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Human resources, at its core, is about people and the policies that impact them at work. With a master's degree in human resources, you'll learn how best to hire, train, and manage employees while creating a healthy, functional, and productive workplace that allows everyone to thrive.
Thriving employees isn't just "nice to have" — it's good business to ensure workers are happy. According to Gallup, poor worker well-being accounts for $322 billion in turnover and lost productivity globally. A good HR person is a superhero who stands between workers and burnout to make sure a company can be as productive and effective as possible.
HR professionals who want to level up their careers, earn more money, and wield even greater influence on employee well-being and the business's bottom line should consider getting an online master's degree. We'll walk you through everything you need to know about the best HR programs and tell you what to expect and how to get started.
Featured Online Master's in Human Resources Programs
Learn about start dates, transferring credits, availability of financial aid, and more by contacting the universities below.
Top Colleges With Human Resources Programs
We have compiled a list of nonprofit and for-profit four-year institutions that offer this degree program. Use the table below to compare costs and credit requirements.
|School||Location||Average Net Price||Credit Hours|
|Claremont Lincoln University||Claremont, California||$18,150||33|
|Colorado State University Global||Aurora, Colorado||$18,000||36|
|Excelsior University||Albany, New York||$21,450||30|
|Johnson and Wales University Online||Providence, Rhode Island||$25,260||30|
|Northcentral University||San Diego, California||$29,900||33|
|Ottawa University Online||Ottawa, Kansas||$31,900||36|
|Pennsylvania State University World Campus||University Park, Pennsylvania||$36,531||33|
Why Get a Degree in Human Resources?
Online master's in human resources programs prepare learners to enter the growing HR field. Flexible online programs appeal to workers from various backgrounds, such as veterans. Veterans often succeed in human resources, as the career requires many of the same skills as military careers. Earning a master's degree in human resources can help graduates qualify for lucrative positions.
Online learning can benefit recent college graduates and working professionals. Students with personal or professional responsibilities can research asynchronous programs. These programs do not require degree-seekers to attend virtual lectures at specific times.
How Much Does a Human Resources Degree Cost?
According to the National Center for Education Statistics, a master's degree cost an average of $19,749 per year in 2020-2021. Tuition rates vary by school. In-state public institutions typically offer the most affordable online master's in human resources programs. However, many schools charge all online learners in-state tuition rates. Private institutions generally charge the highest tuition rates.
Degree-seekers can minimize student debt by applying for institutional scholarships and grants. Some schools consider all incoming students for financial aid, while others require a separate application. Learners with financial need may also qualify for federal grants and loans. Degree-seekers submit the FAFSA annually to maintain eligibility for federal funding.
How Much Do Human Resources Majors Make?
Human resources managers earned a median salary of $130,000 per year as of May 2022, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). However, many factors impact an individual's earning potential. Professional, scientific, and technical services companies paid the highest median salaries. HR managers in New York, New Jersey, and Washington earned the highest average salaries, ranging from $178,730-$190,340 per year.
HR specialists can enroll in master's in human resources programs to qualify for promotions and reach the managerial level. According to the BLS, human resources managers made a median salary of more than double what HR specialists earned in 2022. Professionals can also qualify for promotions and raises by pursuing certifications.
Courses in Human Resources
Students pursuing an online human resources degree learn to create HR strategies, research the latest trends, and develop inclusive and diverse workplaces. Some programs offer specialization options. Degree-seekers typically complete a thesis or capstone project.
Many online master's in human resources programs feature the following classes. However, course availability varies by school. Curricula can impact students' learning experiences and career options. Learners can contact an admissions advisor for information about their prospective program.
Human Resources Strategy
This course introduces human resources professionals' role in companies and organizations. Coursework explores organizational resources, holistic frameworks, and effectiveness best practices. Degree-seekers analyze challenges unique to multinational employers. This class prepares learners to promote workers' growth in HR roles.
Leadership in Human Resources
Master's degree-holders often pursue management positions. Applicants to these roles need advanced leadership skills. This class trains students to develop leadership plans, maintain professional networks, and persuade others to change their actions or thinking. Learners practice self-reflection, an essential managerial skill.
Human resources managers use talent management strategies to attract and retain employees. Students in this course learn to develop and evaluate these strategies, make data-based decisions, and coach other managers on retention best practices. Degree-seekers explore how group-level decisions impact promotions and performance reviews.
Common Questions About Online Master’s in Human Resources
How long does it take to complete an online master’s degree in HR?
Most online degree programs in HR require students to complete between 30 and 36 credit hours, which typically takes 2-3 years. If you're in a hurry, accelerated programs can help you finish in as few as 12-18 months.
Is an online human resources degree worth it?
Yes, an online master's degree in HR can be a fantastic choice, for three reasons:
- It offers flexibility, allowing you to balance school with your other commitments.
- You'll gain advanced knowledge and skills in human resources, making you more influential and effective in your role.
- It will enhance your career and earning prospects, giving you access to higher-level positions with better pay.
Is human resources a stable career?
Yes — HR professionals enjoy low unemployment rates, in part because they are needed in every organization and in every industry. The BLS projects jobs for human resources specialists and human resources managers will grow by 6% and 5%, respectively, between 2022 and 2023. That's faster than the average projected growth for all jobs.
What is the hardest part of being in HR?
Right now, the question of remote work is posing an especially difficult challenge for human resources managers. According to the 2022-2023 SHRM State of the Workplace Report, remote workers are happier than in-person workers, but also more likely to leave.
In addition, fostering employee engagement during a time of record inflation and low employer budgets proves to be a top concern for most HR professionals.
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