Online Human Resources Degrees

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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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Degrees

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

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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.
  • SAMPLE COURSES

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

  • COMMON MAJORS

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

  • POTENTIAL JOBS

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

  • AVERAGE INCOME

    $31,500 per year

  • EMPLOYMENT PROSPECTS

    2% growth

Online Bachelor’s Degree in Human Resources

The human resources field went through major changes in the last decade due to several factors, including the rise of technology, globalization, and the increasing number of millennials in the workforce. Human resources professionals respond to these and several other challenges by drawing on the skills and knowledge they acquired in four years of undergraduate studies in the discipline. In addition, the field itself has diversified, creating several opportunities for specialization. Human resources professionals now pursue careers as compensation and benefits analysts, training and development managers, and public relations specialists. The Bureau of Labor Statistics projects above-average growth rates for these specialized human resources careers and the field itself as a whole.

Several accredited colleges and universities across the country now offer online human resources degrees. The flexibility and affordability of online programs attract mid-level professionals from other fields as well as traditional college-age students. The dynamic mix of students further enhances the changing face of the modern human resources professional and makes it possible for the field to meet future challenges. The following schools provide students with various opportunities to develop the skills and knowledge base necessary to be successful human resources professionals in today's rapidly transitioning workforce.

  • SAMPLE COURSES

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

  • COMMON MAJORS

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

  • POTENTIAL JOBS

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

  • AVERAGE INCOME

    $57,420 per year

  • EMPLOYMENT PROSPECTS

    5% growth

Human Resources
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For the 2016 rankings, OnlineColleges.net 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.

Human Resources Bachelor’s Degree Rankings

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

Enrolling just 200 students when it opened in 2008, CSU-Global now supports a student population of 18,000 and offers over 40 undergraduate and graduate programs, including a human resources bachelor's degree online. Students can transfer up to 90 credits toward the degree, including 64 credits of general education courses from an accredited school. Thirty credits must come from the core human resources curriculum, which includes coursework in business policy and strategy, human resource management in a global environment, creating a diverse and ethical workforce, and labor relations and employment law.

Five specialization areas are offered: applied social sciences, emergency management, healthcare management, international business, and project management. Students need to complete a capstone course to graduate from the program. The curriculum aligns with the guidelines of the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM), so students can take the SHRM-Certified Professional exam with only 500 hours of work experience. CSU-Global holds Higher Learning Commission accreditation and ranks among schools offering the country's top online bachelor's programs.

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.

2Florida International UniversityMiami$$$$$11200 S. W. 8 Street
Miami, FL 33199
(305) 348-2000

From an initial enrollment of approximately 5,600 students in 1972, FIU now enrolls nearly 57,000 students and offers more than 190 programs of study, including an online bachelor of business administration in human resource management. The R. Kirk Landon Undergraduate School of Business administers the program, and the curriculum follows the guidelines set by the Society for Human Resource Management.

Students must enroll in at least 24 credits of upper-division human resources coursework, eight classes, to meet the concentration requirement for the program. The human resources curriculum includes courses in employment law, recruitment and staffing, compensation and benefits, and human resource information systems. Transfer students with fewer than 60 transferable credits must submit their SAT or ACT scores. FIU holds accreditation from the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges and ranks among universities offering top-rated online bachelor's programs.

3Western Governors UniversitySalt Lake City$$$$$4001 East 700 South, Suite 700
Salt Lake City, UT 84107
(801) 274-3280

Founded in 1997 as an online institution of higher learning, WGU set out to maximize the advantages of digital technology to meet the educational needs of adult learners. The university offers a human resource management degree online comprising a bachelor's curriculum aligned with the guidelines of the Society of Human Resources Management.

The program follows a competency-based education model where students advance as soon as they can show mastery of the subject matter through tests, papers, projects, or other course assessments. Many students graduate from the program within 17-41 months depending on their academic background, the number of transferable credits they bring to the program, and how quickly they master course material. Students must complete a capstone project that presents a solution to a real-world human resources problem or challenge. WGU holds accreditation from the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities.

4Regis UniversityDenver$$$$$3333 Regis Blvd
Denver, CO 80221-1099
(800) 388-23662111

Founded in 1877 and now a top-ranked institution in the West, Regis offers a human resource management degree online that follows the guidelines set by the Society for Human Resources Management (SHRM). Completing a program with a curriculum aligned with SHRM standards prepares graduates to sit for professional certification in the field after graduation. The program offers coursework in key human resources topics such as employment law and compliance, ethical decision making in business, labor/employment relations and workplace safety, and strategies in compensation and benefits.

Human resource management majors can opt to complete their degree with a graduate program offered by the university's Anderson College of Business. Certain qualifications, such as previous college courses, military or significant work experience, or a professional license may translate directly to college credits and enable students to graduate on a shorter timeline. Students must complete a capstone project prior to graduation. Regis holds Higher Learning Commission accreditation.

