Behind every well orchestrated organization is a strong human resource team. This department handles recruitment, training, compensation, benefits, employee relations, and organizational development. Therefore, students who earn a bachelor’s degree in human resources qualify for a variety of lucrative career paths upon graduation. In fact, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), these professionals earn an average of $110,120 per year.
A bachelor’s in human resources exposes students to human resource principles and practices. This degree also establishes a bridge between technology and business while developing pertinent collaboration and communication skills. Additionally, many learners gain an understanding of finance or education. While students can attend on-campus programs, online programs have emerged that provide students with the flexibility to balance work, family, and school commitments.
Online universities vary in both quality and accreditation. Students should explore programs details to identify a suitable match. However, without knowing what to look for, students often struggle with this research process. The list below contains online human resources degree programs vetted through the Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System. IPEDS examines information such as the cost of tuition, graduation rate data, program-specific resources, and overall student services.
Human capital is a key factor in understanding an organization’s bottom line. Human resource departments in large companies often require teams of professionals who specialize in a particular area, while smaller organizations seek talented professionals who can handle multiple human resource responsibilities. No degree guarantees a particular job or salary, but an online human resources degree provides students with skills that make them an asset to employers and leads to a variety of career opportunities in this field. According to the BLS, human resource professionals are projected to see a 9% increase in job growth through 2026.
Human resource specialists collaborate with employers to outline their talent needs, including interviewing applicants, verifying references, hiring, training, and monitoring employees. Other duties may include processing payroll and educating stakeholders about best practices and policies. To qualify for this role, most employers require candidates to have at least a bachelor’s degree.
Human resource managers devise plans and coordinate daily functions for incumbents. Additionally, these managers oversee benefit programs and advise other managers where conflict resolution is needed. At times, these managers must respond to harassment and equal opportunity complaints. Depending on the size of the organization, HR managers might oversee recruiting efforts including screening candidates, hiring, training, and performance management.
These specialists are part of a human resource team, and they strive to assist organizations with monetary decisions and policy structures. Other duties include developing strategies that lead to an increase in worker productivity, but responsibilities may be more narrow depending on the size of the organization. For instance, a specialist might only be responsible for managing pensions.
Training and development managers are responsible for outlining action plans for overall talent management. This includes creating course content for training and overseeing training programs, which may require professionals to collaborate with subject matter experts who know what should be included. These managers may also need to collaborate with peers to understand what additional needs must be addressed.
Training and development specialists assist with the creation of training materials and often lead courses themselves. These specialists conduct needs assessments through interviews, surveys, and one-on-one meetings with managers. Other responsibilities include maintaining systems and equipment needed for development purposes. To qualify for this role, candidates must have a bachelor’s degree.
Sources: BLS 2018
Students should understand job growth data when considering an online human resources degree, as multiple factors influence a graduate’s earning potential and number of opportunities. For instance, California, Texas, and New York have the highest level of employment for human resource specialists, which indicates these states are good geographic locations for this career path. However, the District of Columbia, New York, and Massachusetts are the highest paying states for this career path.
Students should not assume that every human resource program offers what they need to pursue their ideal career. While general education requirements tend to be similar, core human resource content varies by school. Influential factors include accreditation and available resources the school has for program development. The list below contains common courses students may take. Students should consider the skills needed for their future career when assessing curricula.
Organizational behavior teaches student analytical skills used for assessing group behavior in professional settings. Ultimately, students should use data for management improvement, efficiency, and professional environment development for incumbents.
This course teaches operation and integration practices that establish a connection between human resource information systems and professional environments. Students also learn alternative methods for increasing recruitment and simplifying the hiring process.
Mergers and acquisitions can lead to disruptions in professional environments. This course helps students adopt a strategic management viewpoint to address these scenarios. This course also provides insight on challenges professionals in the field experience currently.
Organizations directly impact their stakeholders by the decisions they make. CSR examines and sets standards for ethical and socially just organizational behavior. Course objectives include examining motives and methods of integration for CSR.
