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Top Online Bachelor’s Degrees in Human Resources

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Individuals interested in human resources have several choices when it comes to degree and career opportunities. A human resources degree can equip students with the most comprehensive and applicable workplace management knowledge, regardless of the industry. But between the vast array of degrees and specialties, how can students choose which educational path is best? This in-depth guide will detail the requirements, benefits, and possible career options for graduates of human resources programs at all degree levels. Read on for information on what types of academic options are available and what earning an online degree involves.

Best Online Human Resources Programs 2018-2019

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An online human resources degree program is accredited by at least one of a number of regional or national accrediting agencies, ensuring the program is well-designed and meets specific criteria for rigor and quality curriculum. Programs should fully support students, from flexible scheduling to access to academic counseling to internships and career counseling. Using our extensive methodology, we’ve looked at the online human resources degree programs across the country – from associate programs to doctoral degrees – and ranked them on a variety of scoring metrics. Check out our comprehensive list of the Best Online Human Resources Programs for 2018.

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Rank School Name Location Tuition Financial Aid Acceptance Rate Graduation Rate # of Online Programs Credit for Experience Placement Services Counseling Services University Information
1 Rutgers University-New Brunswick New Brunswick, New Jersey$11,40846%57%86%2No Yes Yes School website
2 Southern Nazarene University Bethany, Oklahoma$23,70098%-47%1Yes Yes Yes School website
3 Columbia College Columbia, Missouri$7,88727%-40%1Yes Yes Yes School website
4 Temple University Philadelphia, Pennsylvania$15,38483%52%71%1Yes Yes Yes School website
5 Bellevue University Bellevue, Nebraska$6,84062%-32%2Yes No Yes School website
6 Florida International University Miami, Florida$4,72144%50%60%2No Yes Yes School website
7 Dickinson State University Dickinson, North Dakota$5,13854%92%34%1Yes Yes Yes School website
8 Colorado Christian University Lakewood, Colorado$22,36096%-41%2Yes Yes Yes School website
9 Indiana University-Bloomington Bloomington, Indiana$9,08755%79%80%1Yes Yes Yes School website
10 Davenport University Grand Rapids, Michigan$15,93693%78%41%2Yes Yes Yes School website
11 University of Arizona Tucson, Arizona$10,16074%79%63%1No Yes Yes School website
12 Fontbonne University Saint Louis, Missouri$24,25096%90%48%1Yes Yes Yes School website
13 Northern Kentucky University Highland Heights, Kentucky$9,00061%91%40%1Yes Yes Yes School website
14 Cleary University Howell, Michigan$17,50094%47%39%1Yes Yes Yes School website
15 Nyack College Nyack, New York$24,50099%100%42%1Yes Yes Yes School website
16 Pennsylvania State University-Worldwide University Park, Pennsylvania$16,95235%56%87%2Yes Yes Yes School website
17 Wilmington University New Castle, Delaware$10,6203%-31%2Yes Yes Yes School website
18 University of Maryland-University College Adelphi, Maryland$6,81611%-10%2Yes No Yes School website
19 Concordia University-Saint Paul Saint Paul, Minnesota$21,25097%57%49%2Yes Yes Yes School website
20 Hampton University Hampton, Virginia$21,55267%65%58%1Yes Yes Yes School website
21 University of Arkansas Fayetteville, Arkansas$7,20437%63%65%1No Yes Yes School website
22 Huntington University Huntington, Indiana$24,55499%89%60%1No Yes Yes School website
23 Indiana State University Terre Haute, Indiana$8,54668%86%41%1Yes Yes Yes School website
24 Hawai?i Pacific University Honolulu, Hawaii$23,16087%75%44%1Yes Yes Yes School website
25 Granite State College Concord, New Hampshire$7,2006%-21%1Yes Yes Yes School website
26 Indiana University-South Bend South Bend, Indiana$6,47843%77%32%1Yes Yes Yes School website
27 Western Governors University Salt Lake City, Utah$5,7801%-19%1No No Yes School website
28 Baker College Flint, Michigan$9,00080%-18%1Yes Yes Yes School website
29 Indiana University-Purdue University-Indianapolis Indianapolis, Indiana$8,14154%74%48%1Yes Yes Yes School website
30 Colorado State University-Global Campus Greenwood Village, Colorado$8,400---2Yes No Yes School website
31 Southwestern Assemblies of God University Waxahachie, Texas$18,90070%23%42%1Yes Yes Yes School website
32 Central Baptist College Conway, Arkansas$13,50086%62%39%1Yes No Yes School website
33 Ohio Christian University Circleville, Ohio$10,46847%-30%1Yes No Yes School website
34 Charleston Southern University Charleston, South Carolina$24,10098%61%35%1No No Yes School website
35 SUNY Empire State College Saratoga Springs, New York$6,47074%-17%1Yes No Yes School website
36 Franklin University Columbus, Ohio$11,856--16%1Yes No Yes School website
37 Thomas Edison State University Trenton, New Jersey$6,350---1Yes No Yes School website
38 William Penn University Oskaloosa, Iowa$23,78099%59%31%1No Yes Yes School website
39 Limestone College Gaffney, South Carolina$23,90097%48%29%1No Yes Yes School website
40 Texas A & M University-Central Texas Killeen, Texas$4,174---1Yes No Yes School website
41 Peirce College Philadelphia, Pennsylvania$13,87294%--1Yes No Yes School website
42 Golden Gate University San Francisco, California$15,120---1No Yes Yes School website
43 Metropolitan State University Saint Paul, Minnesota$6,563-10%33%1Yes No Yes School website
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Rank School Name Location Tuition Financial Aid Acceptance Rate Graduation Rate # of Online Programs Credit for Experience Placement Services Counseling Services University Information
1 Guilford Technical Community College Jamestown, North Carolina$2,1284%13%2Yes Yes Yes School website
2 Fayetteville Technical Community College Fayetteville, North Carolina$2,4322%12%2Yes Yes Yes School website
3 Lakeshore Technical College Cleveland, Wisconsin$3,9106%58%2Yes Yes Yes School website
4 Central Carolina Community College Sanford, North Carolina$2,4328%25%2Yes No Yes School website
5 Georgia Northwestern Technical College Rome, Georgia$2,136-23%1Yes Yes Yes School website
6 Pitt Community College Winterville, North Carolina$1,82416%10%1Yes Yes Yes School website
7 Cuyahoga Community College Cleveland, Ohio$3,9534%9%1Yes Yes Yes School website
8 Pima Community College Tucson, Arizona$1,88410%14%1Yes No Yes School website
9 Saint Paul College Saint Paul, Minnesota$4,802-21%1Yes Yes Yes School website
10 Inver Hills Community College Inver Grove Heights, Minnesota$4,7223%21%1Yes Yes Yes School website
11 Clackamas Community College Oregon City, Oregon$4,05018%19%2Yes No Yes School website
12 Mitchell Community College Statesville, North Carolina$2,4328%22%3No Yes Yes School website
13 Southeastern Technical College Vidalia, Georgia$2,136-42%1No Yes Yes School website

