Online Human Resources Degrees

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Are you a people person with a strong sense of organization and leadership? Then a degree in human resources (HR) can help you jump into a fast-paced career in a number of different industries.

Online Human Resources Degrees

Through the course of your online degree program, you will learn vital leadership and administrative skills that give you the tools you need to help a company maintain employee compliance and satisfaction. Over the last several years, programs offering degrees online have become much more commonplace – allowing adult students greater flexibility in their education.

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Whether you want to earn a degree to get a promotion at work or have aspirations of graduate school, an online degree in human resources is an excellent way to give yourself an edge in the competitive business world.

Careers in Human Resources

Human resource professionals play a vital role within a business, and they are responsible for working directly with the workforce and handling all employee-related concerns.  There are several career positions within the field of human resources, and it is possible to work your way up the ladder to well-paying job opportunities.

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For a glimpse into the various careers and annual median salaries available after earning an online degree in human resources, see the table below, which was curated based on data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS).

Careers Annual Median Salary
Vice Presidents, Human Resources (HR) $116,832
Human Resources (HR) Administrators $126,230
Human Resources (HR) Coordinators $62,290
Recruiters $62,290

All of the salaries listed above represent the average for HR professionals that have worked 10 years in the field. While each of these jobs has a mid-career salary that is higher than the national average across all occupations, you may make more or less depending on your specific skillset and experience. Please keep in mind that some employers look for a minimum of a bachelor’s degree to be considered for a few of these positions. 

Types of Online Human Resources Degrees

Group of recruiters greeting the applicant

From associate’s degree programs to graduate degrees, many of the nation’s top schools offer online degree programs in the field of human resources.

With the flexibility of online learning, you may even be able to finish your degree in less time than traditional students. By taking accelerated courses or utilizing your college’s credits through examination programs, you may be able to put yourself on the fast track to graduation and a well-paying career.

Online Associates Degrees in Human Resources

An associate’s degree in human resources will give you a foundation of business skills that you can use within a variety of industries.

Through your course of study, you can expect to take a number of classes that cover leadership, business ethics, administration, computer technology, and management.

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Throughout your online degree program, you will gain a variety of business-related skills that cover the following topics:

  • Employee recruitment
  • Interview and hiring procedures
  • Critical thinking and problem-solving in the business setting
  • Business ethics, regulations, and laws

After you have completed the online associate’s degree program, you will be able to pursue employment in a number of job paths that include a job recruiter, staff trainer, or HR staff within a non-profit organization.

Online Bachelor’s Degrees in Human Resources

HR with a bachelors degree, interviewing a job applicant

A bachelor’s degree in human resource management is a popular choice for students that are looking to earn a marketable degree to get them started in the business world. In addition to the HR skills learned throughout this course of study, you may also have the opportunity to specialize in a degree concentration.

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The courses that you can expect to see within your online bachelor’s degree program may include:

  • Management for organizations
  • Organizational behavior
  • Microeconomics
  • Accounting and financing
  • Business law
  • Employee and labor relations

With these advanced courses, you will be able to take on a leading role within a business’s HR department or even have the tools you need to pursue your own business endeavors.

Online Master’s Degrees in Human Resources

There are select online graduate degrees available in the field of human resources, including a master’s degree in human resource development.

Once you reach the graduate level of your educational journey, human resources is often seen as a degree specialization within a broader degree program, such as business administration.

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There are several advantages to pursuing an online master’s degree in human resources that may include:

  • Increased life-long earning potential
  • Enhanced career opportunities and mobility
  • Greater job security in a changing market
  • Personal and professional satisfaction

By learning advanced skills in strategic employee management and finances, graduates of an online master’s degree program in human resources will have achieved a valuable skillset that can be utilized in a variety of career paths.

Online Doctorate Degrees in Human Resources

Earning your Ph.D. in human resources is the pinnacle of your educational journey. When choosing an online degree program to complete your studies, you will find that human resources is often a concentration within the business administration degree program.