5Golden Gate University - San FranciscoSan Francisco$$$$$536 Mission Street
San Francisco, CA 94105-2968
(415) 442-7800

Starting out in 1901 with just four students, GGU now enrolls over 3,300 undergraduate and graduate students and offers more than 80 programs, including an online bachelor of arts in management with a concentration in human resource management. Students pursuing this concentration must complete at least 15 units of coursework in the major. The following courses are mandatory: labor-management relations; compensation decision making; training methods and administration; and personnel recruitment, selection, and placement. To meet the 15-credit major requirement, students can complete an internship, a basic employment law course, or a special topics in management course.

New high school graduates applying to the program need a minimum 3.0 GPA to be considered for admission. Transfer students need at least 12 or more transferable units and a minimum 2.0 GPA. The program also considers applicants with three or more years of relevant work experience. The university holds accreditation from the Western Association of Schools and Colleges Senior College and University Commission.

6Athens State UniversityAthens$$$$$300 N Beaty St
Athens, AL 35611
(256) 233-8100

Starting out in 1821 as an all-female school, Athens State now enrolls over 3,000 men and women and offers upper-division coursework leading to bachelor's and master's degrees. The College of Business at the university offers holds accreditation from the Accreditation Council for Business Schools and Programs and offers an online bachelor of science degree with a concentration in human resource management.

The program comprises 124 credits, 65 of these credits must be completed as an enrolled student at the university. Students begin the program by enrolling in organizational communication or business communications. The required coursework for the degree follows a prescribed order, and students must enroll in each class accordingly. All students must pass the assessment exam at the end of the capstone business policy course. Students pursuing the human resource management concentration need to pass a major-specific assessment exam to graduate. Athens State holds accreditation from the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.

7Thomas Edison State UniversityTrenton$$$$$111 W State St
Trenton, NJ 08608
(888) 442-8372

TESU began in 1972 and currently offers more than 100 areas of study to more than 18,600 students. The School of Business and Management holds accreditation from the Accreditation Council for Business Schools and Programs and offers an online Bachelor of Science in Business Administration (BSBA) degree with a concentration in human resources/organizational management. The program comprises 120 credits: 60 credits of general education requirements, 36 credits of professional business coursework, 18 credits of concentration courses, and six credits of electives.

Students pursuing the human resources/organizational management concentration enroll in classes concerning organizational behavior, human resource management, advanced labor relations and collective bargaining, and comparative management systems. The program requires the completion of a capstone course in strategic management prior to graduation. The school strongly recommends that all BSBA students enroll in a business ethics course as an elective or as part of their general education requirements. TESU holds accreditation from the Middle States Commission on Higher Education.

8Concordia University - Saint PaulSaint Paul$$$$$1282 Concordia Ave
Saint Paul, MN 55104-5494
(651) 641-8278

CSP began in 1893 as a preparatory school for men planning to enter professional ministry in the Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod. Today, the university enrolls almost 5,000 men and women and offers more than 80 programs, including a human resource management degree online. The 120-credit program curriculum follows content guidelines as specified by the Society for Human Resource Management and leads to a bachelor of arts degree.

In addition to 60 general education credits and 20 credits of human resource management and/or general electives, students enroll in 40 credits of coursework in the major. The curriculum includes courses such as human resource management and employment law, marketing in the global environment, principles of ethical management, and strategic compensation systems. The Higher Learning Commission has accredited CSP since 1959, and the school ranks among the top 100 universities in the Midwest.

9University of Saint FrancisFort Wayne$$$$$2701 Spring St
Fort Wayne, IN 46808-3994
(260) 399-7700

Beginning as Assisi Junior College in 1920, USF is now a full-fledged university comprising four colleges and boasting a student population of almost 4,000. USF offers an online bachelor of science in business administration degree designed to meet the professional and educational objectives of adult learners. The program offers five concentration areas, including one in managing human resources. Students pursuing this concentration complete classes in organizational development, human resource management, and training and development.

Courses follow an accelerated eight-week format. Students must have at least 64 transferable semester hours, which typically consist of general education credits. USF offers a Prior Learning Assessment Program that confers college credits for relevant work and life experiences, and students can earn up to 33 semester hours under this program. USF holds Higher Learning Commission accreditation and ranks among the top universities in the Midwest.

10Texas A&M University - Central TexasKilleen$$$$$1001 Leadership Pl
Killeen, TX 76549
(254) 519-5400

An upper-division institution established in 2009, A&M-Central Texas belongs to the Texas A&M University System and offers a partially online human resources degree through the College of Business Administration. The 120-credit program leads to a bachelor of business administration degree in human resource management. The College of Business Administration holds accreditation from the Accreditation Council for Business Schools and Programs.

Students need at least 60 transferable credits before they can enroll in upper-division coursework, and these credits typically come from general education courses taken at a community college. Students who plan to pursue the human resource management concentration need courses in economics, accounting, psychology, and business in their general education coursework. The human resource management specialization offers classes in wage and salary administration, recruitment and selection, and employer and labor relations. The university holds accreditation from the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.

11Regent UniversityVirginia Beach$$$$$1000 Regent University Dr
Virginia Beach, VA 23464
(757) 352-4127

Founded in 1978 and comprising seven schools and two colleges, Regent offers a human resource management degree online through the College of Arts and Sciences. The program leads to a bachelor of science degree and comprises 120 credits. The human resource management curriculum includes courses in labor relations and collective bargaining, human resource strategies in a global context, employment law, and compensation and benefits management.

