Online Human Resources Degrees

The field of human resource management deals with the hiring, training, and maintenance of a company’s personnel. As employees develop and become more experienced, they increase in value, thereby providing a lasting advantage for a company. Larger organizations generally employ teams of human resource specialists, whose responsibilities include handling compensation and benefits; job placements and recruitment; labor relations; and training and development. Smaller companies might only employ one HR manager to oversee all these duties. Traditional HR roles are evolving, however, HR professionals are becoming more involved in decision-making processes that affect a company’s strategic plan.

In recent years, large data collection has proven invaluable for companies to track human resource trends and develop more useful hiring strategies. Experts predict human resource management will move toward more strategic, self-directed, and data-driven function, with companies demanding data and analysis of employee effectiveness. According to a Recruiting Division report, two of the most popular HR jobs in 2015 were chief digital officer (in charge of performance analytics) and chief human resources officer (directly reports to the CEO). Candidates for this new type of HR position are now drawn from non-traditional backgrounds in finance and information technology, and tasked with a more pro-active role in making executive-level decisions for company growth. With this new type of business-oriented responsibility, new and exciting roles for HR specialists will emerge.

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reports job growth of 9% for human resource managers from 2014-2024, faster than the national average. In general, a master’s degree is a prerequisite for higher-level management positions. Successful modern HR managers must have solid work experience, be highly strategic, adaptable to new trends, and have a strong understanding of information technology, finance and organizational leadership. Salaries vary widely in the HR field, but with median pay for HR managers at $102,780 in 2014, this career path can potentially lead to a very high return on investment. As new trends take hold, and new HR positions become integrated in strategic planning, the job outlook in the field is bright and the talent pool widening.

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Jennifer Bouley Human Resources

“I was able to work full time and work on my degree on my own time. It only took an extra year compared to a contemporary degree. I also didn’t want to go back to sit in class, I liked the accountability that Athabasca gives its students.”

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Online Human Resources Degree Overview

Though associate and bachelor’s degrees are excellent points of departure for entry level work, and for developing basic knowledge and skills in business, more advanced training is required to enter the HR field at the managerial level. A master’s degree is currently the industry standard for managerial positions, and students will find the greatest possibility for return on investment with this degree.

Degree Avg Degree Cost Avg Loan Default Rate Time Commitment Early Career Pay Mid-Career Pay Unemployment Rate
Associate $12,054 14.69% 2 years $32,500 $46,500 N/A
Bachelor's $17,112 9.39% 4 years $41,300 $66,400 5.7%
Master's $21,089 7.31% 2 years $50,400 $82,900 6.8%
Whether you are new to the field, or looking to advance in your current career, you should weigh the costs and time of getting a new degree against its benefits. There is no one-size-fits-all degree. The best choice for you will depend on your current educational background, financial standing, employment history, and area of interest. For instance, those with no experience may want to consider an associate degree, due to its shorter time commitment and lower cost. If finances are tight for you, then you should prioritize the student loan debt and default categories, as you will want to choose a degree that offers you the best chance of improving your financial standing with minimal risk. If your employer or someone else is paying for your education, then you might want to consider the degree that will offer you the highest salary. All salary information is sourced from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics and/or PayScale

Though a master’s degree is more costly than a bachelor’s degree, the increase in base salary provides a faster turn-around when paying off the cost of education. For example, compare the 2014 median salary of an HR manager (requiring a master’s degree) of $102,780, with that of an HR assistant or clerk (requiring an associate degree) of $31,500. Master’s degree holders are able to acquire a higher earning potential, and as a result, default less on student loans than those only holding a bachelor’s or associate degree. It should be noted that salaries vary depending on the industry. The BLS reports that the top industries for HR managers as are professional, scientific and technical services, management of companies and enterprises, manufacturing, government and healthcare and social assistance.

Online Human Resources Degrees


Online Associate’s Degree in Human Resources

Of the various degree program levels, an associate degree is the easiest, least expensive, and fastest to complete, requiring one to two years to finish. Students learn about core concepts in human resources while surveying specialty areas in the field. Certificates in state regulations are often favored by employers as they demonstrate familiarity with state and government procedures. Starting salaries, generally in the $30,000 range, make earning an online degree in human resources an attractive way of beginning a human resources career.


    Employment Law, Human Resource Information Systems, Strategic Staffing, Training and Development, and Compensation and Benefits


    Human Resource Management, Human Resource Administration, Human Resources Specialist, and Occupational Safety


    HR Generalist, HR Clerk, HR Assistant, HR Assistant Recruiter, Development Coordinator, and Payroll Assistant


    $31,500 per year


    2% growth

Online Bachelor’s Degree in Human Resources

An online bachelor’s degree in HR opens a number of career paths, including management roles and specialist positions. The standard four-year program is a good investment for students wishing to enter the field at a higher level than is possible with an associate degree. Common foundational topics include courses in business, psychology, social sciences, and finance. With new trends in the field, it is wise for students to have some familiarity with information technology, statistics, and financial analysis. Other relevant topics might include: collective bargaining, labor law and economics, industrial psychology, political science, and business administration. With so many options for career tracks, students should use their time as undergraduate students to explore their options.


    Conflict Management and Negotiation, Employment law, Organizational Development, Business Ethics, and Negotiation Strategy


    Human Resource Management, Human Relations and Business, Human Resource Leadership, Organizational Behavior Studies, and Healthcare Administration: Human Resources Management Concentration


    HR Recruiter, HR Generalist, HR Training Specialist, HR Employee Relations Manager, and HR Information Systems Manager


    $57,420 per year


    5% growth

Online Human Resources Degrees
For the 2016 rankings, has greatly refined its approach to evaluating schools and their respective programs. Our innovative method of assessing schools is what makes our rankings so distinctly authoritative. On the surface, every ranking we produce employs a basic formula: Academic Quality + Online Offerings + Cost and Student Aid = Final Score. This final score determines where a school ends up in our rankings. Of course, there's a lot more than meets the eye. Visit our methodology page to discover the data points that shape our formula and to learn more about our process.

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Human Resources Bachelor’s Degree Rankings

Rank School Name School Logo City Cost Address & Contact Info School Links Acclaim for Online Programs School Description
1Colorado State University-Global CampusGreenwood Village$$$$$7800 East Orchard Road Ste 200
Greenwood Village, CO 80111-0000
(800) 920-6723

With core values focused on innovation, accountability, professionalism, and collaboration, Colorado State University’s Global Campus is committed to providing both in-state and out-of-state distance learners with a beneficial education experience. Colorado State University’s flexible, asynchronous online courses make it easier for distance learners with busy schedules to earn their degrees at their own pace and on their own time.

