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Earning your human resources degree online can be an excellent choice. Attending online classes can save you time and money and is highly valued by employers as long as your chosen school is accredited.

No one wants to overspend on education, so when searching for the best online HR degree program, you may also be looking for the most affordable option. Fortunately, there are excellent choices for your program that are affordable.In this article, we’ll look at some of the cheapest online human resources degrees and consider ways to save money when choosing your program.

How To Reduce the Cost of Your Human Resources Degree

The time to consider saving money is before selecting a program. Here are some factors to take into consideration when you are looking:

Find a program with relatively low tuition

There are two primary considerations when looking for low-tuition programs. First, a general rule of thumb is that public institutions, which may have local, state, or federal funding, offer cheaper programs than private schools. When looking for the most affordable online human resources program, starting your search with your region’s public institutions may be a good idea.

In certain situations, you may be able to save money on a private school education if you meet the criteria for a good financial aid package. It could be beneficial to spend time searching for scholarships and other forms of assistance if you’re set on pursuing an HR program at a private college.

The second factor to consider is whether your institution is in-state or out-of-state. When you are attending college online, you can choose a program located anywhere in the U.S. There are often benefits, though, to sticking with a school in your state of residence.

Most, but not all, schools with online programs offer a significantly lower tuition rate to students living in the state where the school is located. Those attending from an out-of-state location may pay twice as much as the in-state tuition rate. Even if your program is entirely online, choosing an institution with a physical presence in your state of residence may be advantageous.

Take advantage of prior learning assessment

Another way to save on college costs is through prior learning assessment (PLA). This common educational tactic gives you college credit for learning outside of a traditional academic experience. For example, suppose you are already working in human resources and have extensive experience in the field. In that case, you may be able to take an exam to prove your competency and thus avoid having to take a class on a certain topic.

There are several ways to do this. One popular method is to use the College Level Examination Program (CLEP) or DANTES Program (DSST), both of which offer exams in common college-level subjects. You may also be able to test out by submitting a portfolio or certificates earned by a professional association. If you have military experience, you may find that your institution will allow you to take credit for that life experience.

You will want to bring this up with an admissions counselor or your academic advisor to determine what kinds of PLA assessments your chosen institution offers. Several institutions do not accept all types of PLAs, so it is important to understand what opportunities are available to you with the program you have chosen.

Apply for scholarships and grants

As we mentioned above, scholarships and grants can play a role in reducing your tuition and fees. A simple Google search can be an excellent way to find them, or you can meet with a financial advisor at your school to see if you would be eligible for college-based aid. And don’t forget to fill out and submit the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) that can determine if you are available for government assistance.

Here are a few scholarships that are available from a range of organizations for human resources students:

Beyond Your Degree: SHRM Certification

As a human resources professional, you will likely become a member of the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM). This organization offers certification programs that can be a great benefit for HR pros, and credentials can make them favorable candidates for jobs. Here are two options to consider:

SHRM Certified Professional (SHRM-CP)

SHRM-CP certification measures your ability to apply HR principles to real-life situations. This credential can increase your earning potential and advance your career while also showing your commitment to your field.

Earning the certification requires you to take an exam that you will need to study for beforehand. It can be taken at an authorized testing center or at home through live remote proctoring. Fees vary depending on the category you fit in. For example, the military exam fee is $270, while the standard exam fee is $410. If you are not a member of SHRM, prices are higher.

SHRM Senior Certified Professional (SHRM-SCP)

Senior certification is similar to basic SHRM certification. However, note that the exam is intended for those with a work history of at least three years performing strategic-level HR or HR-related duties. If you already have SHRM-CP status, you must have held this credential for at least three years before applying for senior status.

SHRM emphasizes that the senior certification is mainly for those in strategic positions, For example, those who help develop policy, direct an HR department or office, or work to align HR strategies with organizational goals. Fees for the exam are the same as for basic certification and vary depending on whether you are an SHRM member or not.

Our Research

This list features some of the country’s cheapest online human resources degree programs. Each school featured is a nonprofit, accredited institution, either public or private, with a high standard of academic quality for post-secondary institutions.

We evaluated each school’s program on tuition costs, admission, retention and graduation rates, faculty, and reputation. Then, we calculated the Intelligent Score on a scale of 0 to 100. Read more about our ranking methodology.

Next, we compared this comprehensive list of the cheapest online human resources degree programs to a list of aggregated college rankings from reputable publications, such as U.S. News & World Report, to simplify a student’s college search. We pored through these rankings so students don’t have to.

Read More about Online Human Resources Degrees

The 50 Cheapest Online Human Resources Degree Programs

Cheapest Online Human Resources Programs Badge 2024

Western Governors University

Georgia Southwestern State University

Fort Hays State University

Florida International University

Midwestern State University

Wichita State University

University of Arkansas

CSU Global

Western Illinois University

Rutgers School of Management and Labor Relations

Granite State College

University of Alabama at Birmingham

Athens State University

Wilmington University

Metropolitan State University

Fisher College

Concordia University Wisconsin

McKendree University

Bellevue University

Temple University

Limestone University

Regent University