Human Resources Management: Bachelor, Associate & Online Degree Info

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What will you learn in a human resources management program? Read about degree requirements, the pros and cons of an associate and bachelor's degree, and potential careers.
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Studying Human Resources Management: Degrees at a Glance

If you're interested in learning how a business hires and retains its employees, an associate or bachelor's degree program in human resources management might be for you.

Before you enroll in a 2-year program, you should be aware that the number of human resources careers available to graduates are limited. You might qualify for an entry-level position as a human resources assistant, but you'll need to earn a bachelor's degree before you can pursue most human resources specialist or managerial positions.

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projected job opportunities for human resources specialists to increase 21% from 2010-2020. Much of the growth will be in employee placement agencies, due to the outsourcing of staffing responsibilities to these organizations. An 11% employment increase was projected for human resources assistants, while human resources and training and development managers could expect a 13% and 15% job growth, respectively.

Associate Bachelor's
Who is this degree for? Individuals who want to pursue entry-level human resources positions or transfer to bachelor's degree programs Students or current human resources professionals who want to pursue managerial roles
Common Career Paths (with approximate median annual salary) - Human resources assistant, except payroll and timekeeping ($37,000)* Experience might be required for some of the following positions:
- Human resources manager ($99,000)*
- Training and development manager ($92,000)*
- Training and development specialist ($55,000)*
- Compensation, benefits and job analysis specialists ($58,000)*
Time to Completion 2 years (full-time) About 2 years with an associate degree, 3-5 years without (full-time)
Common Graduation Requirements - Roughly 30 courses
- Satisfactory 2.0 GPA
- Roughly 40 courses
- Grade point average of at least 2.0
-Internships or practicums are encouraged
Prerequisites - High school diploma or GED
- Placement tests
- High school diploma or GED
- Acceptable SAT or ACT scores
Online Availability Hybrid and online programs are available Online programs are common

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (May 2011 figures).

Associate Degree in Human Resources Management

Human resources management programs are often available through community or technical colleges. Curricula can teach you how to hire and retain employees or improve their job satisfaction. You might also discuss how to perform work appraisals and develop training procedures. Once you've completed one of these 2-year programs, you can choose to enter the work force or transfer your credits into a bachelor's degree program.

Pros and Cons

Pros

  • An associate degree takes only two years to complete, so you can start your career quickly
  • Completing an associate degree might give you an edge over other applicants if you decide to continue your education
  • You can complete one of these programs entirely online

Cons

  • Many human resources positions require at least a bachelor's degree and, sometimes, related experience
  • Other career options in this field might be available with only a high school diploma and work experience (employment interviewer, recruitment specialist)
  • Some courses completed at community or technical colleges might not be transferable to a bachelor's degree program

Common Courses and Requirements

Courses in an associate degree program in human resources management frequently include the following:

  • Employee compensation
  • Organizational behavior
  • Labor relations
  • Employee training
  • Employment law

You might take additional courses to learn about the basics of business communications, public relations and economics. You'll also complete core general education requirements to ensure that your math and writing skills are up to par. Some programs require you to also complete at least 14 hours of work experience in a semester-long practicum.

Online Degree Options

Online associate degree programs in human resources management are fairly common. Many are offered by for-profit schools and include coursework similar to their on-campus counterparts. Hybrid programs offering a mix of on-site and distance education courses are also available.

Getting Ahead with This Degree

According to the BLS, human resources assistants will need the computer skills necessary to manage employees' personnel files. Be on the lookout for courses that can increase your knowledge of computer databases and human resources software programs.

Whether or not your school requires it, you might also want to consider assembling a portfolio of written work to showcase your skills to prospective employers. You might include such documents as employment policies, job descriptions and training materials.

Bachelor's Degree in Human Resources Management

If you have experience in an entry-level human resources position and decide to earn a bachelor's degree in human resources management, you'll be laying the groundwork for a managerial career. Program requirements can sharpen your communication skills and business savvy. If you're just entering the job market, they can also provide you with the work experience required by some employers.

Pros and Cons

Pros

  • Employees with a bachelor's degree earn higher median salaries and are less likely to be unemployed than those with less education*
  • Some 4-year human resources programs prepare you to meet educational requirements for the Human Resources Certification Institute's credential, which could be preferred by employers
  • Bachelor's degree programs in human resources management might be available online

Cons

  • A position as a human resources or training and development manager might require a master's degree
  • Additional experience is necessary for some human resources specialist positions
  • A bachelor's degree can take up to five years to complete

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Common Courses and Requirements

Human resources management courses found in a bachelor's degree program are similar to those for an associate degree. However, you'll take business and math courses as well. These are likely to include the following:

  • Accounting
  • Microeconomics
  • Macroeconomics
  • Marketing
  • Negotiation
  • Statistics
  • Operations management

Additionally, you'll complete several general education requirements. In some programs, you might be able to use some of your elective credits to participate in an internship.