Courses for the degree follow an eight-week delivery schedule. Students can transfer up to 90 credits earned from an accredited school or program. The program also considers the following as transferable credits: AP classes with a grade of 3.0 or higher; credits earned through accepted entrance-level examinations, such as CLEP or DANTES; military service; or demonstrable college learning through life or work experience. Regent holds accreditation from the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges and ranks among schools offering top-rated online bachelor's programs.

12Saint Leo UniversitySaint Leo$$$$$33701 State Road 52
Saint Leo, FL 33574-6665
(352) 588-8200

As Florida's first Catholic institution of higher learning, Saint Leo enrolled a total of 32 students when it was founded in 1889. Today, the university enrolls more than 5,000 students and offers undergraduate and graduate programs in diverse fields of study, including a human resource management degree online. The program comprises 120 credits and offers a curriculum that prepares graduates to sit for professional human resources certification or assessment.

Students enroll in 27-36 credits of concentration coursework covering topics such as administrative and personnel law, organizational training and development, human resources and strategic planning, and industrial and organizational psychology. The program requires students to complete an internship experience prior to graduation. Saint Leo holds accreditation from the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges and ranks among the best universities in the South.

13University of ArkansasFayetteville$$$$$Administration Building 425
Fayetteville, AR 72701
(479) 575-2000

Chartered in 1871, UA enrolls more than 27,000 students from all 50 states and over 120 countries. The university offers more than 210 undergraduate and graduate programs, and the UA College of Education and Health Professions offers an online bachelor of science in education with a concentration in human resource and workforce development (HRWD). Students enroll in 17 major courses, 51 credits, that cover topics such as workplace diversity and human resource development, career development, instructional technology and design, and legal and ethical issues in human resource development.

The HRWD program gives students the opportunity to earn college credits for relevant work or life experience, including military service and continuing education units. Students can earn up to 19 credits toward the degree in this manner. UA holds Higher Learning Commission accreditation and ranks among institutions offering some of the best online bachelor's programs in the country.

14Liberty UniversityLynchburg$$$$$1971 University Blvd
Lynchburg, VA 24515
(800) 434-9595

Liberty opened as the Lynchburg Baptist College in 1971 with an initial enrollment of 154 students. Today, the university enrolls close to 12,600 students and offers more than 550 programs, including an online bachelor of science in business administration with a concentration in human resource management offered by the School of Business. The generous transfer credit policy enables students to complete the 120-credit program in 3.5 years.

Courses follow an eight-week delivery schedule, and students complete 42 credits of core business coursework and the following human resource management courses: compensation management, employee and labor relations, workforce planning and employment, and human resource development. Liberty holds accreditation from the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges and the School of Business is accredited by the Accreditation Council for Business Schools and Programs.

15Brenau UniversityGainesville$$$$$500 Washington Street SE
Gainesville, GA 30501-3668
(770) 534-6299

Founded in 1878 and now a top-ranked university in the South, Brenau offers an online bachelor of business administration in human resource management through the College of Business and Communication. The 120-credit program focuses on evaluation and management of human assets in a variety of professional settings, and students enroll in courses such as cultural diversity in the business environment, human resource strategic planning, recruiting and selection, and designing training programs.

To be considered for admission to the program, freshman applicants need a high school GPA of at least 2.75, while transfer students need a minimum 2.0 GPA. Transfer students with fewer than 30 transferable credits from an accredited school need to submit their high school transcript. The Society for Human Resource Management acknowledges the school's human resource management curriculum to be aligned with its guidelines and templates. In addition, the program holds accreditation from the Accreditation Council for Business Schools and Programs. Brenau holds accreditation from the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.

16University of Maryland - University CollegeAdelphi$$$$$3501 University Blvd East
Adelphi, MD 20783-8010
(301) 985-7000

Established in 1947 and originally an extension of the evening programs at the University of Maryland, UMUC offers more than 120 academic programs including a human resource management degree online. The 120-credit program leads to a bachelor of science degree. Students complete 36 credits in the major and enroll in classes in employee training and development, global human resource management, employment law for business, and organizational culture and change. The program requires students to follow a specific order of course enrollment.

The curriculum prepares graduates to sit for professional certification exams such as those for professional in human resources or global professional in human resources certification. Students can transfer up to 90 credits toward the degree as long as the credits were earned from an accredited school or program. UMUC holds accreditation from the Middle States Commission on Higher Education.

17Bellevue UniversityBellevue$$$$$1000 Galvin Rd S
Bellevue, NE 68005-3098
(402) 291-8100

BU hosts a student population of 9,000 and offers bachelor's, master's, and doctoral programs, including a human resources bachelor's degree online. The program comprises 127 credits comprising 36 general education credits, 40 credits in the concentration, and 51 elective credits. Most transfer credits count toward the general education or elective credit requirements. Transfer students must have an associate degree or 60 completed semester hours with a grade of "C" or higher from an accredited school.

Students enroll in human resource courses in training and development, employee and labor relations, compensation administration, and recruitment, selection, and placement of human resources. Coursework for the major follows a cohort model of education. The curriculum aligns with guidelines set by the Society for Human Resource Management and prepares students to take exams such as those for professional in human resources or senior professional in human resources certification. BU holds Higher Learning Commission accreditation.

