Last Updated: October 22, 2020
By pursuing an MBA in human resources (HR), students prepare for careers in a variety of industries. The degree equips students to train personnel, handle benefit administration, and oversee payroll. HR managers may also specialize in labor relations or recruitment.
Graduates specializing in HR can benefit from plentiful opportunities. The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projects demand for HR managers to grow 6% between 2019 and 2029, faster than the national average for all occupations.
Companies of all sizes require human resource management, and MBA graduates can enjoy a wealth of career choices. HR workers pursuing an MBA study foundational business knowledge, which can open the door to jobs and advancement opportunities beyond HR.
On this page, prospective students can learn more about the top 10 best online master's degrees in human resources, plus details about what to expect during and after the MBA program.
The 10 Best Online Master's Degrees in Human Resources
|1||Oklahoma State University||Stillwater, OK|
|2||Saint Joseph's University||Philadelphia, PA|
|3||Temple University||Philadelphia, PA|
|4||Central Michigan University||Mount Pleasant, MI|
|5||University of Wisconsin-Whitewater||Whitewater, WI|
|6||Clarkson University||Potsdam, NY|
|7||Webster University||St. Louis, MO|
|8||Liberty University||Lynchburg, VA|
|9||California State University, Dominguez Hills||Carson, CA|
|10||Montclair State University||Montclair, NJ|
What Is Human Resources?
HR employees handle personnel-related matters for their companies. They may help recruit new workers, oversee payroll operations, or specialize in labor relations. HR managers also deal with day-to-day tasks related to employee benefits, training, and conflict resolution.
According to Fast Company, the National Cash Register Company established the first known HR department in 1901, though the modern term "human resources" has only been in use for about 60 years. As unions rose to advocate for employee rights through the 20th century, HR departments grew to help keep companies accountable to new laws and regulations.
Today, the top industries for human resources management include companies and enterprises, local government, employment services, and computer systems design and related services. Top-paying industries include monetary authorities, scientific research and development services, and securities, commodity contracts, and other financial investments and related activities.
Human resources management professionals typically work full-time office jobs, though some positions require travel for recruitment and training purposes.
Job expectations include planning and coordinating the recruitment process, liaising between employees and management, and dealing with disciplinary issues.
HR managers may also assemble employee training and professional development sessions, ensuring that staff understand company policies related to sexual harassment and equality.
According to the BLS, 165,200 HR managers worked in the U.S. as of 2019. The site projects 10,400 jobs will add to the national economy between 2019 and 2029.
Why Get a Human Resources MBA?
The pursuit of any degree requires a significant financial investment, and prospective students may wonder whether an MBA is worth the time and money it requires. By obtaining an MBA, graduates can present potential employers with proof of their business knowledge, moving their resumes to the top of the pile. Specializing in HR further demonstrates a potential employee's expertise in the field.
Additional benefits of completing an MBA in human resources can include:
- Expertise: HR managers must balance government regulations, company expectations, and employee needs to best perform their duties. Employers rely on them to use superior communication, leadership, and interpersonal skills on a daily basis. With an MBA, graduates can obtain the experience they need to excel in the field.
- Return on Investment: According to the BLS, HR managers earned a 2019 median salary of $116,720 nationwide. MBA graduates can expect job security as companies continue to rely upon HR managers and enjoy the challenges and rewards of a people-centered career.
- Flexibility: An MBA specializing in HR prepares students with business foundations in areas like economics, finance, and leadership before branching into specialized courses. With a solid understanding of business basics, degree-holders can more easily shift career paths after graduation.
Ranking the Top 10 Online MBAs in Human Resources, 2020
Prospective students considering an MBA in HR can use the following list of top online MBA programs to anchor their search for the right school. The list of accredited programs provides an excellent starting point for students wishing to weigh factors like cost, prestige, and student success as they research various options. Each listing provides an overview of the program in question, including helpful details and relevant links.