The university offers 13 online undergraduate degrees, including a BS in human resource management. Obtaining a human resources bachelor's degree online from CSU’s Global Campus will provide students with the skills needed to engage in productive employee administration. Specific areas of study involve conflict management and the dynamics of teamwork. Online students will be able to obtain extra support through the school’s numerous virtual services, including tutoring and a writing center. Additionally, distance learners who want career support can access online career coaching and resume help by contacting the university’s career navigation services.

2University of St. FrancisJoliet$$$$$500 N Wilcox St
Joliet, IL 60435-6188
(815) 740-3360

Located in Joliet, Illinois, the University of St. Francis is a Catholic school that abides by the classic Franciscan values of respect, compassion, service, and integrity. The university offers numerous undergraduate and graduate degrees across its colleges of nursing, education, arts and sciences, and business and health administration. St. Francis’ online BS in business administration program has a managing human resources track, and the degree prepares students to utilize a variety of management strategies and techniques.

Additionally, while pursuing this online bachelor’s degree in human resources, students interested in obtaining a master’s degree can begin taking graduate classes as a portion of their undergraduate curriculum. Distance learners who visit the main campus can participate in a variety of activities and clubs, such as mock trial and the student news magazine. The main campus of St. Francis is also particularly committed to fostering ethical, environmental, social, and economic sustainability.

3University of ArkansasFayetteville$$$$$Administration Building 425
Fayetteville, AR 72701
(479) 575-2000

Founded as a land-grant institution, the University of Arkansas has provided quality education in Fayetteville for over 140 years. The institution has been home to numerous historical figures, including former university president J. William Fulbright, who was the founder of the Fulbright Scholarship program. The University of Arkansas’ online bachelor’s degree in human resource and workforce development program is unique in that it trains students to work in both human resources and career planning and counseling. U.S. News & World Report ranked the program as one of the top online bachelor’s degrees programs; it was also among the best online programs for veterans.

Online courses at the University of Arkansas are delivered through Blackboard Learn. Students can complete course material at their own pace, provided that they finish their coursework within a 12-week window. Distance learners may be enrolled in up to 12 hours of self-paced study at a time. Additionally, students who take courses completely online pay in-state tuition.

4Thomas Edison State UniversityTrenton$$$$$111 W State St
Trenton, NJ 08608
(888) 442-8372

Thomas Edison State University’s campus is located in the historic district of Trenton, New Jersey. However, most of its students are enrolled as distance learners. The university offers more than 70 online undergraduate, graduate, and certificate programs. Thomas Edison State University’s bachelor’s of science in business administration program has a human resources and organizational management track. Students pursuing this human resources bachelor's degree online learn how to select and train employees; they are also introduced to the basics of organizational behavior.

Thomas Edison State University makes it easy for students to earn credit for previously-obtained skills and experiences; a number of assessment methods are available to students who want to demonstrate preexisting knowledge and graduate faster. Additionally, all distance learners have access to the learner support center, which helps students plan their academic schedule, pay tuition, and take tests.

5Florida International UniversityMiami$$$$$11200 S. W. 8 Street
Miami, FL 33199
(305) 348-2000

Located in Miami, Florida International University is Florida’s first and only public research university offering degrees at the bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral levels. The university has a renowned business school, and its undergraduate business program was recently ranked as the fifth best international business program by U.S. News & World Report. Florida International University’s bachelor’s of business administration degree includes a human resource management track. This online bachelor's degree in human resources provides students with the skills they need to effectively manage employees.

Students enrolled in this program will benefit from many unique courses, such as managing diversity and international human resources, which will prepare them to work with a diverse staff. Distance learners can receive assistance from Florida International University’s success coaches; these differ from academic coaches in that they also help students with the miscellaneous skills necessary for collegiate success, including time management and organization.

6Saint Leo UniversitySaint Leo$$$$$33701 State Road 52
Saint Leo, FL 33574-6665
(352) 588-8200

Since the late 19th century, Saint Leo University has provided the Tampa, Florida area with an education rooted in liberal arts and Catholic-based values. The university is ranked among the best Southern regional universities by U.S. News & World Report, and it offers numerous online degrees at the certificate, associate, bachelor’s, and graduate levels. Saint Leo University’s bachelor’s of arts degree in human resource management builds students’ leadership skills within the context of the school’s strong Benedictine spiritual values. The program also concentrates on preparing graduates to pass the professional in human resource certification examination.

When students begin their online program at Saint Leo University, they gain immediate access to career counseling services 24/7, where they can receive help with networking, resume development, and job interview training. Distance learners also have the opportunity to get involved in any of the university’s 60 clubs and organizations, which include several honor societies and multicultural groups.

7Concordia University - Saint PaulSaint Paul$$$$$1282 Concordia Ave
Saint Paul, MN 55104-5494
(651) 641-8278

Concordia University’s Saint Paul, Minnesota campus has emphasized the spiritual, academic, and interpersonal development of its students for more than 100 years. One of the most affordable private universities in the state of Minnesota, Saint Paul specializes in career-focused education and developing marketable job skills. Its bachelor’s of arts degree in human resource management is designed to benefit working adults with busy schedules. Students enrolled in this human resources bachelor's degree online are prepared to work as partners within large organizations.

Distance learners at Saint Paul can be confident in the employability of their degree; recent data indicates that over 90% of the school’s graduates earned jobs after graduation. Additionally, the university encourages its students to engage in service and service learning. Its community action, leadership, and learning center helps students get involved with service projects both locally and internationally. Additionally, active duty service members are eligible for military tuition assistance and can receive discounted rates.

8Western Governors UniversitySalt Lake City$$$$$4001 East 700 South, Suite 700
Salt Lake City, UT 84107
(801) 274-3280

Founded by several U.S. governors in the 1990s, Western Governors University has provided working adults with a quality education since it was established. The university utilizes a unique curriculum based on competency, rather than credit hours, and focuses on the demonstration of skills and knowledge. Western Governors University’s bachelor’s of science in human resource management program is designed for business or human resource professionals who want to advance in the field of human resource management.

This online bachelor's degree in human resources provides students with in-depth knowledge about business and labor practices. All distance learners are assigned a faculty mentor who offers academic coaching and support through personalized degree plans based on each student’s academic and professional experiences. Students can also connect with each other through Western Governors University’s virtual learning communities, which give academic support through cooperative learning.

9Park UniversityParkville$$$$$8700 NW River Park Dr
Parkville, MO 64152-3795
(816) 741-2000

Park University is located in Parkville, Missouri and values global citizenship, inclusivity, and integrity. While the university has many on-campus degree programs, it also offers more than 30 online degrees at the undergraduate and graduate levels. Park University’s online bachelor’s degree in business administration has a concentration in human resource management. Students in this program are prepared for a career in human resources and will also be in the position to pursue future graduate degrees in law and management.