18Davenport UniversityGrand Rapids$$$$$6191 Kraft Avenue S.E.
Grand Rapids, MI 49512-9396
(616) 698-7111

DU was founded in 1866 as the Grand Rapids Business College with an initial enrollment of 16 students. Today, the university supports a student population of over 7,000. The Donald W. Maine College of Business at DU offers a bachelor's in business administration in human resource management degree online comprising curriculum that aligns with the Society of Human Resources Management (SHRM) guidelines. During senior year in the program, many students sit for the SHRM-CP exam.

To meet the credit requirements for the human resource management concentration, students enroll in at least 37 credits of concentration coursework. The core curriculum comprises classes in negotiation and dispute resolution, compensation administration, strategic human resources, and employment and labor law. DU holds Higher Learning Commission accreditation and the College of Business is accredited by the International Accreditation Council for Business Education.

19Ottawa University - OnlineOttawa$$$$$1001 South Cedar
Ottawa, KS 66067
(785) 242-5200

Established by the First Baptist Church in 1865, OU offers bachelor's degrees in more than 25 fields of study, including an online bachelor of science in business administration degree with a concentration in human resources. The School of Business, which administers the program, holds accreditation from the Accreditation Council for Business Schools and Programs. Courses follow an asynchronous delivery format that allows students to access course materials and recorded classroom discussions at any time.

Students choose seven courses, 21 credits, from the human resources curriculum, which includes coursework in employment law and policies, conflict resolution, compensation and benefits, and performance appraisal. The program offers a generous transfer credit policy that allows students to transfer up to 80 credits toward the degree. Students can also earn college credits for relevant life and work experience. OU holds Higher Learning Commission accreditation and ranks among the top colleges in the Midwest.

20Concordia University - WisconsinMequon$$$$$12800 N Lake Shore Dr
Mequon, WI 53097-2402
(262) 243-5700

Established in 1881 by the Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod, CUW offers a human resource management degree online through the Batterman School of Business. The 120-credit program leads to a bachelor of arts degree, and students complete 33 concentration credits by enrolling in classes such as compensation and benefits, social psychology in the workplace, staffing organizations, and employment and labor relations. Students are required to complete an integrated project in human resource management as part of the culminating experience of the program.

As a rule, all applicants need a minimum 2.0 GPA to be considered for admission, and freshman applicants need to submit transcripts from all high schools attended. Transfer students with fewer than 60 transferable credits need to submit their high school transcripts or proof of GED completion. CUW holds Higher Learning Commission accreditation and ranks among the best universities in the Midwest.

21Bay Path UniversityLongmeadow$$$$$588 Longmeadow Street
Longmeadow, MA 01106
(413) 565-1000

Established in 1897 and currently enrolling close to 3,500 students, Bay Path offers more than 60 undergraduate and graduate programs. The American Women's College at the university offers an online bachelor of science in business with a concentration in human resource management. The program comprises 120 credits and can be pursued on a full- or part-time basis. Courses follow an asynchronous delivery format and are offered in accelerated six-week sessions. Bay Path offers six start dates a year in September, November, January, February, April, and June.

The program offers a generous transfer credit policy that allows students to transfer up to 90 credits toward the degree. Transfer credits must be from an accredited school or program. The human resource management curriculum includes courses in compensation and benefits management, developing legally compliant personnel procedures and policies, recruitment and training, and employee and labor relations. Bay Path holds accreditation from the New England Commission of Higher Education and ranks among the top universities in the North.

22Northern Arizona UniversityFlagstaff$$$$$1900 S. Knoles Dr, Babbitt Administrative Center
Flagstaff, AZ 86011-4132
(928) 523-9011

Starting out in 1899 with 23 students, NAU currently enrolls over 31,000 students and offers more than 158 fields of study, including an online bachelor of business administration degree with an emphasis in human resource management. NAU offers the program through the W. A. Franke College of Business, which holds accreditation from the Accreditation Council for Business Schools and Programs.

In addition to university credit requirements of general education and liberal arts coursework, students complete 36 business administration and 24 concentration credits. Human resources coursework includes classes in employment law, training and development, strategic human resource management, and global finance and financial analysis. Students have the option of enrolling in classes that prepare them to take the SHRM-CP exam. NAU holds Higher Learning Commission accreditation and is included on the U.S. News & World Report list of schools offering some of the best online bachelor's programs in the country.

23Metropolitan State UniversityDenver$$$$$Speer Blvd and Colfax Ave
Denver, CO 80217-3362
(303) 556-3058

Founded in 1971 as an upper-division institution focused on meeting the needs of adult learners, Metro State currently enrolls more than 9,000 students and offers a human resource management degree online through the College of Management. The 120-credit program leads to a bachelor of science degree and focuses on the role of human capital in strategic organization management. Students enroll in the following human resources coursework: staffing organizations, employee development and training, compensation management, employee benefits management, and strategic framework for human resource management.

The program requires the completion of a four-credit capstone course where students use the case study approach to develop and implement systems and techniques to meet the challenges of real-world organizations and businesses. Prior learning experience is valued, so college credits are assigned for student work or life experiences after close evaluation. Metro State holds Higher Learning Commission accreditation.

