Bachelors In

Human Resources Degrees

The complete guide on what you’ll learn, job prospects, university programs, and saving time and money.
on June 30, 2020

Why We Love It

  • $65,100
    Potential Avg. Salary*
  • Growing Demand
    Job Outlook

* Salary & growth data is based on the recent Bureau of Labor and Statistics data published at https://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes131141.htm for 13-1141 Compensation, benefits, and job analysis specialists 11/2021. Based on national data, not school-specific information. Conditions in your area may vary.

With a bachelor of science in human resources or human resources management (HR), you’ll be prepared for a career working as a specialist or manager for human resource departments in many different industries. Students in human resource programs learn about employment laws and regulations, enabling them to advise and oversee all hiring and employment decisions for modern businesses.

What is a Degree in Human Resources?

Students with bachelor’s degrees in human resources and human resources management spend their time in school learning about employment laws and regulations in the US. They learn about the different types of paperwork and documentation that new hires need to provide before an offer of employment can be extended, learn how to identify and prevent employment discrimination, and learn about other legal issues and problems that affect modern business—such as sexual harassment and discrimination.

Nearly all businesses employ human resources personnel to help ensure that business policies and procedures adhere to established laws and regulations. Human resources specialists work as recruiters: finding, vetting, and interviewing prospective employees. They also commonly handle benefits administration, helping choose health insurance and retirement packages for the employer to offer employees. Finally, they often conduct training designed to onboard new employees or prevent acts of harassment and discrimination.

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What Courses Would I Take For a Major in Human Resources?

  • Employment Law
  • Organizational Communications
  • Intercultural Management
  • Human Resources Management
  • Training and Development
  • Compensation and Benefits
  • Human Relations and Development
  • Staffing Organizations

What Jobs Can You Get with a Degree in Human Resources?

Businesses of all types and across a variety of industries rely on human resources graduates and personnel to help ensure their business and hiring procedures are compliant and adhere to established laws and regulations. Human resources personnel are required to ensure businesses cannot be sued by prospective employees and former employees for discrimination or harassment, so demand for educated human resources personnel is expected to increase and be sustained in the coming decade.

How Long does it take?

A bachelors in Human Resources will have a typical length of 4 years in a full time schedule. That said, there are many ways to speed up the timeframe by either taking more units via online coursework, community college, or taking free classes at OnlineDegree.com that could transfer to universities in the US.

Online Human Resources Degree

Online human resources degree programs are very popular. They are offered by a number of universities and colleges. Many of these programs can be completed entirely online…with a bachelors consisting of the usual 120 credit hours. Depending on the school, students could be required to complete a capstone project that is equivalent to 3 credit hours, and could have option to transfer in around 30 credit hours or more to the program. Additionally, you may choose to pursue a master’s degree in human resources if you already have a bachelor degree in business, human resources or related fields. It is usually more affordable compared to an MBA, or masters of business administration.


What Can You Do With a Human Resources Degree?

The concept of human resources has been changing significantly with the rise of the digital marketplace. Human Resources as a concept started in 1900 and it is concerned with the value that a human workforce adds to a company, organization, industry or economy. The human resources departments are currently responsible for all aspects of the employee life cycle. This starts by evaluating and planning for the needs of the organization followed by the recruitment process. The department is also responsible for monitoring the performance of the employees, providing salaries and incentives as well as disciplinary actions, providing training, ensuring employee’s welfare and managing the retirement process.

What does a human resources student learn?

Human resources is considered a multidisciplinary field. It includes courses related to the structuring of teams, companies or institutes, as well as courses related to finance and corporate benefits. Students are also expected to learn about the human behavior and human relationships. The following list shows courses that are commonly part of the human resources degree programs:

  1. Foundation or general courses: mathematics, statistics, business writing, political science, psychology and social science.
  2. Employment law and ethics: this includes local and international laws, ethics or agreements related to employment.
  3. Globalization: currently employers can hire people from different countries with different cultures. Additionally, companies and institutes need to compete with the international standards not only regarding their products but also the benefits provided to the employees.
  4. Organizational behavior: in this course, students study the human behavior within organizational frameworks. They also study the behavior of an institute as a whole.
  5. Core HR courses include: labor relations, talent management, compensation and benefits, workforce planning, training development and workplace diversity.
  6. Advanced or elective courses: students may choose some of these courses to deepen their knowledge related to human resources. Elective courses include psychology, politics, sociology, gender studies, public relations, international business, economics, organization theory, ethical leadership, information systems and computer science.

So, I’ve got the Human Resources degree…where can I work now after graduating?

Human resources is a well-defined career that usually starts by working as a human resources officer or representative.  Going up the career path can then lead to becoming the human resources manager which usually become part of the board management. Currently, the concept of human resources is found in almost all companies and organizations. As the size of the company or organization become larger, there are usually more specialized departments that you can choose from:

  1. Compensation and benefits managers: their role is to set the policy for benefits and compensation for the employees taking into consideration the market price and the individual value of employees. This may include salary, bonuses, social insurance, medical insurance and allowances.
  2. Training and development specialists: they work to set the training plan for the institute which may include technical or general skills training. They are responsible for hiring of the trainers and monitoring of the training progress.
  3. Employment, recruitment and placement specialists: they are commonly called recruiters which you may commonly meet in recruitment fairs. They are responsible for determining the needed workforce and matching these needs with the people applying for the job. Their role includes posting job ads, selection process, promoting or internal rotation of employees.
  4. Employee assistance plan manager: this has recently been added by organization with the increasing focus on the employees’ welfare. Their role is to maintain a healthy social environment within the institute, maintain work-life balance and improving safety of the workplace.

Should I Choose a HR Degree?

Human resources is a unique field that requires a diverse and special set of skills. The following are a few we’ve identified that are needed for a good human resources graduate (keep in mind, many of these you will learn in school):

  1. Employee relations: human resources represent the link between the employers and the employees.
  2. Teamwork and collaboration: the main role of human resources is to manage the employees and synchronize their efforts as a team.
  3. Project management: managing human resources is the most important part of managing a project along with the financial resources.
  4. Performance management
  5. Human resources information systems: computer programs assist with the various tasks of human resources management including payroll, performance monitoring, hiring or other tasks.
  6. Onboarding: which refers to integrating employees into the company or organization working team with the aim of increasing the stability of the employment and reducing the turnover.

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Best Jobs for Human Resources Degrees

Human resources specialists and managers are in demand for a variety of businesses across all industries. Graduates may find work in small businesses, major corporations, nonprofit organizations, and government agencies. While most begin their careers as human resources specialists, many move on after gaining professional experience to work as HR managers or directors, or as recruiters.


How to save time and money

Our mission is to help you to avoid paying full price for college. We want your Human Resources degree to be affordable and accessible. Here’s how you could save:

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Get an Associate’s Degree First

With an associate’s degree in human resources, you can find work as an entry-level human resources specialist. Then, you can begin making money and earning experience while you pursue your bachelor’s degree. As a bonus, the credits you earn in your associate’s degree program may transfer, reducing the time and cost of earning a bachelor’s degree in your career field.


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Many visitors who look for a degree in Human Resources are also interested in the following degrees.

About the Author
Grant founded OnlineDegree.com with a purpose-driven mission: make college accessible and affordable for everyone. After graduating college with an overwhelming amount of debt, he was determined to change how students embark on their education. He's a frequent speaker and author in higher education, and has been featured in Forbes, Bloomberg Businessweek, Business Insider, American Express, AOL, MSN, Thrive Global, Reader's Digest, Inside Higher Ed, Evolllution, EducationDive, and nearly 100 radio shows and podcasts.

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