Online Human Resources Degree: How to Break into an HR Career

Online Human Resources Degree

An online human resources degree prepares you to manage and develop people in an organization. Areas of responsibility in human resources may include compensation, performance management, employee recruitment and selection, career support, and training and development. Nearly every organization needs human resources professionals. If you would like to contribute to the success and viability of businesses by helping them attract qualified employees and matching them to the right jobs, learn more about getting your human resources degree online.

Human Resources Degree Level Overview

Human resources degrees are offered at the associate’s, bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral level. There are no cut-and-dried degree requirements for human resources professionals, and the level of education required varies by position and employer. Some entry-level positions in human resources may accept candidates with just a high school diploma or associate’s degree, but many positions require candidates to have at least a bachelor’s degree in the field. In some instances, relevant work experience may substitute a degree.

The prerequisites for associate’s degree and bachelor’s degree programs in human resources are usually a high school diploma or GED, a minimum required high school GPA, and minimum required SAT/ACT scores. Associate’s degree take two years to complete, whereas bachelor’s degrees take four years.

Master’s degree programs usually require applicants to have a bachelor’s degree from an accredited institution, a minimum required undergraduate GPA, minimum required GRE or GMAT scores, and letters of recommendation. The admissions requirements for PhD programs in human resources generally include a bachelor’s or master’s degree, work experience, letters of recommendation, minimum required GRE or GMAT scores, and a minimum required undergraduate GPA. Master’s programs can last from one to two years, and doctoral programs can take from three to five years to complete.

Curriculum of Human Resources Degrees Online

Earning a human resources degree online enables working adults to fit college coursework into their busy lives. Online human resources training typically includes classes in the following areas:

  • Employee and labor relations
  • Training and development
  • Human resources management
  • Staffing
  • Strategic human resources
  • Performance management
  • Principles of organizational development

Important qualities for human resources professionals to have include listening and speaking skills, interpersonal skills, decision-making skills, and an attention to detail. Some professional associations that specialize in human resources offer voluntary human resources certification online. These certification programs may give candidates a competitive edge by demonstrating their knowledge and competence.

HR Career Options

Human resources specialists typically recruit, screen, interview, and place workers. Other areas in which human resources specialists may work include employee relations, training, and payroll and benefits. Graduates of human resources degree programs are prepared to work in the corporate, non-profit or public sector.

Typical entry-level jobs for human resources degree holders include corporate trainer, corporate recruiter, employee relations specialist, human resources generalist, and compensation analyst. With experience, human resources specialists may advance to positions like director of human resources, training and development specialist or labor relations manager.

The job outlook for human resources professionals is good. The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that the employment of human resources specialists is expected to grow at a faster than average rate of 21% through 2020. The employment of human resources managers is more competitive and is expected to grow 13% over the next decade, which is about as fast as average. In 2012, human resources specialists received a median annual salary of $55,800, while human resources managers earned $99,720.

No matter what type of position you pursue in the human resources field, you can expect to work closely with others, as dealing with people is an essential component of any HR job. Job growth is strong in human resources, and there are many advancement opportunities in larger companies, making human resources an attractive career option. If you would like to manage the most important asset of a business—its people— get an online human resources degree today!