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.

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by Alison Plaut

Published on June 9, 2022

Edited by Amelia Buckley
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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.

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.

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.

Employment Law

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.

Leadership Principles

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.

Find the Tools You Need to Get Started on Your Degree

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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.

Application

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.

Test Scores

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.

Essays

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.

Official Transcripts

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?

Career Outlook

​​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

Career Paths

HR Specialist

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

HR Manager

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 Administrator

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

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Continuing Education

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?

Cost

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

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.

Location

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

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

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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Best Online Bachelor's in Human Resources Programs

  1. Florida International University
    Location

    Miami, FL

    Tuition

    $9180

    FIU offers an onlinebachelor of business administration in human resource management. The program teaches students about matching people to the correct jobs, understanding compensation, benefits and employment law, and human resources management systems.

    The 120-credit program blends business courses with human resources studies. Classes that fulfill the major requirements include union-management relationships, happiness at work, and managing diversity.

    First-year students must submit official high school or GED transcripts and SAT or ACT scores. Requirements for transfer students include official transcripts from previously attended institutions demonstrating a minimum GPA of at least 2.5.

    Based in Miami, FIU is regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.

  2. Rutgers University-New Brunswick
    Location

    New Brunswick, NJ

    Tuition

    $16295

    Operating out of New Brunswick, Rutgers offers an onlinebachelor of arts in business administration with a specialization in strategic human resource management. The program combines an understanding of modern business practices with knowledge of specific human resource areas.

    Business studies focus on topics like communications, operations management, marketing, and organizational behavior. The human resources component includes classes covering employee and labor relations, compensation and benefits, and career planning. Online learners also benefit from an admissions coach and academic advisor.

    Those applying to this program must have at least 18 credits with a grade of "C" or higher from an accredited university or college.

    Rutgers is regionally accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education. This business administration program holds specialized accreditation from the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business.

  3. Colorado State University-Global Campus
    Location

    Aurora, CO

    CSU-Global's online bachelor of science in human resource management program prepares students to serve as training and development specialists, human resources managers, or other related roles. Graduates gain knowledge related to business policies, team dynamics, professional development, and employment law.

    The curriculum — aligned with standards established by the Society for Human Resource Management — combines major courses and general education. Degree-specific classes include leadership principles, recruitment and employee development, and performance management. A capstone and practicum complete the program.

    First-year applicants must submit official transcripts showing a minimum high school GPA of 2.8 and adequate ACT or SAT scores (minimum 18 or 980, respectively). Up to 90 total credits may be transferred into this program.

    Based in Aurora, CSU is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.

  4. Upper Iowa University
    Location

    Fayette, IA

    The online bachelor's in human resources management degree from UIU teaches students the skills, knowledge, and ethical standards needed to manage strategic planning, staffing, training, and employee relations. Taught by experienced faculty, the program trains students for a variety of roles in the business world.

    Degree requirements include business core courses (e.g., economics, accounting, statistics, and management) and HR-specific courses in leadership, compensation and benefits, and labor economics and relations. The curriculum conforms to guidelines established by the Society for Human Resource Management.

    Applicants must submit official transcripts from previously attended institutions. Located in Fayette, UIU is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.

  5. Temple University
    Location

    Philadelphia, PA

    Tuition

    $23192

    Located in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, Temple offers an onlinebachelor of business administration with a human resource management major. The program prepares participants to recruit and support an organization's employees. Students learn to enhance productivity within a company by developing human resources policy. Graduates qualify to become credentialed as a Society for Human Resource Management Professional.

    Concepts covered throughout the 124-credit degree program include compensation management, organizational staffing and career management, and human resource management and public policy. Classes feature weekly, live, web-based sessions.

    First-year applicants need to submit an application essay and official high school transcripts demonstrating a minimum 3.0 GPA. Temple is regionally accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education.

  6. Dickinson State University
    Location

    Dickinson, ND

    Tuition

    $11502

    DSU's online bachelor of business administration in human resource management aligns with the Society for Human Resource Management standards, preparing students to deal with staffing, workforce diversity, labor relations, and compensation management. Graduates qualify for careers as human resources generalists and managers, and they may also seek HR certification.

    The 117-credit curriculum blends general business courses like accounting, ethics, management, and economics with specialist classes. Major-related courses cover topics including business law, human resource development, and communications.

    First-year students must have a high school diploma with a minimum 2.0 GPA and an ACT score of at least 18 (or the SAT equivalent). Located in North Dakota, DSU is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.

  7. Davenport University
    Location

    Grand Rapids, MI

    Aligned with requirements established by the Society for Human Resource Management, Davenport's online bachelor of business administration in human resource management program features a learn-by-doing sequence, training students for careers as human resource specialists and employee relations managers.

    The curriculum blends general business study with HR-specific courses, such as leadership, training for organizations, employment labor law, and organizational behavior. Participants also engage in a field experience or an internship. Applicants must submit transcripts and ACT or SAT scores. Some students may also be asked to complete an entrance exam, which can be taken online.

    Davenport is located in Grand Rapids, Michigan, and holds regional accreditation from the Higher Learning Commission.

  8. Mount Mercy University
    Location

    Cedar Rapids, IA

    Endorsed by the Society for Human Resource Management, MMU's online human resource management major teaches participants to evaluate ethical, social, legal, cultural, and political issues in an organization, as well as how these issues can impact human resource strategies.

    This degree blends basic business coursework with a human resources emphasis, offering classes such as organizational behavior, management information systems, corporate social responsibility, and communications. Students also participate in an internship program.

    MMU prefers first-year applicants with a GPA of at least 2.75 and a minimum ACT score of 20 or SAT score of 1030. Transfer students must submit transcripts, and those with a minimum 2.5 cumulative GPA are shown preference during the admissions process.

    MMU in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.

  9. Anderson University
    Location

    Anderson, SC

    Located in South Carolina, AU's online bachelor of organizational leadership - human resource administration focuses on theory and human resources applications within a Christian framework.

    The 120-credit program includes general education classes, major core courses, and concentration requirements. Degree-specific studies cover topics like compensation, training and development, and management of information systems.

    First-year applicants must submit two essays and official high school transcripts showing a GPA of at least 3.0. Standardized test scores are optional. Transfer applicants must have a minimum college GPA of 2.5.

    AU is regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.

  10. LeTourneau University
    Location

    Longview, TX

    LETU's online bachelor of business administration in human resource management blends business and HR courses with classes focusing on the Christian faith. Students develop communication skills while building a functional understanding of the human resources role in an organization.

    The 120-credit program features a professional business core, general education courses, and human resource management concentration classes. Studies cover staffing, conflict resolution, and compensation and benefits. Participants must also take four theology and vocation classes, including biblical literature and biblical theology for the Christian life.

    First-year students applying to this online program must submit official transcripts proving a cumulative 2.0 GPA and minimum composite test scores (at least 20 or 1030 on the ACT or SAT, respectively).

    Based in Longview, Texas, LETU is regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.

Frequently Asked Questions About Human Resources Programs

Is a bachelor's in human resources worth it? true

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? true

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? true

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

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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