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.

What are the best human resources programs of 2020? Here are our top 10:

Rank School Location
1 Florida International University Miami, FL
2 Colorado State University Global Campus Greenwood Village, CO
3 Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey New Brunswick, NJ
4 Dickinson State University Dickinson, ND
5 Western Governors University Salt Lake City, UT
6 Athens State University Athens, AL
7 Bellevue University Bellevue, NE
8 Trine University Fort Wayne, IN
9 University of St. Francis Joliet, IL
10 Saint Mary-of-the-Woods College Saint Mary of the Woods, IN

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.

WHAT DEGREE DO YOU NEED FOR HUMAN RESOURCES?

A bachelor's degree in human resources is usually the minimum requirement to obtain a position in this field. Some employers may require applicants to have earned a master's. Read more here..

WHAT CAN I DO WITH A HUMAN RESOURCE MANAGEMENT DEGREE?

Career paths for students who earn a bachelor's in human resources includes human resources specialist; human resources manager; training and development manager; and compensation, benefits, and job analysis specialist. Read more here..

HOW MANY CREDITS IS AN ONLINE HUMAN RESOURCES BACHELOR'S DEGREE?

Most online bachelor's in human resources will require students to earn about 120 credits. This requirement will vary between programs, so students should contact their prospective schools for more accurate information. Read more here..

HOW TO GET A HUMAN RESOURCES DEGREE ONLINE

After being accepted into a program, students must complete all curriculum requirements to earn a bachelor's in human resources, which usually includes a capstone project. For more accurate information, students should contact their prospective schools, as curriculum requirements will vary between institutions. Read more here..

HOW TO GET INTO HUMAN RESOURCES WITHOUT A DEGREE

A degree is not required to enter a bachelor's program, but students without one must fulfill all prerequisite and general education requirements before being accepted into the major. Read more here..

Accredited Online Bachelor's in Human Resources Programs

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Rank School Location Cost Graduation Rate Description Toggle
1

Florida International University

Miami, FL Cost: $$$$$ Graduation Rate: 58%

Though FIU operates its flagship campus in Miami, the university serves more than 42,000 distance learners each year. FIU's academic catalog includes an online bachelor of business administration in human resource management. Throughout this 120-credit program, students learn to identify, hire, motivate, and train qualified employees.

This human resources program aligns with industry standards established by the Society for Human Resource Management. Required coursework covers topics like accounting for planning/control and legal environment of business. Learners also delve into recruitment, staffing, compensation, and benefits.

FIU offers fall, spring, and summer entry dates. First-year applicants and transfer students with fewer than 60 credits must submit ACT or SAT scores. To ensure student success, the university pairs each distance learner with a personal success coach.

2

Colorado State University Global Campus

Greenwood Village, CO Cost: $$$$$ Graduation Rate: 54%

About 12,500 students are enrolled at CSU-Global, which offers an online bachelor's degree in human resource management that prepares learners to maximize employee performance and build a collaborative company culture. Thanks to monthly start dates and accelerated asynchronous coursework, distance learners have a great deal of flexibility in completing this program.

Core courses cover business policy and strategy, compensation and performance management, and labor relations and employment law. Students can supplement major coursework by pursuing a complementary minor, with options like healthcare management and international business. The program culminates in a capstone project.

Applicants with a 2.8 GPA or higher and two years of work experience qualify for automatic admission. The university's business programs are accredited by the Accreditation Council for Business Schools and Programs.

3

Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey

New Brunswick, NJ Cost: $$$$$ Graduation Rate: 80%

One of the top public research institutions in the nation, Rutgers serves over 70,000 students. Distance learners can earn credits towards a bachelor's degree in human resources management through the university's School of Management and Labor Relations. However, they must complete some classes on campus. Graduates develop the leadership skills needed to shape work culture in an increasingly globalized business environment.

Students in the program take courses like career management, organizational behavior, and corporate governance. They also examine how companies train and evaluate their employees within the context of talent management. Students can gain hands-on experience through optional internships and practica.

First-year applicants must submit ACT or SAT scores and a personal essay. Rutgers funds several scholarship programs, including awards specifically for human resource management majors.

4

Dickinson State University

Dickinson, ND Cost: $$$$$ Graduation Rate: 34%

DSU delivers affordable distance learning programs through the Blackboard platform. The university's online students choose from over 25 certificates and degrees, including a bachelor of business administration with a major in human resource management. Learners may complete the program entirely online or take some classes at DSU's campuses in Bismarck and Williston, North Dakota.

Program coursework covers core business topics like ethics, critical thinking, entrepreneurship, and managerial finance. Students learn about staffing practices with regards to workplace diversity and business laws. They also delve into compensation management, exploring different incentive systems and performance appraisal methods.

First-year applicants should have a minimum 2.0 GPA. The university also requires a minimum ACT score of 18 or SAT score of 950. DSU awards scholarships based on academic merit, artistic talent, and athletic performance.

5

Western Governors University

Salt Lake City, UT Cost: $$$$$ Graduation Rate: 29%

Based in Salt Lake City, Utah, WGU is a leader in distance learning, serving over 121,000 online students every year. WGU offers an online bachelor's degree in human resource management. Faculty deliver all coursework asynchronously through the Blackboard platform. Rather than earning credits, students earn self-paced competency units by completing coursework and examinations.

Program coursework covers quantitative analysis for business, workforce planning, and change management. The curriculum prepares graduates to sit for the professional in human resources certification exam offered by the HR Certification Institute. Graduates are also prepared for careers as training/development managers and labor relations specialists.

WGU offers monthly start dates. Applicants need to submit official school transcripts and take a readiness assessment. They also complete an interview with an enrollment counselor.

WGU's human resources program is accredited by the Accreditation Council for Business Schools and Programs.

6

Athens State University

Athens, AL Cost: $$$$$ Graduation Rate: 54%

Athens State serves about 3,000 students in over 50 academic programs, including an online bachelor's in human resource management pathway that focuses on strategic approaches to talent management and employee development. Graduates can pursue entry-level careers in nonprofit organizations, consultancy firms, and international companies.

This career-focused program includes required courses like financial management and labor economics. Students also take a human resource analytics course, learning how to analyze complex data for decision-making purposes. The curriculum culminates in a comprehensive exam.

Applicants must have at least 36 transferable credits earned with a 2.0 GPA or higher. Distance learners in the program can strengthen their professional network by engaging with the university's chapter of the Society for Human Resource Management.

7

Bellevue University

Bellevue, NE Cost: $$$$$ Graduation Rate: 54%

BU is a leader in distance education, providing more than 50 career-centered online programs through the Blackboard platform. The university offers an online bachelor's degree in management of human resources that aligns with curricular standards established by the Society for Human Resource Management. Students may complete the entire program online or take some on-campus courses.

The program's 127-credit curriculum covers topics like business communications; compensation administration; and recruitment, selection, and placement of human capital. Students learn to implement effective employee training policies with regards to regulatory factors and budget restrictions. The program culminates in a comprehensive capstone project.

Program applicants must have relevant work experience. Prospective students also need an associate degree or at least 60 transferable credits earned with a minimum 2.0 GPA.

8

Trine University

Fort Wayne, IN Cost: $$$$$ Graduation Rate: 50%

Trine serves more than 5,000 students and awards several online certificates and degrees through the Moodle platform, including an online bachelor's in human resource management. Throughout the program's comprehensive curriculum, learners gain the technical and leadership skills needed to work as corporate recruiters, benefits administrators, and training and development consultants.

Required coursework covers organizational behavior, project management, and compensation and benefits. Students gain practical experience by completing an internship under the guidance of a faculty advisor. Learners can use 16 elective credits to pursue advanced topics in the major or a complementary minor.

Trine accepts up to 90 transfer credits. The university's human resources program is accredited by the Accreditation Council for Business Schools and Programs.

9

University of St. Francis

Joliet, IL Cost: $$$$$ Graduation Rate: 62%

Located in Joliet, Illinois, USF delivers programs through its four colleges. Online students can pursue a bachelor of science in business administration with a managing human resources concentration. Designed as a degree completion track for working professionals, this flexible program offers six yearly start dates and accelerated, eight-week classes.

Learners in the program take courses like business-driven technology, marketing principles, and professional ethics. Students also develop skills related to employee training and organizational development. The curriculum concludes with an integrative capstone seminar.

Applicants must have at least 64 transferable credits earned with a minimum 2.5 GPA. USF provides several financial aid options, including scholarships for full-time transfer students based on academic achievement. This BSBA program is accredited by the Accreditation Council for Business Schools and Programs.

10

Saint Mary-of-the-Woods College

Saint Mary of the Woods, IN Cost: $$$$$ Graduation Rate: 57%

Based in West Terre Haute, Indiana, SMWC also offers dozens of programs that students can complete from a distance. One such offering is the school's online bachelor of science in human resource management. Graduates prepare for a variety of roles, including job analysts, compensation managers, and arbitrators.

Participants complete 48 credits of major-related coursework, including classes in organizational behavior, research in business, and legal issues in human resources management. The curriculum of this program aligns with standards established by the Society for Human Resource Management and prepares graduates to sit for the SHRM-CP exam.