24McKendree UniversityLebanon$$$$$701 College Rd
Lebanon, IL 62254-1291
(618) 537-4481

Founded in 1828 as the first institution of higher learning in Illinois, MCK currently ranks among the top schools in the Midwest, and its school of business offers an online bachelor of business administration degree with a concentration in human resource management. The curriculum aligns with guidelines set by the Society of Human Resource Management. Students enroll in 21 credits of human resource classes and explore topics such as talent management, benefits and compensation, organizational behavior, and employment law. A capstone course in strategic human resource management must also be completed prior to graduation.

Students can transfer up to 90 credits from an accredited school or program toward their degrees. Courses follow an eight-week delivery schedule, and most students enroll in two courses during each eight-week session. MCK holds Higher Learning Commission accreditation and the School of Business is accredited by the International Accreditation Council for Business Education.

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

Founded in 1848, Geneva moved from Ohio to Pennsylvania in 1880 and now ranks as one of the top universities in the North. The college offers a human resource management degree online comprising 120 credits. Of these credits, 36 must consist of major courses taken at Geneva. The human resources curriculum includes coursework in policies and personnel management, employee and labor relations, career and professional development, and principles of management and supervision.

Transfer students need a minimum cumulative GPA of 2.0 in their undergraduate coursework, and those with fewer than 12 college credits must submit their high school transcripts or proof of GED completion. Preference is given to applicants with 4-5 years of work experience gained after high school. As an adult degree program, the bachelor of professional studies in human resource management can be completed in 16 months, depending on academic background. Geneva holds accreditation from the Middle States Association of Colleges and Schools.

Online Master’s Degree in Human Resources

If you're highly organized and have strong ethics and interpersonal skills, then you possess the core attributes of a successful human resources professional. Human resources is an ideal career path for a person seeking a high-demand skill set with a great deal of transferability. Diverse industries rely on human resources professionals to provide critical support and direction for personnel administration functions.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), human resources specialists earned a median salary of more than $60,000 in 2018. The BLS projects nearly 40,000 new human resources specialists position to open up by 2026. This career path also leads to positions in human resources management. Human resources managers earned an average salary of over six figures in 2018.

Earning a HR master's online qualifies you for lucrative leadership positions with significant responsibility. The following ranking outlines the best online master's in human resources programs in the country.

  • SAMPLE COURSES

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

  • COMMON MAJORS

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

  • POTENTIAL JOBS

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

  • AVERAGE INCOME

    $102,780

  • EMPLOYMENT PROSPECTS

    9% increase

Human Resources
Get Seal
For the 2016 rankings, OnlineColleges.net 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.

Human Resources Master’s Degree Rankings

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Rank School Name School Logo City Cost Address & Contact Info School Links Acclaim for Online Programs School Description
1Golden Gate University - San FranciscoSan Francisco$$$$$536 Mission Street
San Francisco, CA 94105-2968
(415) 442-7800

Golden Gate University-San Francisco is within close proximity of major Silicon Valley employers and delivers a rigorous curriculum that fully aligns with the Society for Human Resource Management's recommendations.

The master of science in human resource management program emphasizes the importance of perspective, training students to consider straightforward and complex matters from the viewpoint of the company and the employee. This philosophical orientation informs every aspect of the curriculum, which focuses on key industry trends, employee acquisition and retention strategies, and supplementary topics.

Students in this 27-credit program must complete a capstone project. Students may also complete an HR internship. While learners enjoy 100% online degree-completion options, those local to San Francisco can pursue a hybrid or traditional in-class structure.

2Colorado State University GlobalGreenwood Village$$$$$7800 East Orchard Road Ste 200
Greenwood Village, CO 80111-0000
(800) 920-6723

Colorado State University’s 100% online master’s degree in human resources takes a global view of the HR industry. The master's in human resource management focuses on talent development, leadership in a global world, and strategies for optimizing an organization’s human capital. The program holds accreditation from the Accreditation Council for Business Schools and Programs.

After completing foundational courses in business administration and communications, students delve into key subjects including labor relations, staffing solutions, HR management, and law. The program highlights the connection between theory and practice, with course material covering practical, real-world applications. Graduates hold the academic credentials needed to earn career-advancing certifications from the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM), and students qualify for major discounts on SHRM study materials and exam fees.

3Webster UniversitySaint Louis$$$$$470 E Lockwood Ave.
Saint Louis, MO 63119-3194
(314) 961-2660

Based in St. Louis, Webster University delivers a flexible master of arts in human resources that produces capable professionals who can help organizations address strategic and administrative needs. Featuring programmatic accreditation from the Accreditation Council for Business Schools and Programs, the online master’s in human resources draws on cutting-edge behavioral science research, teaching students how to manage diverse teams with evidence-based skills.

Learners discover actionable ways to deal with the complexities of human resource administration, giving them added value as strategic partners to businesses and organizations of all sizes. Webster University limits class sizes to ensure all students enjoy plenty of opportunities to interact with peers and instructors. The school’s global focus makes it an ideal option for internationally minded learners seeking dynamic career opportunities with multinational firms.