U.S. News & World Report recently ranked Park University’s online programs among the best in the country. It also named the school as one of the most affordable private universities in the United States. Distance learners at Park can receive targeted tutoring and writing assistance by scheduling a virtual meeting with one of the tutors at the academic support center.

10University of Maryland - University CollegeAdelphi$$$$$3501 University Blvd East
Adelphi, MD 20783-8010
(301) 985-7000

A close partner of the military, the University of Maryland-University College is committed to offering flexible education options. Students can take classes at one of the nearly 30 U.S. locations, 140+ worldwide locations, or online. The university’s bachelor’s of science in human resource management is ideal for students who want to transition into human resources or for those who already have some experience in the industry but require a degree to advance in their careers.

University College works with the Society of Human Resource Management to ensure that students pursuing their human resources bachelor's degree online will develop the skills that employers need. A help center provides students technical support 24/7, while the veterans resource center offers an array of services for veterans, separating service members, and their families. Qualifying working students can also apply to earn credit for workplace learning.

11Bellevue UniversityBellevue$$$$$1000 Galvin Rd S
Bellevue, NE 68005-3098
(402) 291-8100

Bellevue University’s main campus was established in Bellevue, Nebraska in 1966. It currently serves almost 9,000 students online and across its 12 locations in Nebraska, Iowa, and South Dakota. The university offers more than 80 degrees and certificates, many of which can be completed entirely online.

Bellevue University’s bachelor’s of science in management of human resources emphasizes the management of human capital. Some of the program’s focuses include human resource planning and analysis, staffing, and employee and labor/management relations. In addition to their major requirements, all students seeking to graduate from Bellevue University must complete the three courses in the Kirkpatrick Signature series, which teaches the values of limited government, popular rule, entrepreneurial processes, and reflective inquiry.

Bellevue University uses the course management system Blackboard to let students interact with their instructors and peers, complete and submit assignments, and receive support from services such as the writing center and tutoring and study skills center. Active duty service members may also be eligible for a reduced tuition rate.

12Concordia University - WisconsinMequon$$$$$12800 N Lake Shore Dr
Mequon, WI 53097-2402
(262) 243-5700

Concordia University-Wisconsin is a Christ-centered institution located in Mequon, Wisconsin, which is a suburb located 15 miles north of Milwaukee. Its campus occupies 200 acres along the shores of Lake Michigan. CUW offers a variety of academic programs at the certificate, associate, bachelor’s, and master’s levels. Specifically, it offers online education opportunities in the fields of criminal justice, business, nursing, counseling, health services, and more.

CUW’s bachelor’s program in human resource management applies key elements of Christian values and leadership to the the field of human resources. This online bachelor's degree in human resources allows students to work independently and with one-on-one instruction from human resources professionals, ensuring a highly-individualized education. Each distance learner at CUW is paired with an online student success advisor, who serves as a mentor to provide essential assistance in navigating the university’s online system, choosing classes, accessing financial aid, and meeting essential deadlines.

13Southwestern CollegeWinfield$$$$$100 College Street
Winfield, KS 67156-6224
(620) 229-6000

With its small-town setting in Winfield, Kansas, Southwestern College offers a superior education in the heart of America. Southwestern is renowned for its financial aid offerings, dividing nearly $5 million in financial assistance to its students each year. The college offers several undergraduate degrees in business and the arts and sciences. Many of these programs are offered online through its professional studies program, which was established to help working adults and members of the military enhance their careers.

Southwestern College’s bachelor's of science in human resource development aims to create managers who can work in a global economy. To graduate from this program, students must complete at least 60 credit hours at a bachelor’s degree-granting institution and at least 30 credit hours at Southwestern. Through its academic success center, distance learners can access a variety of services and resources, such as academic success coaches and an online writing center.

14Regis UniversityDenver$$$$$3333 Regis Blvd
Denver, CO 80221-1099
(800) 388-23662111

Regis University is a Jesuit institution that was first established in 1877. For almost 20 consecutive years, Regis has been ranked as one of the best universities in the western United States by U.S. News & World Report. Much of this recognition comes from its programs for distance learners, as Regis offers almost 80 online degrees. Regis University’s bachelor’s of science in human resource management prepares students to work in the areas of employee recruitment, training, retention, compensation, and more. Additionally, students in this program can simultaneously complete a graduate degree in the university’s business and economics college.

Through the support network of the Learning Commons, students can participate in academic success workshops, which focus on everything from time management to study skills. Students who can visit the Denver, Colorado campus will enjoy access to world-class hiking, rock climbing, skiing, and snowboarding opportunities in the nearby Rocky Mountains.

15Saint Mary-of-the-Woods CollegeWest Terre Haute$$$$$1 St Mary of Woods Coll
West Terre Haute, IN 47876-1099
(812) 535-5151

Saint Mary-of-the-Woods College is a Roman Catholic liberal arts school located just outside of Terre Haute, Indiana. It is known for its academic excellence and is consistently ranked as one of the best colleges in the Midwest by U.S. News & World Report. With an 8:1 student-to-faculty ratio, the college offers each student individualized attention in its more than 25 major degree programs.

Saint Mary-of-the Woods students pursuing a human resources bachelor's degree online can take advantage of the school’s career development center to complete valuable internships while finishing their degree. Additionally, distance learners in the program can participate in innovative virtual internships, which makes earning career experience even easier. Saint Mary-of-the-Woods offers generous scholarships to distance learners, including discounted rates for military veterans. Distance learners also benefit from a variety of support services, including online tutors and peer mentors.

16LeTourneau UniversityLongview$$$$$2100 S Mobberly Ave
Longview, TX 75607-7001
(903) 233-3000

LeTourneau University was founded on the site of a vacated Army hospital in Longview, Texas. It originally educated WWII veterans before becoming a co-educational institution. LeTourneau’s education for adult professionals program began in the late 1980s; this program was a pioneer in offering continuing education to working adults. Today, more than 1,000 students take classes through the university’s global campus programs.

LeTourneau University’s bachelor’s of science in business administration has a human resource management concentration that teaches students the basics of staffing, employment law, and management innovation. Students pursuing an online bachelor's degree in human resources also receive instruction in the essential skills of business, providing a flexible and well-rounded education that offers various specialized concentrations. Additionally, students who visit LeTourneau’s campus can enjoy the university’s thriving intramural sports culture, which includes ultimate frisbee, football, soccer, and volleyball, along with dodgeball and free throw contests.

