The human resources field is quite versatile when it comes to employment outcomes. Those who want to get into the workplace quickly will find it usually doesn't take a four-year degree to get their foot in the door as a human resources assistant. Meanwhile, those who are interested in advancing their career may discover that a quality education can help them to become workplace managers.

Regardless of which option appeals to you, online human resources degree programs can make it convenient to get the education you're looking for. Keep reading to learn more about which institutions make the cut as the best online colleges for human resources. Also included are details about degree levels and typical careers for graduates in the field.

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Best Online Colleges for Human Resources in 2018-19

Using data from the National Center for Education Statistics' Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS), we evaluated 100 online schools with degree programs for human resources, assessing them based on metrics such as admissions, graduation rate and tuition. Only the schools with the most impressive scores made it onto our list of the 10 best online colleges for human resources. To find out which schools made the cut, just keep reading; for details on our methodology, see the bottom of this page.

1

Nova Southeastern University

Tuition & Fees
$30,900
Distance Education Participation
46%
Location
Fort Lauderdale, FL
School Type
4-year

A private nonprofit school, Nova Southeastern University helps students interested in human resource management to learn about employee relations, talent management, job evaluation and more through an online MBA degree program with a concentration in human resource management. The online MBA program is 40 to 49 credit hours in all, with 18 credits in the human resource field and a three-credit internship. There are three different admission dates throughout the year.

Another option is to apply for the university's online graduate certificate in human resources, which requires completion of five courses. Topics include managing human resources, managing total rewards and human resource development.

Accreditation:

  • Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges
 
2

Davenport University

Tuition & Fees
$18,414
Distance Education Participation
73%
Location
Grand Rapids, MI
School Type
4-year

The online Bachelor of Business Administration in human resource management at Davenport University offers students an opportunity to build skills in the human resource field. The program's curriculum is specifically structured to be aligned with the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM)'s content areas. Eligible students may even be able to take the SHRM Certified Professional (CP) exam in their senior year.

Davenport also offers an online certificate program in human resource management, which is 12 to 18 credits in total and includes coursework in employment law, compensation and benefits, and related areas. Please note that the certificate program is NOT aligned to SHRM as the BBA program is, due to the shorter length of the program.

Accreditation:

  • Higher Learning Commission
 
3

University of Phoenix-Arizona

Tuition & Fees
$9,552
Distance Education Participation
99%
Location
Tempe, AZ
School Type
4-year

The University of Phoenix-Arizona has several human resources programs available across various degree levels:

  • Bachelor of Science in Business with a human resource certificate add-on
  • Master of Business Administration with a concentration in human resource management (and a certificate option that allows students to take certain major-relevant courses early in the program, in order to demonstrate knowledge of the field to potential employers before graduation)
  • Undergraduate certificate in human resource management (18 credits minimum)
  • Graduate certificate in human resource management (15 credits minimum)

Ongoing start dates are a feature of online degree programs at this private, for-profit university. Courses are typically five or six weeks in length, and an open admissions policy welcomes all applicants as long as they have earned a high school diploma or GED certificate before applying.

Accreditation:

  • Higher Learning Commission
  • Accreditation Council for Business Schools and Programs
 
4

University of Saint Francis

Tuition & Fees
$32,320
Distance Education Participation
63%
Location
Joliet, IL
School Type
4-year

This Catholic university was founded in 1920 specifically to educate members of the Congregation of the Third Order of St. Francis of Mary Immaculate. Over the years, the University of St Francis has come to extend its offerings of academic education and Franciscan values to students around the world via online education.

Human resources is not available at USF as a pure degree program, but it is available as a business concentration at both the graduate and undergraduate level. The online Bachelor of Science in Business Administration at USF is an accelerated adult degree completion program with several concentrations, among them managing human resources. Graduate students, meanwhile, can focus on human resource management in USF's online MBA program or the Master of Science in training and development.