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During the course of this rigorous degree program, you will learn vital skills to take on executive-level roles within the business environment. The advanced topics that you may cover throughout your doctorate level classes include:

  • Managing interrelationships between an organization’s employees and leadership
  • Advanced skills in developing, mediating, and maintaining these interrelationships
  • In-depth understanding of compensations and staffing strategies
  • Labor relations and related legal issues

In an online doctorate program, you can expect to delve deep into the research and theories of business and the field of human resources. You may also be expected to research and prepare a dissertation to successfully graduate from the program.

Human Resources Career Outlook and Salary Information

Human resources is an essential department in any business. Due to this, the career outlook is typically positive across the board for those looking to enter this field.

According to the BLS, human resource specialists can expect to see a 10% occupational growth over the next 10 years. Additionally, human resource managers are projected to have a 9% growth during this same time frame.

Depending on your specialty and experience, human resource occupations typically pay well above the national average across all occupations. The BLS states that the median annual wage for human resources specialists was $62,290, while human resources managers earned an average of $126,230.

With a positive job outlook and comfortable salary ranges, graduates from an online human resource degree program should have many opportunities to create a lucrative, fulfilling career within their field.

Is an Online Degree in Human Resources Right for Me?

Choosing to enroll in an online degree program for human resources offers a number of unique advantages to adult students. Whether you are just out of high school or a professional looking to advance within the field, the flexibility of online learning is an excellent option to continue your education.

Beyond the benefit of flexible class scheduling, those earning an online degree in human resources find that there are several advantages to distance learning, including:

  • The opportunity to specialize in a concentration within their human resources degree program
  • Ability to continue working a full-time job while attending classes
  • Possibility of graduating in a faster time frame than traditional students

For those looking to gain valuable skills in interpersonal communication, leadership, and business, an online degree program in human resources can put you on the fast track to making an impact in your new career.

Comparing Top Human Resources Degree Programs

The first thing that most students look at when choosing a college is the type of degrees offered by the institution. However, there are several factors that also need to be examined before making the decision to enroll in a school’s online degree program for human resources.


Enrolling in an accredited college is a safety net for students that want to ensure that their degree is coming from an institution that is reputable and recognized within the business world.

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By going through a voluntary review process by an accredited agency, a school is able to demonstrate that its course offerings are of the high quality expected by the student body. There are several regional agencies recognized by the U.S. Department of Education in addition to the many national accrediting agencies.

If you need more information on the recognized accrediting agencies before committing to the college of your choice, take a look at the U.S. Department of Education’s website for a full list.

Student-to-Faculty Ratio

Small classes benefit both the students and the faculty, and top universities make it a point to limit the student-to-faculty ratio within their courses.

When earning your degree in human resources, it pays to research the policies of your prospective colleges to ensure that their online classes are held to the same low student-to-faculty ratio as their traditional classes. By doing this, you can help ensure that you will have the individualized support needed to get the most out of your degree program.

Academic Advising and Student Services

Top business faculty and accredited programs are important to your future success, but there is more to succeeding in college than simply reading a textbook.

Many of the top schools offering online programs in human resources take the extra steps to ensure that their virtual students receive the same academic and student support as those who take courses on-campus. A few of the student services that you see offered to those enrolled in an online human resources degree program include:

  • Virtual academic and career advisement to keep your degree program on track with your goals
  • Opportunities to intern or job shadow in a variety of business environments
  • Full online libraries and research support
  • Virtual tutoring services for complex business and human resource courses

If you want to make a difference in the world of business and enjoy working with people, a degree in human resources is a logical first step to the career of your dreams. From HR assistants to executive positions, the opportunities are endless for working your way up to a well-paying and satisfying career after graduating with an online human resources degree.

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Elizabeth Abner
WRITTEN BY Elizabeth Abner

Elizabeth is pursuing a Doctor of Philosophy in Foreign Policy and earned her master's degree in business administration. For her undergraduate studies, she earned a Bachelor of Arts in Business Administration with a concentration in international business. Elizabeth's research is focused on universities offering online degree programs.