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Best Online Human Resources (HR) Bachelor's Degree Programs

Learn about online bachelor's degree in human resources (HR), including common coursework, program length, and the best online programs. Also, explore HR career paths as well as HR support organizations and HR certifications.

Best Online Bachelor's Degree Programs in Human Resources (HR)

When deciding which online bachelor's program in human resources (HR) fits your needs, you should take into account cost, flexibility, and program format. Listed below are the top schools that offer online bachelor's degrees in HR.

1. Houghton College

Location Undergraduate Tuition & Fees (in-state) % Receiving Financial Aid
Houghton, NY $32,488 99%

Houghton College offers an online Bachelor of Business Administration in Human Resources Management degree and a Bachelor of Science in Human Resources Management degree. Both online programs offer full- and part-time attendance with 8-week courses that are 100% online. These classes also don't require you to be online at a specific time or take any tests. You need to earn 124 credits; 40 of these credits are in the HR management core that includes classes on employment law, managing benefits, and business writing.

2. Immaculata University

Location Undergraduate Tuition & Fees (in-state) % Receiving Financial Aid
Immaculata, PA $27,350 100%

Immaculata University's online Bachelor of Science in Human Resources Management degree program is accredited by the Accreditation Council for Business Schools and Programs (ACBSP). This online program features 7-week courses, and by taking 9 credits in the spring, summer, and fall semesters, you can complete your HR degree in only 2 years. As this school accepts up to 72 undergraduate transfer credits, you may be able to finish your degree in a shorter time frame as well.

3. University of Arkansas

Location Undergraduate Tuition & Fees (in-state) % Receiving Financial Aid
Fayetteville, AR $9,130 77%

The University of Arkansas has an online Bachelor of Science in Human Resource and Workforce Development Education degree completion program with an emphasis in talent development. This program trains you to:

  • Design recruitment procedures
  • Interview job candidates
  • Train employees and managers
  • Administer orientation programs

Your online classes follow a 15-week traditional semester, and you must complete a final capstone course that assesses you on the material you learn during your degree program. To enter this degree program, you must have at least 3 years of work experience and must complete university core classes and prerequisite coursework in economics, math, and psychology.

4. Concordia University-Saint Paul

Location Undergraduate Tuition & Fees (in-state) % Receiving Financial Aid
Saint Paul, MN $22,275 99%

Concordia University-Saint Paul offers an online Bachelor of Arts in Human Resources Management degree program that is designed for busy adult learners who need a flexible degree path. This online program requires a total of 120 credits; 40 of those credits are in the HR management concentration. Your classes are 7 weeks long and center on such subjects as organizational development, recruitment, and business analytics.

5. Indiana State University

Location Undergraduate Tuition & Fees (in-state) % Receiving Financial Aid
Terre Haute, IN $9,090 93%

Indiana State University has an online Bachelor of Science in Human Resource Development for Higher Education and Industry degree program that is an SHRM (Society of Human Resource Management) affiliate, which means it aligns with SHRM's HR educational curriculum guidelines. In this online program, you take classes in career development, work-life balance, and labor relations. Indiana State University also accepts up to 90 transfer credits to help you quickly earn your HR degree.

Rank School Name Location Undergraduate Tuition & Fees (in-state) % Receiving Financial Aid
6 Davenport University Grand Rapids, MI $18,414 97%
7 Huntington University Huntington, IN $26,158 99%
8 St. Joseph's College-Long Island Patchogue, NY $27,840 98%
9 Saint Mary's University of Minnesota Winona, MN $35,110 100%
10 Southwestern Assemblies of God University Waxahachie, TX $19,582 98%
11 Temple University Philadelphia, PA $16,970 90%
12 Grand View University Des Moines, IA $27,608 100%
13 DeSales University Center Valley, PA $37,400 100%
14 Florida International University Miami, FL $6,546 89%
15 SUNY College of Technology at Alfred Alfred, NY $8,570 96%
16 Trine University-Regional/Non-Traditional Campuses Fort Wayne, IN $9,576 100%
17 Mount Vernon Nazarene University Mount Vernon, OH $29,244 99%
18 University of the Incarnate Word San Antonio, TX $31,484 100%
19 Mount Mercy University Cedar Rapids, IA $31,998 100%
20 Nichols College Dudley, MA $35,000 100%
21 Geneva College Beaver Falls, PA $ 27,230 99%
22 Saint Mary-of-the-Woods College Saint Mary of the Woods, IN $29,960 100%
23 LeTourneau University Longview, TX $30,210 100%
24Hawaii Pacific University Honolulu, HI $25,980 98%
25Point Park University Pittsburgh, PA $32,750 100%

