Designed to prepare students for work as human resources managers and specialists, online human resources management programs may award certificates, as well as associate's-, bachelor's- and master's-level degrees. Depending on program level, these distance learning options are available from community colleges, four-year institutions and private online schools. These programs are available fully online, but vary depending on the program level.
Undergraduate programs provide a foundation in the field and can help students move into entry-level positions; graduate options are usually designed for human resources professionals seeking career advancement. Like on-campus programs, the curriculum in online human resources management programs generally focuses on the organizational, legal, training and financial issues involved with an organization's personnel.
Students can expect to study the following:
- Employee management
- Workplace diversity
- Managerial ethics
- Employment law
- Staffing and recruitment
- Training and development
- Labor relations
- Benefits and compensation
Although some programs -- particularly graduate-level ones -- could require on-campus seminars or project fieldwork, most distance learning programs in human resources management can be completed totally online. Schools create virtual classroom environments using course management software, which gives distance learners access to lectures, assignments, tests and other materials any time. Students may interact with their peers and instructors using class chat rooms, discussion boards or Web conferencing.
The following list offers overviews of what to expect from human resources management online programs at each degree level.
Open to those with a high school diploma or GED, online associate's degree programs in human resources management contain general education requirements and typically focus on business topics. Some schools may offer online human resources management courses as a concentration within a business administration program. While it may be difficult to find an advanced position with only a two-year degree, an online associate's degree program is a great way for students to see if human resources management is the right career for them as well as to prepare for entry-level careers.
Online four-year bachelor's degree programs in human resources management expand on the material covered in associate's degree programs by including more in-depth business and human resources classes. Applicants must have a high school diploma or GED, and some schools require future distance learners to already have an associate's degree and some relevant work experience.
Human resources management bachelor's degree programs require general education coursework and allow students to choose electives as they near graduation. An online capstone course in human resources, which may include completing a major project, is often required of bachelor's-level students.
Distance learning master's degree programs in human resources management usually consist of 30-36 credits and can be completed in around two years. Students can typically pursue online master's degrees in human resources management if they have a bachelor's degree in a related major and acceptable GMAT or GRE scores.
The curriculum in an online graduate degree program generally includes core courses and then provides several electives or specialization options. Distance learners might opt to concentrate their studies in areas like labor law or benefits and compensation. Online programs in human resources management may culminate in a research project.
Some schools offer online graduate certificate programs in human resources management. These programs are made up of 6-10 online human resources classes and can often be completed in as little as 12 months. Online certificate programs are ideal for working professionals who would like to move into the human resources management field or simply want to learn about the inner workings of human resources. They may also be appropriate for human resources professionals interested in moving into more advanced positions.
Many schools offer online human resources management programs at all levels including certificate, undergraduate, and graduate programs. These programs can be completed fully or mostly online, with the exception of possible fieldwork or on-campus seminars, which are primarily completed at the graduate level.