We compile all of our rankings according to our methodologies. For this ranking, we obtained a list of 380 online and hybrid MBA programs, vetting that list based on a human resources management focus or concentration. We ranked and weighted the following five factors evenly.
- Estimated Tuition Cost: We evaluated each program depending on the estimated total base tuition cost for the MBA program, accounting for the entirety of the degree excluding fees, books, and room and board. Even without the full financial investment data, this tuition pricing still gives students insight on the average investment and potential return on investment. We gathered this pricing data from the most recent data on each program or school website. If a school offered a lower in-state tuition cost, we used this pricing to show the lowest tuition available.
- Accreditation: We accounted for regional and programmatic accreditation in this ranking. The U.S. Department of Education recognizes six regional accrediting agencies nationwide. We also looked at three business program-specific accrediting institutions: the International Accreditation Council for Business Education, the Accreditation Council for Business Schools and Programs, and the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business. The AACSB holds wide regard as the highest level of business accreditation, so AACSB-accredited schools received the highest marks.
- PayScale Early Career Salary: This data point comes from the PayScale College Salary Report, which reports the median salary for early-career alumni from each school's master's or MBA program. This data indicates each graduate's financial ROI from a particular MBA program or school.
- Prestige: The prestige for each program was calculated with ranking data from some of the most prestigious ranking systems for online MBA programs, including U.S. News & World Report, the Princeton Review, the Financial Times, and Quacquarelli Symonds. We evaluated schools based on how many rankings included their online MBA program.
- Overall Graduation Rates: The overall graduation rate data comes from the National Center for Education Statistics. Graduation rates indicate how often students at a given university complete their degree programs, and we infer from this whether schools' curricula adequately motivate students to complete their degrees.
#1 Oklahoma State University — Stillwater, Oklahoma
|The Spears School of Business at Oklahoma State University features an online MBA with a concentration in Human Resource Management. This program tops our list with an incredibly low tuition rate, excellent accreditation, and an attractive early-career salary of $75,000.|
An online Master of Business Administration with a Human Resource Management specialization is offered by Oklahoma State University's Spears School of Business. Receiving its stellar accreditation through the AACSB and North Central Association of Colleges and Schools, The Higher Learning Commission, the Spears School of Business reports a healthy graduation rate of 61% along with a very attractive early-career salary of $75,000 for its graduating students. US News Online awarded this online MBA program with its #67 spot among top programs in the nation. Designed as a 42-credit hour program for part-time students and a 43-credit hour program for full-time students, this degree is priced at only $209 per credit hour making the total cost of tuition a very affordable $8,807. Students interested in applying for this 100% online MBA must have completed a four-year undergraduate degree from an accredited university, show a healthy GMAT score, and must have maintained a 3.0 GPA during past academic performance. Elective courses offered in this program include, Leading Organizational Change, Managing Confrontations, Seminar in Human Resource Management, and Management of Technology and Innovation.
Since its inception in 1890, the University of Oklahoma has granted degrees to almost a quarter of a million students. With its main campus located in Stillwater, Oklahoma, OSU maintains five educational centers providing fields of study to over 35,000 students; 24,000 of which attend courses at the Stillwater and Tulsa locations. Home of the Cowboys and proudly wearing orange as its school colors, the school features 18 teams supported by the athletic program and competing at the NCAA Division I level. The school's first organized sport on campus was track and the sports teams have amassed a combined 50 NCAA championships throughout the school's history.
