There are bachelor's and master's degree programs in HR administration that can be completed 100% online. These programs are widely available, and HR administration concentrations are often offered as part of business administration programs. Certification in this field is usually voluntary, but some employers prefer it. Earning a degree in HR administration can prepare one for the content on the certification exams.
Bachelor's Degree Programs in HR Administration
An online undergraduate HR administration program will likely award a Bachelor of Business Administration (BBA) in Human Resource Management. Curricula are designed to prepare students for entry-level human resources careers by introducing them to topics in labor law, organizational behavior, and basic business management strategies. In addition to a GED or high school diploma, program applicants will need an aptitude for math and statistics.
Program Information and Requirements
Many BBA programs allow students to complete coursework entirely online, though some schools offer the option of also taking courses on campus. These programs often facilitate faculty and student interaction through a combination of blogs, chat rooms, and online discussion forums. In some cases, students are responsible for finding exam proctors or installing remote proctoring software. Online access to library resources and advising services could also be available.
HR Administration Topics
Online HR administration bachelor's degree programs include general education courses as well as a business core covering topics in accounting, finance, and statistics. Some sample human resources courses are outlined below:
Training and Development
Students examine how training can help employees learn new job duties or improve their current skills. Course topics also discuss methods for increasing employees' efficiency and productivity.
Topics of discussion cover techniques for helping employees adjust to changes, whether the changes are made to manage conflict or maintain a viable business model. Some courses also discuss techniques for managing change in organizations that conduct business overseas.
This capstone course is offered to upper-division students who've completed the majority of their coursework. Using case studies and team projects, students design and implement business strategies for model organizations.
Master's Degree Programs in HR Administration
Online Master of Science and MBA programs are available with specializations in human resources management. Program curricula include roughly 36-57 credit hours of coursework and are designed for students interested in learning how successful human resources management can help organizations improve their bottom line. Students might be exempt from foundation courses in some programs, depending on their previous professional or educational experience. All applicants will need bachelor's degrees.
Program Information and Requirements
While some programs include a handful of courses only offered on campus, others make the entire curricula available online. These schools provide students with access to such materials as Internet databases and online discussion groups. Some even offer mobile applications that allow students to access course materials while away from their home computers. Students will need an Apple iOS or Google Android mobile device to take advantage of these services.
Master's Level HR Administration Topics
Master's degree programs often include a series of foundational courses designed to build students' managerial skills and business savvy. After completing these accounting, operations management, and economics courses, students take a cluster of specialization courses in human resources. Some sample course descriptions are outlined below:
Human Resources Operations
Topics of study in this introductory course can include employment law and ethics. Students also discuss the role organizational behavior plays in creating effective human resources policies.
Students examine issues affecting labor relations in both the public and private sectors. Topics of discussion include grievance resolution and the history of the labor movement.
This course delves into methods for using pay, benefits, and other incentive systems to motivate employees. Coursework also covers techniques for conducting performance appraisals and job evaluations.
Graduates of online BBA programs can find jobs as human resources specialists. These professionals are responsible for performing such tasks as interviewing and recruiting new employees. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), compensation, benefits, and job analysis specialists earned mean annual salaries of $65,100 as of May 2015. Training and development specialists earned $62,460 per year, on average.
The BLS projected employment opportunities for human resources specialists to grow 5% over the 2014-2024 decade. The most new jobs were expected to be found with temp and employee placement agencies.
With additional work experience, bachelor's degree program graduates can find jobs as human resources managers, training and development managers, or compensation and benefits managers. The BLS reported that, as of May 2015, these professionals earned average salaries of $117,080, $111,680 and $121,630, respectively.
While HR master's degree programs can qualify graduates for many of the same jobs available to those who've earned undergraduate degrees, the BLS reports that applicants with master's degrees might be preferred for positions as training and development or compensation and benefits managers. In fact, some advanced positions might even require graduate degrees.
Human resources managers may see a 9% job growth over the 2014-2024 decade. Training and development managers could see a 7% job growth over the 2014-2024 decade, while job opportunities for compensation and benefits managers were expected to grow only 6%, according to the BLS.
Continuing Education Information
Students who complete BBA programs can pursue a Master of Business Administration (MBA). These programs are commonly available online and can offer concentrations in such areas as marketing, accounting, and project management. Graduate-level HR programs are outlined below.
Human resources doctoral programs are largely aimed at students who'd like to pursue academic careers and can be offered in such areas as industrial relations, human resources development, and human resources management. Online and hybrid programs at this level are rare. Students interested in pursuing a Doctor of Philosophy will have better luck finding a traditional on-campus program.
Online bachelor's programs in HR administration educate students in labor law, organizational behavior, and strategic management. Master's programs focus on accounting, operations, economics, and compensation.