All statistics provided by the National Center for Education Statistics, tuition based on 2018-2019 school year

Learn.org's school ranking methodology categorizes and assesses data from schools and other reliable sources, such as the U.S. Department of Education, and weighs the information based on quality, cost, value and other factors critical to students' academic decisions.

Overview of Online Bachelor's Degree Programs in Human Resources (HR)

Online human resources bachelor's degree programs develop your skills in all aspects of the HR field so that you will be ready for a career managing and training employees and administering pay, compensation, and benefit plans. These online bachelor's programs require about 120 total credits. You must complete general education coursework in math, science, English, history, and other subjects as well as core courses in HR.

If you are an incoming freshman, you can expect to earn your HR bachelor's degree in 4 years. There are a limited number of accelerated programs that can be completed in about 2 years.

For those returning to school with college credits, it's possible to finish your degree in about 18 months to 2 years, depending on how many transfer credits your university or college accepts.

Generally, online HR bachelor's programs can be completed in a 100% online format with no on-campus requirements. Many programs are flexible, with part-time and full-time attendance available.

What You'll Learn in an Online HR Bachelor's Degree Program

Online bachelor's degree programs in HR explore a variety of topics related to how to manage and train employees, how to adhere to labor laws, and how to develop an organization.

Human Resource Management

Human resource management is a course that gives you a broad overview of topics related to managing employees, including recruitment, hiring, training, discipline, and termination. You also study compensation and benefits subjects. This course essentially offers a survey of the entire field so that you understand all the responsibilities of an HR manager and the role they play within an organization.

Training and Development

A course focused on training and development explores methods and strategies for devising and implementing training programs and activities. You learn how to determine what kinds of development programs are needed to improve a business or employees as well as how to evaluate and assess program outcomes.

Compensation

Courses in compensation management or administration cover a wide range of different topics related to how to determine and administer employee pay and benefits. Some common compensation subjects you study include

  • Wages
  • Bonuses
  • Commissions
  • Stock options
  • Executive pay plans

You also learn about non-wage compensation methods, such as health care plans, contribution plans, and child care plans. Along with covering how to design compensation packages for various jobs, you also learn how compensation factors into the larger strategy of a business.

Employment and Labor Law

In a course on employment law, you learn to navigate and understand the different laws and regulations that apply to employment and employee's rights. Specific topics you explore include

  • Employee contracts
  • Hiring
  • Termination
  • Safety and health
  • Accommodations

You might also get the chance to delve into the laws that govern labor and employment, including Title VII of the Civil Rights Act, the Americans with Disabilities Act, and the National Labor Relations Act.

Organizational Development

Organizational development is the study of how organizations change, and this class teaches you the major theories and practices of organizational development. You examine the different catalysts for change, how organizations can evolve successfully, and even how technology can enhance change. You also learn how to design and develop initiatives and programs for departments, teams, and individuals that foster teamwork and improve performance.

Career Options with an HR Bachelor's Degree

With a bachelor's degree in HR, you can pursue a career as a human resource manager or a career in a specialized field of HR, such as training and development or compensation and benefits.

Human Resources Manager

Human resource managers are responsible for all aspects of HR departments, where they:

  • Recruit, hire, and train employees
  • Handle disputes and disciplinary issues
  • Act as a link between employees and management
  • Manage support staff
  • Confer with management regarding business strategy
  • Administer and manage employee pay and benefits

The exact duties of a human resource manager also depend on the size of the organization they work for. In smaller businesses, they may oversee all HR responsibilities, while in larger businesses, they may act in a single role as a payroll manager or a recruiting manager.

Human resource managers need a bachelor's degree in HR or a related field and professional experience. Some higher-level human resource management jobs may require a master's degree.

In 2018, human resource managers earned a median salary of $113,300, and the number of jobs is expected to increase by 7% from 2018-2028.

