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2023 Best Online Human Resources Degrees

By OnlineU Staff Writers | Updated 12/21/2022
2023 Best Online Bachelor's Degrees in Human Resources Badge

Individuals who enjoy solving problems, building relationships, and making people's working lives better may find their true calling in a career in human resources (HR). Our lists of the best online bachelor's programs in HR highlight top schools based on tuition rates and alumni salary data provided by PayScale to help you choose one that can help you build the skills to meet your goals. 

Our HR career guide provides more in-depth information about the jobs that may interest you once you graduate. If you are interested in graduate studies, our list of the best online master's programs in HR can give you a glimpse into what your future may hold.

View our methodology for more details about our list or learn more about OnlineU.

2023 Best Online Bachelor's Degrees in Human Resources Badge
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Online Human Resources Bachelor's Degrees You May Be Interested In


2023 Best Online Human Resources Degrees

RankSchool Salary Score Median Starting Salary
# 1 #1 Waldorf University 98 98 $58,151
# 2 #2 University of Massachusetts Global 97 $56,794
# 3 #3 Colorado State University Global 94 $55,055
# 4 #4 Capella University 90 $53,132
# 5 #5 University of the Incarnate Word 80 $49,998
# 6 #6 Bellevue University 78 $49,441
# 7 #7 University of Maryland Global Campus 76 $49,149
# 8 #8 Pennsylvania State University 75 $48,779
# 9 #9 Temple University 73 $48,337
# 10 #10 Thomas Edison State University 72 $48,272

2023 Online Colleges Offering Bachelor's Degrees

Ranking Details

#1 Waldorf University

  • Salary Score: 98
  • Median Starting Salary: $58,151
  • Locations: Forest City (IA)
  • Accreditation: HLC

Waldorf University is a private, for-profit institution that offers an online Bachelor of Applied Science in Business Administration - Human Resources Management, including competencies identified by the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM). Students complete 120 credit hours to graduate, with 12 in the human resources concentration. Those attending full time may meet program requirements in four years. Additionally, Waldfor offers an online Bachelor of Science in Business Administration - Human Resource Management for those interested in leadership roles. Waldorf accepts 61% of applicants, and 50% of students graduate.

Waldorf delivers the program's online curriculum via Blackboard. Online HR management students complete courses such as Employment and Labor Law, Recruitment and Staffing, Human Resource Management Strategy and Emerging Issues, and Compensation and Benefits. Most graduates pursue positions managing staff and recruiting talent.

#2 University of Massachusetts Global

  • Salary Score: 97
  • Median Starting Salary: $56,794
  • Locations: Multiple Locations
  • Accreditation: WSCUC

The University of Massachusetts Global (UMass Global) is a private, nonprofit institution offering an online Bachelor of Business Administration - Human Resources. This 120-credit program may take less than four years to complete if students attend full time, or they may choose the self-paced option called MyPath. Overall, UMass has a 95% acceptance rate, and 57% of undergraduates earn their diplomas.

UMass utilizes the Blackboard learning management system (LMS) to facilitate classes remotely. Courses in the online HR program include Conflict Resolution, Labor Studies, Performance Improvement, and Foundations in Spatial Communication. This program also prepares students for a Master of Business Administration program. Alumni often enter careers as human resource specialists, training and development specialists, compensation and benefits managers, and human resource managers.

#3 Colorado State University Global

  • Salary Score: 94
  • Median Starting Salary: $55,055
  • Locations: Greenwood Village (CO)
  • Accreditation: HLC

Colorado State University Global (CSU Global) is a public institution offering an online Bachelor of Science in Human Resources Management that integrates SHRM practices. Though not a degree requirement, students can choose from several HR specializations, such as Healthcare Management or Criminal Justice Management. Graduating requires completing 120 credit hours of coursework. Classes begin every four weeks, allowing full-time students to complete this online bachelor's degree program in less than four years. CSU Global has a 98% acceptance rate and a 46% graduation rate.

CSU Global provides access to the LMS Canvas, which allows students access to the online program curriculum. HR students take a range of courses, such as Human Resource Management in a Global World, Creating a Diverse and Ethical Workforce, and Business Policy and Strategy. The program curriculum helps prepare students for various administrative and leadership roles after graduation.