Estimated Program Tuition: $8,807
#2 Saint Joseph's University — Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
|St. Joseph's University offers an online Master of Business Administration with a focus in Managing Human Capital at the Erivan K. Haub School of Business. This program retains the highest graduation rate of any school on our list at 79% showing high marks for student satisfaction.|
An online Master of Business Administration with a specialization in Managing Human Capital is featured at the Erivan K. Haub School of Business at St. Joseph's University. This 33-credit hour program is priced at $1,003 per credit hour bringing the total cost of tuition to $33,099. Ranked at #60 by US News Online as one of the nation's best online MBA programs, the Erivan K. Haub School of Business reports a chart-topping 79% graduation rate along with an attractive pay scale salary of $70,200. The school receives its accreditation through the AACSB, Middle State and Commission on Higher Education. St. Joseph's University stresses flexibility by offering this MBA degree as an on-campus, hybrid, or 100% online experience. The school also recently established a program allowing students to waive the GMAT requirement. This online MBA is divided between eight foundation courses and three Managing Human Capital-specific courses.
St. Joseph's University, a four-year, private, not-for-profit university located in the large historic city of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, offers programs for students seeking degrees at the associate, undergraduate, graduate, and doctoral levels. Established by the Society of Jesus in 1851, the school oversees more than 55 bachelor's degree majors, over 40 graduate programs, and 30+ certificate programs. The campus in Philadelphia consists of over 80 buildings spread among 114 acres. The athletic department at St. Joseph's maintains 20 varsity teams, competes at the NCAA Division I level, and is a member of the Atlantic 10 Conference.
Estimated Program Tuition: $33,099
#3 Temple University — Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
|An online Master of Business Administration with a specialization in Human Resource Management is offered by the Fox School of Business at Temple University. This online MBA stands out from all others with the largest pay scale salary of all schools on the list at $76,100.|
Temple University offers an online Master of Business Administration with a Human Resource Management concentration at the Fox School of Business. The Fox School of Business was recently recognized by U.S. News and World Report as one of the best grad schools in the nation, as well as listed as the #3 online MBA in the nation by the Princeton Review.The price per credit hour for this program offered by the Fox School of Business is $1,245 per credit making the total cost of tuition $59,760, while alumni report an incredible average early-career salary of $76,100. The recommended time frame for completion of this degree is between 20 months and six years. The university is regionally accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education, and the Fox School of Business holds the additional elite business accreditation through the AACSB. This accreditation, widely accepted as the gold-star standard is business education, places this program among the best in the world.
With a student enrollment of over 38,000, Temple University is a four-year public university, which offers fields of study at the associate, undergraduate, graduate, and doctoral levels. Established in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania in 1884 by Russell H. Conwell, the school is a major contributor to the Philadelphia economy each year with totals exceeding $3 billion annually. Besides the main campus in Pennsylvania, Temple University maintains educational centers in Beijing, London, Rome, and Tokyo. The University houses five professional schools offering programs in Dentistry, Law, Medicine, Pharmacy, and Podiatric Medicine. Student demographics include a slight majority of female students, at 52%, and over half of total enrollment identifies themselves as White/non-Hispanic with the largest minority group being African-American at 11.8%. This 48-credit 100% online MBA is divided between 36 credits of core courses, three credits of an Enterprise Consulting Practicum capstone, and nine credits specific to the Human Resource Management emphasis. Students without academic experience may be required to complete an additional nine credits of coursework within the areas of leadership, accounting, and statistics.
Estimated Program Tuition: $59,760
#4 Central Michigan University — Mount Pleasant, Michigan
|Central Michigan University's College of Business Administration features an online MBA with an emphasis in Human Resource Management. This program sits in the top 5 of our list with elite accreditation, high early-career salary, and competitive tuition cost.|
An online Master of Business Administration with a focus on Human Resource Management is offered at the College of Business Administration at Central Michigan University. This 36-credit hour program is priced at an affordable $600 per credit hour making the entire cost of tuition just $21,600. The College of Business Administration, accredited by the AACSB and the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools, The Higher Learning Commission, reports a $62,800 average early-career salary for its graduates and retains a 59% graduation rate for students enrolled in its programs. US News Online cites Central Michigan University as its #68 best online MBA program in the nation. The 36 credits required for this degree are divided between 27 hours of core courses and nine hours of Human Resource Management-specific courses that include: Human Resource Management, Employee Selection and Evaluation, and Seminar in Organizational Development.