4University of Illinois at Urbana-ChampaignChampaign$$$$$601 E John Street
Champaign, IL 61820-5711
(217) 333-1000

At the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, students can earn an online HR degree leading to a master of education designation. The school’s master of education in human resource development program comprises 32 credits. The program stresses leadership qualities, giving students planning, coordination, administration, and implementation skills for enacting intelligence-driven HR initiatives.

Applicants need a minimum 3.0 GPA during their final two years of undergraduate study, along with three letters of recommendation, a curriculum vitae or resume, and a personal statement detailing career objectives and personal aptitudes. The University of Illinois does not charge online students any fees beyond its affordable tuition, making the school a particularly strong choice for learners seeking excellent value from a reputable online HR master’s program.

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

Nova Southeastern University offers a master of business administration with a concentration in human resources. MBA degrees remain in high demand, so Nova Southeastern graduates boast the educational background that companies look for when considering contenders for high-level executive vacancies.

The program takes an analytics-driven approach to HR administration. In addition to personnel-oriented topics, like labor relations and conflict mediation, students explore the business side of human resources. They learn how to manage employee benefits as well as techniques for tracking, analyzing, and communicating quantitative metrics regarding returns on human capital investments.

Highly motivated learners can complete the Nova Southeastern program in 21 months. This schedule is ideal for learners seeking an efficient path to elite educational credentials.

6University of St. FrancisJoliet$$$$$500 N Wilcox St
Joliet, IL 60435-6188
(815) 740-3360

Based in Joliet, Illinois, the University of St. Francis offers an MBA with a human resource management concentration, making it one of just a handful of U.S. graduate schools that delivers an online master’s degree in human resources as part of an MBA program. MBA students on the HR study path engage with course content specific to human resources immediately upon starting the program.

With accreditation from the Accreditation Council for Business Schools and Programs, students emerge from the program qualified for dynamic career options that include management consulting, systems analysis, and talent recruitment in addition to HR roles.

7Columbia University in the City of New YorkNew York$$$$$West 116 St and Broadway
New York, NY 10027
(212) 854-1754

Students seeking an Ivy League online master’s in human resources should consider Columbia University’s master of science in human capital management. Columbia’s program features a cutting-edge curriculum shaped by leading industry professionals, which emphasizes the cultivation of decision-making skills guided by labor market analysis and advanced strategic insights.

Offered in part-time and full-time configurations, students can matriculate in as little as three semesters. Part-time students living in the New York City area can opt for a hybrid structure, visiting Columbia’s world-class campus for evening courses. Graduates benefit from access to the school’s global network of human capital management industry leaders.

The school’s competitive admissions process favors candidates with at least three years of relevant professional experience. Applicants who recently graduated from a bachelor’s program may be eligible to waive these requirements if they possess volunteer or internship experience.

8Georgetown UniversityWashington$$$$$37th and O St NW
Washington, DC 20057-0001
(202) 687-0100

Georgetown University ranks among the most prestigious higher education institutions in the United States. Its alumni include former President Bill Clinton, many luminaries from the sports and entertainment industries, and highly accomplished entrepreneurs and businesspeople.

Offering significant flexibility, Georgetown’s master of professional studies in human resources management offers start dates in the fall, spring, and summer semesters. Delivered 100% online or in a hybrid format, this 33-credit program offers full-time and part-time opportunities. Full-time students can graduate in two years.

Learners engage with a holistic pedagogical viewpoint that stresses the ways HR impacts the functionality and profitability of an organization. Georgetown’s program also emphasizes ethics and leadership, producing fair and confident leaders in the field.

9Liberty UniversityLynchburg$$$$$1971 University Blvd
Lynchburg, VA 24515
(800) 434-9595

Liberty University’s master of business administration with a specialization in human resources management comprises 45 credits, exceeding the 27-30 credit requirements found in many online human resources master’s programs. This 100% online program delivers an MBA designation, which offers competitive advantages on the job market.

In addition to essential business topics, students engage with core courses that cover workforce planning, talent development, compensation negotiation and management, and current HR issues. Students emerge with desirable and transferable proficiencies leading to lucrative career opportunities.

10American UniversityWashington$$$$$4400 Massachusetts Ave NW
Washington, DC 20016-8001
(202) 885-1000

American University’s online master of science in human resource analytics and management focuses on digital technology’s impact on the HR field. The program gives students advanced data analytics and strategic planning proficiencies. It also emphasizes the creative ways that HR professionals can use technology to create, implement, manage, and improve personnel management initiatives in organizations of all sizes.

American University used its proprietary pedagogical model, the Professional Studies Experience, to design this program’s curriculum. The model structures course content in four key phases. It begins with the core phase, structured in a cohort model that allows students to benefit from peer interaction. The additional phases cover technological immersion, intercultural communication, and data-based decision-making.

All students in this master’s in human resource management online program can visit the school’s Washington, D.C. campus for a two-day networking and professional development seminar.

11Brandman UniversityIrvine$$$$$16355 Laguna Canyon Road
Irvine, CA 92618
(949) 341-9800

Based in Irvine, California, Brandman University offers a master of business administration degree with an emphasis in human resources. This specialized MBA program prepares learners for leadership positions in business by framing HR proficiencies within the larger picture of business practice. Students gain skills in financial reporting, data-driven analysis, marketing concepts, and innovative approaches to process improvement. Potential career paths extend beyond human resources into upper-level management and executive opportunities.

Coursework covers business management topics including salary negotiations and administration, compensation theory, and methods of evaluating employee performance. The program covers theories while demonstrating the practical ways that business concepts impact real-world work environments. Learners can also study in a hybrid format that combines online coursework with in-class learning on any of Brandman’s 15 California and Washington campuses.

12Cornell UniversityIthaca$$$$$300 Day Hall
Ithaca, NY 14853
(607) 255-2000

Cornell University ranks among the nation’s most prestigious educational institutions. The Ivy League school offers an online executive master of human resource management program. While the school describes the program’s admissions process as competitive, it does not require any standardized test scores. Instead, applicants outline a practical case study project that they plan to pursue upon admission to the program.

Students can complete the program in just 15 months. Graduates enjoy global job opportunities, and Cornell accepts students from anywhere in the world. Thanks to its flexible design, the program appeals to working professionals seeking to upgrade their academic credentials without interrupting their careers.

13Florida International UniversityMiami$$$$$11200 S. W. 8 Street
Miami, FL 33199
(305) 348-2000

Miami-based Florida International University delivers an affordable 38-credit online master of science in human resource management that students can complete in just one year. With program start dates in the fall and spring semesters, Florida International University makes it convenient for learners to earn advanced academic credentials. The curriculum was designed using Society for Human Resource Management recommendations and best practices.

Students learn ethical planning techniques for addressing organizational HR needs. They also study leadership, communication, and emerging HR digital technologies. Graduates enjoy full access to the Career Management Services office, which provides career planning and job search support.

The school’s admissions committee prefers candidates with at least 3-5 years of relevant professional experience but considers all applicants on a case-by-case basis.

14Lewis UniversityRomeoville$$$$$One University Parkway
Romeoville, IL 60446-2200
(815) 838-0500

At Romeoville, Illinois-based Lewis University, online learners can earn a master of business administration with a concentration in human resources management. The program's core covers business management and administration topics, including financing, accounting, and marketing. The HR specialization provides learners with advanced personnel management and strategic planning skills.

Optimal flexibility represents one major advantage of the Lewis University program. MBA students take courses in accelerated eight-week terms, with rolling admissions that enable newcomers to start any time. Learners can take as little as one course per term, which enables students to keep their jobs while pursuing their educations. Hybrid formats that blend in-class and online learning remain available to students near the school’s Romeoville, Oak Brook, or Tinley Park campuses.

15Concordia University - Saint PaulSaint Paul$$$$$1282 Concordia Ave
Saint Paul, MN 55104-5494
(651) 641-8278

Fully aligned with the Society for Human Resource Management recommendations, the Concordia University-Saint Paul master of arts in human resource management program delivers an education grounded in current best practices.

Designed to meet the needs of working professionals, this 100% online master’s in human resources delivers an excellent return on investment. According to statistics from the 2018-19 academic year, 95% of graduates received job offers within one year of graduation and 44% earn higher salaries than the national average for their professions.

Courses cover topics such as strategic management, employee recruitment and retention, law, and ethics. Concordia University also stresses the importance of research skills, with nearly one-quarter of the 36 total credits required for graduation covering research methods and strategic analysis.

16Saint Mary's University of MinnesotaWinona$$$$$700 Terrace Heights
Winona, MN 55987-1399
(507) 457-1600

The master of arts in human resource management program at Saint Mary’s University of Minnesota offers a 100% online, asynchronous format. The 39-credit program takes two years to complete and adheres to Society for Human Resource Management learning guidelines. Graduates enjoy high-profile roles with significant levels of responsibility.

Saint Mary’s University of Minnesota encourages learners to cultivate strategic ways of thinking about personnel issues. Students in this online master’s degree in human resources can specialize their learning in targeted subject areas such as payroll management and career counseling. All students in the program receive a free Apple iPad, which they can use to access coursework anytime and anywhere.

17Bellevue UniversityBellevue$$$$$1000 Galvin Rd S
Bellevue, NE 68005-3098
(402) 291-8100

Bellevue University’s master of science in human resource strategic management trains the next generation of upper-level HR leaders. It covers four fundamental skill sets: ethical and legal best practices, diversity and inclusion, advanced qualitative and quantitative analysis, and how to attune HR practices to organizational goals. The program culminates in a comprehensive capstone project, which involves proposing and developing a strategic plan for an organization’s HR department.

The 36-credit program covers fundamental topics including HR law, organizational behavior, and organizational management from a global perspective. Talent recruitment and retention represents another focus. Bellevue University offers some of the most affordable tuition rates of any 100% online master’s degree in human resources programs.

18Pennsylvania State University - World CampusUniversity Park$$$$$128 Outreach Building
University Park, PA 16802
(814) 865-5403

Penn State’s master of professional studies in human resources and employment relations uniquely covers labor relations, noting that a growing number of organizations require labor union leaders, contract negotiators, arbitrators and labor mediators, and industrial relations professionals with specialized degrees. Penn State’s degree path prepares students for these and many other HR-related roles through a rigorous curriculum endorsed by the Society for Human Resource Management and the HR Certification Institute.