Accreditation:

  • Higher Learning Commission
  • Accreditation Council for Business Schools and Programs
 
5

Temple University

Tuition & Fees
$16,970
Distance Education Participation
18%
Location
Philadelphia, PA
School Type
4-year

The online master's degree program in human resource management available through Temple University can be completed entirely through a distance-based platform and on a part-time schedule. This program takes a business-oriented approach to human resource management, as it is hosted by Temple's Fox School of Business. The curriculum is certified to comply with Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) standards.

Courses are delivered over five-week periods, enabling students to enroll for up to three classes per semester. Live web conferencing sessions are one of the many distance-learning tools used at Temple Online to facilitate instruction and learning.

Accreditation:

  • Middle States Commission on Higher Education
  • Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business International
 
6

Brenau University

Tuition & Fees
$29,050
Distance Education Participation
60%
Location
Gainesville, GA
School Type
4-year

Brenau University offers a variety of graduate and undergraduate degree programs in human resource management, some taught on-campus and others available 100 percent online. The courses in these programs are designed to be seven weeks in length, and coursework is delivered through the Canvas management system.

  • Bachelor of Business Administration in human resource management (minimum GPA to apply: 2.5 as a freshman college student, 2.0 as a transfer student)
  • MBA in human resources management (minimum GPA to apply: 3.0, must have earned a bachelor's degree)
  • Master of Science in Organizational Leadership (MSOL) in human resources management (minimum GPA to apply: 2.5, must have earned a bachelor's degree)
  • Graduate certificate in human resources management (minimum GPA to apply: 3.0, must have earned a master's degree)

Accreditation:

  • Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges
  • Accreditation Council for Business Schools and Programs
 
7

Rasmussen College-Florida

Tuition & Fees
$10,935
Distance Education Participation
92%
Location
Ocala, FL
School Type
4-year

Flexibility is the key at Rasmussen College-Florida, a school that offers online, blended and campus locations for its human resources program. Students can pursue an associate or bachelor's degree in human resources and organizational management, building skills in conflict management, communication and team building. The college's flex choice program gives students the opportunity to complete assessments for credits.

Rasmussen College-Florida took the #1 spot on our list of best online colleges for human resources due in large part to the percentage of its awarded degrees in 2015 that were awarded in human resources — the seventh-highest percentage out of all 100 schools analyzed. This is hardly Rasmussen's only noteworthy characteristic: the college also ranked No.26 for affordability of tuition, and also offers prospective students the benefit of an open admissions policy, meaning that the school accepts any applicant who has earned a high school diploma or GED certificate.

Accreditation:

  • Higher Learning Commission (HLC)

Location:

4755 Southwest 46th Court
Ocala, Florida 34474-6226
8

Florida International University

Tuition & Fees
$6,546
Distance Education Participation
65%
Location
Miami, FL
School Type
4-year

Collective bargaining, employment law and union-management relations are just a few of the courses that make up the online Bachelor of Business Administration in human resource management degree program at Florida International University. The program has three start dates throughout the year, and is delivered through the Blackboard learning management system. Curriculum is aligned to Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) standards.

Graduate students can instead pursue the online Master of Science in human resource management, which is designed for working HR professionals. A one-year membership to SHRM is included for students enrolling in this program, as is access to FIU's career management services.

Accreditation:

  • Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on College
  • Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business International
 
9

Saint Leo University

Tuition & Fees
$23,020
Distance Education Participation
74%
Location
Saint Leo, FL
School Type
4-year

Prospective students to Saint Leo University -- a Catholic school located in Florida -- can find both online and on-campus learning opportunities in the field of human resource management. Offerings include both an online Bachelor of Arts in human resource management, and an online MBA with a concentration in human resource management.

The BA program has earned official recognition from the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM), and it offers opportunities for students to participate in internships, conferences and Sigma Beta Delta, an international honor society in business. Meanwhile, the MBA program has six start dates per year, and can be pursued alongside a second MBA concentration if the director approves.

