Best Online Human Resources Programs
Students who earn a bachelor's in human resources can pursue careers in a variety of fields. Learn about top schools that offer this in-demand degree.
A bachelor's in human resources prepares graduates for careers as business professionals specialized in the allocation of human resources. Human resources (HR) professionals manage the lifecycle of employees, including hiring and firing, training and placement, and salaries and benefits. They also handle workplace complaints.
Online program costs are comparable to traditional programs, although students may save on housing and transportation. According to the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES), the average cost of tuition and fees for a bachelor's degree at a four-year school in 2019-2020 was $9,349 for in-state students at a public institution and $32,769 at a private institution. Students can reduce costs by attending an in-state program, choosing an accelerated degree program, or earning community college transfer credits.
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It takes about 120 credits, or four years of full-time study, to complete an online bachelor's degree in human resources. Students may graduate faster by earning credit for work experience or AP courses. Online students interested in graduating faster can consider taking additional courses or enrolling in accelerated programs.
Graduates with a bachelor's degree in human resources can enter growing fields. According to Payscale data from May 2022, HR administrators earn average salaries of $50,750. HR managers earned median annual salaries of $126,230 in May 2021, as per the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). Projected job growth from 2020-2030 for HR careers is 9%. This is slightly faster than the projected growth of 8% for all occupations.
What Can I Expect From an Online Bachelor's in Human Resources Program?
Students can follow several routes to obtain an online bachelor's in human resources, and knowing their strengths can help them choose the best fit. Although all four-year degrees require at least 120 credits, the exact course requirements differ depending on the program.
The list below describes three common bachelor's degrees that you can earn in human resources.
- Bachelor of Arts in Human Resources Management: A BA is a well-rounded liberal arts degree that may include more social science courses in psychology or sociology and more general education courses.
- Bachelor of Business Administration in Human Resources Management: This degree provides a broad foundation in business with a specialization in HR leadership. Coursework often covers finance, management, and marketing.
- Bachelor of Science in Human Resources Management: This degree includes more coursework in science and mathematics than a BA.
The curriculum of a human resources program teaches you to be an essential advocate for employees in dynamic work settings. Because human resources is a diverse field, learners can choose from many different career paths. This diversity allows students to pursue courses and job opportunities that fit their strengths and interests.
Some programs offer concentrations and specialities, with options such as data management, benefits management, and operations management. Many programs also incorporate practical experience with local businesses and conclude with a capstone project.
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Popular Online Bachelor's in Human Resources Programs
Learn about start dates, transferring credits, availability of financial aid, and more by contacting the universities below.
What Courses Will I Take in a Human Resources Program?
Students who earn an online bachelor's in HR develop leadership and conflict resolution skills, as well as the financial and analytical skills needed to succeed in business settings. While curricula vary by program, the following section provides a list of courses commonly offered in HR programs.
Human Resources Management
Students take this foundational course as a prerequisite to many upper-level HR courses. The class covers the history of HR and the role of an HR manager in the workplace.
This course introduces learners to state and federal employment laws, including equal opportunity employment statutes. Learners study requirements related to recruiting, selecting, and evaluating employees. Additional topics may include safety and disability accommodations in the workplace, as well as diversity and unions.
This course helps participants understand their personal strengths as leaders, as well as their communication styles. Degree-seekers study different leadership perspectives and learn a variety of leadership strategies.
Employment Recruitment and Selection
In this course, students learn about employee recruitment practices to optimize the hiring process. Learners also study the selection process used to choose candidates for various positions and complete practice job interviews.
Compensation and Performance Management
This course provides an overview of evaluating employee performance. Students investigate a variety of compensation structures, benefit packages, and salary review techniques. This course also explores retirement and pension options, childcare and family leave policies, and healthcare packages.
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What Are the Admission Requirements for an Online Bachelor's in Human Resources Program?
Application requirements for online bachelor's degrees vary. Some programs have similar requirements for online and on campus students, while others waive some requirements for online students. Most online programs require students to submit a formal application and official transcripts at a minimum.
Online programs may also have unique requirements. For example, Colorado State University Global has minimum requirements that include having two years of work experience, being at least 23 years of age, or transferring at least 24 college credits.
Most programs require applicants to submit an application. These ask for basic information such as name, date of birth, and high school graduation date. Many online bachelor's in human resources programs have open or rolling applications, allowing students to apply and start a program sooner.
Required college entrance exams vary by program. Bachelor's programs often require SAT or ACT test scores. In recent years, more colleges have waived college entrance exams for both online and on-campus students. For international students, colleges often also request a TOEFL test score.
Letters of Recommendation
Letters of recommendations can help students stand out, even in online programs. A 2019 report from the National Association of College Admissions Counseling (NACAC) ranked recommendation letters above subject test scores, extracurricular activities, or work experience in college acceptance consideration. Letters of recommendation can highlight online students' ability to work independently and asynchronously.
According to the NACAC, college application essays are one of the top five factors for college admissions. Some online bachelor's programs in human resources do not ask for essays as an admission requirement. For those that do, applicants have a chance to highlight their unique perspective, experience, writing ability, and desire to enter human resources.
Most online human resources programs ask applicants for official transcripts. This includes high school transcripts and any college transcripts. Many of these programs accept transfer credits from other accredited colleges. This gives students greater flexibility and may speed up program completion times.
What Can I Do With an Online Bachelor's in Human Resources Degree?
An online bachelor's in human resources program prepares graduates to work in a variety of HR positions. Degree-holders can find work in small companies or seek specialty HR positions within larger organizations.
The BLS projects 10% growth in human resources jobs from 2020-2030. Candidates with a bachelor's degree in human resources can pursue careers as HR specialists, who earned median annual salaries of $62,290 in May 2021.
For graduates with more experience under their belts, lucrative careers as human resources managers are an option. They earned a median annual salary of $126,230 in May 2021.Check Out Our Human Resources Careers Guide
These professionals oversee a single area within an HR department, such as the hiring process or benefits management. They can also help new hires with training and orientation.
Median Annual Salary (May 2021): $$62,290
These managers oversee entire HR departments. Job duties often include recruiting, interviewing, and hiring new employees within a company or organization. These professionals also oversee employee performance evaluations and compensation models, and they facilitate training and professional development.
Median Annual Salary (May 2021): <$126,230
HR administrators organize important personnel documents, update records, and assist with recruiting and vetting processes. They also organize paperwork for new hires.
Average Annual Salary (May 2022): $50,750
Training and Development Specialist
These specialists provide professional training for employees within an organization. They oversee professional development and new employee onboarding. The BLS projects 11% job growth for these professionals between 2020 and 2030.
Median Annual Salary: $61,570
CCompensation and Benefits Manager
An entry-level compensation and benefits manager creates job descriptions, determines salary classification systems, and uses a company's budget information to project raises. These managers also determine employee benefit plans, including health insurance.
Average Annual Salary (May 2022): $78,930
Human Resources Not For You? Check Out These Related Careers.
It's common for HR professionals to continue their education with additional certificates, licenses, or graduate degrees. According to a 2018 report from the HR Certification Institute (HRCI), a top credentialing body for HR professionals, almost 40% of respondents held a postsecondary degree.
Graduates with a bachelor's degree in HR may go on to earn a master's degree in human resources or a doctorate in human resources. They may also pursue master's degrees in business administration or another business specialty.
There are a number of graduate certifications for human resource professionals. Certifications include HRCI certification and SHRM certifications, as well as continuing education courses and certificates.
How Do I Choose an Online Bachelor's in Human Resources Program?
The cost for an online bachelor's in human resources varies by program. According to NCES data, the average total cost for a bachelor's degree at a four-year university in 2019-2020 was $21,035 for in-state students at a public institution and $45,932 at a private institution. Online students often pay less than this by saving on room and board and transportation costs. However, they may pay additional technology fees.
Students should calculate the true program cost of their prospective program including living expenses, forgone income, and miscellaneous costs.
Program format can affect student outcomes, especially in human resources, where much of graduates' careers center on personal interaction. Synchronous or asynchronous program formats give students greater flexibility to choose a program that works with their schedule. Part-time or full-time programs may also be more suitable for different types of students. Accelerated programs allow degree completion in under four years.
School location is important, even for online students. Some online programs have on-campus requirements. Students living nearby may be able to save on transportation and housing costs for on-campus courses and required practica. Location is also an important factor for tuition. At public institutions, students can save money with in-state tuition.
Accreditation offers impartial validation that the program meets national education standards and prepares graduates as human resources professionals. Online degree programs must meet the same rigorous standards as on campus programs. Selecting an accredited college for an online degree ensures that the bachelor's in human resources is recognized by employers and other universities.
Student support services enhance the student experience and prepare graduates to enter the workforce. Student services may focus on mentoring or tutoring programs, internships, career advice, or alumni connections. In many programs, online students have access to exceptional support as they build their careers. When choosing a program, consider whether it offers support for online students.
Best Accredited Online Bachelor's in Human Resources Programs
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Frequently Asked Questions About Human Resources Programs
Is a bachelor's in human resources worth it?
A bachelor's degree in human resources opens significant career opportunities. According to Payscale May 2022 data, the average base salary for human resources professionals is $56,390. This is about the same as the average salary for all occupations.
With some experience, salaries for careers in business can grow much higher than the national average. For example, graduates earned a median salary of $126,230 as HR managers in 2021.
Online degrees are held to the same rigorous academic standards as on-campus programs. Students gain essential training and build human resources skills with the flexibility of online courses.
What can I do with a bachelor's in human resources?
Graduates with a bachelor's in human resources can pursue careers in business fields related to HR. Many sectors have a growing demand for qualified HR professionals. A bachelor's degree can also pave the way for a master's or doctoral degree in human resources or a related business field.
Graduates with a bachelor's degree may specialize in different aspects of human resources. Common specialities include:
- Job analysis specialists
- Labor relations specialists or managers
- Training and development specialists or managers
- Human resources specialists or managers
- Compensation and benefits specialists or managers
Are human resources majors in demand?
Increasing demand for human resources professionals drives growth in the field. As more companies put emphasis on the value of supporting employees throughout the employment lifecycle, the demand for human resources majors may grow.
Currently, the BLS projects strong growth of human resources careers. The BLS projects the addition of about 70,200 human resources specialist jobs from 2020-2030. Jobs for training and development specialists are projected to grow by 35,500 positions.
How much money can I make with a bachelor's in human resources?
Professionals with a bachelor's in human resources earn a wide salary range. At the high end, human resources managers with more than five years of experience earned a median salary of $126,230 in 2021.
Looking at entry-level positions, training and development specialists with less than five years of experience earned median annual salaries of $61,570 in 2021. The average salary for human resources administrators was $50,750 in May 2022. The lowest-paid 10% earned just $39,000, while the highest-paid 10% earned an average salary of $71,000.
Human resources directors usually have the greatest experience. These professionals earn an average salary of $90,200 as of May 2022.
What are the highest-paying jobs with a bachelor's in human resources?
The highest-paying jobs available to graduates with a bachelor's in human resources include human resources managers and directors. As of May 2022 Payscale data, the top 10% of human resources directors earn an average salary of $139,000.
Other HR careers that pay higher-than-average salaries are:
- Job Analysis Managers: $75,000 average salary (October 2021)
- Compensation and Benefits Managers: $64,120 median salary (2021)
- Training and Development Specialists: $61,570 median salary (2021)
- HR Specialists: $62,290 median salary (2021)
- Labor Relations Specialists: $77,010 median salary (2021)
For all of these positions, experience and time at a company can lead to higher compensation.
Image Source: Colin Hawkins, Getty Images
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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.
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