Workforce Development and Training Manager

Training and development managers assist in the development and administration of employee training programs. These professionals need at least a bachelor's degree in human resources, instructional design, or business administration. They also need professional experience in their specific industry, experience in HR, or educational instruction experience.

In 2018, training and development specialists earned a median salary of $60,870, and the number of jobs is expected to increase by 9% from 2018-2028.

Compensation and Benefits Manager

Compensation and benefits managers administer and manage employee pay and benefit programs. Large companies may have both a compensation manager and a benefits manager, while in smaller companies, these roles may be combined. Compensation and benefits managers need a bachelor's degree in HR, finance, or business administration and professional experience in the compensation and benefits field.

In 2018, compensation and benefits managers earned a median salary of $121,010, and the number of jobs is expected to increase by 3% from 2018-2028.

Salary information provided by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2018

HR Specializations

Within the field of HR, that are several specialization areas that focus on one aspect of employee relations and management. Below, you can explore some of these specialization areas and get a sense of their scope.

Training and Development Specialist

This area of HR is all about training employees so that they can successfully onboard with a company and complete their job duties. This area also centers on teaching employees new skills that can benefit them and enhance their job performance. Specific job duties could include:

  • Determining training needs through surveys and interviews
  • Designing training materials, such as manuals or videos
  • Directing training in classrooms or other facilities
  • Completing administrative tasks, such as scheduling and managing equipment

Recruitment

Recruitment is an area of HR that focuses on the process of selecting the right employee for a job opening. This area includes creating job descriptions, reviewing applications, and evaluating potential hires. There is also an emphasis on the interview process, including the use of best practices and different interviewing techniques.

Compensation and Benefits

Along with determining wage structures and rates, HR professionals in the compensation and benefits subfield deal with choosing the following benefits as well:

  • Health care plans
  • Disability plans
  • Retirement plans
  • Leave policy and plans
  • Maintaining competitive pay structures
  • Adhering to state and federal regulations

Organizations for Human Resource Professionals

Several organizations advocate for the HR profession as a whole as well as HR subfields, such as workforce development or employee benefits. By joining these organizations, you must pay for a membership, and in exchange, you get access to various career and educational services or resources.

Society of Human Resource Management (SHRM)

SHRM is the leading organization for the HR field with over 300,000 members. As an SHRM member, you gain access to compliance resources, current HR news and magazines, customizable templates, forms, and presentations, and an HR advisor who can answer your questions.

Association for Talent Development

The Association for Talent Development (ATD) is an organization that advocates for talent development specialists, instructional designers, and trainers. Along with job resources and conferences, ATD also provides educational programs and research materials for its members.

International Foundation of Employee Benefit Plans

The International Foundation of Employee Benefit Plans has more than 31,500 members and focuses on providing education, information, and research resources to these members. When you join this organization, you get access to webcasts, magazines, member discounts on conferences, and access to job postings.

Certifications for HR Professionals

HR certifications are usually optional credentials you can earn that help boost your job prospects. It's important to note that, for human resource managers, certification is often preferred and sometimes required.

SHRM Certification

The Society of Human Resource Management (SHRM) offers two certification credentials:

  • SHRM Certified Professional (SHRM-CP) - for early- or mid-career professionals
  • SHRM Senior Certified Professional (SHRM-SCP) - for senior-level professionals

SHRM certifications show that you have competency-based HR skills and knowledge and have passed an SHRM Exam, which tests you on key HR subjects and assesses your decision-making and judgment skills.

Associate Professional in Talent Development (APTD)

The Associate Professional in Talent Development (APTD) certification is offered by the Association for Talent Development (ATD) and is for those who are starting in the talent development field and want to show their competency in instructional design, learning technology, or training program delivery.

To be eligible for this certification, you must meet one of the following criteria:

  • Have 3 years of professional experience in talent development or HR
  • Have 2 years of professional experience in talent development and 1 year of college work in talent development
  • Have 2 years of professional experience in talent development in addition to earning the ATD Master Trainer or ATD Master Instructional Designer designation

You must also take and pass the APTD Exam, which is a multiple-choice test.

Certified Employee Benefit Specialist (CEBS)

The International Foundation of Employee Benefit Plans offers the CEBS designation, which is a self-paced, 5-course educational program. Earning this designation proves that you have a solid knowledge of the benefits field and can successfully manage benefits and retirement plans.