Best Online Human Resources Degree Programs of 2023

Best Online Human Resources Degree Programs of 2023
Imed Bouchrika, Phd by Imed Bouchrika, Phd
Chief Data Scientist & Head of Content

HR professionals are vital in cultivating an organizational culture that will have a long-lasting impact on business success. By taking the initiative to create positive change, they shape corporate landscapes and help guide companies into prosperous futures. The online bachelors’ in human resources equip students with leadership skills and a deep understanding of organizational dynamics.

A survey entitled The Future of HR in the New Reality reported that among HR professionals, 81% agree that their function plays a key role in establishing the right organizational culture (KPMG, 2021). This article gives information and insights to individuals looking to pursue an online bachelor’s degree in human resources.

Online Degree in Human Resources Table of Contents

  1. Can you get a degree completely online?
  2. Will employers take my online degree seriously?
  3. Are online degrees recognized all over the world?
  4. Online vs. Traditional Bachelor’s Degree in Human Resources
  5. How much does an online bachelor’s degree in human resources cost?
  6. What are the requirements of an online bachelor’s degree in human resources?
  7. Courses to Expect in an Online Bachelor’s Degree in Human Resources
  8. Things to Look for in an Online Bachelor’s Degree in Human Resources

Can you get a degree completely online?

Several universities now offer a BA, BBA, or BS online degree in human resources. These programs have similar major coursework but have varying focuses. If you want to acquire a degree focused on liberal arts education, you may opt to take the BA path. BBA programs in human resources give you a solid background in business. Meanwhile, a BS program will have a mix of science and math subjects.

It is possible to get an HR degree completely online. E-learning has become increasingly relevant and common in both university and workplace education. Indeed, it has become an imperative in these times of COVID-19, as it has in other crisis-like situations or during the occurrence of natural disasters (Dhawan, 2020).

swoc analysis of online learning

Will employers take my online degree seriously?

In 2018, Gallagher surveyed 750 hiring leaders in America. Here are some relevant statistics from his report entitled Educational Credentials Come of Age, which answers the question:

  • 55% of HR leaders believe that credentials earned online are equivalent to those completed in person.
  • 6% of HR leaders believe that online education is of higher quality than traditional education.
  • 52% of HR leaders believe that most advanced degrees will be offered online in the future.
  • 71% of HR leaders have personally hired an individual with an online degree or credential.

The above perceptions offer an optimistic outlook for students looking to pursue an online degree in human resources. On top of this, HR jobs are projected to grow by 7% between the years 2019 and 2029 (BLS, 2021). This is faster than the average projected growth of all occupations, which is only at 4%.

Source: SHRM, 2018

Are online degrees recognized all over the world?

The COVID-19 pandemic is re-shaping the landscape of higher education and pushing many institutions to increase digitalization and manage their digital footprint. More and more colleges and universities are planning to offer online courses to attract new students. In the United States alone, 71% of higher education institutions report using this strategy (OECD, 2021). Enrollment in online degree programs also continues to rise.

An article recently published in the Frontiers in Psychology notes that “We are all involved in a digital world, and the phenomenon of online learning is here to stay. After some months of online experiences, a paradigm shift has occurred in university education. Online teaching has gained relevance and ensured its continuance even after the COVID-19 pandemic” (Garcia-Morales et al., 2021).

Statistical data demonstrate the power of e-learning. Its global market is projected to grow by 110% in 2026 (Research and Markets, 2021).

Source: Research and Markets, 2021

Online vs. Traditional Bachelor’s Degree in Human Resources

Schweinsber and Garivaldis (2020) argue that online education may develop employability and work-readiness among students better than traditional education. This may be especially true in the field of human resources, where among the emerging trends are increased digitalization and the shift to remote work.

Online education will provide HR students with a swift transition into a labor market heavily impacted by technological transformation. This mode of instruction may be more advantageous to students seeking to gain experience and develop skills needed to become a part of the digital workforce.

Is an online degree cheaper?

Online education is typically a more affordable option than traditional, campus-based education. In total, an online bachelor’s degree only costs between $38,469 and $60,593 (U.S. News, 2020). Meanwhile, the annual average tuition and fees for traditional education in 2020-2021 is $37,650 at private colleges, $10,560 for in-state residents at public colleges, and $27,020 for out-of-state residents at public colleges (College Board, 2020). When room and board expenditure is included, students will have to prepare around $22,180-50,770 to acquire education from these institutions.

Is an online degree as good as a regular degree?

In a recent survey, 41% of students report having a better experience with online than traditional learning (Wiley Education Services, 2020). Meanwhile, 38% said that their experiences with these modes of instruction are about the same. The same report also shows that the positive experience of students with online education translates to the majority of them (86%) wanting to continue the relationship with their institution after earning their online degree.

In another survey, students report wanting online learning options post-pandemic (Inside Higher Ed, 2021).