17Indiana State UniversityTerre Haute$$$$$210 N 7th St
Terre Haute, IN 47809
(812) 237-6311

Located in Terre Haute, Indiana, Indiana State University is a major public research institution that offers more than 80 undergraduate degrees and more than 75 graduate programs. Despite the university’s large size, more than 60% of its classes have fewer than 30 students, allowing individualized attention. Students at Indiana State University enrolled in the online BS in human resources development program can take courses entirely online. They also have the option to take courses in conjunction with on-campus classes or at their local college.

Indiana State University has a vibrant volunteer and community service culture, and students have many opportunities to serve local nonprofit organizations and develop links between the university and the community. Indiana State’s career center provides students with mock phone interviews, helps them search for post-graduation employment, and provides undergraduate internship opportunities.

18Hawaii Pacific UniversityHonolulu$$$$$1164 Bishop Street, Suite 800
Honolulu, HI 96813
(808) 544-0200

The main campus of Hawai’i Pacific University is in downtown Honolulu, just miles away from Oahu’s verdant Ko’olau Mountains. HPU is one of the most diverse and multicultural universities in the United States, serving students from from 65 different countries and all 50 U.S. states. The university offers more than 50 undergraduate programs and a variety of online and continuing-education programs for nontraditional students.

HPU’s bachelor’s of arts degree in human resource development teaches a holistic understanding of the discipline, including the basics of eTraining and learning technologies. Students pursuing this human resources bachelor's degree online also learn about the culture of Hawai’i and the Pacific. Online courses at Hawai’i Pacific University are equipped with interactive study guides and practice quizzes, making it easy for distance learners to master the curriculum at their own pace.

19Anderson UniversityAnderson$$$$$316 Boulevard
Anderson, SC 29621-4035
(864) 231-2000

Recognized as one of the best colleges in the Southeast by The Princeton Review, Anderson University has provided a quality education since 1911. The university has experienced an incredible period of growth over the past decade: it currently serves 3,400 students, which is nearly double its enrollment of seven years ago. To meet this increased demand, Anderson recently completed a 90,000 square foot student center boasting dining facilities, a fitness center, and a 400-seat movie theater.

In addition to on-campus degrees, Anderson has many online programs in business, criminal justice, Christian studies, and the arts and sciences. Anderson University’s bachelor’s degree in organizational leadership has a concentration in human resource administration that teaches students the theories behind human resource management. Additionally, this online bachelor's degree in human resources is infused with Christian-based leadership principles. As a Christ-centered institution, Anderson has a large campus ministry that regularly connects students to worship, service, and ministry opportunities.

20Cleary UniversityHowell$$$$$3750 Cleary Drive
Howell, MI 48843-6631
(800) 686-1883

Operating out of its main campus in Ann Arbor, as well as other locations across the state of Michigan, Cleary University is one of the country’s premier applied-business universities. Since it opened as a school of penmanship in the late 19th century, Cleary has offered practical, hands-on education to its students. Today, the school has expanded to offer business programs at the certificate, undergraduate, and graduate levels.

Cleary University is widely renowned as a leader in online education, and its bachelor’s of business administration degree in human resource management is well-suited for individuals who want to advance their careers in human resource administration. Courses in this program are taught by industry experts, providing students with direct access to practical expertise. Distance learners can access full-text books, research databases, and a research wiki 24/7 through Cleary’s online library.

21Davenport UniversityGrand Rapids$$$$$6191 Kraft Avenue S.E.
Grand Rapids, MI 49512-9396
(616) 698-7111

Davenport University has abided by its code of excellence — emphasizing the values of trustworthiness, service, and respect — for 150 years. With a main campus in Grand Rapids, Michigan, Davenport offers degree programs through its colleges of business, technology, health professions, arts and sciences, urban education, and through its global campus.

Davenport University’s bachelor’s of business administration degree in human resource management prioritizes application-based knowledge within the discipline. Additionally, students earning their human resources bachelor's degree online will learn a business philosophy that incorporates international, national, and local perspectives. Most online classes are taught asynchronously, and all of the university’s online curriculum is delivered through Blackboard Learn. Through this format, professors provide students with course material, assignments, quizzes, and the opportunity to participate in virtual discussions.

22Brenau UniversityGainesville$$$$$500 Washington Street SE
Gainesville, GA 30501-3668
(770) 534-6299

Founded in 1878 as a women’s seminary, Brenau University has a long history of providing women with an excellent education through the Brenau Women’s College. The university has since expanded to operate coeducational facilities and also serves a large population of adult and non-traditional students. Brenau offered its first distance-learning classes back in 1998, utilizing an asynchronous, online learning platform. Today, the school offers 40 online degrees.

Brenau University’s online bachelor's degree in human resources provides balanced instruction about human resources, covering topics from micro- and macroeconomics to cultural diversity in business environments. Online courses are generally taken in short, seven-week sessions with no on-campus requirements, and Brenau’s online student center provides free tutoring and counseling services to distance learners. Students who can make it to Brenau’s main campus in Gainesville, Georgia can visit the Brenau University Galleries and the Center for Lifetime Study.

23Buena Vista UniversityStorm Lake$$$$$610 W 4th St
Storm Lake, IA 50588
(712) 749-2400

Buena Vista University serves 16 locations across the state of Iowa and supports a thriving online program; nearly half of Buena Vista’s students take at least one online course. Buena Vista also has a low student-to-faculty ratio of 9:1 with an average class size of less than 20 students.

Buena Vista University’s online bachelor's degree in human resources is a management degree, meaning that students will learn the skills required for successful business administration. In addition to taking human resource courses, students also complete key business core classes, such as financial accounting and business law. Distance learners at Buena Vista benefit from the university’s online bookstore and SMARTHINKING, which is an online resource for one-on-one tutoring. Students who visit the main campus in Storm Lake, Iowa will enjoy its close proximity to a large natural lake that covers more than 3,000 acres.

24Dickinson State UniversityDickinson$$$$$291 Campus Drive
Dickinson, ND 58601-4896
(701) 483-2507

Dickinson State University began as a humble institution training secondary and elementary school teachers. Today, this North Dakota school has grown to be regarded as one of the best regional public schools in the Midwest by U.S. News & World Report. Dickinson offers several associate of science and bachelor’s of science degrees through its excellent online programs.

Graduates from Dickinson State University’s bachelor’s of science in human resource management online program are adept in handling labor management practices. They also have the skills needed to navigate the complex ethical and legal issues inherent in business. Dickinson’s online resources include NetTutor, which is a virtual tutoring resource, and Atomic Learning, which is a training site that supports distance learners with more than 50,000 tutorial videos. Students who visit the main campus can enjoy the wilderness areas close to Dickinson, including the historically-significant Theodore Roosevelt National Park.

