Perhaps the most incentivizing reason to become an HR manager is that you will have the option of working anywhere, for anyone, and in any possible setting.
In fact, HR is one of the most flexible professional fields for graduates, as you can easily move from non-profit to big business work without additional education or experience. Further, the human resources department is the cornerstone of any company, organization, or agency as you are directly implicated in the health and economy of that company.
Thinking about other online graduate school options? We’ve ranked the most affordable master’s degree programs overall as well.
With responsibilities that include recruitment, hiring, training, policy development, compensation and budget management, and worker satisfaction, it is not hyperbole to say that HR representatives create the social and economic fabric of a company. And there is no one kind of HR manager: all kinds of people with a range of backgrounds and experience can succeed in the role.
Currently the HR field is growing by 5 percent, so those jobs—in an array of areas—will continue to be increasingly available to graduates. And those who go on to earn a Master of Science in Human Resources should anticipate an average annual salary increase of over 100 percent! The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that those with bachelor degrees in HR earn approximately $58,350 and those with masters earn $117,080.
What are the most affordable online master’s degrees in human resources?
Even if you are not currently working in HR but are interested in the field, many of the programs on our list do not require that you already have a bachelor degree in HR. Meaning, you can jump right in!
We’ve also provided programs that can be taken fully online at the cheapest, most affordable per credit hour rate. Our information comes from the university and colleges websites as well as from U.S. News & World Report, the National Center for Education Statistics, and the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
See our rankings methodology page.
Per Credit Hour Cost: $416
National University is one of the largest private, nonprofit universities located in California, with over 25,000 students spread throughout the five professional schools and one college. Because of National’s longstanding distance education platform, their online academic programs are notably strong; multimedia learning material, online classrooms, real-time discussions, and other interactive elements define the typical online curriculum.
National University’s School of Business and Management offers the cheapest online Master of Arts in Human Resource Management available, and one that is recognized as meeting the standards formally set by the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM). Uniquely multi-disciplinary, this program brings together innovative technology and comprehensive leadership training to best prepare its students for work in HR management. The curriculum further includes theory, ethics, research, and a graduate project or thesis. Additionally, students can choose to either specialize in organizational leadership or combine electives covering finance and consulting.
National University is accredited by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges.
Johnson & Wales University
Per Credit Hour Cost: $446
Distinctly career-focused, Johnson & Wales University is a private, nonprofit university is located in Providence, Rhode Island with an enrollment of over 17,000 students. Originally founded as a business school, JWU now offers a myriad of education, engineering, management, technology, and hospitality degrees. Not only are tuition rates affordable, but JWU is committed to student financial sustainability, creating the “University Default Task Force,” which seeks to promote financial literacy and reduce debt.
Earn an online, affordable Master of Science in Human Resource Management at JWU in just fifteen months. As a student you will cultivate your employee development, recruitment, and strategic planning skills under a curriculum officially approved by the Society for Human Resource Management. Courses will also cover organizational change management, strategic compensation and benefits, HR metrics and statistical research, HR in a global environment, and advanced organizational behavior. You will graduate able to apply theoretical models to tangible organizational structures, creating a successful, diverse, and inclusive work environment.
Johnson & Wales University is regionally accredited by the New England Association of Schools and Colleges.
Concordia University St. Paul
Per Credit Hour Cost: $475
If you prefer a liberal arts education, Concordia University in St. Paul may be the way to go. Concordia currently has a student enrollment of under 4,000 students and offers a range of traditional programs in addition to online distance degrees. A liberal arts school with a Christian focus—the school is affiliated with the Lutheran Church—Concordia infuses its curriculum with career-focused programs and degrees as well, ensuring their students receive versatile education.
The Master of Arts in Human Resource Management program at Concordia University is thirty-six credit hours, which are divided into seven-week course lengths. The online degree ranks as one of the most affordable HR programs in the country and is specifically designed for busy professionals; the course load is flexible, so students can proceed through it at their own pace. The curriculum covers an array of HR topics, from leadership and ethics to recruitment, financing, legal issues, compensation and benefits management, and research methodology. Approximately 92 percent of students receive jobs after graduation.
Concordia University is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.
Colorado State University
Per Credit Hour Cost: $500
Located in Fort Collins, Colorado State University is a large public research university with over 30,000 students and hundreds of degree programs. Each year CSU spends millions of dollars on research and development, notably in the medical fields, making it a top research institute in the country. CSU is also ranked among the best national public and private schools for its academic platform by Forbes, U.S. News, Higher Times, and more.
The online master’s degree in Human Resource Management at Colorado State University is recognized by the SHRM curriculum guidebook, establishing its graduates as leaders in the fields. Unlike some of the other programs on our list, this affordable HR program offers thirteen different specializations, including accounting, information technology, healthcare administration, criminal justice leadership, and more. Whichever specialization you choose, you will be learn how to lead diverse teams of employees, how to enact ethical decision making, and how to tactically develop HR initiatives.
