Online HR Management (HRM) Degree Program Overviews

Get info about online degree programs in HR management. Read about program requirements, course topics and degree levels, as well as career and continuing education options.

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Essential Information

Both bachelor's and master's degree programs in HRM are available entirely online. These programs are designed to accommodate working students, allowing them to watch video lessons on their own schedules. Some programs require students to have an associate's degree.

Courses in both undergraduate and graduate programs may include benefits management, compensation and organizational behavior. Master's degree programs emphasize communications skills as well.

HRM Bachelor's Degree

This program focuses on effective use of personnel as a resource in organizational management. Other areas of emphasis include marketing and business communications, quantitative analysis, finance, accounting, information technology, economics, business skills and labor relations. Applicants must have a high school diploma or its equivalent for enrollment consideration.

Information and Requirements

The normal time required to complete this online bachelor's degree program ranges from 2-2.5 years for those with an associate's degree, or 4-5 years for students with little or no prior college attendance. Many schools suggest a time commitment of at least 20 hours per week. Some offer online courses year-round, allowing students to complete courses quicker than a traditional semester-based program. Distance-education students can access classes at any time, although there is often still a prescribed sequence of courses.

Online degree programs require access to a personal computer with high-speed Internet. Some schools have additional software that is needed to access courses, including media players and Microsoft Office Suite (Word, Excel, PowerPoint). Assessments, assignments, tests and communication with peers and faculty are all completed through the Web.

Common Courses

General educations requirements may contain a heavy focus on liberal arts for HRM. Electives may be applied toward a minor or specialization, such as organizational behavior or global business. Some common core courses are outlined below.

Human Resource Management

This course provides a broad overview of human resource management and explains how theories apply to common, real-life situations. Students investigate scenarios and analyze techniques for solving workplace problems.

Management Principles

This course covers business leadership principles, functions and motivational techniques. Organizational planning and control are highlighted among lectures on management philosophies, practices, issues and history.

Organizational Behavior Fundamentals

Theory and practical skills are conveyed through lectures and case studies. Students examine individual, small group and inter-group behavior, organizational effectiveness and development, human relations and psychological motivation.

HRM Master's Degree

This program prepares human resource employees for high-level management positions. Using a theory- and application-based curriculum, online graduate degree HRM programs enhance students' overall expertise in the field, as well as in specializations such as recruitment or labor relations. Applicants must possess a bachelor's degree, but may also need to provide letters of reference and a resume or complete a personal interview to be considered for admission.

Information and Requirements

The online HRM master's degree program offers scheduling flexibility for working professionals. Time spent on coursework, study and testing is based on personal availability. All online programs require access to a personal computer with connection to the Internet. Software requirements vary by school.

Common Courses

In addition to core coursework, a school's master-level general education requirements must be satisfied. Often, a heavy emphasis is placed on communications, especially proficiency in English. Some typical courses are described below.

Salary Compensation and Administration

This course teaches compensation design and administration overviews through varying human resource systems and theories. Topics include compensation incentives, tax considerations and payroll philosophies. Lessons also discuss job analysis and design, equitable pay laws and the idea of increasing productivity through incentives.

Employee Benefits Management

Students learn about company-sponsored benefit plans. They focus on areas such as life and disability insurance, health and dental plans and retirement agendas. They must learn to keep costs contained while meeting the needs of employees.

Laws of Labor Relations and Employment

This class covers personnel law history, concepts and issues in order to help students to understand and comply with federal and state statutes. It also teaches them how to design, implement and manage practices and procedures that comply with laws such as the Taft-Hartley and Wagner Acts. Other topics include health and safety, affirmative action, drug testing, sexual harassment and discrimination.

Career Information

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, average annual salaries were $117,080 for human resource managers, $111,680 for training and development managers and $121,630 for compensation and benefits managers as of May 2015. Overall HRM employment between 2014 and 2024 is expected to grow by about 9%, which is faster than the average for all occupations. (

Continuing Education

Certification is not required to work in HRM, but many employers prefer to hire someone who holds credentials from a professional organization. Several professional associations offer human resource workers continuing education classes as well as certifications to prove knowledge and increase their ability to advance in the field.

The International Foundation of Employee Benefit Plans offers a Certified Employee Benefits Specialist (CEBS) designation, achieved by completing courses and passing exams. The American Society for Training and Development (ASTD) administers 16 certificates and workshops in training and development. The Professional in Human Resources] (PHR) and Senior Professional in Human Resources (SPHR) certifications are offered by the Society for Human Resource Management. Also, WorldatWork Society of Certified Professionals offers four designations in addition to a variety of classroom and online educational courses.

Individuals interested in a human resources management degree program can work through a bachelor's or master's degree program in this field completely online. Programs offer students information and skills in solving workplace issues, motivating employees and other leadership qualities.

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