Best Online Associate in Human Resources Programs
Organizations across the world rely on human resources (HR) professionals. These workers strive to create an environment where anyone can succeed. They oversee diversity training and foster equality in the workplace. They also ensure employees feel safe and valued. Active listeners and problem-solvers often succeed in this important business role.
Earning an associate in human resources can serve as the first step to becoming a human resources professional. This degree takes about two years to complete and opens many opportunities. While taking classes, learners can also connect with other aspiring professionals and begin building a network.
www.bestcolleges.com is an advertising-supported site. Featured or trusted partner programs and all school search, finder, or match results are for schools that compensate us. This compensation does not influence our school rankings, resource guides, or other editorially-independent information published on this site.
Ready to start your journey?
Busy people who want to maintain a job during their studies can consider earning an associate degree online. Depending on their situation, online students can save money on commuting costs and living expenses. In this guide, we talk about the benefits of earning this virtual degree. We also discuss common courses and careers in this field.
What Can I Expect From an Online Associate in Human Resources Program?
During their studies, learners hone their interpersonal communication and technical skills. Classes cover topics like labor laws and best practices for hiring and termination. Program participants also discover how to create a strategic recruitment plan. Additionally, they learn how to help an organization attract the best talent.
An associate in human resources program typically focuses more on practical applications instead of theories. Students learn how to assist human resources managers, rather than lead a team. This degree also provides foundational knowledge that may prepare people to succeed in a bachelor's program. However, a bachelor's degree is not a requirement to work in this field.
Most online courses include a combination of lectures, essays, tests, and discussions. Certain programs may feature an internship component where learners gain hands-on experience. Some internships offer a small stipend or salary, and they may lead to a full-time job offer after graduation. Online learners may complete internships remotely or at a business in their community.
Some students may also be able to choose a concentration. Two common concentrations include employee recruitment and conflict resolution.
Still Looking for the Right Fit? Discover Similar Degree Programs.
Related Programs That Might Interest You
Learn about start dates, transferring credits, availability of financial aid, and more by contacting the universities below.
What Courses Will I Take in an Online Associate in Human Resources Program?
Introduction to Human Resources
Most associate in human resources programs include an introduction course that offers a brief overview of topics that will be detailed in later courses. Some covered topics include training, workplace safety measures, and recruitment. Students also hone strategies for designing HR activities.
This class covers the recruitment and selection process. Students learn about external recruitment systems and how to attract the best talent. Upon completion, aspiring HR managers can work to help their company create a competitive hiring edge.
A labor law course outlines topics like equal employment requirements and compensation rules. Learners may study Supreme Court cases that relate to current labor laws. Class participants practice creating policies that comply with federal and state laws.
Human resources managers must mediate conflicts among employees and coordinate negotiations. A conflict resolution course prepares students for these tasks. This class also teaches students how to collaborate with labor organizations like unions.
Compensation and Benefits
Future HR professionals discover how to coordinate equitable salary offers and benefits packages. Coursework covers common benefits like retirement matching and insurance plans.
What Are Admission Requirements for an Online Associate in Human Resources Program?
Schools set their own admission requirements. When applying as first-year students, individuals must usually submit their official high school transcripts and test scores. Competitive schools may set minimum GPA, SAT, and/or ACT requirements. However, not all schools require test scores.
In contrast, many community colleges offer an open-enrollment policy. Some learners opt to earn an online associate in human resources at a community college to save money or raise their GPA before applying to a four-year school. This may help them gain admittance to a more competitive bachelor's program.
What Can I Do With an Online Associate in Human Resources Degree?
The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) offers information on the job outlook for human resources positions, and many of these roles are projected to grow in the coming years. For example, the need for human resources specialists is projected to grow by 10% between 2020 and 2030.
Additionally, the exact job outlook also varies based on location. Small rural communities may have less need for human resources professionals.
It should also be noted that most growing jobs in the field require at least a bachelor's degree. In fact, entry-level positions that only require an associate degree — including office and administrative support occupations — are projected to decline in the next decade. The HR jobs detailed below typically require a bachelor's degree, although workers in some environments may be able to qualify for certain roles with an associate and ample job experience.
Human Resources Managers
These professionals coordinate employee relations and talent recruitment for an entire organization. They work with department managers on human resources issues. HR managers oversee human resources specialists and assistants. Through their leadership, they help ensure a safe and fair working environment. The need for these professionals is projected to grow by 9% between 2020 and 2030, according to the BLS.
Median Annual Salary: $121,220
Human Resources Specialists
Human resources specialists assist human resources managers. They conduct preliminary job screenings to narrow down job candidates. These professionals assist managers with big-picture decisions. They may also conduct research on available benefit plans and recruitment strategies.
Median Annual Salary: $63,490
Administrative Services and Facilities Managers
These workers ensure day-to-day operations run smoothly for a business. They perform duties like overseeing equipment maintenance, keeping records, and stocking supplies. The need for these workers is projected to grow by 9% between 2020 and 2030.
Median Annual Salary: $98,890
Compensation and Benefits Managers
Compensation and benefits managers oversee salary offers and benefits packages for employees. They also coordinate additional job perks, like gym memberships or company cars. The need for these professionals is projected to grow by 4% between 2020 and 2030.
Median Annual Salary: $125,130
Compensation, Benefits, and Job Analysis Specialists
These professionals assist compensation and benefits managers. They often conduct research to help managers make informed decisions on employee benefits. Specialists working in this role help ensure organizations follow federal and state labor laws. The need for this career is projected to increase by 10% between 2020 and 2030, according to the BLS.
Median Annual Salary: $67,190
Human Resources Not for You? Check Out These Related Careers.
