Human resources (HR) management involves the recruitment, management and provision of direction for workers, including benefits, safety, motivation and training. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), HR managers usually must have a bachelor's degree, although some jobs could require graduate-level education (www.bls.gov). A number of four-year institutions -- many of which are private -- offer online certificates as well as bachelor's and master's degree programs in this field. Most can be completed totally through distance learning.
Admission requirements vary by school and program level. Some online bachelor's programs could require students to have a certain level of earned college credits prior to admission. Those interested in online master's degrees in HR management must have a bachelor's degree and may be required to have relevant work experience.
Most distance-learning HR management certificate programs take one year to complete, with a total of around 18 credits, which can be taken on a flexible time schedule. Upon graduation, those with a certificate are eligible for entry-level positions in human resources.
Distance-learning HR management degrees can also be earned on a bachelor's degree level. These four-year programs can be completed as an online 120-credit program, consisting of both HR management courses and other liberal arts and business courses.
For individuals looking to enhance their knowledge and skills, online master's degrees in human resources management are an option. These programs are usually designed for HR or business professionals seeking advancement in their careers.
Distance learning master's-level studies, which typically take two years to complete, often feature a core set of courses related to business and general HR or labor relations issues. Electives may allow students to concentrate in a certain area, such as training and development, labor law or benefits and compensation, among others. A final research project may be required of online students as well.
Common Distance-Learning Courses
HR management distance learning courses focus on both global and domestic business environments, communication, power and influence, leadership, decision making and compensation. An online program in HR management may include the following courses:
- Strategic organization and HR management choices
- Total compensation
- Strategic recruitment, training and performance management
- Employee rights and employer obligations
- High-performance human resources systems and development
- Change, challenge and competence
Online programs contain much of the same curriculum as an on-campus program. Lectures and assignments are available online, such as downloads or videos on the class website. All student-to-student and student-to-professor interactions will take place on online forums, message boards, chat rooms or via e-mail.
HR managers are needed in most businesses as they serve an important, often behind-the-scenes role. Besides a career in HR management, those who graduate from a distance learning HR management certificate or degree program can work in the following areas:
- Compensation and benefit management
- Training and development management
- Employment, recruitment and placement
- Compensation, benefits and job analysis
- Training and development
The BLS reports that employment of HR managers is expected to increase 9% between 2014 and 2024. The average annual salary for these professionals was $117,080, according to BLS data from May 2015. Along with private industry, local governments, hospitals and public school systems were major employers.
In online programs in human resources management, students learn about the issues that affect the relationships between employees and their employers, and they develop the communication, leadership and critical thinking skills needed to facilitate positive and productive workplace environments. Through virtual platforms, students can expect to watch lectures, submit assignments and collaborate with other students, just as they would in traditional programs.