Of all the applicable adjectives used to describe Central Michigan University, "exclusive" should be high on the list. CMU offers the only recreation and event management degree in the state, the only undergrad degree in meteorology, is the only school in Michigan operating a research station on an island, and was the first university in Michigan to offer an undergraduate degree in neuroscience. Originally known as the Central Michigan Normal School and Business Institute, the university was established in 1892 and had a total student enrollment of 31. Today almost 27,000 students attend this four-year public university based in Mount Pleasant, Michigan. The school offers over 200 degrees at the undergraduate, graduate, and doctoral levels.
Estimated Program Tuition: $21,600
#5 University of Wisconsin Whitewater — Whitewater, Wisconsin
|The College of Business and Economics at the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater features an online MBA with an emphasis in Human Resources. This 36-credit program is ranked well because it includes a strong balance between an attractive tuition rate and quality accreditation.|
An online Master of Business Administration with a Human Resources concentration is offered by the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater's College of Business and Economics. With a graduation rate of 60% and a pay scale salary of $56,900, this online MBA receives high marks in student satisfaction. The university is regionally accredited by the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools, The Higher Learning Commission, and the College of Business and Economics is additionally accredited by the AACSB. This accreditation, widely accepted as the gold-star standard is business education, places this program among the best in the world. This program is consistently ranked by US News and World Report, and this year sits in the #73 spot. This 36-credit online MBA is priced at $637 per credit hour making the total cost of tuition a competitive $22,947.
Established in 1868, the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater is a four-year public institution originally named the Whitewater Normal School before being rebranded in 1951. This institution of higher learning, which offers degrees at the associate, undergraduate, graduate, and doctoral levels to its 12,000+ student body, sits on over 400 acres in southeast Wisconsin. The UWW Warhawks compete at the NCAA Division III level and offer team sports in over 20 areas. UW-Whitewater offers 47 undergraduate majors and 13 graduate programs. Students interested in completing this online MBA with a concentration in Human Resource Management must complete nine credits of coursework including, Staffing and Evaluation, Current Issues in Compensation & Benefits, Training & Development, Management & Labor Relations, and Strategic Management of Human Resources.
Estimated Program Tuition: $22,947
#6 Clarkson University — Potsdam, New York
|An online Master of Business Administration with a certificate in Human Resource Management is featured at the School of Business at Clarkson University. This program stands out withthe very best graduation rate of all the schools on our list at 72%.|
Clarkson University's School of Business offers an online Master of Business Administration with a certificate in Human Resource Management. This 48-hour online MBA is priced at $1,138 per credit hour making the total cost of tuition $54,624. The School of Business reports a dominating 72% graduation rate among its students and receives its accreditation through the AACSB International and the Middle States Commission on Higher Education. The early-career salary of this program also sits among the highest on our list at $72,800. Students accepted into this program will complete 11 core courses followed by five electives, which can be strategically selected to complete a New York State Advanced Certificate. The Human Resources Management certificate is one of eight specialized certificates the School of Business at Clarkson University offers as either an on-campus, online, or hybrid experience.
Established in 1896, Clarkson University was founded by Lavinia Clarkson in loving memory of her brother, businessman Thomas S. Clarkson, whose untimely death motivated his family to erect an institution of higher learning based on the principles he lived by. First named the Thomas S. Clarkson Memorial School of Technology, the college would be renamed the Thomas S. Clarkson Memorial College of Technology just 17 years later and would then become a full-fledged university in 1984. Today Clarkson has earned the reputation of being an institution of higher learning where leaders are formed revealed in the fact that 20% of its graduates currently serve as CEO or equivalent rank within a company. This four-year, private, not-for-profit university is in Potsdam, New York and currently maintains nearly 4,000 students seeking degrees at the undergraduate, graduate, and doctoral levels.