Source: Inside Higher Ed, 2021

How much does an online bachelor’s degree in human resources cost?

Pre-credit costs for an online human resources bachelor’s degree range from $360 to $500 while total tuition is between $43,000 and $64,000 (U.S. News, n.d.).

In addition to school fees, students will also have to meet technological requirements for online education. According to Deloitte’s 2021 back-to-school survey, 3 in 10 American students will still continue to take some online classes this Fall. The shift to digital learning increased year-on-year spending on technology by 37% in 2021. Under this technology spending bracket are electronic gadgets, computers, and hardware.

Is an online degree worth it?

We are in the middle of a pandemic, an economic recession, and a student loan debt crisis. Given these facts, it is no wonder that many students are asking whether pursuing a college education is worthwhile. This is more so with the skepticism surrounding the credibility of distance learning, which is the primary mode of instruction in today’s world.

Despite this, online students either strongly agree (42%) or agree (37%) that their online education was worth the cost (Wiley Education Services, 2020). Human resources professionals can also look into the economic benefits of having a degree. Recent data shows that an average HR professional can earn around $55,000 to $89,000 annually, depending on position level.

Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2021

What are the requirements of an online bachelor’s degree in human resources?

Online bachelor’s degree in human resources will require a combination of skills, academic credentials, and technological assets. Apart from the latter, most of the requirements are part of the traditional admission guidelines of most universities.

What are the Admission Requirements of Students for Online Learning?

Students are typically required to submit proof of the following academic credentials:

  • High school diploma
  • Transcript of records (GPA must be at least 2.0-3.0)
  • Capstone project and/or internship experience
  • Passing score on standardized tests
  • Recommendation letters
  • Personal essay
  • Interview

What are the Technological Requirements of Students for Online Learning?

The topmost qualities required for online education are computer literacy and technological preparedness (Pandel, 2021). Like in most online degree courses, students are expected to have remote learning gadgets and an internet connection.

In a way, spending on technology nowadays is part of an individual’s investment in his or her future career. After all, the digital skills students will take on while taking an online degree will be much sought for by employers after graduation.

Source: Oxford Economics, 2021

Courses to Expect in an Online Bachelor’s Degree in Human Resources

Ninety-five percent of academicians agree that SHRM-aligned curriculums offer a degree of advantage. The following online degree courses in HR are based on their sample undergraduate curriculum:

  • Performance Management. This course covers the evaluation and communication of employee performance as well as the resulting actions that will be taken in response.
  • Employee Relations. This course will provide students with the knowledge and skills required for creating and maintaining a positive relationship between employers and employees. Topics in this course include career development, employment laws, multigenerational management, relationship management, conflict management, and workplace privacy.
  • Managing Employee Benefits. This is an essential course for understanding government-mandated and company-specific benefits, which typically include life insurance, employee assistance programs, and family-friendly benefits.
  • Employment Laws. This provides students with legal knowledge that are organization-related, such as the Occupational Safety and Health Act (OSHA) of 1970, the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) of 1983, and Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and 1991.

Source: KPMG Lower Gulf Limited, 2021

Things to Look for in an Online Bachelor’s Degree in Human Resources

Below are some considerations for choosing an online HR degree:

Reputation. A recent survey revealed that 39% of students choose their online degree programs primarily based on the schools’ reputation (Wiley Education Services, 2020). Research student feedback on your target institution.

Type of Degree. As discussed earlier, HR degree programs can come in the form of a BA, a BBA, or a BS. Depending on the desired focus, your higher education institution choice will also vary.

Program Coursework. An article by HR Today lists the following skills that your post-pandemic HR resume should contain: (1) crisis management, (2) process building, (3) digital collaboration, (4) wellness program management, (5) employee retention, and (6) diversity, equity and inclusion (Bortz, 2021). Pick an online degree program in HR with coursework that will give you considerable expertise on this set of skills. It might also be good to check if the program is able to keep up with the latest training video trends, HR trends, and the like to ensure you are up to speed with industry standards.

Certification Pass Rate. There are several institutions that offer HR certifications. Among the most popular are The Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM), HR Certification Institute (HRCI), WorldatWork, and International Foundation of Employee Benefit Plans. You may check the passing rate of your target universities in different certification programs to assess if the degree programs they offer will be the right fit for your goal.

Source: Wiley Education Services, 2020

Take the First Step Toward HR Leadership

The top three initiatives of human resources professionals today according to training industry trends are (1) improving employee experience and well-being, (2) adopting technology for remote work, and (3) reducing organizations’ expenditures (KPMG, 2021). Sixty-two percent of HR executives believe that there is a need to reinvent and transform the function of HR and 86% believe that there is a need to rethink productivity and performance measures in remote work setups.

HR professionals are in an advantageous position to contribute to making the future workplace more humane, equitable, and inclusive. If you want to be a part of this endeavor, acquiring an online degree in human resources may be just the perfect next step for you.



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