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Online Masters Degree in Labor Relations: Program Info

Learn about online Master's Degree Programs in Labor Relations. Get an overview of program types, requirements and course descriptions available for this field.

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Essential Information

Students who want to receive graduate labor relations training can apply to online master's degree programs in human resources management or human resources and employment relations, which may offer a concentration in labor relations. The program can be completed entirely online; however, it usually requires an internship or residency at some point. Individuals develop skills for working with people, resolving disputes and negotiating contracts.

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Master's Degree in Labor Relations

Online training in labor relations can usually be found within a broader master's degree program in human resource management or human resources and employment relations. There may or may not be an area of specialization or concentration having to do with labor relations, such as industrial and labor relations, labor and collective bargaining or employment and labor law.

Certain schools might offer the program as a Master of Science (M.S.), while other schools might offer it as a Master of Professional Studies (MPS). The MPS program is generally more functional and less scholastic than the M.S. program, which can be taken to provide a bridge to a doctorate. Graduates of the MPS program usually go straight into the workplace. A baccalaureate degree with a GPA of at least 3.0 from an accredited institution is usually the prerequisite for the master's degree program, though a GPA of less than 3.0 might be considered on a provisional basis.

Information and Requirements

An online master's degree in human resource management can usually be completed in 2-4 years. Typically 32-36 semester hours are needed, depending on the specific school. Most schools offer all necessary online courses in a 100% asynchronous format, which means that the course can be accessed at any time, day or night, on any day as long as certain assignment deadlines are met. This gives students the freedom to work on their own schedule, though certain schools might require some lectures, group work or exams to be done at a specific time. The courses can be accessed through an online course delivery software program such as eCollege or Blackboard. Students can interact with the instructor and their peers through discussion boards and e-mail.

Some schools require a broadband Internet connection, while others find a modem connection of at least 56K acceptable. Some schools require software and plug-ins such as Adobe Reader, Microsoft Office, plus a multimedia player of some sort, such as Quicktime or Windows Media Player. Some schools even require that students use Mozilla Firefox as their Internet browser, while others allow Internet Explorer or Safari. Most schools also require that students have a computer with a DVD-ROM, printer, sound card, speakers and a microphone.

Common Human Resource Management Courses

By the time they reach the master's degree level, students should have taken all of the general education requirements necessary for degree completion. However, certain courses at the master's degree level act as prerequisites for other courses at the same level. This requires courses to be taken in a certain order.

Human Resources

In this online course, the history and evolution of the human resources field is studied, as well as possible careers. Students delve deeply into specific human resource topics such as employee benefits and compensation, employer responsibility, public policies, workforce planning and human capital management. Completion of this course provides students with the skills necessary to recruit, train and appraise employees, as well as influence the formation of public policies dealing with human resources.

Labor Relations

Students enrolled in this distance learning course learn about the influence of important historical events and legislative movements on the theories and practices of industrial and labor relations. Special attention is paid to unions and employee-employer relationships. Skills and methods are developed for resolving complaints, regulating and supervising contracts, collective bargaining and the training and advising of employees. Certain schools also teach students about how labor relations affect the different areas of the public sector.

Employment Legislation

The functions and responsibilities of labor laws and the effect they have on unions and the workplace is the main focus of this online course. Students study laws involving subjects such as discrimination and hourly wage. There is a major focus on specific legislative acts such as the Wagner Act and the Taft-Hartley Act. Students examine these acts and actual case studies and relate them to modern situations, both real and hypothetical. Graduates possess skills needed to perform tasks such as recognizing unfair labor practices and balancing labor laws and business ethics.


Career Information

Graduates of an online master's degree in labor relations program are qualified to enter virtually any industry at the general or top management level. Specific positions that can be held with this degree include human resources director, employment manager, occupational analyst, employee benefits specialist, training manager or labor relations manager.

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reported that the average salary of a human resources manager, as of May 2015, was $117,080, while a labor relations specialist earned an average of $60,930. The BLS predicts faster than average occupational growth of 9% for HR managers between 2014-2024.

Continuing Education Information

Doctoral programs exist for students who seek higher education or aspire to teach at the university level. It is possible to complete a doctoral program completely online; however, there are on-campus options.

Online master's degree programs related to labor relations qualify students for leadership roles in the field, as they learn about topics such as employment regulations, compensation and employee relationships.

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