Estimated Program Tuition: $54,624
#7 Webster University — St. Louis, Missouri
|The Walker School of Business & Technology located at Webster University offers an online MBA with a focus in both Human Resources Development and Human Resources Management. This program receives high marks on our list with a healthy graduation rate of 62%.|
An online Master of Business Administration with a concentration in both Human Resources Development and Human Resources Management is featured at Webster University's Walker School of Business & Technology. US News Online awarded this program its #35 spot among top online MBAs in the nation while the graduation rate reported by the school is an attractive 62%. The average early career salary reported by alumni of the Webster MBA programs is $58,300, while the price per credit hour is set at $780 making the total cost of tuition $38,220. The Walker School of Business & Technology is accredited by the ACBSP and the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools, The Higher Learning Commission. This business accreditation attests to the School of Management's excellent teaching standards and business education.
Besides its main campus in St. Louis, Missouri, Webster University offers educational centers in the U.S., Africa, Asia, Europe, and across the globe through distance learning. This four-year, private, not-for-profit institution of higher learning was established in 1915 and today coordinates over 15,000 students seeking degrees in over 100 programs at the undergraduate, graduate, and doctoral levels. U.S. News and World Report recognized Webster University as one of their top 25 programs in the Midwest in 2013. With its size and scope of influence, Webster is still able to offer a relational and personal touch reflected in its average class size of just 10 students and the student to faculty ratio of nine to one.The online MBA consists of 49-credit hours, and the Human Resources Development track of this program includes the following courses: Training and Development, Research and Assessment Methods in Human Resources Development, and Integrated Studies in Human Resources Development. Courses required for the Human Resources Management concentration include, Managing Human Resources, Organizational Behavior, Employment Law, and Integrated Studies in Human Resources Management.
Estimated Program Tuition: $38,220
#8 Liberty University School of Business— Lynchburg, Virginia
|The School of Business at Liberty University features an online Master of Business Administration with an emphasis in Human Resources. This program is ranked in the top 10 with solid attributes across the board, in accreditation, early-career salary, and reputation.|
Liberty University's School of Business offers an online Master of Business Administration with a Human Resources concentration. GetEducated.com awarded this program a "Best Buy" among online MBAs offered in the nation. The School of Business allows up to 12-credit hours to be transferred into this 45-hour program. Human Resources is one of just 10 specializations the school offers its graduate school distance learners. This 45-credit hour program is priced at $565 per credit hour making the total cost of tuition $25,425. The The university is regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, Commission on Colleges and reports a 47% graduation rate among its students. The School of Business at LU is additionally accredited by the ACBSP, an accreditation that attests to the school's excellent teaching standards and business education. US News Online ranks this program at #43 among the best in the nation, and the average early-career salary for its graduates is $53,600.
Liberty University awards degrees at the associate, undergraduate, graduate, and doctoral levels, and was established in 1971. Since its inception, Liberty became not only the largest institution of higher learning in Virginia, but has also achieved the distinction of being the largest Christian university in the world. Functioning under the motto of "Knowledge Aflame", the school's enrollment includes over 15,000 on-campus residents, 30,000 military students, 94,000 distance learners, and almost 1,000 international students. The 110,000+ enrolled students have over 540 programs of study to choose from offered within the 16 colleges and schools, which make up Liberty U. This 100% online MBA is divided between 33 hours of core courses and 12 hours of Human Resources-intensive courses, which include, Workforce Planning & Employment, Human Resource Development, and Compensation Management.
