This degree program prepares students to identify and analyze complex management and human resource problems.

Degree Benefits:

  • Acquisition of knowledge in multiple fields (business policy, leadership, management, etc.)
  • Substantive pay (Median annual salary for Human Resources Managers is $121,220*)
  • Substantive job growth outlook (9% for Human Resources Managers)*

Career Options Include:

  • Compensation and Benefits Manager
  • Human Resources Manager
  • Training and Development Specialist
  • Human Resource Specialist

*Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, Human Resources Managers, on the Internet at (visited March 24, 2022).

Find an online bachelor's or master's degree:


The average length of an online bachelor's degree in human resources is four years. With that said, there are programs that offer accelerated coursework which allows you to complete your degree more quickly by taking classes year-round. In addition, some programs offer life and work experience credits. This means that you can apply any human resource work experience to the coursework and if you pass the final exam without taking the course you receive credit and move onto the next course.

The length of time it will take most students to complete an online human resources degree will also depend on how much time they can devote to their studies and coursework. Some colleges offer self-paced, flex scheduling, which means you can move as slowly or quickly as you want to.

As with any other degree, the cost of a human resources bachelor's degree can vary widely depending on several factors. These include:

  • The school you attend
  • Whether you do online coursework, on-campus courses, or a combination of them both
  • How long it takes you to get through the program and graduate

A typical range of cost for this degree is $20,000 to $60,000

For example, in 2018:

  • University of Tennessee Knoxville cost just over $13,000 per year for in-state students and $31,000 a year for out-of-state students.
  • UC Berkeley – In-state, residing on campus, $30,582 annually. If you live off campus expect to spend $27,000.
  • University of Kansas – In-state tuition, $10,082 per year. Room and board, $6,500 to $14,500.

Many degree programs have similar classes due to the fact that the field has set standards of knowledge. If you know what type of industry you want to work in, you should find out if the school offers industry-specific concentrations. For example, if you wish to work in human resources in the non-profit sector, you will want a school that will offer at least a few classes about non-profits.

All in all, an associate’s degree in human resources should include about 60 credits of coursework. A bachelors will include around twice that, 120 credits. However, it may be possible to complete and associate’s and then transfer credits to your bachelor’s degree, shortening the time to obtain it while perhaps working part-time as an HR associate. This will help you gain experience in the field and make it easier to find a job or get into a graduate program later.

This is a deal breaker if you are seeking a human resources degree. While it is possible to go to another college and gain your general education classes, then figure out which ones will transfer to a college that offers a human resources degree, that is a risky method to try. It can get expensive finding out some of your prior courses do not transfer to the new college. It is just easier and more cost effective all around to make sure the school you choose offers a human resources degree from the start.

If the program has a low “on time” graduation rate, it is a red flag for you financially. Remember, you are going to pay for each semester, therefore, taking additional time is not a good plan. Be sure the school you choose has a high success rate of graduating students on time who sought human resources degrees. If you can’t find graduation rates on the website, you can look at the College Score Card website, which exists just for this reason, to help students find schools with the best chance of helping them succeed.

You have heard the saying, “location, location, location” with regard to real estate, right? The phrase for a human resources degree should be “accreditation, accreditation, accreditation!” Accreditation is a process that colleges go through to prove that they meet the academic standard expected nationwide with regard to the education and training they provide. If you do not choose an accredited school, you have no idea if you are going to be taught the skills needed to succeed in a career in human resources. In addition, while reputation isn't everything, it definitely counts when it comes to choosing a school. Employers often know which colleges graduate the most ready-to-work students. They are aware of which school have high standards for passing grades. Choose a school with a good reputation, especially if you plan to work in the area where you went to school. Locals will have the scoop on your college of choice, so choose one with a solid reputation.

Last but not least, find out of the college you choose as a post-graduate job placement office. If not, do the counselors attempt to help you prepare for interviews and point you toward possible job opportunities prior to graduation? Again, this is probably not a deal breaker, but if in your apples-to-apples comparison, all things being equal, one has a job placement program and the other does not, it might help you make your decision. Also, career services can be a great source of resume help, interview assistance, and job placement opportunities including internships.

Lastly, please do consider the rating and reputation status of any college you plan to attend, be it online, in person, or a combination of the two. It could potentially impact your salary and job offers. If you graduated from a school with a great reputation for sending graduates into the human resource field armed with a strong foundation, you will have a leg up on the competing applicants. All else being equal, use ratings to help you make your final college selection.

Okay, you have decided that you definitely want to get your human resources degree. It is time to choose an accredited college. In addition to the school being accredited and having the coursework or concentrations you seek, also consider things such as whether you will be happy living there for a few years if you are doing the on-campus classes. Are there things to do, what is the cost of living like? Will you be leaving family to attend and if so, will it be relatively easy for you to get back home to visit periodically? While these factors are not as important as the accreditation and appropriate coursework, they can make your college experience more enjoyable.