#4 Capella University

  • Salary Score: 90
  • Median Starting Salary: $53,132
  • Locations: Minneapolis (MN)
  • Accreditation: HLC

Capella University is a private, for-profit institution offering an online Bachelor of Science in Business - Human Resources Management that has a curriculum aligned with SHRM principles. Students can either enroll in the structured GuidedPath plan — requiring 180 quarter credit hours — or the faster, self-paced FlexPath plan that requires 90 credit hours. Full-time students generally complete the GuidedPath program in four years, but FlexPath can finish faster if they choose. Capella accepts 100% of applicants, and 16% of students graduate.

Capella's Blackboard LMS delivers online coursework and instruction. Online HR management students can access and participate in courses such as Employee Training and Development, Employee and Labor Relations, and Legal Issues in Human Resource Management. Importantly, Capella also offers preparation for SHRM and Human Resource Certification Institute certification exams.

#5 University of the Incarnate Word

  • Salary Score: 80
  • Median Starting Salary: $49,998
  • Locations: San Antonio (TX)
  • Accreditation: SACS COC

The University of the Incarnate Word (UIW) is a private, nonprofit, and faith-based institution offering an online Bachelor of Arts in Human Resources that is in complete alignment with SHRM's HR Curriculum Guidebook and Templates. The courses are eight weeks long, and there are six terms each year. Students must complete 120 semester credit hours to graduate, which may take four years of full-time attendance. UIW has a 97% acceptance rate and a 53% graduation rate.

UIW's online students access instruction and coursework via Canvas. Classes within the online HR program include Performance Management, Leadership Organizations, Theories and Concepts of Personnel Management, and Business Information Processing. Students must also complete a capstone project to graduate. Alumni often pursue management positions in HR, recruitment, and payroll.

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Overview of Online HR Degrees

Students who study human resources gain skills that will allow them to pursue careers hiring, managing, and assisting employees with various legal concerns. Bachelor's programs in human resources management require four years of study, and the curriculum includes both general liberal arts requirements as well as core classes and electives in HR subjects. HR majors may take classes that cover employee and labor relations, psychology, and organizational development. Other classes that may be required include information technology, business management, and finance.

Applying

To apply to a human resources bachelor's online, students are often required to submit entrance exams, like the SAT or ACT, as well as a copy of their high school transcript. If students are interested in financial aid in the form of grants, scholarships, or student loans, they should fill out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) when applying.

Explore our Guide to Applying to Online College to learn more about the steps involved.

Online Courses for an HR Degree

Students working to obtain an HR degree are required to take courses that cover human resources processes in depth. Courses may also help students develop skills, like written and verbal communication, leadership, and conflict resolution.

Here are some examples of core courses required of a human resources degree: 

Human Resources Functions

This foundational course exposes students to the inner workings of human resources departments, including what purpose they serve, how they function, and best practices when it comes to HR. Students become aware of the latest developments in HR, including HR software and trends. They will also learn how HR departments can contribute to the overall success of a business or organization.

Employee and Labor Relations

One part of an HR professional’s job is to mediate disputes between employees and employers. In some cases, this may involve working with union representatives. In non-unionized workplaces, it may involve addressing employee concerns with an employer. In this course, students learn about best practices when it comes to employee and labor relations.

Employment Law

Whether you are making a decision about hiring contractors, firing an employee, or dealing with employee misconduct situations, as an HR professional, it's important to understand the basics of employment law. While you won't need to understand law to the same extent that a lawyer would, it's important for HR professionals to analyze laws and rights as well as determine how to best comply with them. HR professionals are in charge of coordinating with attorneys to ensure that their company is implementing lawful policies. Courses typically cover legal basics and employment law.

Workforce Planning

HR professionals are often in charge of recruiting, interviewing, and hiring new talent, as well as making sure employees are happy within an organization. Classes in workforce planning expose students to best practices when it comes to attracting and retaining top talent. Students also learn how to prepare in advance for staffing needs, including analyzing an organization’s labor supply, identifying gaps, and working to train or recruit relevant employees.

Principles of Management 

As those responsible for hiring, firing, and supporting employees, it’s essential that HR professionals have strong management and leadership skills. Principles of Management exposes students to topics surrounding communications skills, human behavior, employee training principles, and labor relations. This course also provides practical skills that you can take directly into your first HR job.

Careers Requiring a Human Resources Bachelor's

Students with a bachelor’s degree in human resources can pursue a variety of careers related to HR. They may choose to pursue careers directly in human resources, or in adjacent fields, like management.