25Geneva CollegeBeaver Falls$$$$$3200 College Ave
Beaver Falls, PA 15010-3599
(724) 846-5100

Geneva College is a Christ-centered, student-focused institution for higher education in Beaver Falls, Pennsylvania. The college is committed to maintaining a low student-to-faculty ratio to ensure individualized attention for its students. Geneva College offers a diverse array of majors, including biology, education, biblical studies, aviation, and several dual degrees.

Students in Geneva College’s bachelor’s of professional studies in human resources program learn the basics of group dynamics, communication, and ethical decision making. Students with some prior college experience can complete this program in as little as 16 months. Geneva College offers many student resources, including its early college/dual enrollment program, which allows qualifying high school students to earn college credit and take Geneva classes online at a discounted price. Geneva College estimates that 90% of its graduates have entered the workforce or graduate school within six months of graduating.

Online Master’s Degree in Human Resources

Building on a strong undergraduate foundation, a master’s student of human resources focuses on honing skills within a specific area of HR. A master’s degree is the standard professional degree for managerial positions. Increasingly, students from outside the HR field are transferring into HR at the graduate level, due to increased interest in hiring specialists with knowledge of information technology, business, and finance. The number of graduate HR students with degrees in law is also on the rise. These topics might apply to the study of industrial labor relations, and can be very useful to negotiators and arbitrators. The topic of law also pertains broadly to benefits management, as companies must negotiate increasingly complex legal matters. The cost of a master’s degree is fairly high in comparison to associate and bachelor’s degrees; however, because it builds on foundational knowledge, it can be completed in only one or two years. Starting salaries for master degree-holders are generally quite a bit higher than those of entry-level jobs. Managerial positions are the fastest growing job type in the HR field, providing students with excellent job prospects.


    Consulting Skills in Human Capital, Creating and Maintaining High-Performance Organizations, Global Compensation and Benefits, HR in the International Context, and Human Capital Analytics


    Human Resources, Human Resource Management, Human Resources Training and Development, Legal Studies: HR and Employment Law, and Human Resources Strategic Management


    HR Payroll Managers, HR Recruiting Managers, and HR Labor Relations Directors




    9% increase

Online Human Resources Degrees
For the 2016 rankings, has greatly refined its approach to evaluating schools and their respective programs. Our innovative method of assessing schools is what makes our rankings so distinctly authoritative. On the surface, every ranking we produce employs a basic formula: Academic Quality + Online Offerings + Cost and Student Aid = Final Score. This final score determines where a school ends up in our rankings. Of course, there's a lot more than meets the eye. Visit our methodology page to discover the data points that shape our formula and to learn more about our process.

Download Seal

PNG (web) EPS (print)

Human Resources Master’s Degree Rankings

Rank School Name School Logo City Cost Address & Contact Info School Links Acclaim for Online Programs School Description
1New York UniversityNew York$$$$$70 Washington Sq South
New York, NY 10012-1091
(212) 998-1212

NYU’s Human Resources master's degree online program offers a customized curriculum for future HR managers. The school's esteemed faculty helps students explore the principles of management while also focusing on business strategy, organizational behavior and how to integrate statistical information into decision making. All students take the same general courses before complementing introductory material with a concentration of their choice. Options include:

  • Human Resource Management
  • Organizational Effectiveness
  • Global Talent Management
  • Learning, Development and Executive Coaching

Students culminate the program with a capstone project: they can either conduct an extensive business simulation or complete a master's thesis.
NYU's HR management and development program can be completed by full-time students in just two years; part-time students may take up to five years to complete the degree. A formal interview is not an application requirement.

2Clemson UniversityClemson$$$$$201 Sikes Hall
Clemson, SC 29634
(864) 656-4636

Clemson's online master's in human resources program is designed for working professionals looking to advance into managerial positions. Students take 36 credits (twelve courses) over two years. Key classes include:

  • Concepts of Human Resource Development
  • Organizational Performance Improvement
  • Evaluation of Training and Development
  • Knowledge Management for Improved Performance

Students may also concentrate in intercollegiate athletic leadership. Like the rest of the program, the concentration is available entirely online.
Clemson's admission standards are lofty. In addition to requiring strong test scores, applicants must also have three years of full-time work experience in HR. Additionally, potential students must take two skill and temperament surveys to measure how well they'll adapt to the program.

3Brandman UniversityIrvine$$$$$16355 Laguna Canyon Road
Irvine, CA 92618
(949) 341-9800

Part of the Chapman University system, Brandman offers students a flexible degree path. Courses for the master's in human resources online are only eight weeks long and are offered six times per year. Brandman's curriculum revolves around several important topics in the field, including:

  • Theories of Compensation
  • Practices of Wage and Salary Administration
  • Evaluation Systems
  • Performance Appraisals
  • Incentives

Applicants can take several paths into Brandman. Students with a 3.0 undergraduate GPA or better are automatically admitted, as are students with a 2.50 or better and qualifying GRE, MAT or GMAT scores. The school also accepts applicants with a master's degree or a portfolio demonstrating graduate level analytical and communication skills. Brandman is one of the most affordable schools on this list, charging less than $9,000 per year in tuition.

4Central Michigan UniversityMount Pleasant$$$$$106 Warriner Hall
Mount Pleasant, MI 48859
(989) 774-4000

Central Michigan's online MBA includes an HR management emphasis. The program requires students to complete 36 credit hours, totaling 12 courses. Students may need to take a few additional classes if they haven't finished all prerequisite material prior to matriculation. The HR emphasis consists of three classes: human resources management, employee selection and a seminar in organizational development.

Applicants must submit all standard materials, including their GMAT score. CMU uses Blackboard to host all distance learning class materials. These include assignments, grades and forums for students to discuss coursework with peers and faculty. The school provides Blackboard student tutorials to help distance learners acclimate to the online format.

5Nova Southeastern UniversityFort Lauderdale$$$$$3301 College Ave
Fort Lauderdale, FL 33314-7796
(954) 262-7300

NSU's MBA with a concentration in HR management program begins five times each year, providing several starting options for distance learners needing to accommodate their work schedule. The curriculum prepares graduates to use multiple approaches for managing and training employees. The program requires students to complete 13 classes, which can be done in just 21 months. The HR management concentration is composed of five courses, including:

  • Managing Human Resources
  • Employee Relations
  • Talent Management
  • Managing Total Rewards
  • Human resource Development

As part of the program, distance learners take advanced courses in accounting, finance and business statistics. Students may also pursue a human resource management certificate.

