What Can I Expect from an Online MBA in Human Resources Program?

Online MBA in human resources programs offer the same academic quality as on-campus programs, making it easier for busy HR professionals to remain in their jobs while advancing their education. Additionally, online MBA in HR programs are convenient for those who don’t have local higher education institutions available in their area. Remember that the details for each online MBA in human resources program vary, so you should thoroughly research your different options to find the best one for your needs and goals.

Available concentrations

Are you interested in a particular aspect of human resources? If so, look for a program that allows you to focus your studies on that area of concentration. Some of the most common concentration options for an MBA in human resources include:

  • Organizational Development: Classes in organizational development immerse students in theories and practices for successfully fostering change and enhancing organizational performance.
  • Leadership: This concentration shows HR professionals how to manage departments through courses on employee relations and engagement, strategic teamwork, and business administration.

Common degree curriculum

Online MBA in human resources programs are structured in two different ways. First, some schools offer generalized MBAs with the opportunity to specialize or declare a concentration in human resources. Second, other schools provide an entirely stand-alone MBA in human resources, allowing further specialization in areas like organizational development or leadership. 

When comparing those two different formats for this master’s degree, consider your future career goals and how you may benefit from generalist studies or specialization. Also, many online MBA in HR programs require a practicum or internship and a capstone project in which students implement their learned skills. Some programs also require a thesis, most commonly programs that are designed to lead students to a Ph.D.

Some courses your MBA in human resources degree may require include:

  • Strategic Human Resource Management: Equips students to recognize opportunities for improvement in workforce management.
  • Managing Organizational Change: Focuses on understanding the dynamics of organizational development and utilizing positive change management techniques.
  • Total Rewards Management: Reviews how to optimize compensation and benefits programs to attract and retain employees.
  • Business Strategy: Provides an understanding of the concepts, tools, and strategies that can be used to accomplish business objectives.

Certification and license preparation

Once you’ve completed your MBA in human resources program, you should consider continuing your education and earning additional credentials. This will make your resume even more impressive, allowing you to stand out from other candidates and get hired more quickly whenever you’re looking for work. Some of the most valuable certification programs in this field include:

Program accreditation

Accreditation is important because it indicates that an outside organization has examined the school and its programs and found them to uphold high standards in education. Indeed, you should only apply to schools approved by a DOE-recognized regional accrediting organization, such as the New England Commission of Higher Education or Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities. If your school doesn’t have regional accreditation, you may also be unable to access financial aid or transfer credits to another institution if needed.

Program completion timeframe

Online MBA in human resources programs range from 30 to 48 credits. The difference in credit hours between programs depends on whether the student must complete a thesis and whether an internship, practicum, or capstone project is required. Programs that require close to 30 credits can be completed in just one year, though most students take about two years.

Choosing more than one specialization or concentration can also add to the program’s length. Additionally, some universities provide asynchronous learning opportunities, which enable students to proceed at their own pace — motivated students who want to earn their degree as quickly as possible should look for a self-paced program.

Employment Outlook for MBA in Human Resources Graduates

An MBA in human resources offers strong job security. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the total number of jobs in the United States is projected to increase by 3% over the next decade. Most human resources jobs are expected to grow at the same rate or faster, which means plenty of job opportunities should be available.

You should also be able to earn a high salary with this degree. Human resources managers make an average salary of well over $100,000 per year, with the top 10% of earners in this occupation making more than $224,360.

It’s important to consider that your salary will likely depend on where you work, as areas with a higher cost of living generally offer higher pay. For example, the average salary for human resources managers is $190,340 in New York and $112,590 in West Virginia — a difference of nearly $80,000.

Job Title Job Description Median Yearly Salary Projected Growth Rate (2022 – 2032)

HR Manager

HR managers oversee the day-to-day operations of the HR staff in larger organizations while owning most or all HR responsibilities in smaller organizations.



HR Specialist

HR specialists assist in recruiting, training, and benefits and compensation. They typically work under the direction of an HR manager.



Top Executive

A combined business administration and human resources education is an excellent way to prepare for running an entire organization. Top executives are responsible for developing plans and policies to help their organization achieve its long-term goals.



Professional organizations

Human resources are integral to any organization and represent the always-changing paradigms for employee management and employee-centric business operations. That makes continuing education a must for leaders in HR positions. Additionally, networking with other HR leaders can help you discover new practices or initiatives while creating synergies with other operational units of an organization. Joining professional organizations provides access to both learning and networking opportunities.

Students can find a thorough list of professional HR associations on the Fuse Workforce Management blog.

Financing Your Online MBA in Human Resources Degree

Degrees earned remotely generally cost less than those earned in person. But even with these savings, you might still need help paying for your online degree program. Fortunately, you have many financial aid opportunities to make your education possible. The first step to finding and securing assistance is filling out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). After that is completed, you’ll have the opportunity to explore various types of aid the federal government offers through grants and loans

Additionally, many schools offer their own scholarships. Industry organizations and private foundations also provide many types of student aid. If you currently work in HR, ask your company if they can offer assistance or matching funds.

Student Finance Resources and Guides

As mentioned above, many different financing options are available, each with their own set of eligibility requirements and application deadlines. The following resources can help you make sense of your financial aid situation and significantly reduce the cost of your MBA in human resources degree.

Interested in a degree instead?

Learn more about online degrees, their start dates, transferring credits, availability of financial aid, and more by contacting the universities below.