Accreditation:

  • Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on College
  • Accreditation Council for Business Schools and Programs
 
10

Regis University

Tuition & Fees
$36,810
Distance Education Participation
63%
Location
Denver, CO
School Type
4-year

At Regis University, online students have a few different options for learning about human resource management. Undergraduates can choose between the Bachelor of Science in human resource management, or the Bachelor of Science in business with a human resource management specialization. The B.S. in human resource management has an emphasis on corporate culture, economic trends and organizational behavior, while the B.S. in business focuses more on business fundamentals.

Meanwhile, graduate students can enroll in the Master of Science in human resource management, or pursue the graduate certificate program in strategic human resource integration. The M.S. is an intensive program that dives deeply into issues of human resource management, while the shorter graduate certificate program approaches leadership and employee relations.

Accreditation:

  • Higher Learning Commission
 

Interview with an Expert

Our staff members are always willing to help students out
via phone, e-mail or the online student commons.

Dr. Barrett Baebler

Chair of the Management Department

Webster University

Interview with an Expert
Barrett Baebler

Dr. Barrett Baebler

Chair of the Management Department

Webster University

Q: What qualities make Webster University's online human resources degree an outstanding program?

A: Our instructors are largely working within the industry. Because of this, Webster University's HR graduate courses involve practical and theoretical considerations in the professional development of men and women in the field of human resources. To help us ensure we continually offer and deliver a quality program, the MA in Human Resources Management program is accredited by the Accreditation Council for Business Schools and Programs. Additionally, our MA in Human Resources fully aligns with the SHRM (Society for Human Resource Management) curriculum guidelines.

Q: What support does Webster University offer their online student body?

A: Webster offers a number of initial online trainings to new online students. One training is geared towards students who are new to Webster University and to online learning while another training is geared towards students who might have taken an on-campus class before and is aware of Webster's resources but is not used to the online environment.

We have an "online student commons" message board where student volunteers and staff are able to answer questions as they come in. A student success coach is on staff to ensure that everyone is having an easy path through the process. Also, our staff members are always willing to help students out via phone, e-mail or the online student commons.

Q: How does the online human resources program differ from the on-campus program?

A: We know that our students are busy adults, and we value being able to offer them flexibility throughout their education. If someone lives in St. Louis or near a domestic or international metropolitan campus that offers an HR master's degree, they would be able to seamlessly jump between on-campus or online course offerings.

The learning outcomes and program requirements are the same regardless of the delivery method. The online learning option allows students to do their coursework when it is most convenient for them, but the quality of the education is the same whether you're in a classroom for one evening a week or on your computer at a coffee shop on a Saturday afternoon.

Degree Overview: Human Resources

Whether students are thinking of beginning a career in human resources or are already working in the field, a variety of online education for human resources programs are available to help them improve their career prospects. Courses vary by degree, and what you can expect to learn varies by courses, but details on some common outlines of both are provided below.

Online Human Resources Courses

While an associate degree can certainly be quicker and easier to earn than a master's degree, that master's degree can open the door to more and higher-paying careers in your field. What can you expect to learn at different levels of a degree program? While the details will change between different institutions, here is a brief overview of some of the general subjects you can expect to see at various degree levels.

  • Prospective students who want to drill down onto one particular aspect of human resources in a quick, concise manner can look to certificate or diploma programs. A half-dozen classes or more may be required, but typically are strictly focused in the field. The basics students cover may include human relations, labor relations and employment law.
  • Online human resources degrees at the associate level are one of the quickest overviews for helping students to learn about interviewing, hiring procedures and recruitment. Students may be able to choose between human resources administration — which focuses on personal management of individuals — or human resources management — which looks more at overarching systems and policies — as a degree focus.
  • Online bachelor's degree programs in human resources are often (though not always) offered as a specialization through a business program, rather than as a specific "online human resources bachelor's degree program." Such a specialization may touch on legal issues in human resource management; employee and labor relations; and international issues.
  • Human resources degrees are even available online at the master's degree level and may address such specialized topics such as structuring benefit packages, using data in decision-making and implementing training programs.
  • In a PhD program in human resources, students may be able to gain a greater perspective of the global workplace and personnel issues and to focus on workforce technologies. Research classes and a dissertation may be required in these programs, which are often rigorous.

Career-Related Skills to Develop

The human resources field requires a vast amount of skills and knowledge. When considering various online colleges for human resources, students may want to think about whether these programs help to develop the following skills.

  • Decision-making: The human resource field requires tough decision-making about benefits, pay and retirement packages that may affect many employees and even their families. Personnel in the field need to be able to weigh various priorities to ensure the best decisions are made for both the organization and its employees.
  • Legal knowledge: Knowing what needs to happen inside of an organization is one thing, but making sure the company is complying with local, state and federal laws is another. Human resource personnel need to understand the various legal aspects for hiring and firing and to follow all regulations at all times.
  • Leadership: Human resources people are front and center when it comes to creating the type of culture that an organization possesses. They help to ensure equal employment opportunities for all people, regardless of race or gender, and to provide a safe, harassment-free workplace, both by example and by direction.
  • Speaking: Human resource personnel often need to give presentations to groups of employees, whether that's about health insurance options, new programs being instituted or even internal business issues. As such, it's important for these professionals to be comfortable with both large and small group speaking.

Human Resources Career Outlook

There are a number of human resources occupations available to graduates. Some of these jobs focus on a particular aspect of the field while others are typically filled by people with advanced education and experience. Here's a look at four common choices for graduates of online colleges for human resources.

Compensation and Benefits Manger
Average Salary
$132,860
Projected Job Openings
1,400
Projected Job Growth
2.9
Entry-level Education
Bachelor's degree
Another specialized occupation within the field of human resources is that of compensation and benefits managers. As their name suggests, these professionals may set up the pay structure of an organization, choose benefits partners and ensure their program of wages and benefits falls within an allotted budget.

Employers may hire those with a bachelor's degree, but a master's degree may be preferred by some companies, particularly those with a large payroll to manage. Rather than a general human resources degree, compensation and benefits managers may have a master's degree in human resource management.
Human Resources Manager
Average Salary
$126,700
Projected Job Openings
14,400
Projected Job Growth
7.1
Entry-level Education
Bachelor's degree
Once they have gained a sufficient level of experience, human resources specialists may be promoted to manager positions. Human resources managers oversee the work of specialists, plan benefits packages and mediate staffing issues. At some companies, these professionals serve as part of the executive team and are called in to be part of high level decisions.

While a bachelor's degree may be the minimum education required for some positions, other employers may prefer to hire candidates who have an advanced degree. Online degrees in human resources management are often tailored specifically for those hoping to work at the managerial level.
Human Resources Specialist
Average Salary
$66,790
Projected Job Openings
67,700
Projected Job Growth
5.3
Entry-level Education
Bachelor's degree
Human resources specialists may wear many hats, but their main duties involve interviewing job applicants, checking references and performing new worker orientations. Some employers may also have these specialists perform additional tasks such as processing payroll or assisting with strategic planning.

A bachelor's degree in human resources is the standard education for these workers. Human resources specialists are employed by businesses in all industries, but the largest percentage work in the employment services sector. The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports 16 percent of jobs were in that field in 2014. Specialists may work full-time in an office, but some may also travel to job fairs and college campuses for recruitment purposes.
Training and Development Specialist
Average Salary
$65,120
Projected Job Openings
37,300
Projected Job Growth
9.4
Entry-level Education
Bachelor's degree
Training and development specialists focus specifically on the training needs of employees. They may be responsible for identifying areas of weakness within a workforce and creating solutions for improvement. Beyond that, these specialists create training programs and implement them.

Since many organizations use online or technology-based learning programs, companies may look for training and development specialists who not only have a background in human resources but who are also familiar with information technology tools.
 
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