Overview of the HR Field

Human resources covers a wide range of skills, departments, and careers. Jobs available to those holding a degree in HR range from administration services manager, compensation and benefits manager, HR specialists, and labor relations specialists to top executives, training and development managers, and specialists. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), as of 2012, the average median income for Human Resource Managers was $99,720 – well over double the national average income of $44,888.

When it comes to job growth, BLS projects a 7 percent employment gain for the field between 2012 and 2022, which is lower than the average growth rate across all industries. Because the expansion of human resources is slower than that of other fields, industry competition can be expected to increase slightly. Therefore, a degree is necessary for success in any HR position.

Types of Online Human Resources Degrees

As with almost all educational paths, there is no single way to complete a human resources degree. Some students begin learning at the associate level and don’t stop until they’ve achieved a PhD, while others may seek a sole associate or bachelor’s degree. The learning medium also varies widely, with on-campus and online classes available in any number of combinations.

In recent years, the capabilities and availability of online programs have grown exponentially, giving students the opportunity to complete their educations with far more flexibility than ever before. Now, those currently juggling jobs, families and busy schedules can acquire a human resources degree by completing courses either fully or partially online, and at their own pace. With the variety of degree levels and programs available, it’s important that the potential student chooses the one that’s best aligned to their goals and lifestyle. Below is a closer look into the human resources timeline.

