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

Online MBA in human resources programs prepare professionals to competently assume higher-level HR roles. This degree combines courses specific to human resources personnel with key business principles. Completing this program in the online format enables busy HR and business professionals to remain in their careers while also advancing their education. Additionally, the online MBA in HR is convenient for professional learners who do not have local higher education programs available. An added bonus for this online degree is the possibility for professionals already in this field to put new information into action right away. Plus, some schools require hands-on work as a part of the degree, enabling students to make a difference in their own familiar work environment.

Concentrations Offered for an Online MBA In Human Resources Degree

CONCENTRATION DESCRIPTION CAREERS THIS CONCENTRATION PREPARES FOR
Organizational Development Classes in organizational development immerse students in theories and practices to successfully foster change and augment performance within an organization. Organizational development manager, organizational development consultant, human resources director, organizational development director
Leadership Leadership classes and practicums enable HR professionals to lead and manage departments through courses on employee relations and engagement, strategic teamwork and grounded skills in business administration. Human resources manager, human resources director, chief human resources officer, vice president of human resources

Curriculum for an Online MBA In Human Resources

Online MBAs in human resources 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 and leadership. When comparing those two different designs for this master’s degree, think about your future career goals and how you may benefit from either generalist studies or specialization. Many online MBAs in HR require a practicum or internship, as well as a capstone course in which students design a project using their learned skills and put it into action. Some courses also require a thesis, most commonly in programs that also prepare students for future Ph.D. work.

Some courses your degree may require include:

COURSES DESCRIPTION
Strategic Human Resource Management Equips students to recognize opportunities for improvement in workforce management as well as between business and people-centric functions.
Managing Organizational Change Focuses on understanding the dynamics of organizational development and utilizing positive change management techniques.
Total Rewards Management Students learn the complete benefits systems and building ideal compensation and benefits programs to best care for, attract and retain employees.
Business Strategy Provides a grounding in business concepts, tools and strategies to create a beneficial environment to accomplish business objectives.

How Long Does It Take to Get an Online MBA In Human Resources?

Online MBA in human resources programs at various universities range from 30 to 48 credits. The difference in credit hours between programs depends on whether the student will complete a thesis, if an internship or practicum is required, or the design or requirement of a capstone course. At the low end, colleges that offer a 30-credit degree boast that the coursework can be completed in as little as a year, while more standard pacing would place program completion at about two years. Choosing more than one specialization or concentration can add to the length of the program as well. Additionally, some universities who offer this online MBA provide asynchronous learning opportunities, which enable students to proceed at their preferred pace. More traditional structures involve new classes beginning each August and January. Finally, some colleges require foundational classes for students without undergraduate coursework in business topics. Those courses must be completed before enrolling in MBA-level classes.

Certifications and Licenses an MBA In Human Resources For

CONCENTRATION CERTIFICATION
Professional in Human Resources HR personnel can apply and test for PHR certification with a master’s degree plus one year of professional HR experience.
Senior Professional in Human Resources Professionals can apply and test for an SPHR certification by combining their master’s degree with four years of HR experience.
Global Professional in Human Resources Professionals with experience in global HR initiatives can apply and test for the GPHR with a master’s degree and two years global HR experience.

Accreditation for Online MBA In Human Resources Degrees

Choosing the right online MBA in human resources program for your personal and professional needs should include research into the accreditation prospective schools have attained. 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. Schools may attain regional accreditation from bodies that oversee schools in their geographic area as well non-location-specific credentials conferred by business-related associations or government-sponsored organizations. A few of the accrediting bodies you may encounter while researching schools include:

  • Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB)

  • Middle States Commission on Higher Education (MSCHE)

  • Western Association of Schools and Colleges Senior College and University Commission (WSCUC)

  • New England Association of Schools and Colleges (NEASC)

  • International Assembly for Collegiate Business Education (IACBE)

  • Accreditation Council for Business Schools and Program (ACBSP)

Employment Outlook for MBA In Human Resources Graduates

Job Placement: Master’s v. Bachelor’s

Most entry- and mid-level human resources positions, like HR specialists or generalists, require only a bachelor’s degree. To advance beyond those positions, a master’s degree becomes necessary in many cases to become an HR director or chief human resources officer. Professional certifications beyond degrees are also required by many employers. Growth in human resources positions is about 9 percent nationwide, in line with workplace growth averages.

Expected Salary

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, professionals with more education and experience in human resources earn significantly higher salaries in the advanced roles their degrees and background prepare them for.

Median Salary for MBA in Human Resources Degree Holders

Source: PayScale

An MBA in human resources enables professionals to climb the corporate ladder faster to attain roles in upper or executive management. Certain specializations, such as training and development, earn higher salaries due to the advanced education and experience necessary for success in those roles.

Geography can also significantly impact the salary you could earn in upper-level human resources positions. Working in certain states can greatly elevate salary levels for HR managerial positions.

HR Manager Mean Wages by State
Figures in US Dollars per year

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics

Career Opportunities

Graduates with an MBA in human resources can find many career opportunities in nearly any type of work setting. Popular industries in which HR professionals can find positions include management organizations, factory and manufacturing companies, schools, government entities, corporate headquarters and consulting firms.

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JOB TITLE JOB DESCRIPTION MEDIAN SALARY FOR GRADUATE DEGREE HOLDERS PROJECTED GROWTH RATE
HR Manager HR Managers oversee the day-to-day operations of the HR staff in larger organizations while owning most or all HR functions in smaller organizations. $110,120 9%
HR Director An HR Director oversees management of HR personnel and designs strategic programs to benefit HR functions as well as positively impact the entire workforce. $104,700 8%
Training and Development Managers Training and Development Managers analyze workers and jobs within an organization to design and deliver learning and experiential opportunities to enhance workplace skills and operations. $108,250 10%

Professional Organizations

Human resources are an integral part of 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 unearth 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.

Society for Human Resource Management. A nonprofit organization staffed by volunteers, the NHRA focuses tightly on career development opportunities for its members.

National Human Resources Association. A nonprofit organization staffed by volunteers, the NHRA focuses tightly on career development opportunities for its members.

Academy of Human Resource Development. The AHRD focuses on helping human resource leaders tackle development topics in the workplace through education and studies while also encouraging networking opportunities.

A more thorough list of professional HR associations can be found on the Fuse Workforce Management blog.

Financing Your Online MBA In Human Resources

In addition to online studies providing flexibility in learning, degrees earned remotely can cost less than those that are campus-based. Even with some cost savings, your MBA in human resources can still be quite costly to complete. Fortunately, you have many financial aid opportunities to make your higher-level education possible. The first step to finding and securing aid 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 offered by the federal government in grants and loans. Additionally, many schools offer their own scholarships. Industry organizations and private foundations also offer many types of grants and scholarships that can help you earn your online MBA in human resources. If you’re currently working in the HR field, ask your company if they offer any aid or matching funds.

Resources

Scholarships

Scholarships

Details

IPMA-HR Graduate Study Fellowship

Award: $2000

Deadline: June 6

Eligibility: Students must be an IPMA-HR member with five years in the HR field and a 3.0 GPA in HR masters studies.

Susan R. Meisinger Fellowship for Graduate Study in HR

Award: $10,000 for 1 year, renewable for 2nd year

Deadline: August 1st

Eligibility: Students with five years HR experience studying at the graduate level.