6Florida International UniversityMiami$$$$$11200 S. W. 8 Street
Miami, FL 33199
(305) 348-2000

Students in FIU's HR management program can begin classes in either the fall or spring semester. FIU uses a cohort model, where students progress through the degree with the same classmates in each course. The format offers students a valuable networking opportunity and provides an ideal environment for group work. Cohorts are structured into two blocks each semester; in each block, students take two eight-week courses.

One interesting course offering at FIU is their International Human Resource Management class. The course examines how organizations recruit, train and compensate employees from around the world, training future executives how to manage employees with different values and belief systems.

7Saint Mary's University of MinnesotaWinona$$$$$700 Terrace Heights
Winona, MN 55987-1399
(507) 457-1600

Saint Mary’s master's in human resources online is ideal for students looking to boost their strategic credentials. The 26-month program prepares distance learners for the PHR/SPHR certification and gives them a broad base of skills relevant across departments in a variety of organizations. Students must complete 13 classes to graduate, including nine courses in HR management and three in general management. Additionally, students must take one of the following electives:

  • Management Principles
  • Quantitative Methods
  • Multicultural Perspectives
  • Financial Management

The program is ideal for students with no managerial or HR experience. Applicants must have a 2.75 undergraduate GPA or better, and international students need to demonstrate their proficiency in English. As part of the program, students develop a professional portfolio of coursework and projects, giving them practical experience that they can share with prospective employers.

8Catholic University of AmericaWashington$$$$$620 Michigan Avenue, NE
Washington, DC 20064
(202) 319-5000

Catholic University offers HR students two degree completion tracks: a human resource generalist option and a federal human resource management track. The generalist track prepares students with limited HR experience to work in a corporate or non-profit environment. The second option trains students for HR positions in the federal government. Regardless of your track, all students take the same five core courses:

  • Organization Theory and Behavior
  • Leadership Foundations
  • Labor-Management Relations
  • Human Resource Development and Training
  • Human Resource Information System and Communications

Additionally, all students must complete a online human resources master's capstone course. In the capstone, students write a significant research paper or tackle an applied project, highlighting the skills and principles they've learned in the program. Catholic University builds its coursework around the Society for Human Resource Management's certification requirements, providing students with a route to further certification.

9Fitchburg State UniversityFitchburg$$$$$160 Pearl St
Fitchburg, MA 01420-2697
(978) 345-2151

Fitchburg State offers their online MBA with a concentration in HR in a cohort format. Students take ten courses in the 17-month program: classes are seven weeks long and are taken one at a time. The HR concentration features six core classes and three advanced, HR-specific courses. These consist of:

  • The Human Resource Function and Manager
  • Legal Issues in Human Resource Management
  • elected Topics in Management

Classes at Fitchburg State are taught asynchronously. The school uses the Blackboard learning management system to host all course materials, and provides prospective students with the opportunity to demo an online course before applying. Students can also access technical services help 24/7.

10Western Carolina UniversityCullowhee$$$$$Highway 107
Cullowhee, NC 28723-9646
(828) 227-7100

Western Carolina builds their graduate online human resources master's program around community service, global HR techniques and evidence-based practice. Students only need to take 12 classes to complete their degree and the coursework provides a broad education in HR for students looking to learn more about the field.

Admission to WCU’s program requires a relatively high 3.0 GPA over the last 60 hours of undergraduate coursework. Those with exceptionally high GPAs may qualify for provisional admission and do not need to submit GRE scores. Most applicants, however, need a 900 on the old GRE and an analytical writing score of 3.5. Those who took the new GRE need a 150 score on verbal reasoning, 141 on quantitative reasoning and an analytical writing score of 3.5.

11University of ScrantonScranton$$$$$800 Linden Street
Scranton, PA 18510-4629
(570) 941-7400

Scranton offers students a rigorous program grounded in the Jesuit tradition. The online HR curriculum has five overarching educational goals for its students. As part of the program, distance students learn to:

  • Make effective decisions
  • Improve organizational performance
  • Understand control and budgeting systems
  • Develop an effective rewards system
  • Devise and implement strategic plans

The curriculum requires students to complete 13 courses, including a capstone. In the capstone seminar, students undertake a project relevant to their professional interests, building on material learned during the program. Scranton offers courses in six terms, with classes lasting eight weeks each. Typically, students complete the HR program in about two years.

12Utah State UniversityLogan$$$$$Old Main Hill
Logan, UT 84322-1400
(435) 797-1000

Students in Utah State's HR program receive a thorough and well rounded education, and graduate prepared to manage and train talent to effectively suit organizational objectives. As part of the curriculum, students complete a three month internship and an international experience. In the international experience, distance learners have the opportunity to travel with a faculty member and senior HR executive. In their visits to foreign work-sites, students develop a real-world understanding of the logistical challenges international organizations face.

To graduate, online human resources master's students must take 33-43.5 credits, depending on their HR experience and undergraduate degree. Key advanced courses include:

  • Leadership & Operational excellence
  • Applied Human Resources research
  • Human Capital management
  • Team & Interpersonal Effectiveness

Students can also complete an MHR and MBA dual degree in just two years.

13Golden Gate University - San FranciscoSan Francisco$$$$$536 Mission Street
San Francisco, CA 94105-2968
(415) 442-7800

Golden Gate University emphasizes a student-centered approach, where small class sizes ensure that faculty members can give personal attention to each student. The school also provides generous financial aid programs, available to both merit and need-based students.

GGU’s curriculum is designed for experienced HR professionals and students looking to change careers alike. Classes give students a thorough background in HR practices, training future managers to work in a globalized economy. Prospective students who are also considering business administration programs may be interested in Golden Gate's MBA with a concentration in HR management.

14Robert Morris UniversityMoon Township$$$$$6001 University Boulevard
Moon Township, PA 15108-1189
(800) 762-0097

RMU's online HR management degree is built for professionals looking to take the next step in their career. Courses are taught asynchronously. Students must complete ten classes in a sequential order, with each course lasting eight weeks apiece. Students taking one course per eight-week session are on track to graduate in two years. Robert Morris outlines five program objectives for students. Briefly summarized, they include:

  • Developing effective HR strategies in the workplace
  • Implementing a framework for analyzing human capital and resources
  • Synthesizing theories and practice of HR management to address organizational needs
  • Examining developments in the field
  • Developing critical thinking and decision-making skills to address HR problems in the workplace

Students without a significant background in business may need to take a few prerequisites. Potential courses include accounting, finance, organizational behavior and statistics. Admission requirements include a GPA of at least 3.0 and qualifying test scores from the MAT, GRE or GMAT.

15Troy UniversityTroy$$$$$University Avenue
Troy, AL 36082-0001
(334) 670-3100

Degree seekers searching for programs shorter than the standard 18 to 24 month curriculum should consider Troy University. Designed to accommodate working professionals, Troy's program can be completed in just 12 months. While some schools look to develop efficient workers, Troy’s focus on developing leadership skills and managerial talent separates the program from competitors.