Online Degree Options

Online human resources management bachelor's degree programs are also common. These are the same as on-campus programs in terms of course requirements. One major difference between the two learning formats, however, is that internship opportunities might only be available through on-site programs.

Getting Ahead with This Degree

There are several ways you could get ahead while still enrolled in your degree program. A handful of suggestions are outlined below:

  • Choose electives that can provide you with training in human resources information systems or employment law.
  • Complete an internship in an area that interests you, such as labor relations. The BLS states that some employers look for human resources specialists and managers who have experience.
  • Join a professional human resources organization to take advantage of networking and career development opportunities. There might be a student chapter on your campus, or you could get an individual membership.
  • After you've acquired two years of work experience, consider sitting for the Human Resources Certification Institute's Professional in Human Resources certification exam.

Popular Schools

  • Online Programs Available
    1. Kaplan University

    Program Options

    Bachelor's
      • BSBA in Human Resources
      • Bachelor of Business Admin
      • BSBA - Investment
  • Online Programs Available
    2. Colorado State University Global

    Program Options

    Bachelor's
      • BS - Human Resource Management
      • BS - Business Management
      • BS - Organizational Leadership
  • Online Programs Available
    3. Herzing University

    Program Options

    Bachelor's
      • B.S. - Business Management: Human Resource Development Concentration
      • B.S. - Business Management With No Concentration
  • Online Programs Available
    4. Colorado Technical University

    Program Options

    Bachelor's
      • BS - Business Administration - Human Resource Management
      • BS - Business Administration - Management
      • Bachelor of Science in Business Administration - Organizational Behavior
      • Bachelor of Science in Business Administration - Business Development
      • BS - Business Administration - General
      • B.S. - Psychology - Organizational Behavior
  • Campus and Online Programs
    5. Full Sail University

    Program Options

    Bachelor's
      • B.S. - Music Business
  • Campus Locations:
    6. Virginia College

    Program Options

    Bachelor's
      • Bachelor: Human Resource Management
  • Online Programs Available
    7. Grand Canyon University

    Program Options

    Bachelor's
      • Bachelor of Science in Business for Secondary Education
      • BS in Applied Management
      • BS in Business Admin.
  • Online Programs Available
    8. American InterContinental University

    Program Options

    Bachelor's
      • Bachelor of Business Admin: Human Resources
      • Bachelor of Business Admin: Management
      • Bachelor of Business Administration - Generalist
  • Online Programs Available
    9. Keiser University

    Program Options

    Bachelor's
      • B.A. - Business Admin: Human Resources
      • B.A. - Business Admin: Management
      • Business Administration, BA - Management
  • Online Programs Available
    10. Indiana Wesleyan University

    Program Options

    Bachelor's
      • B.S. Business Administration - Human Resource Management
      • B.S. Management - Human Resources
      • B.S. Psychology of Human Relations
      • B.S. Business Administration - No Specialization
      • B.S. General Studies - Business
      • B.S. Management - No Specialization

Featured Schools

Kaplan University

  • BSBA in Human Resources
  • Bachelor of Business Admin
  • BSBA - Investment

Which subject are you interested in?

Colorado State University Global

  • BS - Human Resource Management
  • BS - Business Management
  • BS - Organizational Leadership

What is your highest level of education?

Herzing University

  • B.S. - Business Management: Human Resource Development Concentration
  • B.S. - Business Management With No Concentration

What is your highest level of education?

Colorado Technical University

  • BS - Business Administration - Human Resource Management
  • BS - Business Administration - Management
  • Bachelor of Science in Business Administration - Organizational Behavior

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Full Sail University

  • B.S. - Music Business

What is your highest level of education?

Virginia College

  • Bachelor: Human Resource Management

What is your highest level of education completed?

Grand Canyon University

  • Bachelor of Science in Business for Secondary Education
  • BS in Applied Management
  • BS in Business Admin.

What is your highest level of education?

American InterContinental University

  • Bachelor of Business Admin: Human Resources
  • Bachelor of Business Admin: Management
  • Bachelor of Business Administration - Generalist

Are you a US citizen?