Online Studies for Labor Relations Specialists with Career Info

Learn about online degree programs with courses in labor relations. Get an overview of the program types, requirements and course descriptions available for this field.

Essential Information

There are many fully online master's degree programs in human resource management that have courses in labor relations, but just a few master's degree programs specifically in labor relations. Some programs allow a student to choose a concentration in labor and collective bargaining. These master's programs require about two years to complete. They are usually offered totally online, with no internships or campus visits required. Students watch lessons and interact with classmates and instructors via the internet.

Courses in a master's degree program that focuses on labor relations may include an in-depth look at labor relations law and how it developed. Students explore topics like international labor relations and employee relations; some programs require a research project. Admission requirements vary for these graduate programs, but applicants need a bachelor's degree and, at some schools, a GPA of at least 3.0.

While not mandatory, many labor relations specialists may want to earn certification from a professional organization, such as the Society for Human Resource Management. There are several types of certifications offered. These certifications can be earned by meeting education and experience requirements and passing a certification exam.

Master's Degree in Labor Relations

Graduate programs in human resource management with classes in labor relations are fairly common, but there are few programs with a specific focus on labor relations. These online master's degree programs in labor relations examine the factors that define employee-employer relationships in business, government and other organizations. Students learn the history of labor and labor movements, labor law, models of labor relations and workplace governance issues. Applicants to a master's degree program need to have earned a bachelor's degree and maintained a 3.0 grade point average.

Information and Requirements

Students may complete a distance learning master's degree program in labor relations entirely online, typically in two years. Courses tend to be offered on a semester system rather than by open enrollment. Lectures, presentations, readings and other materials can be accessed through a school's website at the convenience of students, but assignments have set deadlines. Instructors and students interact via online message boards, chat sessions and e-mail.

A newer Windows or Mac personal computer, productivity software such as Microsoft Office and Internet access are the minimum technical requirements to take part in an online program. School may use software such as Elluminate Live to handle chat sessions.

Course Topics

Core courses in an online master's degree in labor relations cover management, human resources worker organizations such as unions. Electives may allow students to concentrate on such areas as employment law and collective bargaining.

Labor and Human Resources

Students in this course learn the basics of human resource management and labor relations in union and non-union business settings. Course work also touches on how organizations approach employment planning and strategy and workplace responsibility.

Labor Law

This course surveys broad principles of U.S. labor law and employee rights. Collective bargaining, union organizing and workplace discrimination are among the topics considered.

International Labor Relations

This course compares employee and labor relations systems in use around the world and examines the effect of globalization on workplace practices. Course work considers the function and role of government agencies, management and unions.

Economics of Labor Markets Course

Students consider theories on labor markets from the perspective of neoclassical economics and institutional economics. Topics covered include labor supply and demand and additional factors influencing wages, in addition to public policy on discrimination, education and unemployment.


Career Information

Graduates of an online master's degree program in labor relations are qualified for positions as labor relations managers or specialists. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, (www.bls.gov), projected employment of human resources to increase 5% from 2014-2024; however, employment of labor relations specialists is expected to decline 8% during the same time period. As of May 2015, the median salary of labor relations specialists was $58,820 .

Continuing Education Information

Doctoral programs in labor relations are few, but available to master's degree holders who want to conduct research or teach at the college level. Programs are not offered online.

Qualified candidates wishing to work in labor relations can work as labor relations specialists or managers.. Working professionals seeking to advance their careers can pursue online master's degrees, as well as voluntary certifications, to give themselves a competitive advantage in the marketplace.


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