Online Associate’s Degree: Two Years

Two-year associate degrees will give students a broad overview of the field. In most cases, many of the general and prerequisite course requirements necessary to continue on to a bachelor’s degree will be met during the course of the associate’s program. Graduates holding an associate’s degree may find job opportunities in entry-level positions such as human resource generalists.

Acceptance to an online associate’s degree program is generally relatively straightforward. In most cases, a high school diploma or GED is required. Once an application and all required paperwork (e.g. transcripts, letters of recommendation, etc.) have been submitted, applicants may also need to successfully pass a required English and math placement examinations (or other like tests), depending on the school.

Coursework is generally completed in 60 credits, though it may differ slightly between schools and programs. Curriculum should prepare students for every aspect of human resource management, including employee benefits, compensation management, labor relations, interpersonal communications and recruitment, all on a basic level.

Schools Offering Online Associate’s Degrees in Human Resources

American Public University System

Associate Degree Program Offered: Human Resources Management and Services, Other

Enrollment: 55,422

Tuition: $6,400

College Type: Private

Herkimer County Community College

Associate Degree Program Offered: Human Resource Management AAS

Enrollment: 3,212

Tuition: $6,420

College Type: Public

New England College of Business

Associate Degree Program Offered: Human Resources Management, AS Degree

Enrollment: 1,145

Tuition: $9,235

College Type: Private

South Texas College – Online

Associate Degree Program Offered: Human Resources Specialist Associates

Enrollment: 31,232

Tuition: $7,170

College Type: Public

Online Bachelor’s Degree: Four Years

A bachelor’s degree in human resource management will allow students to understand the broader aspects of the field and choose to narrow their focus down with a specialty should they so choose. Graduates will be equipped to enter HR careers in a variety of business settings and should be prepared to pursue future graduate study.

Acceptance into most online human resources bachelor’s programs requires that students submit an application and application fee, an essay stating purpose, transcripts from previous educational work, SAT/ACT test scores, letters of recommendation, a resume, and any other required documents.

Course titles and curriculum will vary by school and program, but generally, the subjects offered will be the same. For example, core subjects often include history, behavioral/social science, mathematics and natural sciences, humanities and fine arts, and written composition. Prerequisites to the professional courses include business statistics, accounting, computer applications, and introductions to business and law. Professional courses may include labor/management relations, marketing principles, employment law, compensation and benefits, organizational behavior and team building, and business policy.

Schools Offering Online Bachelor’s Degrees in Human Resources

Anderson University

Bachelor’s Degree Programs Offered: Bachelor of Organizational Leadership in Human Resource Administration; Organizational Behavior Studies

Enrollment: 5,408

Tuition: $20,900-$28,170

College Type: Private

Excelsior College

Bachelor’s Degree Program Offered: Business Management – Human Resources

Enrollment: 39,897

Tuition: $17,000

College Type: Private

Fort Hays State University Online

Bachelor’s Degree Programs Offered: Bachelor of Business Administration in Management – Human Resources; Bachelor of Science in Business Education – Training and Development

Enrollment: 13,441

Tuition: $5,778

College Type: Public

Lewis University

Bachelor’s Degree Program Offered: Organizational Behavioral Studies

Enrollment: 6,525

Tuition: $26,780

College Type: Private

Rasmussen College Online

Bachelor’s Degree Program Offered: Accelerated Human Resources and Organizational Leadership – Bachelor’s Degree

Enrollment: 15,446

Tuition: $10,764

College Type: Private

Florida International University
  • Enrollment: 51,334
  • Tuition: $6,417
  • College Type: Public
  • State: Florida
  • Bachelor of Business Administration - Human Resource Management
University of Maryland
  • Enrollment: 43,574
  • Tuition: $6,384
  • College Type: Public
  • State: Maryland
  • Bachelor of Science in Human Resource Management
Thomas Edison State College
  • Enrollment: 19,596
  • Tuition: $5,508
  • College Type: Public
  • State: New Jersey
  • Bachelor of Science in Business Administration (BSBA) - Human Resources Management/Organizational Management

Online Master’s Degree: Six Years

An online master’s degree in human resources should allow students to develop the advanced knowledge and skills necessary to take on leadership positions, such as director or vice president of human resources. Learn more about obtaining a master’s in human resources with our guide on the topic.

