The best online human resources schools offer a flexible and affordable pathway to a career in human resources (HR). These business professionals hire and train employees, carry out disciplinary action, and manage employee benefits.
Whether you're a first-time student or a career changer looking to pursue a bachelor's or master's degree, online HR programs can help you hone the skills needed to jumpstart an HR career. Keep reading to learn more about what a degree in human resources can do for you.
Why Get a Degree in Human Resources?
- Colleges that offer human resources degrees teach you critical hard and soft skills that many businesses value.
- Online HR programs offer flexibility that's ideal for working students.
- HR professionals play a significant role in shaping a safe work environment.
- If you're a people person, HR careers offer a collaborative professional atmosphere.
- Since human resources is a broad field, you can specialize in an area that aligns with your skills and professional interests.
Did You Know?
Jobs for HR specialists are projected to grow 8% from 2021-2031, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS).
You typically only need a bachelor's degree to work in HR, though you may need a master's for some managerial roles.
The top 10% of HR managers earned more than $208,000 annually in May 2021!
According to a 2022 survey by Accountemps, nearly 2 in 5 HR managers believe Tuesdays are the most productive day of the week.
Explore Our Featured Business and HR Programs
How Does Accreditation Work for HR Programs?
When evaluating prospective HR programs, be sure to consider the program's accreditation status.
Accreditation acts as a stamp of approval, ensuring that schools and programs offer quality academics, extensive student services, and financial aid.
Accreditation comes in two forms: institutional accreditation for schools and programmatic accreditation for specific programs.
While HR programs don't necessarily receive HR accreditation, the best business programs hold accreditation from agencies like the Accreditation Council for Business Schools and Programs and the International Accreditation Council for Business Education.
Take a moment to find out whether your HR program is accredited.
Best Accredited Human Resources Online Programs
#1 The Best Online Human Resources Degrees
Florida International University
- 4 years
- Online + Campus
Florida International University provides diverse learning opportunities from its main campus in Miami. Learners looking to advance in the HR field should consider the college's BBA in human resource management. Beyond the classroom, students can pursue experiential learning opportunities, such as faculty-driven research projects and internships.
Learners from all walks of life benefit from the human resources program's flexible format. When considering remote study, learners should know that 27% of the college's programs support online learning. Enrollees can access numerous campus resources throughout their studies, including academic advising and career services.
Florida International University at a Glance:
Total Academic Programs: 250
Number of Online Programs: 67
Admission Rate: 58%
Graduation Rate: 63%
Percent of Students Awarded Aid: 90%
Average Amount of Aid Awarded: $8,958
Percent of Students Awarded Loans: 29%
Average Amount of Loans Awarded: $7,203
Average Price After Aid: $9,888
#2 The Best Online Human Resources Degrees
Western Carolina University
- 4 years
- Online + Campus
Western Carolina University supports numerous degree programs, both in-person and online, from its main campus in Cullowhee, North Carolina. The college's master of science in human resources equips students with industry-relevant knowledge, preparing them for the demands of a human resources career. Learners benefit from a 17-to-1 student-faculty ratio, with many chances to interact closely with professors.
Students can complete coursework at the school's main campus in Cullowhee or pursue remote learning. To date, 18% of the college's degree programs enable online study. Learners can make use of campus resources, such as academic advising and library services, while enrolled.
Western Carolina University at a Glance:
Total Academic Programs: 107
Number of Online Programs: 19
Admission Rate: 69%
Graduation Rate: 62%
Percent of Students Awarded Aid: 85%
Average Amount of Aid Awarded: $5,274
Percent of Students Awarded Loans: 55%
Average Amount of Loans Awarded: $6,103
Average Price After Aid: $12,965
#3 The Best Online Human Resources Degrees
- 4 years
- Online + Campus
Clemson University supports numerous degree programs from its main campus in South Carolina. The school's master's in human resource development prepares students for future careers through foundational and specialized coursework. Students complete foundational and advanced coursework, gaining a well-rounded education preparing them for the demands of the HR field.
Working professionals and busy students benefit from the human resources program's flexibility and can learn in-person or online. Prospective learners seeking remote study should know that 20% of the college's degree programs support fully online enrollment. Remote students benefit from academic and professional guidance through academic advising, career services, and other campus resources.
Clemson University at a Glance:
Total Academic Programs: 249
Number of Online Programs: 49
Admission Rate: 51%
Graduation Rate: 84%
Percent of Students Awarded Aid: 92%
Average Amount of Aid Awarded: $9,672
Percent of Students Awarded Loans: 39%
Average Amount of Loans Awarded: $6,637
Average Price After Aid: $21,482
#4 The Best Online Human Resources Degrees
Stony Brook University
Stony Brook, NY
- 4 years
- Online + Campus
Located in New York State, Stony Brook University provides a flexible, competitive education to students near and far. The college's master of science in human resource management provides students interested in a human resources career with a world-class education. Students benefit from learning opportunities within and beyond the classroom and can pursue collaborative projects such as faculty-driven research and internships.
Depending on their needs, students can complete the human resources program in-person or online. Remote students can choose from 31 fully online degree programs. Throughout their studies, learners can access academic advising, career services, and other institutional resources.
Stony Brook University at a Glance:
Total Academic Programs: 263
Number of Online Programs: 31
Admission Rate: 44%
Graduation Rate: 76%
Percent of Students Awarded Aid: 79%
Average Amount of Aid Awarded: $9,540
Percent of Students Awarded Loans: 37%
Average Amount of Loans Awarded: $6,068
Average Price After Aid: $15,605
How Much Does a Human Resources Degree Cost?
The cost of an online human resources degree can vary significantly, from as little as $4,000 to as much as $38,000 a year in tuition and fees, according to the National Center for Education Statistics.
Some factors that can affect how much you pay for your HR degree include:
- Whether you're seeking an associate, bachelor's, master's, or doctoral degree
- Whether you attend a public or private school
- Whether you're an in-state or out-of-state student
- Whether you qualify for any financial aid
Students paying in-state tuition at public institutions typically enjoy the lowest rates, while those at private colleges spend the most.
As an online student, you might pay additional costs like technology fees. That said, you'll save money on campus-based fees and transportation costs.
How Much Money Can You Make With a Degree in HR?
Because your HR degree can lead to a number of careers in both the public and private sectors, your earning potential can vary. Many HR bachelor's degree-holders become HR specialists. These professionals earned a median annual salary of $62,290 in May 2021, according to the BLS.
Additional factors like work experience, education, specialization, and location can also impact how much you earn with an HR degree.
|Job||Median Annual Salary (May 2021)||Job Growth Rate (2021-2031)||Minimum Education Required|
|Compensation and Benefits Managers||$127,530||2%||Bachelor's|
|Human Resources Managers||$126,230||7%||Bachelor's or master's|
|Training and Development Managers||$120,130||7%||Bachelor's or master's|
|Labor Relations Specialists||$77,010||-3%||Bachelor's|
|Compensation, Benefits, and Job Analysis Specialists||$64,120||7%||Bachelor's|
|Human Resources Specialists||$62,290||8%||Bachelor's|
|Training and Development Specialists||$61,570||8%||Bachelor's|
How to Become a Human Resources Specialist: 4-Step Guide
There's no one path to an HR career, but there are some steps you'll inevitably have to take on your professional journey. Continue reading to learn how you can become a human resources specialist.
Step 1: Earn a Bachelor's in Human Resources
For many HR professionals, the first step is to earn a bachelor's degree in human resources. These four-year programs introduce foundational business practices while facilitating the development of essential HR skills.
In an undergraduate HR program, you'll study critical topics such as employment law, leadership skills, and conflict resolution.
Common Courses for Human Resources Degrees
- Business Communication
- Compensation and Benefits
- Conflict Resolution
- Labor Relations and Negotiation
- Operations Management
- Principles of Economics
- Talent Recruitment and Retainment
- Training and Development
Step 2: Complete an Internship
Many HR programs require you to complete an internship before you graduate. Internship opportunities take place at approved work locations and provide hands-on learning opportunities to give you a taste of working in HR.
An internship is also an excellent way to enhance your resume and build your professional network.
Step 3: Get Certification
While not a requirement for a human resources career, earning various HR certifications can enhance your resume, allow you to hone new skills, and set you apart from the competition.
Whether you're an undergraduate or a graduate student, the Human Resources Certification Institute (HRCI) offers various professional credentials that can expand your career options and increase your earning potential.
Examples of HRCI certifications include:
- Associate professional in human resources
- Professional in human resources
- Senior professional in human resources
- Global professional in human resources
Step 4: Consider a Graduate Degree in Human Resources
While a bachelor's in human resources can jumpstart your HR career, a graduate degree in HR can open up career pathways and raise your salary potential.
Frequently Asked Questions About Human Resources
What can I do with a human resources degree?
A human resources degree can prepare you for many business-oriented careers in the public and private sectors. Common roles include HR specialist, HR manager, HR administrator, and compensation and benefits manager.
A bachelor's degree often prepares you for entry-level roles, whereas a graduate degree in HR prepares you to take on HR leadership roles.
Does a degree in human resources pay well?
Your earning potential as an HR professional can vary. Entry-level HR specialists earn a relatively modest income of around $62,000 a year, while HR managers can earn over $100,000, according to the BLS.
Beyond your academic training, your experience, industry, and geographic location can all impact how much cash you take home.
Is human resources a hard degree?
Like many college degrees, human resources challenges students to develop the skills they'll need to succeed in a professional environment. The difficulty of this degree depends on your skills and abilities.
In addition to taking core business and HR classes, you'll hone your critical thinking, problem-solving, and collaborative skills, which are critical for doing well in a real professional setting.
Is HR a stressful career?
Similar to other careers that regularly engage with people, a human resources career is not without its stressors. That said, for every employee termination and conflict resolution, there's the fulfilling work of collaboration and successful problem-solving.
Should you get a human resources degree?
If you're a people person and enjoy problem-solving, a human resources degree could be a good fit for you. An HR program is also ideal for those who want a career with lots of room for growth and generous financial compensation.