Several business schools offer online human resource management programs that result in either a Bachelor of Arts (B.A.) or Bachelor of Science (B.S.). Others host business administration bachelor's degree programs with a concentration in human resources. Each of these programs covers the same fundamental topics and can usually be completed entirely through distance learning. The curriculum can prepare graduates for certification with the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM). Some programs require tests to be observed by a remote proctor.
Bachelor's Degree - HR Administration
Online bachelor's degree programs in human resources typically take four full-time years of study to complete. They include two years of general education - featuring courses in economics and the social sciences - as well as electives. Core, upper-level courses address business structures, management principles, ethics, accounting, employee services, industrial relations and collective bargaining. Some scheduling flexibility may be available.
Program Information and Requirements
Those who enroll in online programs must be somewhat proficient with computers; many programs ask that students own an up-to-date computer with full media capabilities and access to the Internet. Given the prevalence of computerized personnel databases and benefits packages, computer skills sharpened in pursuit of distance education may make graduates more attractive to future employers. Some schools test online, while others require a remote proctor to observe while students complete exams.
Distance-learning business administration programs typically feature a core curriculum approved by the Association of Collegiate Business Schools and Programs. These courses may discuss production and operation management, business ethics, managerial accounting and international business. Human resource management classes include:
This course compares theories and models of organizational change. Students learn strategies for solving problems and managing the consequences of change.
Employee and Labor Relations
Issues that can affect a workplace range in subject and extremity, but require consistent and diplomatic handling in each case. Students discuss common employee problems and their solutions, as well as the relationships between management, workers, unions and the government.
Training theories are presented, and students may be asked to design their own models. Students learn to evaluate the need for training, select a curriculum, choose delivery methods and assess the effectiveness of executed training programs.
Compensation and Benefits
Factors that influence wage and salary programs are discussed, including benefits, incentives and service programs. Other subjects include exempt and non-exempt employees, compensable factors and medical leave.
Whether or not a company has its own human resources division, nearly all businesses require employees who can manage personnel issues. HR staff within a department may work primarily in recruiting, hiring, training, compensation, benefits, safety or employee relations. In a smaller organization, staffers may be responsible for several or all of these functions.
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the number of human resource management positions is projected to grow 9% from 2014 to 2024, faster than the national average.
The BLS also reported that in 2015, the median annual salary was $58,350 for human resources specialists. For human resources managers, the median salary was $104,440.
Several professional organizations offer certification programs for human resource management professionals. Options include the Society for Human Resource Management, American Society for Training and Development, International Foundation of Employee Benefit Plans and the WorldatWork Society of Certified Professionals. Certification is earned through a combination of work experience and the results of an examination. California conducts its own human resources certification exams.
Certification examinations are conducted at regular intervals at various sites across the country, and cannot be completed online. Most agencies also offer distance-learning continuing education courses, test simulations, assessment exams and other certification materials. Recertification can often be achieved through the completion of online courses.
Online bachelor's degree programs in human resources provide students with an understanding of staff development, including labor laws and benefits. Some programs ask that tests be observed by a remote proctor.