Below are a few career options for graduates of an online human resources degree:

Human Resources Manager

Annual Median Salary:  $126,230
Job Growth Rate: 7%

Human resources managers are in charge of HR departments at businesses and organizations. They oversee recruitment, the interview process, hiring, and training new employees. They also deal with issues, including employee benefits and compensation, staffing issues, strategic planning, and other administrative functions.

Human Resources Specialist

Annual Median Salary:  $62,290
Job Growth Rate: 8%

Like human resources managers, human resources specialists oversee HR tasks, like recruiting and interviewing employees. While human resources manager is a managerial role that requires at least five or more years of experience, human resources specialists is an entry-level position in the same field, and students can expect to be hired for this position after graduating.

Compensation and Benefits Manager

Annual Median Salary:  $127,530
Job Growth Rate: 2%

Compensation and benefits managers specifically oversee employee compensation and benefits packages. They’re responsible for supervising an organization’s benefit structures and rates of pay, ensuring that they comply with local, state, and federal regulations. They also ensure that employees get paid on time and are enrolled in any benefit programs that they’re eligible for. These managers often work for larger organizations, where different tasks related to human resources are split up among multiple different employees.

Labor Relations Specialist

Annual Median Salary:  $77,010
Job Growth Rate: -3%

Labor relations specialists oversee labor contracts and act as a mediator between union representatives and employers. They help businesses navigate the collective bargaining process and ensure that union agreements and HR policies are in sync.

Training and Development Manager

Annual Median Salary:  $120,130
Job Growth Rate: 7%

Training and development managers help organizations and businesses appropriately train and support employees in developing new skills. They may be in charge of managing training budgets, overseeing employee training and development, and planning for future training needs. Training and development managers are also responsible for selecting, reviewing, and updating training materials to keep up with industry trends and ensure quality.

Administrative Services Manager

Annual Median Salary:  $99,290
Job Growth Rate: 7%

Administrative services managers are responsible for a wide range of office-related tasks, including supervising other administrative staff, overseeing accurate recordkeeping, and assisting in coming up with organizational policies and procedures. In smaller organizations, administrative services managers may also take on other HR-related duties, like payroll and scheduling.

Still undecided on your major? Check out the best online degrees in similar subjects that could also give you a leg up in this field: organizational leadership, business, law, and accounting.

Is Human Resources Schooling Worth It?

Whether or not a degree in human resources is worth it for you depends on a variety of factors, including the cost of your degree, career expectations, and what you hope to get from the degree. Many people with human resources degrees online go on to pursue successful careers in HR or related fields. However, a bachelor’s degree may not be necessary for all entry-level positions related to HR, and most jobs provide on-the-job training and experience for newhires.

Consider the following pros and cons about getting your degree in human resources online:

Potential Benefits

Careers in this field can be highly compensated. HR professionals who work their way up to advanced positions — such as human resources manager or compensation and benefits manager — can expect to make over six figures, as the BLS data above indicates.

Human resources is a people-oriented career. If you like getting to know other people and working with a diverse array of employees across an organization, then a career in human resources may be a good fit.

Online degrees are flexible for students with other responsibilities. Whether you’re aiming to balance school with work or family responsibilities, completing an online degree in human resources can make it easier to meet all of your obligations.

Potential Drawbacks

A bachelor’s degree in human resources may not be necessary to pursue a career in HR. While a degree can certainly give you a leg up on the competition, many entry-level HR positions accept employees with a bachelor’s degree in other disciplines besides HR.

You may need to work your way up the ladder. HR professionals have the potential to be highly compensated, but entry-level recent grads tend to make less than employees with several years of experience.

Online degrees can be expensive. While obtaining an HR degree online can make it easier for you to succeed at the career of your choice, they can also be expensive, so you should carefully weigh the financial pros and cons before deciding to pursue a degree.

Bottom Line

An HR online degree is a great way for students to prepare themselves for a career in HR. Students learn about best practices and current trends in human resources management. They also strive to gaina holistic understanding of the discipline of human resources as well as practical skills that they’ll be able to use in HR internships or jobs going forward.

While a bachelor’s degree in human resources, specifically, may not necessarily be required to land an HR job, this degree adequately prepares students for potential careers in a wide range of business-related disciplines, including not only HR but also public relations, management, and more. Investigate our list above of the best online colleges for a human resources bachelor degree.

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