Estimated Program Tuition: $25,425
#9 California State University, Dominguez Hills — Carson, California
|An online MBA with a Human Resource Management concentration can be found at California State University, Dominguez Hills' College of Business Administration & Public Policy. This online MBA sits in the top 10 because of a great ROI, from a $63,900 average early-career salary and low tuition cost of only $10,741.|
California State University, Dominguez Hills offers an online Master of Business Administration with a specialization in Human Resource Management at its College of Business Administration & Public Policy. This online MBA is priced at $325 per unit making the total cost of tuition only $10,741 for this 33-unit program, which is among the lowest from this list. The College of Business Administration & Public Policy, which receives its regional accreditation through the Western Association of Schools and Colleges and Senior College and University Commission, reports an attractive early-career salary of $63,900. The graduation rate among students enrolled is 35%. This program is nationally known to have one of the best online MBA programs in the nation. US News and World Report ranked this program as the #31 in the country. This ROI and national reputation, make the CSU Dominguez Hills' MBA a great start to a rewarding career.
Located within Los Angeles County's southern region and in the city of Carson, California, California State University, Dominguez Hills is a four-year public institution of higher learning that offers undergraduate and graduate degree programs to its 14,000+ students taking courses there. Toro, the school mascot, wears the colors burgundy and gold and cheers on the 10 teams that make up the athletic program at the school. The CSU Dominguez Hills Toros compete at the NCAA Division II level. Currently one of 23 members of the California State University system, CSU Dominguez Hills was founded in 1960 and offers over 45 undergraduate degrees and 20 graduate programs. This 33 unit, 100% online MBA includes 21 units of core coursework and nine units of concentration coursework which include Essentials of Human Resources Management, Compensation and Benefits, and Strategic Human Resource Management. The remaining three units are based on completion of an elective course from either Advanced Topics in International Management, Leadership, Seminar in Entrepreneurship, or Selected Topics in Management.
Estimated Program Tuition: $10,741
#10 Montclair State University— Montclair, New Jersey
|Montclair State University offers an online Master of Business Administration with an emphasis in Human Resources Management at its Feliciano School of Business. This top 10 program ranks well because of a high graduation rate and excellent accreditation.|
The Feliciano School of Business at Montclair State University features an online Master of Business Administration with a focus in Human Resources Management. This 39-credit online MBA is priced at $671 per credit making the total cost of tuition $26,180. With its excellent graduation rate of 66%, the Feliciano School of Business receives its accreditation through the AACSB and Middle States Commission on Higher Education. The school reports a pay scale salary of $52,700 for its graduates and features a flexible schedule allowing incoming students to begin their coursework at any one of six starting dates throughout the calendar year. Typically, students enrolled in this 100% online MBA complete all 39 credits within 24 to 27 months. Any students lacking academic experience in accounting, finance, and statistics may be required to complete prerequisite courses in those fields before beginning the core and concentration courses.
There are many substantial "firsts" Montclair State University touts, like being the first state college in New Jersey to offer graduate programs, the first to broadcast education programming on television, and the first in the nation to offer multiple doctoral programs among state universities. Montclair State University was originally named New Jersey State Normal School at its founding in 1908. Today this four-year public school, located on 250 acres in Montclair, New Jersey, oversees 20,000+ students seeking degrees at the undergraduate, graduate, and doctoral levels. The average class size at MSU is 23 while the student to instructor ratio is 17 to one.
Estimated Program Tuition: $26,180
What to Expect From HR Master's Degree Programs
Every online master's degree in human resources operates differently, but students can expect to encounter certain similarities as they research degree timelines, curricula structure, and admission requirements. Degree-seekers may explore alternative options in the field, such as an MS or MA. The section below offers more information about these different paths.
Students can generally expect to complete an online MBA program in 1-2 years, though part-time programs may take longer. The typical MBA in human resources requires about 36 credits for graduation.
With an online MBA, students complete foundational business courses in marketing, accounting, leadership, and finance, plus HR-specific classes. Some programs offer real-time online courses, while others operate asynchronously. Students should also investigate whether their program requires any in-person residencies or immersion experiences.
Application requirements differ depending on the program's aim, with some schools seeking more experienced business students and others opening their doors to career changers. Applicants may encounter expectations that include GMAT or GRE scores; an undergraduate GPA in the range of 2.7-3.25; professional work experience; and prerequisite courses in economics, statistics, accounting, and finance.