Most top-paying jobs in the human resources field require at least a bachelor's degree. As a result, many students choose to advance their education beyond a two-year degree. Fortunately, associate degree-holders who attended an accredited program can often transfer the bulk of their credits and finish a bachelor's degree in about two additional years.
Alternatively, some professionals may choose to work their way up within a company. Individuals with a strong resume may earn an advanced job without a bachelor's degree.
Professional organizations offer continuing education webinars and informative conferences to help workers hone their skills. For example, the Society for Human Resource Management functions as a top professional organization in this field. Additionally, the HR Certification Institute oversees certifications for this industry.
How Do I Choose an Online Associate in Human Resources Program?
The National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) conducts research on the average cost of college. NCES found that students at two-year schools spent an average of about $12,000 on tuition, fees, room, and board during the 2019-20 school year. However, students can seek out financial aid packages to decrease out-of-pocket expenses. Contact schools directly to compare tuition costs.
Program formats vary, and some cater to specific learning styles. Coursework may follow a synchronous or asynchronous format. Students in synchronous programs attend live virtual classes and discuss topics in real time. Asynchronous programs often include pre-recorded lectures and open-ended discussion boards. Learners who want to continue to work while enrolled in school should consider a part-time program. Alternatively, an accelerated program allows learners to graduate quickly but requires full-time devotion.
Even online learners should consider a school's location when selecting a program. Professors often connect students with local businesses for projects, and these connections may lead to job offers. Additionally, some online programs may include occasional in-person requirements, such as orientations or proctored exams. Learners who want a blend of in-person and online classes can pick a hybrid program.
Before enrolling, ensure your target school holds appropriate accreditation. Schools with accreditation receive quality assessments from a third-party agency. The U.S. Department of Education and the Council for Higher Education Accreditation select and oversee these agencies. To check a school's accreditation status, you can use this database. Programs can also earn specialized accreditation — the Society for Human Resource Management works as the leading accrediting agency for this field.
Schools offer varying levels of student support. For example, certain institutions provide a free tutoring center, while other schools may offer a counseling center. Getting the most out of campus resources may require campus visits. As a result, virtual learners who want access to a library may choose to enroll in an online program hosted by a nearby college. When researching schools, students should also pay attention to virtual student support. Additionally, schools that offer active alumni networks and internship programs can help graduates get ahead.
Best Accredited Online Associate in Human Resources Programs
Rankings compiled by the the BestColleges Ranking Team
Is your school on this list? Get the BestColleges ranking seal.
How We Rank Schools
At BestColleges, we believe a college education is one of the most important investments you can make. We want to help you navigate the college selection process by offering transparent, inclusive, and relevant school rankings.
Our rankings are grounded in a few guiding principles and use the latest statistical data available from trusted sources. Read our ranking methodology. We hope our approach helps you find the school that is best for you.
Frequently Asked Questions About Associate in Human Resources Programs
Is an associate degree in human resources worth it?
Many students find an associate degree worth the effort. For starters, associate degree-holders typically earn more money than workers with just a high school diploma. NCES reported in 2019 that workers ages 25-34 with just a high school degree earned a median income of $35,000. During the same period, associate degree-holders earned a median income of $40,000.
Associate degree-holders may advance their education further. Advanced positions in the HR field typically require at least a bachelor's degree. These positions also tend to pay more than entry-level jobs. For example, human resources specialists earn a median income of $63,490, while human resources managers earn a median income of $121,220.
How fast can I get an associate in human resources degree online?
An associate in human resources takes most full-time learners about two years to finish. Accelerated programs may only take 12-18 months to finish. However, the exact length of time varies depending on a few factors.
For example, part-time students take longer to graduate. Students who enroll in college courses while still in high school can also graduate faster, as can learners who pass placement tests to waive certain prerequisite courses. At some schools, learners may get permission to take a larger course load per term to finish faster.
Is an online associate degree in human resources credible?
An online associate in human resources is credible if it is offered by an accredited institution. Schools may earn regional or national accreditation. Generally, employers view regionally accredited schools as more prestigious.
If your school is not appropriately accredited, you may have trouble transferring credits or qualifying for certain types of financial aid. And always avoid schools that advertise unrealistic promises. Additionally, applicants should read course descriptions to ensure the program covers information related to their target career. Aspiring students can also research professors' credentials, as well.
How much money can I make with an associate in human resources?
According to the BLS, human resources specialists earn a median income of $63,490. Human resources managers earn an even higher salary with a median income of $121,220. However, these positions typically require a bachelor's degree and some experience.
With just an associate in human resources, students may pursue some entry-level positions. The BLS reports office assistants earn a median income of $38,720. However, a worker's exact salary varies based on a few factors. For example, geographical location can have a significant impact on salary.
Is an associate degree in human resources in demand?
The need for many human resources professionals should continue to rise. The BLS projects the need for human resources managers and human resources specialists to increase by 9% and 10%, respectively, between 2020 and 2030.
However, the BLS projects the need for office assistants to decline by 3% between 2020 and 2030. This means learners should consider advancing their education beyond an associate degree. HR managers and specialists need at least a bachelor's degree.
Consider researching local job postings for human resources professionals. This can give you an idea of the job availability in your area.
Find the Tools You Need to Get Started on Your Degree
Financial Aid and Scholarships for Online Students
10 Online Business Certificates to Advance Your Career
BestColleges.com is an advertising-supported site. Featured or trusted partner programs and all school search, finder, or match results are for schools that compensate us. This compensation does not influence our school rankings, resource guides, or other editorially-independent information published on this site.
Compare your school options.
View the most relevant school for your interests and compare them by tuition, programs, acceptance rate, and other factors important to find your college home.