Online Doctorate Degree: Eight+ Years

Doctorate degrees are the highest level of education attainable for students of human resources. They are typically pursued when the student’s goal is to teach human resources or achieve an executive position in the workplace. Online doctorate programs are designed to be flexible for the students managing families, busy schedules and careers.

Doctoral programs can be achieved in roughly 60 credit hours depending on the school and program, totaling two years. Many programs can be completed wholly online, while others may require occasional or regular on-campus meetings.

To enroll in most online human resources doctoral programs, applicants must:

  • Possess a graduate degree from an accredited institution
  • Submit an admission application
  • Provide transcripts for all graduate coursework (and possibly previous coursework)
  • Have maintained a GPA that meets the standards of the program to which they are applying
  • Provide letters of recommendation
  • Provide a current resume
  • Submit an essay or statement of purpose describing the student’s interest in HR
  • Have relevant professional experience (two to five years or more, depending on the school)

Common coursework includes managing global challenges; advanced operations management; and strategy formulation, implementation and evaluation. Students may also choose an area of focus, including areas such as international business, management and marketing. In addition to class work, some programs require that students complete a dissertation.

Schools Offering Online Doctorate Degrees in Human Resources

University of Arkansas

Doctorate Degree Program Offered: Educational Doctorate in Human Resource and Workforce Development

Enrollment: 25,341

Tuition: $16,260

College Type: Public

University of South Florida

Doctorate Degree Program Offered: Doctorate in Curriculum and Instruction (Career and Workforce Education concentration)

Enrollment: 47,965

Tuition: $19,057-$22,993

College Type: Public

Bellevue University

Doctorate Degree Program Offered: PhD in Human Capital Management

Enrollment: 9,788

Tuition: $9,210

College Type: Private

Signs of a Quality Online HR Program

Whether students are interested in an online associate degree in human resources or pursuing their advanced educations with a master’s or PhD, they’ll want to be sure to choose the program that best fits their occupational goals, schedule, budget and timeline. When deciding between online schools with which to pursue a degree in HR, it’s important to be aware of the following criteria.


In many disciplines, accreditation agencies approve degree programs in their own field, such as AASCB accreditation for online MBA programs. For human resources programs, however, there is no single national accrediting agency, so schools are instead accredited at the regional or national level. If the degree program you’re interested in is accredited by an agency or organization that is recognized by the U.S. Department of Education, you can trust that the curriculum is well-designed and applicable in the field. Below is a very brief sampling of some of these accrediting agencies; this is by no means a comprehensive list. Students are encouraged to research accreditation associations for further information.

Regional accreditation agencies include:

  • ACCJC-WASC: Accrediting Commission for Community and Junior Colleges, Western Association of Schools and Colleges
  • HLC: Higher Learning Commission
  • MSCHE: Middle States Commission on Higher Education
  • NEASC-CIHE: New England Association of Schools and Colleges Commission on Institutions of Higher Education
  • SACS COC: Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges
  • WASC-SCUC: WASC Senior College and University Commission

National accreditation agencies include:

  • DEAC: Distance Education Accrediting Commission
  • AACSB: The Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business

Scheduling Flexibility

Online education is centered around the idea that students should be able to achieve their educational goals on their own timeline, while maintaining their daily lives. It is important to make sure that courses are available on a part-time or full-time basis, day and night, to suit the changing schedules of students working jobs and taking care of families.

Student Support

In a distance learning program, it is important that students have the technical and academic support required to achieve their degrees. Students should investigate the available resources outside of the classroom, including financial aid programs, career and academic counseling, availability of professors and advisors, communication technology, academic resources, and employment assistance programs. Quality programs will offer online students the same supportive programs that those attending classes on-campus enjoy as well.

Internships and Employment Assistance Programs

Student support goes beyond the educational years. Schools should provide support to both students and alumni in career advancement with job placement and HR internship programs, and assistance in pursuing post-graduate education.

Online Human Resource Degree Search Tool

Online degrees in human resources range from associate to doctorate, and each provide graduates with different opportunities. Before selecting an online program, prospective students must ask themselves what type of career they aspire to. Once decided, the search tool below can find the best program matched to those needs while also factoring in important program characteristics such as accreditation, flexibility, concentration areas, and student support services.