Troy has a variety of options for admissions, including a conditional admissions process for students with relatively low grades or test scores. Students may also take classes prior to matriculating to get a better feel for the program, and to determine whether they'd like to continue taking courses.

16Concordia University - Saint PaulSaint Paul$$$$$1282 Concordia Ave
Saint Paul, MN 55104-5494
(651) 641-8278

Concordia’s MA in HR Management aligns with the Society for HR Management’s curriculum guidelines, making it a highly desirable degree for your employment prospects and for further certification. Students cover a variety of topics designed to cultivate thought leadership in the field, including strategic minded courses and general classes in leadership, finance and recruitment.

Undergraduates must earn a 3.0 GPA or better to apply; applicants must also submit a resume and a personal statement. The school uses Blackboard to facilitate all online instruction: on Blackboard, students can access class materials, discussion forums and other digital resources. Courses are taught asynchronously, though some classes have occasional scheduled meet-ups.

17Colorado State University-Global CampusGreenwood Village$$$$$7800 East Orchard Road Ste 200
Greenwood Village, CO 80111-0000
(800) 920-6723

With asynchronous courses and a relatively short curriculum, Colorado State's online HR degree provides the academic flexibility working adults need. Terms start monthly and most classes are offered every term, allowing students to flexibly work their way toward a degree. All students pay in-state tuition and there are no per-credit fees.

In addition to nine core classes, CSU students take four courses in a specialization of their choice. The school offers 13 specializations, including finance, international management and criminal justice leadership. Distance learners also complete a capstone, where they'll integrate coursework into a project of their choosing.

18Saint Joseph's UniversityPhiladelphia$$$$$5600 City Avenue
Philadelphia, PA 19131-1395
(610) 660-1000

Saint Joseph’s offers an MS in managing human capital, and the program can be taken full-time or part-time. The school's renowned faculty introduces students to several aspects of modern business, designed to give future HR managers a fundamental background across a range of business operations. SJU also earned an endorsement from the Society of HR Management for aligning its curriculum with their guidelines.

Students must submit two letters of recommendation, a personal statement and official GMAT or GRE scores as part of the application process. Test scores may be waived for certain candidates. International students also need to provide a resume and official TOEFL scores.

19Tarleton State University - Global CampusStephenville$$$$$Box T-0011
Stephenville, TX 76402
(817) 732-7300

Tarleton State offers a two-year HR program with coursework covering for-profit and nonprofit entities. Coursework prepares graduates for careers in state government, local government and the military, making TSU's program an ideal destination for professionals who want to work outside a traditional corporate structure.

Applicants seeking admission in good standing need to have obtained a 2.5 GPA over their last 60 hours of classes from their undergraduate degree. They must also submit GRE, GMAT or MAT scores and a statement of purpose. Students must take ten courses, accounting for thirty credits. Distance learners may transfer up to six credits; most students can complete the degree within two years.

20National UniversityLa Jolla$$$$$11255 North Torrey Pines Road
La Jolla, CA 92037-1011
(800) 628-8648

National University’s MA in HR management offers a focus on experiential learning opportunities in an online format. NU’s program is designed for working professionals looking to advance into senior management positions in HR. The program covers ethics, labor relations, safety issues, HR technologies and other pertinent themes in modern business and HR practices.

Students with a GPA over 2.5 do not need to submit standardized test scores. Students with a GPA between 2.0-2.49 will need a satisfactory score from the GMAT, GRE, MAT or an equivalent exam. These students may also be placed on academic probation if accepted, meaning they must get a "B" or above in their first 4.5 units or be disqualified from continuing.

21Indiana State UniversityTerre Haute$$$$$210 N 7th St
Terre Haute, IN 47809
(812) 237-6311

Students attending Indiana State can pursue a degree in HR development full-time or part-time. Full-time programs can be completed in a year and a half, and part-time students have up to seven years to finish their degree. In addition to coursework, students must complete an occupational internship.

Admissions are open to all Indiana residents and students in most other states. Indiana State doesn’t require a GRE score, but students must have a 3.0 in all undergraduate coursework or in any graduate-level coursework. To graduate, distance learners must complete 33 credits, including a major project or a graduate thesis.

22Indiana Wesleyan UniversityMarion$$$$$4201 S Washington St
Marion, IN 46953-4974
(765) 674-6901

Students looking to study HR within a biblical framework can pursue a degree from Indiana Wesleyan. The school integrates Christian values throughout the curriculum, providing future managers with the ethical training they need to be effective leaders in the workplace. The 12-class program culminates with a capstone project in which students present a plan of action for a new corporate policy, procedure or practice.

Applicants should have earned a 2.50 GPA or better as an undergraduate, though the school admits distance learners with lower grades on a probationary basis. Indiana Wesleyan also offers several financial aid packages, including scholarships, grants and loans.

23Concordia University - WisconsinMequon$$$$$12800 N Lake Shore Dr
Mequon, WI 53097-2402
(262) 243-5700

Concordia University offers a robust series of core HR classes. The 13-class program also introduces students to several innovative concepts, including alternative disputes strategies, how to manage risk and detailed best practices in labor law. Concordia also provides students with an individualized program and a diverse student body. While many online programs do not admit international students, Concordia-Wisconsin does, exposing students to different perspectives than they'll find at other schools.

Concordia doesn’t require applicants to take the GMAT or GRE, or to submit a personal statement as part of their admission process. Students can start their coursework anytime rather than waiting for the start of a traditional term.

24Ottawa University - PhoenixPhoenix$$$$$9414 North 25th Avenue
Phoenix, AZ 85021
(602) 371-1188

Ottawa University-Phoenix offers an MA in human resources. In addition to preparing students to pursue traditional HR careers, the program also trains future employment specialists, employee benefits specialists and occupational specialists. The curriculum further prepares students to earn a handful of certifications, including the SHRM-CP and SHRM-SCP.

Applicants need to submit a personal statement and current resume, as well as three letters of recommendation. No GMAT or GRE scores are required. Students in the program can pursue one of two concentrations as they complete the degree: healthcare management and leadership management.

25University of Saint MaryLeavenworth$$$$$4100 S 4th St Trafficway
Leavenworth, KS 66048-5082
(913) 682-5151

Saint Mary’s online MBA can be completed in just one year. The program features a concentration in HR management, which provides valuable HR training for professionals looking to move into executive roles. In addition to core business practices, St. Mary’s program covers useful HR skills, including:

  • Conflict management
  • Organizational change
  • Navigating dynamic legal and ethical environments

Importantly, the University of Saint Mary doesn’t require GMAT or GRE scores for admission, though students should have a GPA of at least 2.75. Applicants with lower grades may be admitted on a probationary basis.