SMWC accepts online applications on a rolling basis. Applicants should submit official transcripts, and they also have the option to turn in standardized test scores.

What Else Can I Expect From an Online Bachelor's in Human Resources Program?

An online human resources degree offers popular concentrations and a curriculum that prepares students for employment or master's programs. Details may vary depending on the school or program each student selects.

CONCENTRATIONS OFFERED FOR AN ONLINE BACHELOR'S IN HUMAN RESOURCES

Concentration Description Careers This Concentration Prepares For
Strategic Management This specialization is available as part of some human resource management online degree programs. It's designed to provide knowledge and skills in the area of business strategy, which will deepen the student's overall understanding of business needs and further their ability to be an effective member of a human resources team. Human Resources Manager, Business Analyst, Recruiting Manager
Organizational Effectiveness The value of earning an online bachelor's in human resources may be increased by taking a concentration or specialization in organizational effectiveness. The concentration includes course subjects such as group dynamics, personnel management, and negotiations, all of which provide the development of interpersonal skills. Human Resources Manager, Employee Relations Manager, Recruiting Manager
Entrepreneurship and Innovation A concentration in entrepreneurship and innovation hones student's entrepreneurial management skills through human resources courses online, including electives and core classes such as business policy and social entrepreneurship. Human Resources Manager, Training and Development Manager

CURRICULUM FOR AN ONLINE BACHELOR'S IN HUMAN RESOURCES

The curricula listed below is designed to provide an example of some of the courses that students might encounter while completing an online human resources degree. Class subjects will vary depending on the program and school selected.

  • Human Resource Management: All of the best online schools for human resources will include the essential course on human resource management. Students gain knowledge about the fundamentals of policy and administration, as well as studying the development of an effective team.
  • Organizational Behavior: Classes focus on the primary workplace factors that affect human behavior within an organization. Through an emphasis in leadership, group dynamics, and culture, politics, and change, students are prepared for interpersonal careers such as a development manager.
  • Capstone: Many online bachelor's in human resources require students to take a capstone course during their final semester. The course is designed to combine all of the learned skills and knowledge in order to solve a real-world problem in each student's specific industry or area of interest.

HOW LONG DOES IT TAKE TO GET AN ONLINE BACHELOR'S IN HUMAN RESOURCES?

Earning an online bachelor's degree requires the completion of about 180 class credits, which includes core courses in general education and major courses. The number of courses each student will need to complete may vary. Previous higher education, such as an associate degree, high school dual-credit courses, and prior enrollment at a community college may shorten the length of the program. Degree completion can take up to four years.

The best online colleges for human resources may have different approaches to distance learning, which will affect degree length. Some programs are individually paced and others are taught with a cohort format. Students working at an individual pace are mostly limited only by their own schedule and assignment deadlines. In a cohort learning atmosphere, online students are grouped with others in their program and are encouraged to work together, creating a more traditional, on-campus feeling of social camaraderie.

Accreditation for Online HR Degrees

When looking for an online bachelor's in human resources, students should investigate the accreditation of each school. Accreditation is an official recognition that assures the institution meets certain educational requirements and standards, and can be overseen by either a regional or national organization. Regional and national accreditation each have their own unique benefits and drawbacks, such as ease of admission and affordability, often found at regionally accredited schools. Many nationally accredited school make it easy to transfer credits. The most common accreditation is national, which is overseen by the United States Department of Education (ED) and the Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA).

ED and the CHEA establish operating procedures and investigate institution's adherence to those procedures. As online colleges become a more popular option, there has become an increasing number of illegitimate or scam accreditation programs. In order to ensure the proper accreditation of their school of choice, prospective students should look for recognition from the DOE or the CHEA, each of which maintains an online database to make all of their institutional information available to the public.

What Can I Do With a Bachelor's in Human Resources Degree?

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

What Will I Learn in My Bachelor's in Human Resources Program?

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.

Employment Outlook for Bachelor's in Human Resources Graduates

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.

National Human Resources Association

NHRA is a nonprofit association focused on career development. The association provides exclusive access to career services, events, and conferences.

Society for Human Resources Management

SHRM is a community of 285,000 HR professionals who take part in local and global events across 56 countries. Members have access to both online and offline learning and professional development tools.

International Public Management Association for Human Resources

IPMA-HR is comprised of over 40 chapters of HR professionals in the public sector, who receive benefits such as certifications, discounts, and industry news and research.

International Association of Administrative Professionals

IAAP serves office and administrative professionals and holds networking and training events to HR professionals in local and regional chapters.

Financing Your Online Bachelor's in Human Resources Program

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.