Why This Matters

  • THE U.S. NEEDS 38,900 MORE OF YOU BY 2026

    Employment of human resource specialists is expected to grow by 7% in the next decade, about as fast as average for all occupations. A bachelor’s degree is typically the minimum education level employers seek.

  • MANAGEMENT POSITIONS WILL INCREASE BY 10%

    The fastest-growing job within human resources is talent and development management. Due to the position’s level of responsibility and skill, employers often seek individuals with master’s degrees to fill these roles.

  • INCREASE YOUR EARNING POTENTIAL BY $52,420

    The median annual salary for HR specialists is $60,880, well above the median annual salary for all occupations. Leadership roles, which usually require a master’s degree, have a median annual salary of $113,300.

Our Research

We included bachelor’s and master’s degree programs on our list of the best online human resources programs. Your current level of education will determine which degree you are seeking.

The Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB) and the Accreditation Council for Business Schools and Programs (ACBSP) accredit human resources programs that meet rigorous quality standards. Many of the listed programs have AACSB or ACBSP accreditation.

Several professional certifications in HR exist, and employers increasingly seek certified employees. The Society for Human Resource Management offers an accelerated certification pathway for students enrolled in SHRM-aligned Master’s programs. We reviewed aligned and non-aligned programs. Graduates of non-aligned programs can obtain certification, but doing so prior to graduation can provide a career advantage.

We evaluated each program’s reputation, flexibility, and cost. Using this information, we calculated the Intelligent Score of each degree on a scale from 0 to 100. Our top picks for the best online degrees in human resources are respected, affordable, and customizable. (For a more extensive explanation, check out Our Ranking Methodology.)

  • 54 hours to write this article
  • 244 universities and colleges we assessed
  • 296 education programs we compared

The Top 60 Online Degrees in Human Resources

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What You Should Know About This Degree

The human resources department commonly acts as a go-between for a company’s administration and its employees. Interacting with various constituencies within an organization is a key function of HR employees, so communication, interpersonal and collaboration skills are essential to success in human resources.

Most human resources positions are office-based, but recruitment-focused jobs may require travel. Consider if this is something you are willing or able to do, as it may affect your prospects once you enter the job market.

Human resources degrees come in a variety of formats. At the undergraduate level, you can earn a Bachelor of Arts, a Bachelor of Science, or a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration with a concentration in Human Resources. For graduate students, your options include a Master of Science or a Master of Business Administration. While all these degree types provide adequate preparation for a career in human resources, they vary in subject focus and depth. When researching programs, consider what type of educational experience you want, and which type of degree program aligns with your interests and goals.

Employers increasingly hire employees with professional certifications as proof of their education and expertise. Earning and maintaining certifications means an additional commitment of time, money and energy, so it’s important to be prepared for this aspect of your HR career.

What’s Next?

Here are some questions to ask when researching Online Human Resources programs:

  • Am I eligible for this program? At the bachelor’s level, most programs do not have specific requirements beyond a high school diploma. However, for master’s-level students, some programs seek applicants who have an undergraduate degree and/or professional experience in HR.
  • Based on where I live, is this program available to me? Although all listed programs can be completed fully online, some have restrictions on who can complete the online program. For example, Utah State University’s online Master of Human Resources is only available to students outside of Utah.

Once you’ve selected the programs that interest you, research their application requirements and admissions procedures. This information is typically available on the program’s website. You can also contact the program directly if you have any questions.

Financing your graduate education is another important consideration. Research what scholarships and financial aid options are available to you. Some programs offer tuition discounts to active duty or retired U.S. military personnel. You can also check with your employer to see if they offer tuition reimbursement.