Learners benefit from seven concentration options: compensation, collective bargaining, employment law, professional development, ethical leadership, international employment relations, and labor union organization and strategy. These options prepare students for dynamic roles in the interconnected and globally oriented business industry.

19Dallas Baptist UniversityDallas$$$$$3000 Mountain Creek Parkway
Dallas, TX 75211-9299
(214) 333-7100

The master of arts in human resources management program at Dallas Baptist University features a 13-to-1 student-to-faculty ratio, allowing learners to enhance their experience through one-on-one instructor interaction. Dallas Baptist University attracts faculty members with extensive experience, encouraging them to deliver course content through an experiential perspective. This approach enhances student understanding of the real-world applications of theoretical concepts.

A focus on organizational purpose represents an important differentiator of the program. Consumers increasingly prefer to give business to companies that share their values. The same trend extends to employee recruitment and retention. Dallas Baptist University’s unique focus on this area helps emerging HR professionals develop tangible ways to tap into these values.

20Clemson UniversityClemson$$$$$201 Sikes Hall
Clemson, SC 29634
(864) 656-4636

The online master of human resource development at Clemson University takes a process-oriented approach to personnel management. It trains students to become HR leaders, giving them the insights and hard skills they need to develop workplace talent, improve the professional proficiency of team members, and help employees reach their full potential.

Clemson University’s 100% online HR master’s integrates concepts from psychology, sociology, education, management theory, economics, and business. The program encourages students to engage with emerging technologies used in professional settings. Its objectives focus on producing graduates with flexible, current skill sets that can adapt to changing best practices and technological innovations.

Students enjoy full, free access to Skillport, a set of optional tutorials that support skill development in areas including computing, business operations, strategic planning, finance, business administration, and leadership.

21The University of West FloridaPensacola$$$$$11000 University Parkway
Pensacola, FL 32514-5750
(850) 474-2000

The University of West Florida features an online master of business administration with an emphasis in human resource management. This 100% online master’s in human resource management comprises 36 credits, with three-quarters of the program covering an MBA core and the other quarter focusing on HR topics.

In the MBA core, students gain skills in financial management, marketing management, policy development, quantitative analysis, business strategy, and accounting. The HR concentration teaches students how to recognize, attract, and retain top talent while delivering skills and knowledge in compensation, performance, and personnel management.

The program offers some of the lowest tuition rates of any accredited online master’s in human resources programs while carrying an endorsement from the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB). Fewer than 4.7% of all business schools in the world hold AACSB accreditation.

22University of Saint MaryLeavenworth$$$$$4100 S 4th St Trafficway
Leavenworth, KS 66048-5082
(913) 682-5151

The Leavenworth, Kansas-based University of Saint Mary offers a human resource management concentration as part of its online master of business administration program. It represents an ideal opportunity for students seeking fast career advancement, as learners can graduate in as little as one year.

The University of Saint Mary notes that the program strongly appeals to current departmental managers seeking higher levels of organizational leadership skills as well as established HR professionals seeking a business-based skill set. However, the school considers applicants from many other educational and professional backgrounds.

Required courses cover topics such as conflict management, compensation negotiation, organizational development, and talent development. Founded in 1923, the University of Saint Mary holds regional accreditation from the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools.

23Brenau UniversityGainesville$$$$$500 Washington Street SE
Gainesville, GA 30501-3668
(770) 534-6299

Brenau University's online master of business administration features 15 concentrations, including a human resources specialization. This degree focus, which is also available as part of the school’s master of science in organizational leadership program, delivers the skills that professionals need to manage personnel resources.

Coursework in the HR concentration explores subjects including employment and labor law, rewards strategies, and talent attainment. These specialized courses supplement a rigorous business core that emphasizes integrated business operations, finance and marketing management, budgeting, policy development, and other relevant topics.

Full-time students can graduate in two years. Students can complete all requirements for both the MBA and MSOL degrees 100% online.

24National UniversityLa Jolla$$$$$11255 North Torrey Pines Road
La Jolla, CA 92037-1011
(800) 628-8648

San Diego’s National University features an accelerated master of arts in human resource management program with four-week classes. This accelerated format enables students to proceed through course material efficiently while earning an advanced degree endorsed by the Society for Human Resource Management.

Exploring the practical applications of HR theory and research insights, core topics include talent recruitment, benefits and compensation management, labor law, and safety. Learners in this online master’s degree in human resources can also pursue an optional concentration in organizational leadership.

A nonprofit institution founded by veterans, National University is one of the nation’s top military-friendly schools. Classes launch every month, allowing incoming students to start working toward their degrees right away. Graduates also benefit from a strong alumni community and excellent networking opportunities.

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.
  • SAMPLE COURSES

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

  • COMMON MAJORS

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

  • POTENTIAL JOBS

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

  • AVERAGE INCOME

    $102,780

  • EMPLOYMENT PROSPECTS

    9% increase

Online Human Resources Choose Your Career

Average Human Resources Salaries

$45,483
$49,895
$71,680
$61,639
$61,591

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?

Voluntary

How long will it take?

Varies