Online Doctorate Degree in Human Resources

A doctoral degree in human resources will prepare students for a university teaching career, government work, or private sector consulting. These programs take anywhere between three to five years to complete, and often require working on a dissertation while working in the field. Common topics of study include quantitative methods and theory of human resources, with a focus on information technology and statistical analysis. Students may also study topics relevant to government HR departments such as employee well being, diversity, and ethics. A doctoral degree also allows students to earn salaries in the highest tier of the field, preparing them for director and executive roles. Salaries vary in the highest levels of the HR field, and are highly dependent upon characteristics of a specific industry.


    Industrial Relations, Organizational Behavior, Labor Law, and Philosophy in Organizational Development and Leadership


    Human Resource Management, Human Resources, Human Capital Management, Technology Management, Business Administration in Human Resources, and Organizational Leadership in Human Resources Development


    HR Consultant, HR Professor, Researcher, Human Capital Manager, and Director/Vice President of Compensation and Benefits




    9% increase

Online Human Resources Choose Your Career

Average Human Resources Salaries


Recruitment Specialist

Salary: $45,483
Growth Rate 2014-2024 Number of Jobs: 2014 Degree Certifications
5% 503,900 Bachelor's Required

The HR recruitment specialist is responsible for hiring workers to fill employment gaps, or in special cases, to fill volunteer positions for medical trials and studies. Recruitment specialists must have strong communication (written and oral) and interpersonal skills, as they are responsible for screening, interviewing, and placing new workers in the company. They must also ensure compliance with current hiring regulations. Recruitment Specialists usually hold a bachelor’s degree and are often promoted from the ranks of HR recruiters. The specialist focuses on recruitment process and design improvements to increase efficiency. Data analysis is an important facet of this position, and recruitment specialists must monitor internal recruitment data and data from recruitment agencies to increase effectiveness. HR recruitment specialists are well positioned to advance to higher managerial roles.

Human Resources Generalist

Salary: $49,895
Growth Rate 2014-2024 Number of Jobs: 2014 Degree Certifications
5% 482,000 Bachelor's Required

The human resources generalist assists management with hiring and maintaining outstanding personnel, as well as with day-to-day operations of the HR department. HR generalists may assist with benefits and training, and liaise between management and staff, requiring them to have a well-rounded background in employee compensation, training and benefits. As a result, strong communication skills are a must, as well as a collaborative, teamwork-oriented attitude. The generalist works under the HR director, supervising administrative jobs in the HR department. These specialists typically hold a bachelor’s degree with four or more years of relevant work experience.

Benefits Manager

Salary: $71,680
Growth Rate 2014-2024 Number of Jobs: 2014 Degree Certifications
5% 482,000 Bachelor's Required

The compensation and benefits manager administers and directs employee benefit programs, analyzes compensation policies, monitors government regulations, and provides statistical analysis of personnel data. More broadly, the manager provides support and guidance to employees regarding benefit plans. A successful manager must have strong social abilities, follow conventions, and be self-directed in developing new procedures. The benefits manager also works to maintain the company’s competitive position in the labor market, and assists in bargaining proposals (for union settlements). Managers in this area usually hold a master’s degree with at least four years of experience.

Staffing Manager

Salary: $61,639
Growth Rate 2014-2024 Number of Jobs: 2014 Degree Certifications
9% 122,500 Masters Required

Staffing managers are responsible for recruiting, hiring, and terminating employees, training new hires, and tracking employee progress. They are tasked with finding candidates who will add value to the company and stay for the long-term (retention). In the recruiting phase, staffing managers screen and interview applicants, and administer hiring initiatives to find qualified candidates. Once an employee is hired, staffing managers work to ensure the successful development and retention of the individual by balancing company expectations with the individual’s needs. Many staffing managers begin their careers as recruiters at staffing agencies. The ideal candidate will show initiative and organizational skill, along with excellent communication ability.

Payroll Manager

Salary: $61,591
Growth Rate 2014-2024 Number of Jobs: 2014 Degree Certifications
9% 122,500 Masters Required

Payroll managers are responsible for maintaining and updating payroll information, issuing paychecks, creating summaries and tax reports, ensuring compliance with federal and state regulations, directing the payroll staff, and staying up-to-date with current technologies. A successful payroll manager has a strong background in personnel management and data entry, as well as familiarity with employment law, accounting, financial analysis, and wage structure. Candidates must be highly organized, with the ability to multitask and communicate effectively. Strong technical and interpersonal skills are needed for this job.

Online Human Resources Degree in Action

Jennifer Bouley Human Resources

Jennifer Bouley received her bachelor of human resources and labour relations fully online from Athabasca University. She also holds a social services diploma from Sheridan College. As an HR Professional with four years of experience, she opened her own HR and career development practice.

Why did you pursue your human resources degree online?

The flexibility it allowed me. Athabasca is a top university in Alberta. I was able to work full time and work on my degree on my own time. It only took an extra year compared to a contemporary degree. I also didn't want to go back to sit in class, I liked the accountability that Athabasca gives its students.

What were the biggest advantages of studying online?

Again, the flexibility. It forced me to go out and network and meet other professionals. The school had a student services centre, it was all online. The student union was great too!

Were there any challenges you encountered as an online student?

Not interacting with other professionals in the same industry. I had to go out and find the people I was looking for, though professionally this turned out to be an advantage.

How did the online format help prepare you for your career?

I had to have more accountability. It taught me the discipline and importance of being thorough in my research and reading.

Online Human Resources Professional Requirements

As students explore these educational options, it should be noted that choosing an HR program though an accredited institution is highly recommended. Though there is no national HR accreditation agency. Students should check to see that their college or university (and online program) is accredited regionally. Accreditation is not required to begin work in the HR field, but may put applicants ahead of the curve for more highly sought-after positions, where having a specialized HR certificate in addition to credentials from a regionally accredited institution might set them apart from the competition.

Society for Human Resource Management Certification

The Society for Human Resource Management provides two types of credentials designed to provide HR professionals with recognition, and a set of criteria for distinction. These credentials include the SHRM Certified Professional (SHRM-CP) and SHRM Senior Certified Professional (SHRM-SCP) credentials. Both focus on “competencies and knowledge” that apply universally to all HR fields. It should be noted, that these credentials are also accepted worldwide, and are extremely useful for HR professionals working abroad. Increased opportunities for eligibility has broadened the talent pool for HR employment, giving HR professionals greater flexibility for finding jobs in the global community.

Is it required?


How long will it take?