Human resource professionals use performance management systems that create higher productivity and quality of life for incumbents. This course also teaches students about different types of performance assessments, methods for coaching, and common mistakes.
Multiple components should be examined when choosing an online human resources degree. The accreditation of a university can impact marketability when applying for jobs or if a student needs to transfer. On the other hand, students considering an advanced degree in their field may want to identify a school’s program offerings or alumni tuition assistance. In this section, common questions about online human resources degrees are addressed.
An online bachelor’s degree in human resources generally takes four years to complete if students attend full time. If attending part time, or if students choose a speciality or minor, program lengths may extend. There are also accelerated programs that allow students to graduate in under four years.
While the focus of human resource and business degrees differ, the curriculum shares commonalities. Therefore, students may want to consider programs accredited by the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM), Accreditation Council for Business Schools and Programs, or the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business. Students should also consider regional accreditations for general education standard reassurance.
Multiple certifications exist for students through universities and professional organizations. For instance, the HRCI offers a PHR certification that indicates students thoroughly understand strategic development or risk management; field experience or an exam may be required.
While both options include similar content for major requirements, general education courses are quite different. A bachelor of arts focuses on liberal arts including sociology or psychology, which could prove useful for understanding others. Alternatively, a bachelor of science emphasizes math and science and develops problem solving and strategic thinking skills. Students should consider what skills they will need most for their chosen career path and decide on a bachelor of arts or science based on that information.
The cost of tuition depends on the type of school that interests the student. Online programs without brick-and-mortar facilities often charge less because they do not have the same overhead cost. Furthermore, many on-campus schools charge the same tuition rates for online students. In general, students should expect to pay between $6,000 and $10,650.
Students who need financial assistance often resort to aid in the form of grants, loans, and work-study. Both grants and work-study programs work in the student’s favor because they do not have to be repaid. However, loans collect interest and must be paid back after graduation. Scholarships are another aid option for students to consider, as they do not have to be repaid. Many organizations and foundations make it their mission to support specific populations of students and offer scholarship awards to help offset the cost of higher education. This list below includes scholarships for HR students.
The San Antonio Human Resource Management Association offers a $1,000 scholarship to undergraduate students enrolled in an accredited university. Students must submit transcripts, recommendation letters, and an evidence-based essay using a SHRM article. Students who have won this scholarship in the past may reapply each year, and those involved in volunteer work and SHRM activities are given preference.
DallasHR offers the Drew Young Scholarship to full-time undergraduate students who are in the last two years of their program. If applicants have not already joined, they must obtain a SHRM student membership and participate in functions throughout the year. Students must have a minimum 3.0 GPA, submit official transcripts, and complete a 100-word essay explaining what inspired them to study HR. Winners receive $2,000 and free registration to The HRSouthwest Conference.
Each year, the National Urban League offers this scholarship to undergraduate students in their junior year who are enrolled full time at an accredited university. Students must rank within the top 25% of their class. Ideal candidates can provide proof of volunteer work, professional experience or internships, and leadership skills. In addition to the $5,000 scholarship, the winner also receives a paid internship at a Gillette company the following summer.
The HRIS Payroll Software company offers a $1,000 scholarship to students studying human resources in the U.S. Awards are given directly to the student’s university to cover tuition, books, or fees. Students must have a minimum 2.5 GPA and be able to prove their commitment to human resources in a personal statement. Letters of recommendation and transcripts are also required.
The National Forum for Black Public Administrators offers this $2,500 scholarship each year to students enrolled in an accredited bachelor’s degree in human resources. Students attending historically black colleges and universities have preference. Additional requirements include participation in extracurricular activities (besides athletics), exemplary communication skills, leadership skills, and a minimum 3.0 GPA. Students should also have work or volunteer experience and be able to provide letters of recommendation. Those working 35 or more hours per week are not eligible for this scholarship.