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With a degree in Human Resources students will learn about the foundations of business such as finance, marketing, economics, and management. Students pursuing a Bachelor Human Resources degree will focus on coursework such as recruitment and selection, occupational health and safety, labor relations, and strategic management. Graduates of Bachelor Human Resources go on to careers in recruiting, compensation, benefits, or other human resources fields.
As a professional in this area, you may influence hiring, training, compensation, dispute resolution, and employee satisfaction. You can help improve workplaces with your HR expertise and potentially earn an average of $41,000-$122,000 per year (Bureau of Labor Statistics) depending on your position.
Courses for an Online Human Resources Degree
A school’s human resources program is typically contained within the business department. To earn your degree, you’ll most likely need to take core college classes, foundational business classes, and courses that are specific to the human resources department.
Your human resources curriculum may include classes like the ones below.
- Business and Employment Law: In this course, you may learn about some of the laws and regulations that govern business transactions. These courses typically focus on the rules and legal issues surrounding pay, benefits, dispute resolutions, and employment contracts.
- Change Management: Your time in this class can equip you with skills to lead organizations and employees through times of transition. You can learn to create buy-in, communicate with the public, and deal with unexpected circumstances.
- Compensation and Benefits Administration: These studies cover the factors that attract potential employees and entice them to stay with an organization. An attractive salary package may include regular pay, bonuses, insurance plans, and retirement contributions. You may also explore less tangible benefits like flexible office hours, vacation time, and workplace environment.
- Employee Development: You can explore motivation and learning theories in this class. Then you can learn to apply those concepts to create effective employee training initiatives.
- Introduction to Management: This course can help you become a better manager and team leader. Those skills can be useful not only in HR departments but also in other business settings. Specific topics may include project management and team dynamics.
- Recruiting and Retention: Important topics in this class include catching the attention of top talent, choosing the best employees, carrying out the hiring process, and how to keep good employees satisfied with their jobs.
Your program may end with a capstone course that involves doing an internship or completing a major project to synthesize your learning.
Human Resources Degree Salary
Human resources professionals often work in the HR department of a company. Some specialize in a particular aspect of this field, such as benefits or labor relations.
Corporations, nonprofits, hospitals, schools, and other groups rely on the skills of these professionals. Consider putting your HR knowledge to work for a group whose mission you’d like to help further.
Many categories of HR jobs are experiencing growth. For example, positions for training and development managers are expected to increase by 7% through 2029. Jobs for labor relations specialists are the exception; those positions are expected to decrease by 7%.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, some careers in the human resources field include:
|Career||Responsibilities||Median Annual Salary|
|Compensation and Benefits Manager||Oversee payroll processes and benefits packages||$122,270|
|Human Resources Manager||Oversee talent management, benefits coordination, and dispute mediation||$116,720|
|Training and Development Manager||Head up methods and programs for improving employees’ skills and knowledge||$113,350|
|Labor Relations Specialist||Serve as an intermediary between companies and unions||$69,020|
|Human Resources Specialist||Serve as a point of contact between an organization and its employees or candidates||$61,920|
|Training and Development Specialist||Run programs or initiatives for improving employee performance||$61,210|
|Human Resources Assistant||Perform entry-level work in an HR department||$41,430|
Besides your degree, your location, industry, and years of experience are the biggest factors that affect your salary. One of the best ways to increase your salary is to advance your education by pursuing either an online MBA in human resources, online master’s in human resources, or even an online PhD in human resources.
Professional Organizations for those with an Accounting Degree
Learning should be a lifelong endeavor. You can keep gaining new Human Resources knowledge and ideas by joining a professional organization.
Members may network with one another, read the latest industry research, share ideas, benefit from professional resources, and get together at monthly or yearly meetings.
- Academy of Human Resource Development: AHRD advocates for the academic advancement of the HR field. Each year, the group puts on worldwide conferences, such as the International Research Conference in the Americas, and publishes four different scholarly journals. Mentoring programs are available, and you may want to join one of the various Special Interest Groups.
- Human Resources Certification Institute: HCRI focuses on issuing certifications and other credentials that set HR professionals apart. The group also runs a job board, holds regional conferences, and maintains a list of HR professionals who hold HCRI certifications.
- International Public Management Association for Human Resources: IPMA-HR brings together human resources professionals who work in the public sector. The organization puts on conferences and maintains certification programs. As a member, you’ll have access to job boards, educational webinars, research reports, and online communities.
- National Human Resources Association: NHRA equips HR professionals with tools and techniques that they can use to advance their organizations. The group offers online training sessions, an HR hotline, a job board, and professional discounts. If there is an affiliate group in your area, you may be able to attend local meetings, seminars, and other events.
- Society for Human Resource Management: SHRM advocates for public policies that benefit employees and workplace advancement. The group also administers certification programs and offers strategies for professional development. Joining the group will grant you access to discounts, publications, downloadable resources, and networking forums. You’ll also be able to consult experts about HR issues that arise in your organization.
During your college years, you may be able to sign up for an association at a reduced rate with a student membership.