Colorado State University is regionally accredited by the Commission of the North Central Association of Schools and Colleges.
Per Credit Hour Cost: $525
Since it was founded in the middle of the twentieth century, Bellevue University has focused on providing education to adults and returning students. There are now over 10,000 students enrolled in one of the many bachelor, master, or doctoral programs. Additionally, Bellevue’s online programs are nationally recognized and ranked as among the top ten best in the country.
Though Bellevue’s cheap Master of Science in Human Resources Strategic Management degree can be completed fully online, you will work through the degree with a close cohort of classmates. Establishing further emphasis on communal education, Bellevue’s curriculum distinctly focuses on “becoming a business partner with organizational functions.” Students work on their oral and written communication, create professional development plans, conduct in-depth research, and create HR policies and practices, becoming fully prepared to enter the HR field upon graduation.
Bellevue University is regionally accredited by the Commission of the North Central Association of Schools and Colleges.
Per Credit Hour Cost: $530
A private, religious liberal arts university located in Jackson, Mississippi, Belhaven University’s curriculum is markedly Christian, as the school was founded by the Presbyterian Church. For those looking to infuse their graduate education with a Christian worldview, this program is perhaps the most fitting choice. Additionally, Belhaven has been nationally and locally recognized for its strength in academics.
The affordable online Master of Public Administration degree at Belhaven offers a concentration in Human Resources that prepares students for leadership and management roles in an array of organizations, especially government and non-profit agencies. Students take classes on ethics and society, research methodology, administration of finances, public policy, economics, and more, with their education culminating in a capstone project. This thirty-six credit hour program can take as little as eighteen months to complete.
Belhaven University is regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools.
Granite State University
Per Credit Hour Cost: $535
Headquartered in Concord, New Hampshire, Granite State College has eleven campuses throughout the state in addition to its online learning platform. The principal focus of Granite State is to provide education to adults and returning students through accessible and affordable degree programs. Granite State has been recognized by U.S. News & World Report has having some of the best online graduate programs in the country and by the U.S. Department of Education as being of the cheapest colleges in New England.
The affordable online Master of Science in Project Management degree at Granite State is not strictly just an HR program; it also includes coursework on financial management, risk analysis, negotiation stratagems, team leadership, and more. If you know you want to enter into the HR field but you desire more diversity in your curriculum and more options upon graduation, this program may be for you. Upon graduation you will become practiced in the various factors of project management that are required for PMP (Project Management Professional) certification.
Granite State College is regionally accredited by the New England Association of Schools and Colleges.
St. Mary’s University of Minnesota
Per Credit Hour Cost: $595
St. Mary’s University has both undergraduate and graduate campuses located throughout Minnesota and online. They are a private university with a wide variety of academic programs offered across all degree levels. Though the university is affiliated with the religious institute of the Brothers of Christian Schools, all programs are open to students of all faiths, beliefs, and backgrounds.
St. Mary’s offers an online Master’s in Human Resources degree that takes twenty-six months to complete and is in full accordance with the standards set forth by the SHRM. Students at St. Mary’s learn through real-world case studies and are taught by professionals who still practice in the field. St. Mary’s also strives to promote a holistic approach to HR by connecting its students with experts and by cultivating a supportive and communal learning environment. Finally, every student in the program will receive an iPad that comes fully loaded with a mobile learning platform.
St. Mary’s is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.
Per Credit Hour Cost: $600
Offering both professional and liberal arts degrees, Lasell College is a private school located in Newton, Massachusetts. Though most of their students are undergraduates, the postgraduate experience was designed specifically for working professionals. Even if students take classes fully online, they are still able to access the same resources and services as traditional, on-campus students, such as enrollment counseling, academic advising, and student services.
The online, affordable Master of Science in Management degree program at Lasell includes a number of concentrations, including Human Resources Management. Students take twenty-one management credits, nine credits of HR courses—negotiation and conflict resolution, HR management, and human resource law—plus six credits of electives. Students in Lasell’s program are trained to recruit, train, motivate, and terminate employees through a curriculum that helps them develop policies, procedures, and effective human rights legislation. Finally, each student is expected to either find an internship or present a capstone research project.
Lasell College is accredited by the New England Association of Schools and Colleges.
Tarleton State University
Per Credit Hour Cost: $612
Located in Stephenville, Texas and a member of the Texas A&M University System, Tarleton State University boasts a diverse population of students who come from around the world. Though originally an agricultural school, Tarleton is now known for its medical, professional, education, business, and science departments. The online graduate programs at Tarleton have been consistently noted for affordability and excellence.
With the option of completing the degree in eighteen months, Tarleton’s online Master of Science in Human Resources Management degree is both efficient and affordable. Students in the program, which is offered through the business school, learn research methodology, job analysis, recruitment and selection technique, how to train employees, and how to enact an effective and sustainable organization. Graduates of the program have gone on to work for sizeable businesses, non-profit agencies, and state and local governments.
Tarleton State University is regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools.