to human resources students.
FAQs About Earning Your Bachelor’s Degree in Human Resources Online
Are online human resources degree programs offered 100% online?
Yes, several schools offer entirely online human resources degrees. These programs are built to provide busy adults and working professionals with a flexible and convenient way to pursue higher education, making it easier for students to get their HR degrees online — without ever stepping foot on campus. Some programs offer optional opportunities to participate in an in-person internship program, but required internships are rare.
What can you do with a bachelor’s degree in human resources?
After graduating with a human resources degree online, you’ll be prepared to work in the HR department in various organizations, including finance, government, and media. Your responsibilities could include:
- Recruiting and training new employees
- Managing benefits
- Serving as the primary communicator between leadership and staff within an organization
After gaining a few years of experience in the field, you can advance to higher-paying management positions.
Potential job titles include:
- Human resources manager
- Human resources specialist
- Training/development manager
- Compensation/benefits specialist
Is earning a human resources degree worth it?
Earning an online human resources degree can be a wise choice based on potential return on your educational investment. According to ZipRecruiter, Human resources professionals make an average salary of $64,498 yearly. As you gain more experience in the field, you’ll be eligible for positions with more responsibility and higher pay. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reports the median annual salary for human resources managers at $126,230.
What accreditation should I look for in a human resources degree program?
Aim to earn your human resources degree online from a regionally accredited college or university. In addition to school-wide regional accreditation, many human resources programs are considered part of colleges’ business schools and have additional programmatic accreditation from the AACSB, ACBSP, or IACBE.
The Society for Human Resource Management is not an accrediting authority. Still, because it is an industry leader in quality human resources degree curricula, you’ll often find online human resources degrees aligned with SHRM standards.
How long does it take to earn a bachelor’s degree in human resources?
That depends on the individual student and the program they’re enrolled in. Since an HR degree online is a bachelor’s program, it typically takes four years and at least 120 credits to complete. However, some schools offer courses in an accelerated format, which can lower the total time it takes to complete a degree. Students who can only study for their degree part-time might take longer than four years to earn a human resources degree online.
Employment Outlook with a Human Resources Degree
After earning an HR degree online, graduates join an in-demand job market with higher-than-average salaries. Human resources specialists earn a median salary of $62,290 per year, which is slightly higher than the $58,260 average for all occupations as reported by the BLS. Overall, the BLS estimates the demand for human resources specialists will increase by 8% by the year 2031, which is slightly higher than average.
As you gain more experience in the field, you’ll be able to qualify for more advanced careers with higher pay. Human resources managers make an average median annual wage of $126,230 and experience an average job growth rate of 7%.
|Career||Median Annual Earnings (2021)||Job Growth (2020-2030)|
|Human Resources Managers||$126,230||7%|
|Human Resources Specialists||$62,290||8%|
|Compensation and Benefits Managers||$127,530||2%|
|Compensation, Benefits, and Job Analysis Specialists||$64,120||7%|
Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics