Best Online Bachelor’s in Human Resources Programs

Human resources is a fast-paced field focused on the most important commodity in today’s organizations: the workforce itself. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, HR occupations are projected to grow 9%, which is faster than the national average. As organizations put talent management at the front and center of their operations, the demand for competent HR professionals will continue to grow.

If maintaining an organization’s HR department and seeking out talented employees appeals to you, then an online human resources degree might be the right degree for your career. A college degree is now an expected starting point in this highly competitive field. This guide will walk you through what to expect while earning your human resources degree online.

Rank School Name Ranking Score Relative Cost Graduation Rate Location Description
1 Colorado State University-Global Campus 77.16 1/5 63% Greenwood Village, CO

Topping the 2017 ranking of the best human resources bachelor's degree online programs in the United States is the global campus of Colorado State University, a continual leader in distance education. Students who attend this stored institution complete a BS in human resource management and choose from 16 different complementary concentrations. Recognizing students will use this degree in myriad ways, available emphases range from computer programing and emergency management to marketing and public/non-profit management. To ensure that students are well-engaged in the industry, the school has partnered with the Society for Human Resources Management to provide discounts on student memberships, self-study materials, and certification exams. In fact, as of 2017, CSU will even pay 50% of the cost of the examination fee for current students.

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2 Florida International University 71.90 1/5 49% Miami, FL

With its home base in one of the most diverse cities in America, Miami's Florida International University is a perfect option for students seeking a multicultural learning experience rooted in rigorous academics. The school's bachelor of business administration in human resource management online degree is comprised of 120 credits aligned to the Society for Human Resources Management curriculum, with options to specialize in areas of management or international business. Affordability is at the heart of FIU's mission and, in addition to access to asynchronous coursework that can be completed at times convenient to the student, the school offers program start times in the fall, spring, and summer. With more than half of all FIU students completing at least one online course each academic year, prospective students can look forward to accessing the latest in learning technologies and teaching methodologies.

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3 Thomas Edison State University 69.01 1/5 40% Trenton, NJ

Although Thomas Edison State University is located in New Jersey, the institution's online learning platform allows learners throughout the country to pursue this respected online human resources degree. One of the more unique programs in existence today, the school's BSBA in human resources and organizational management prepares graduates to be dynamic, multifaceted leaders in areas such as employment selection, training, management development, industrial relations, and compensation within myriad organizational structures. The program is comprised of 120 hours, 18 of which must fall within a focused human resources study, while an additional 36 hours are required in areas of general business studies. Unlike other institutions, TESU is exclusively focused on serving the educational needs of adult students--a mission it has held to steadfastly since first opening its doors in 1972.

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4 University of St Francis 67.59 1/5 56% Joliet, IL

Founded to promote a Catholicism-infused liberal arts education, the University of Saint Francis is based in Illinois. The school serves just under 4,000 undergraduate and graduate learners. Many of the current undergraduates can be found in the college of business and health administration, which also houses the school's fully online human resource degree. Comprised of 126 hours, learners begin their time at USF by building a liberal education foundation before moving into business and human resources studies. As part of their degree, learners choose from five additional concentrations, including: entrepreneurship, management and leadership, managing human resources, marketing, or transportation and logistics management. Although tuition is historically higher at a private institution, 100% of incoming freshmen receive financial aid. Learners who meet USF admission criteria typically receive awards and scholarships ranging from $6,000 to $14,000 per academic year.

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5 Western Governors University 66.34 1/5 27% Salt Lake City, UT

Formed in 1995 as the first fully online nonprofit institute of higher education, today Western Governors University is a leader in distance learning. The school focuses on competency-based learning. All incoming students are assigned faculty mentors to assist them in developing a personalized degree plan and to help decide how much work students want to complete during each six-month term. The university offers a human resources degree online as a bachelor of science that's aligned to the standards set forth in the Society of Human Resource Management's HR Curriculum Guidebook and Template, ensuring all learners have the knowledge and skills they'll need to take up an HR role at many different types of companies or nonprofits. Graduates seeking to complete the Professional in Human Resources exam will also be prepared by the courses they'll take at WGU. As part of degree requirements, students must complete a professional portfolio and capstone project that requires them to take what they've learned and apply it to a real-world issue in an effort to find a solution.

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6 Park University 64.09 1/5 41% Parkville, MO

Founded in Missouri in 1875, Park University is a flourishing private institution that offers a bachelor of business administration with a concentration in human resource management. As part of their concentration, learners complete courses in planning and staffing, employment law, compensation management, and a senior seminar in human resources development. With more than 17,000 students throughout America currently working toward a degree via Park University's distance education offerings, learners completing an online human resources degree can rest assured knowing they're enrolling in a cutting edge program. Each course is taught in an accelerated, eight-week format to ensure students complete their degrees in a timely fashion. No matter what time of year a student may want to begin their learning, Park's start times in January, March, June, August and October allow them to dive in quickly. While most students pay a flat tuition rate, military enlisted students receive a special discounted rate.

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7 University of Maryland-University College 63.41 1/5 4% Adelphi, MD

Working in tandem with the federal government and the Society of Human Resource Management, the University of Maryland's University College campus has designed a human resources online degree that instills all the skills and competencies that employers want in a new hire. Available as a full bachelor's or a degree completion program, learners from all walks of life are met where they are and provided a roadmap to successful graduation. With a specific emphasis on ensuring learners have the real-world experience needed to find success, many of the courses use real organizations--either via student placement or by using case studies--to help simulate the types of issues and opportunities arising at a typical organization. Requiring 120 credits for graduation, learners are able to transfer up to 90 credits at the time of matriculation.

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8 LeTourneau University 63.28 1/5 61% Longview, TX

Founded as a Christian university focused on training working adults, LeTourneau University first opened its doors in Longview, Texas to educate returning World War II veterans. Today the school serves more than 2,500 learners from all 50 states thanks in large part to its commitment to distance education. Students planning to work in HR departments undertake the school's human resources bachelor's degree online--an innovative program offered as a BS in business administration with a concentration in human resource management. Within this program, students learn about staffing, compensation and benefits, employment law, and how to manage innovation and change. As part of their degree requirements, all students are prepared to sit for the National Human Resource Certification Exam offered by SHRM upon graduation. Post-graduation, LeTourneau alumni frequently employ their skills and managers, directors, and administrators.

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9 Indiana Wesleyan University-Marion 60.82 1/5 70% Marion, IN

As one of the few programs in this ranking specifically offered as a path to degree completion, learners who hold at least 60 transferable credits from an accredited institution are eligible to apply for Indiana Wesleyan University's online human resource degree. Provided as a BS in management with an emphasis in human resource management, students gain knowledge they'll need to be thoughtful and successful managers before delving into the nuanced studies of human resources. Every student is part of a cohort, meaning they'll take the same courses with a number of other learners, thereby creating a communal and supportive learning atmosphere. For those who are able to commit to full-time studies, this program may be completed in approximately 18 to 20 months, though part-time options are also available. As an added bonus, learners can begin their studies at 12 different start times throughout the academic year.

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10 Bellevue University 60.26 1/5 31% Bellevue, NE

Founded in 1966 and headquartered in its namesake Nebraska town, Bellevue University has expanded access to its educational offerings through a number of distance learning opportunities, including the school's online management of human resources degree. Comprised of 127 total credits, this online human resource degree allows learners to complete 36 general education credits, 40 major credits, and 42 elective credits to further specialize their knowledge. One factor that makes Bellevue's degree unique is the school's Kirkpatrick Signature Series, a block of three classes that all enrolled undergraduates must complete. In addition to providing asynchronous, accelerated courses, each learner is assigned a student coach to ensure their goals are met and that real-life challenges are easily managed. Non-traditional students find themselves in good company at Bellevue: over three quarters of its students are over the age of 25.

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11 Regis University 60.26 1/5 59% Denver, CO

Located in the heart of the Rocky Mountains, Denver's Regis University attracts students from near and far due to outstanding academics, cutting edge technology, and leading faculty. One always-popular degree path is the school's human resource management online degree, which is offered as a bachelor of science. The program, comprised of 128 hours, marries the latest in theoretical and practical knowledge with innovative studies in labor relations, cultural diversity, and compensation policy. As part of their senior year, all learners complete a semester-long internship within a human resources department to gain hands-on experience. Students who think they may want to continue into graduate school also have the opportunity to complete a combined bachelor's and master's program. By taking this route, learners complete both with 152 credit hours, thereby eliminating a full year of required coursework.

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12 Concordia University-Saint Paul 60.26 1/5 47% Saint Paul, MN

Nestled in the Twin Cities of Minnesota is Concordia University, a private liberal arts college operating from a Lutheran perspective. Unlike many other human resources online degree programs in the country, Concordia has tailored its degree specifically for those who already hold an associate degree--or a significant amount of coursework--and seek a human resources degree completion program. Comprised of 40 credit hours, each course is provided in an accelerated, seven-week format designed to help students get through more classes quickly. As one of the 402 programs in the United States approved by the Society for Human Resource Management, learners who enroll at Concordia feel confident knowing they're getting a worthwhile education. As further evidence, a recent poll of Concordia alumni found that approximately 92% had received employment offers within six months of graduation. To learn more, students can browse the department's frequently updated blog.

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13 Saint Leo University 60.26 1/5 43% Saint Leo, FL

Students seeking to build their career on a Roman Catholic academic foundation can do no wrong in selecting Saint Leo University, a private liberal arts college located in Florida. Currently home to nearly 15,000 students, many of the school's learners complete their educations online via the school's significant distance learning options. Offered via the school of business, one of the school's most popular undergraduate degrees is its BA in human resource management online degree, a 120 credit program that can be completed in four years of full-time study. Taught asynchronously over the traditional semester schedule, learners in this program of study explore topics ranging from risk management and recruitment to compensation and organizational psychology. Upon graduation, learners are prepared to sit for the Professional in Human Resource examination for certification. Often recognized as a military friendly school, active members of the armed forces can expect to receive a significant discount on tuition paid for this human resources online degree.

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14 Dickinson State University 58.92 1/5 35% Dickinson, ND

Provided via the Department of Business and Management, Dickinson State University's human resource degree online is offered as a bachelor of science for learners who want to dig into the more scientific and psychological questions of managing human affairs in a professional setting. Requiring a GPA of at least 2.25, learners in this program complete general education, business, human resource, and elective courses to provide a well-rounded learning experience that outfits them for many different types of roles. While the majority of coursework is provided asynchronously via Blackboard and Tegrity, the school does use the Collaborate platform to ensure students and faculty also connect in real-time. Unlike other schools, DSU identifies online students as North Dakota residents and as such they are eligible to pay an in-state tuition rate rather than the considerably higher rate paid by non-residents.

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15 Columbia College 58.10 1/5 42% Columbia, MO

From its corner in central Missouri, Columbia College is on a mission to provide postsecondary access to students throughout the country--be they in metropolitan areas, rural landscapes, or anything in between. The school's online human resources degree prepares graduates for managerial roles in HR departments across diverse industries by instilling theoretical and practical knowledge that employers seek. Offered as either a bachelor of arts or bachelor of science in business administration, learners decide which path is best for their individual needs--in concert with a student mentor or adviser if they need additional assistance in making an informed decision. While an internship or capstone project isn't required for graduation, program administrators are on hand to help students find suitable locations or projects should they wish to complete one while in school. Online learners, regardless of whether or not they live within Missouri state lines, can expect to pay a flat tuition rate.

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16 Colorado Christian University 57.97 1/5 40% Lakewood, CO

If gaining a revered degree while also continuing to build Biblical and ethical leadership skills is important to you as a student, Colorado Christian University in Lakewood might just be a perfect match. This interdenominational institution is home to a human resources bachelor's degree online that combines instruction in workforce planning, employment law, compensation, and performance law alongside studies in areas of Christian ethics and Biblical studies. Requiring 120 credit hours to qualify for graduation, learners take a smaller number of classes but complete them in only five weeks (rather than the standard 16). By structuring classes in this way, learners are able to truly delve into material without worrying about the homework and assignments generally associated with a full course load. Aside from working diligently with transfer students to ensure as many credits as possible transfer to CCU, the school works with busy students who must work while in college, ensuring that they have both the support and resources necessary to thrive.

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17 Anderson University 57.33 1/5 48% Anderson, SC

Offering one of the more unique programs in this ranking, Anderson University in South Carolina has designed an organizational leadership degree with a concentration in human resource administration. A perfect fit for students who want to learn about the overarching methodologies at play in professional organizations, Anderson's offerings are an obvious choice for students who look forward to a future as leaders in the world of human resources management. The full degree requires learners to complete 120 credit hours, 12 of which are devoted to human resources and a further 36 to business topics, including organizational leadership, quality management, sociology, and psychology. As they near the end of their studies, all students complete a senior seminar in organizational leadership to help them think about how to bring all the information they've gained together in a professional context. All distance education courses--which are taught through the online learning platform Canvas--cost the same. Significant discounts are available to active members of the armed forces.

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18 Saint Mary-of-the-Woods College 56.68 1/5 62% Saint Mary of the Woods, IN

Another of the country's few human resources online degree completion programs, Saint Mary-of-the-Woods College offers students an innovative human resource management path comprised of 48 credit hours. Once learners have completed at least an associate degree, they are welcome to apply to this well-respected program, which pulls together both business and management courses to instill all the skills and knowledge needed for today's human resources professional. Practical experience is emphasized heavily at SMWC, and the school provides numerous examples of HRM majors who completed internships while in college and subsequently found successful jobs shortly after graduation. Aside from field placements, learners also have the opportunity to join the school's 3+1 Leadership Development Program, an accelerated degree path that allows students to complete both a bachelor's degree and a master's degree in just four years of full-time study.

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19 Concordia University-Wisconsin 56.16 1/5 59% Mequon, WI

Located just north of Milwaukee and the second of the Concordia University System campuses represented in this ranking, Concordia University Wisconsin is a well-established institution equipped to handle the educational needs of the many different types of students who elect to complete an online human resources degree. Offered as a bachelor of science in human resource management, this dynamic 128 credit hour program provides all of the theories, methodologies, and practical skills needed for students to take their career to the next level. In fact, recent CUW graduates have gone on to positions as human resources department managers, risk managers, employee relations consultants, and benefits managers. The vast majority of CUW learners receive various types of financial aid. CUW is affiliated with the Lutheran Church--Missouri Synod.

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20 McKendree University 56.08 1/5 49% Lebanon, IL

Formed in 1828, Illinois's McKendree College is the oldest institution in this ranking. In turn, the school knows a thing or two about what it takes to provide a quality education. Today the school operates first-rate online degree paths for learners who can't make it to class everyday and a prime example of the school's success in the digital age is its human resources bachelor's degree online, a program available to both first-time freshmen and transfer students. Every class associated with the program's required 120 credit hours is taught asynchronously via Blackboard. Classes last eight weeks and, depending on their outside commitments, most students elect to complete two classes each session. Classes a McKendree student can expect to take include international business, organizational behavior, ethics, and consumer behavior. Recent graduates have gone on to roles as personnel managers, recruiters, and diversity managers.

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21 Ottawa University-Online 54.87 1/5 40% Ottawa, KS

Although Ottawa University has locations in both Kansas and Arizona, the school also serves students across the country through its flourishing online campus. Students who seek a versatile human resources online degree will be pleased to know that the bachelor of arts program at Ottawa is tailored to meet the standards set out by the Society for Human Resource Management. It's one of only 252 programs in the country to receive the society's approval. With this degree, learners can choose from five different concentrations: communications, healthcare management, leadership and management, entrepreneurship, or global operations. Designed as "life-friendly" courses for busy professionals, Ottawa's online classes can be completed at times that are convenient for working adults, members of the military, or busy parents (to name just a few examples). Students concerned about finances will be glad to discover that they'll pay the same rate paid by their campus-based counterparts.

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22 Davenport University 54.78 1/5 40% Grand Rapids, MI

Uniquely, Davenport University in Michigan provides their online human resources degree as a bachelor of business administration for learners who want to enhance their educations with knowledge of prominent business topics--including economics, ethics, accounting, marketing, and finance. Tailored to meet the Society for Human Resource Management's standards, the program prepares students to pass the examinations necessary for certification in the field. Experiential learning is also a major part of education at Davenport and students enjoy the opportunity to work in a professional human resources department as either an intern or a consultant. Although the school's per-credit tuition rate is higher than some schools on this list, prospective learners should be aware that 95% of DU students receive financial aid and that the university provided $15 million in scholarships over the course of the previous academic year.

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23 Wilmington University 54.09 1/5 34% New Castle, DE

Focused on combining foundational business knowledge with advanced studies in human resources, management, and organizational theory, Wilmington University's bachelor of science in human resource management online degree is the perfect program for students seeking an interdisciplinary approach to their learning. As an added bonus, the Society for Human Resource Management has approved this program since the Spring of 2009, ensuring all learners have the skills they need to succeed by graduation. Learners have two opportunities to take part in cooperative learning experiences during the school's 120 credit program: HRM 305 teaches students about how to properly staff organizations, while HRM 310 discusses organizational development from a hands-on perspective over the course of two semesters. Both of these classes are taken during junior year, allowing ambitious students the time and space to complete an internship during their senior year.

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24 Indiana State University 54.09 1/5 43% Terre Haute, IN

Providing another interdisciplinary approach to online human resources degrees formatting, Indiana State University's offering combines studies in education, business, psychology, and behavioral sciences to help students understand the competencies necessary for success in the professional world. Available to both incoming freshmen and transfer students, learners enrolled in this 120 credit program move through a sequence of general education classes before taking up other core major studies. Because the program is aligned to the Society of Human Resource Management's standards, students from outside America or Canada are prohibited from enrolling in this area of study. Upon application, students are required to have completed a core high school curriculum and must possess at least a 2.5 GPA on a 4.0 scale. Online students pay the same rates as out-of-state students and special tuition rates are available for learners who plan to take between 12 and 18 credits per semester.

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25 Amridge University 53.06 1/5 40% Montgomery, AL

Rounding out our ranking of the best human resources bachelor's degree online programs of 2017 is Amridge University in Montgomery, Alabama. Operating as a fully accredited, private Christian university, Amridge's bachelor of science in human resource leadership emphasizes the importance of preparation, knowledge, and responsibility among future HR leaders. Throughout the program's 128 credit hour curriculum, learners must maintain a GPA of at least 2.0 and pass both the program's senior capstone course and an exit examination. After finishing their time at Amridge, alumni of the program have gone on to enjoy careers as, for example, human resource managers, benefits specialists, and payroll directors. Students who wish to complete an internship should speak to program administrators to discover more about requirements and suitable locations.

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Timeline
2 to 4 years
Credit Hours
120 credit hours
Program Costs
$6,000 to $35,000
Core Courses
Employment Law, International Business, Compensation and Benefits, Labor Relations, Organizational Behavior, Ethics, Employee Training and Development
Concentrations
Human Resource Management
Accreditation
International Assembly for Collegiate Business Education, Society for Human Resource Management, Accreditation Council for Business Schools and Programs, Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business
Additional Considerations
Online human resources degrees often require Internships to prepare students for professional settings.

CAREER PATHS

An online HR degree curriculum covers everything from accounting and finance to business management to psychology, in addition to topics unique to HR. Therefore, earning your bachelor’s in human resources degree online will qualify you for a broad range of potential careers. Online human resources programs tends to attract students who wish to develop their business acumen, as well as decision-making, communication, and interpersonal skills.

Bachelor’s graduates commonly pursue the following four career paths:

  1. Human Resources Specialist: Human resources specialists generally focus on strategic planning, hiring, employee relations, and training. However, they are often experts in all human resources disciplines, including compliance and benefits. Their minimum level of education is usually a bachelor’s degree in human resources or business, and some hold previous experience as assistants or in customer service positions.
  2. Human Resources Manager: Human resources managers act as liaisons between organizational management and executive leadership to oversee hiring, administrative functions, and strategic planning. Applicants should have at least five years of related work experience, and sometimes a master’s degree, to find work. Many begin their careers as human resources or labor relations specialists and have proven their ability to organize and lead others.
  3. Training and Development Manager: These professionals are responsible for training development plans and executing programs and budgets to develop employees’ skills and knowledge. As managers, they supervise training and development specialists. They may start out as one themselves, or in related human resources, management, or teaching fields. Candidates with master’s degrees or with a strong information technology background are highly favored.
  4. Compensation, Benefits, and Job Analysis Specialist: This research-based occupation involves preparing an organization’s compensation and benefits programs according to current trends, laws, and cost analyses. Most employers require a bachelor’s degree in human resources, business administration, finance, or communication, but some will accept relevant work experience instead.
Occupation Median Annual Salary Projected Growth Rate
Human Resources Specialist $58,350 5%
Human Resources Manager $104,440 9%
Training and Development Manager $102,640 7%
Compensation, Benefits, and Job Analysis Specialist $60,850 4%

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics

Sample Coursework

  • Employment Law: Students learn about the state and federal laws that play a role in human resources, such as overtime and minimum wage, employment agreements, gender-pay differences, and more.
  • Labor Relations: Labor relations is a core area of online human resources degrees. The course looks at the relationships between employees and policies in the workplace and how organizations address workplace issues and environments.
  • Compensation and Benefits: Sometimes called compensation management, this course covers compensation strategies and techniques, how to analyze and implement employee benefit programs, and the contextual influences of compensation.
  • Organizational Development: Students apply behavioral science principles to the development and improvement of organizational effectiveness, addressing both people issues and organizational dynamics.
  • Employee Training: This course examines training and human resource development, including topics like training program evaluation, competency assessment, career development, and organizational change.

Bachelor’s in Human Resources Salary

Median Salary of Employees with a Human Resources Management Degree by State

Certain states are particularly popular for human resources careers, considering factors such as the cost of living, median salary, and availability of jobs. This table, featuring data from PayScale, shows the top five highest-paying states for employees holding on-campus and online human resources degrees with a concentration in Human Resource Management.

State Overall Median Salary
Michigan $71,000
Texas $70,538
California $66,000
Illinois $66,000
New York $65,316

Source: PayScale

Human Resources Certification

Licensures and certifications are not required for careers in human resources, but can be a great addition to earning your human resources degree online. Certifications demonstrate enhanced expertise and credibility to employers, and can help qualify you for better career advancement opportunities and higher salaries. The HR Certification Institute is a professional association offering a range of such programs to graduates of human resources online degrees, including:

  • PHR Certification: The Professional in Human Resources covers the technical and operational side of HR management, designed for professionals with tactical or logistical experience.
  • SPHR Certification: The Senior Professional in Human Resources is a step up from the PHR and recognizes those responsible for planning for their leadership and strategic abilities. Bachelor’s graduates must have five years or more of industry experience.
  • GPHR Certification: Professionals with experience in the global marketplace are eligible to earn the Global Professional in Human Resources. They are tested on areas such as global talent acquisition and global development of HR policies.

PROFESSIONAL ORGANIZATIONS

Students who pursue an online human resources degree may not experience many face-to-face networking opportunities. Therefore, joining a professional organization during or after earning your HR degree online can be invaluable to your career trajectory. HR organization members can explore continuing education programs, the latest regulations and developments in the field, and career services and job boards.

Just as online human resources degrees provide the same educational quality as on campus, they offer equivalent funding opportunities. In this high-demand field, many HR-related organizations, professional associations, and research institutes are willing to attract young talent through scholarships. You may also choose to make your human resources online degree more affordable through federal loans, grants, or work-study funding (remember to complete a FAFSA form to fully understand these opportunities).

AN OVERVIEW OF FINANCIAL AID

Approximately two-thirds of today’s college students rely on loans to fund their education, but there are plenty of overlooked financing options you can use to reduce your overall student debt.

UNDERSTANDING THE FAFSA

Completing the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) is a crucial first step for any student with financial needs. Our FAFSA guide features a step-by-step rundown on the process and answers to several frequently asked questions.

FINANCIAL AID FOR ONLINE COLLEGE STUDENTS

Financial aid for online learning is equivalent to what you’ll find for campus-based learning, but that hasn’t always been the case. Learn about the changes that have taken place, as well as the different funding opportunities available to online students.

SCHOLARSHIPS FOR SINGLE PARENTS

Online college programs can be a flexible, affordable option for single parents who are interested in earning a degree and securing their family’s financial future. We’ve compiled a list of scholarships, grants, and other financial aid options geared toward single moms and dads.

FINANCIAL AID FOR VETERANS AND ACTIVE MILITARY

Millions of dollars in free money is available to U.S. military personnel, but much of it goes unused. Learn more about grants, scholarships, and other financial aid opportunities available to veterans, active-duty service members, and reservists.