Human Resources Degree Options
In addition to the MBA in human resources, degree-seekers may consider pursuing an MA or MS. Typically, these degrees offer a more specialized approach. While the MBA in human resources provides a breadth of business knowledge in addition to HR-related classes, MA and MS programs usually focus more fully on HR courses.
Though some curriculum may overlap, an MBA student can expect to graduate with a fundamental understanding of accounting, marketing, and other business practices that employers value. Students considering various career options or aiming for advancement to executive management may wish to consider the more flexible MBA.
Prospective students may encounter degree options such as:
- MS or MA in HR Management: These two degrees focus on talent acquisition, employment law, and training strategies, potentially with some wider management foundations in areas like finance and leadership. These degrees best serve those aiming for leadership in HR.
- MA in HR Development: HR development focuses on more general HR skills, with courses designed to develop students' aptitude for training and development, career management, and group development and change.
Popular Human Resources Management Courses
MBA curricula vary, but prospective students can expect many similarities as they explore coursework requirements at different schools. Some programs call for students to engage in a thesis, capstone, or internship module, while others center around in-class learning. The list below offers a few examples of common business core expectations, plus courses specific to the HR concentration.
- Financial Management: A staple of the business core for many programs, financial management courses address topics like financial analysis and strategy, risk management, budgeting, and decision-making. Students may engage in both theoretical and practical exercises.
- Marketing Management: Another foundational business course, marketing management prepares students to analyze, strategize, and implement common marketing principles. Subject areas may include customer behavior, institutional decision-making, legal considerations, and competition.
- Staffing and Evaluation: Specific to the HR concentration, this course covers strategies for employee selection and quantitative evaluation regarding job performance. Other topics may include training, safety, and personnel administration.
- Labor and Employee Relations: Designed for students specializing in HR, this course focuses on building skills like contract negotiation and conflict resolution. The course may cover topics such as collective bargaining, individual contracts, and arbitration techniques.
- Strategic Management: Often offered as an experiential course like a capstone or internship, strategic management classes require students to evaluate real-world business problems. Sometimes working in teams, students may partner with local businesses to propose and develop solutions.
Financing your Human Resources Degree
Because the pursuit of any higher education is a significant financial investment, prospective students should understand funding options. For master's students, there are a variety of opportunities, including teaching assistantships, scholarships, grants, and student loans. Degree-seekers should make sure they understand the financial commitment, and plan their payment strategy before starting a program.
Many online MBA programs tailor their curriculum to working professionals, allowing students to continue earning a salary while attending school. Additionally, employers may offer assistance to workers pursuing further business education like an MBA program.
What Jobs Can an MBA in HR Get You?
By completing an MBA in human resources, graduates enter the workforce prepared to tackle a variety of exciting jobs across many potential industries.
HR is a crucial component of business operations, making it possible for degree-holders to find jobs in an array of industries, companies, and locations. An MBA demonstrates solid business expertise that can catch a potential employer's eye during the application process.
MBA graduates can find ample management opportunities, with specialized positions in training and development, labor relations, and compensation and benefits. According to the BLS, compensation and benefits managers earned a median annual salary of $122,270 as of May 2019, with many other HR salaries averaging similar figures.
With an MBA in human resources, graduates may pursue general positions, concentrate on a particular area of HR, or eventually advance to upper management positions. Many employers seek top executives who hold an MBA, which makes the degree an excellent starting point. The following list offers details on a few possible positions for HR MBA graduates.
HR Manager: HR managers oversee staff-related issues for their organizations. They may participate in recruitment and hiring processes, employee training, and benefit administration. Often overseeing a team of HR specialists, they coordinate administrative functions and personnel policies. When conflicts arise in the workplace, HR managers mediate disputes and facilitate communication between workers and management.
- Required Education: Bachelor's or master's degree
- Job Outlook: +6% (2019-29)
- Median Annual Salary: $116,720
Training and Development Manager: Training and development managers work with company executives to strategize about educational goals for employees. They create training plans, handle budgets, and oversee teams of training and development specialists. Training and development managers also assess the effectiveness of ongoing training programs on a regular basis, proposing changes to ensure that information remains relevant.
- Required Education: Bachelor's or master's degree
- Job Outlook: +7% (2019-29)
- Median Annual Salary: $113,350
Top Executive: Top executives take responsibility for their organization's strategic direction, instituting plans to work toward company success. Depending on the size of the company, they may oversee budgets and financial reports, supervise management teams, and participate in hiring processes. Top executives hold titles like chief executive officer and general or operations manager.
- Required Education: Bachelor's or master's degree, often an MBA
- Job Outlook: +4% (2019-29)
- Median Annual Salary: $104,690
Selecting Your Human Resources MBA Program
Prospective students should consider several factors when deciding on an HR MBA program. Degree-seekers must search for a program that best aligns with their career goals and personal preferences. Among the many potential program attributes, accreditation, prestige, program structure, and university resources may all contribute to the decision-making process.
Accreditation marks a good MBA program. Schools may hold regional or national accreditation; regional accreditation generally has more rigorous standards. Business students may also look for programmatic accreditation from an organization like the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business.
Prospective human resources MBA students may also want to consider a school's reputation. Some employers look for degrees from more prestigious institutions, while others may not differentiate. Program length and structure also count as important factors for many students. Some may want to accelerate their studies to graduate as soon as possible, while others must balance professional and family lives with their studies.
University resources, too, can serve as important considerations for potential students, particularly those pursuing online degrees. Access to alumni networks, career services, library support, and extracurricular opportunities can help students to make important connections and excel in their studies.
Why Should You Get an Online MBA?
By pursuing an online MBA in human resources, students can take advantage of flexibility and potentially lower costs while earning a highly regarded degree.
Online programs grow more popular every year, with MBA programs particularly suited for distance learning. Faculty can easily deliver course materials through online lectures and students can interact through forums and video chats. Unlike jobs with strict certification requirements, HR positions do not require in-person experiences. Small-group activities, capstones, and internship requirements can all occur online or near the student's home base.
Those pursuing an MBA in HR may particularly benefit from a strong business overview. Because the HR concentration is a staple of many online MBA programs, prospective students can enjoy a wealth of choices when it comes to potential schools. Some schools even charge in-state or otherwise reduced tuition for distance learners.
When considering online programs, students should assess their own personal study habits and personal preferences. Online study requires strong self motivation and time management skills. Students may consider whether they prefer to take asynchronous classes, where they can access course materials at any time, or participate in real-time meetings. Some programs also include in-person residencies or immersion experiences.
Frequently Asked Questions
Is an HR master's worth it?
Yes. With a master's degree in HR, graduates can take advantage of a flexible and growing job market. According to the BLS, HR managers earned a 2019 median salary of $116,720.
What can I do after an MBA in human resources?
Professionals with HR MBAs can choose from a variety of career paths, including jobs as HR managers or compensation and benefits managers. With an MBA, HR graduates can also position themselves for advancement to top executive jobs.
Is an MBA in HR a good option?
By pursuing an MBA in HR, students gain important business foundations that stretch beyond their specialization. With a background in finance, marketing, and leadership, graduates can enjoy a flexible array of job opportunities while also furthering their HR expertise.
What does a HR manager do?
HR managers administer personnel-related functions for their companies. They may handle benefit plans, coordinate training activities, mediate disputes, and supervise teams of HR specialists. Some HR managers may focus on recruitment or labor relations.
Are HR managers in demand?
The BLS projects a 6% growth in demand nationwide for HR managers between 2019 and 2029. Growth in the field is tied to growth in individual organizations, since companies of all sizes and industries require HR support.