Certification and Licensure Following a Human Resources Degree
Having a college degree shows employers that you’ve studied human resources. To further distinguish yourself as a top candidate for open positions, consider earning industry certifications. These can show that you’ve gone the extra mile to become an HR expert.
The following certification programs are administered by HRCI.
- GPHR Certification: The Global Professional in Human Resources program is useful for those who conduct HR activities in international settings or multinational corporations. To qualify, you must have experience in global HR. The exam covers topics like risk management, global talent mobility, and organizational leadership.
- PHR Certification: Studying talent acquisition, employee development, benefits packages, and labor relations can prepare you to take the Professional in Human Resources examination. The more HR education you’ve acquired, the less professional experience you must have before sitting for this exam. For example, with a bachelor’s degree, only two years of experience are required.
- SPHR Certification: If you want to take a leadership role in the HR field, then consider pursuing Senior Professional in Human Resources status. You’ll need to study topics like leadership, employee engagement, and compensation packages, and a significant amount of professional experience is required.
After receiving your credentials, you may need to earn continuing education credits to maintain your status.
Is a Human Resources Degree Online Regionally Accredited?
Regional accreditation is a certification given to colleges and universities that can be counted on to provide high-quality education.
This designation is bestowed by a regional accrediting agency with the approval of the U.S. Department of Education and the Council for Higher Education Accreditation. There are six approved regional accreditors in the U.S.
Choosing a regionally accredited school is essential. Employers will look more favorably on your degree. So, too, will other colleges, and that will be important if you want to transfer elsewhere or go to grad school. Plus, federal financial aid can only be used at accredited schools.
Fortunately, accreditation isn’t a barrier to earning your degree online. Just like traditional programs, online programs can receive regional accreditation.
If you enroll in an accredited school, you can count on getting an online education that is comparable to what you’d learn in an on-campus program.
Financial Aid for a Human Resources Major
Financial aid helps make a college program more affordable. With the right mix of assistance, a degree can be within your reach. Some types of financial aid won’t need to be paid back. These include grants from the federal or state government.
Scholarships are another example. You might earn scholarships from an industry organization, a national competition, or a local nonprofit group. Some scholarships are given to the applicants with the greatest need, and others go to those who submit standout applications.
If you’re already employed in the business world, your company may be willing to cover part of your tuition costs.
Other types of assistance can reduce your current costs but will need to be repaid later. For example, you could apply for a loan. Government loans usually have the lowest interest rates, but private loans are an option as well. You may also be able to arrange a payment plan with your university.
To learn more about your financial aid options, fill out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). You can also consult your school’s financial aid department.
Questions Related to Earning an Online HR Degree
Here are our answers to a few more questions you might have.
Can You Get an HR Degree Online?
Yes, you can get an HR degree online. Human resources is a common option for online bachelor’s degrees. As a student in an online HR program, you can study hiring, compensation, training, retention, dispute resolution, and team leadership.
You can learn how to cultivate a workplace culture that appeals to talented workers and discuss how to operate within the employment parameters set by the law.
During your studies, you may examine case studies from real-world companies to get a better feel for what works in human resources and what doesn’t.
What Kind of Degree Do You Need for Human Resources?
Human resources jobs can be competitive, but earning a college degree can make you more likely to land an appealing position.
Many positions require only a relevant bachelor’s degree; applicable fields of study include human resources, industrial-organizational psychology, and business.
If you want to advance your human resources career, it’s also a good idea to pursue industry certifications, such as the Professional in Human Resources credential from HRCI. Earning a master’s degree in human resources can help as well.
What Is a BA in Human Resources?
This degree is a Bachelor of Arts in Human resources. The BA designation implies that you’ll take a wide variety of foundational classes in subjects like mathematics, composition, science, foreign language, psychology, and history in addition to your human resources courses.
Some schools offer a BS in Human Resources instead of a BA program. This degree covers similar topics but may focus more on business and human resources and less on other disciplines.
How Long Does It Take to Get a Human Resources Degree Online?
In general, bachelor’s degrees are considered four-year programs. If you stick to a traditional school schedule with two semesters each year, it will probably take you eight semesters — or four years — to meet the graduation requirements.
Online human resources schools often rely on alternative schedules, though. Colleges with accelerated calendars may offer classes year-round. Some fast-track programs even have courses that last only eight or 10 weeks each.
If you choose such a program, you may finish your bachelor’s studies in just 18 months to three years.
What Are the Best Colleges for Human Resources Bachelor Degree?
To find the best college for your online human resources degree, you’ll need to identify the factors that are most important to you.
Are you interested in schools with accelerated schedules, world-renowned faculty members, or internship programs? Do you want a diverse curriculum or the option to study a particular aspect of HR?
Once you answer those questions, you can narrow down the selection to schools that meet your educational goals. Just remember that the best schools always hold regional accreditation.
Are There Any Online Human Resources Certificate Programs?
Yes, you can take online classes to earn a certificate in human resources. You may opt to earn a certificate before you get a full college degree.
Another option is to get an associate’s, bachelor’s, or master’s degree first and then add to your education with an online certificate program.
A certificate program might allow you to focus on a specific aspect of HR. For example, you could earn a certificate in Talent Acquisition, Employee Development, or Conflict Management.