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What is an MBA in Human Resources?

An online MBA in human resources provides students with the organizational leadership skills they need to manage office personnel, recruit and hire employees, enhance staff productivity, supervise compensation, and uphold an organization’s legal or ethical standards. Earning a human resources MBA online degree is an outstanding investment that prepares you to work in almost any field. In fact, the Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates human resources management jobs are projected to grow 9% by 2024 — and all while paying median salaries of over $100,000.

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Earning a human resources MBA online degree is an outstanding investment that prepares you to work in almost any field.

An MBA in human resources online can give your salary a significant boost. More specifically, those with a human resources master’s degree online can earn over $10,000 more at the beginning of their careers than those holding a bachelor’s degree.

Comparison of Human Resources Master’s Degrees

When it comes to online master’s human resources degrees, several options exist. Though each degree program listed below readies you for professional success, you should be aware how their concentrations differ. While human resource management focuses on administration and human services employs a social justice lens, a human resources MBA online program provides a flexible overview of the discipline as a whole.

Degree Description Average Salary* Length
Master’s of Human Resource Management (MHRM) A master’s of human resource management prepares you to help businesses meet major goals by optimizing staff management. This degree focuses on an organization’s critical needs and how those needs can be met by effectively managing a company’s employees. This is an ideal track for those interested in working in an administrative role and producing management strategies by collaborating with business executives. $56,625 2 Years
Master’s of Human Services (MHS) The master’s of human services degree is more focused on working with vulnerable populations and diverse, multicultural communities. Often, this degree will prepare graduates to help nonprofit organizations with project management and the development of funding strategies. It can also prepare you to engage with social policy issues, such as welfare, immigration, reproductive rights, or employee assistance programs. The degree places a strong emphasis on fostering community engagement. $31,926 2 Years
Master’s of Business Administration (MBA) in Human Resources The online MBA in human resources is a flexible degree with a broad range of applications. This degree covers subjects such as workforce planning, management of employee compensation, organizational behavior, and the recruitment, development, and retention of human capital. Graduates who hold this MBA enjoy a variety of career options in fields like labor relations, training and development, and conflict mediation. $56,625 2 years

Graduates of an online MBA with human resources concentration are expected to master several core competencies before starting their careers. Though the best online schools for human resources may use different curriculum, programs share similar learning outcomes, including the maintenance of professional standards, and managing interactions between staff and administrators. Below, we describe a sample online MBA in human resources curriculum and illustrate how it can help you succeed professionally.

Course Competencies Developed Occupational Skill Level
Organizational Development Develop policies to ensure competitive benefits for employees and compliance with legal standards. Maintain organizational professional standards.

TITLE: Human Resources Manager

SALARY: growth of 6%

Performance Management Implement policies to help managers attract, retain, and evaluate an organization’s employees. Understand execution of successful management systems.

TITLE: Human Resources Consultant

SALARY: growth of 7%

Employee Relations Manage organizational labor relations, especially interactions like contract negotiation, dispute mediation, or basic labor law compliance.

TITLE: Human Resources Generalist

SALARY: growth of 2%

Human resources MBA online graduates are prepared to succeed in many different management career settings. The table below describes some of this discipline’s most popular professional options.

Human Resources Manager Median Salary: $63,639
  • Business Management
  • Manufacturing
  • Government Organizations
  • Healthcare/Social Assistance Programs
Human resource managers supervise the policies and procedures relating to their organization’s employees. They oversee staff benefit programs, workplace harassment disputes, and provide guidance for training or discipline initiatives.
Human Resources Consultant Median Salary: $70,931
  • Private Human Resources Consulting Firms
  • Business Management
  • Healthcare Organizations
Human resource consultants provide administrative support for human resources programs. Often, they will be tasked with improving the relationship between an organization and its staff, increasing employee satisfaction, or boosting retention rates.
Director of Human Resources Median Salary: $92,529
  • Business Management
  • Manufacturing
  • Professional, scientific, or technical corporations
Human resource directors plan and oversee their company’s human resources policies. Directors often report to the CEO to ensure human resources procedures are consistent with company goals and legal guidelines. They require strong customer service, communications, leadership, and organizational skills.

If you’ve decided that an MBA in human resources is right for you, then it is time to start narrowing down the list of schools you are interested in. Here are a few tips and tricks to help you through this process.

  • Search for schools in your area

    Even though you are looking for online programs, it can be helpful to choose a school that is within a 100 mile radius of your home. Online students often report that they enjoy having the ability to visit campus if they want to. In addition, schools often partner with local businesses, meaning a school in your area will have a better chance of helping you find a job close to home.

  • Compare student outcomes data

    Many schools will readily provide this information on their website; however, if you can’t find it, be sure to contact the school and ask for it. This data should include graduation rates, employment rates, and the compensation levels of recent graduates. When looked at side-by-side, this information can give you an easy glimpse of program quality.

  • Estimate the expected costs of your programs

    Prospective students often underestimate the total cost of their program. Make sure you calculate the total number of credit hours you will need to graduate, and multiply that by cost per credit hour. Do not forget to include the cost of supplies, internet, and time you will spend not earning an income. Additionally, compare financial aid options, different schools may offer better financial aid packages and/or scholarships that can offset the cost of education.

  • Check that classes will fit in with your schedule

    One of the central benefits of online education is flexibility. However, some programs will require set meeting times, synchronous workshops, and mandatory campus visits. Be sure that you are aware of all time commitments and that they will fit into your current schedule.

  • Look for partnerships with local businesses/hospitals

    The main objective of getting your MBA in Human Resources is to find a secure job with a healthy salary in a field you enjoy. To that end, attending school that is well connected with local hospitals and businesses can be a fantastic leg up upon graduation. Many of these partners will offer internships to students that can lead to full-time employment or provide the network and experience you need to get a job elsewhere.

  • Make sure the program is accredited

    Accreditation is the formal review process that ensures a school is offering a reputable program adhering to minimum academic standards. The Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business is the national agency that accredits for undergraduate, master’s and doctoral programs in business and accounting. By checking a program’s status with the AACSB, you can be confident you are receiving a recognized, quality degree. Employers generally will not hire job candidates who possess a degree from a school that is not accredited, and schools will not accept academic credentials from an unaccredited program.

  • Talk to current students and/or recent alumni

    One of the best resources when it comes to making a final decision on an online MBA in Human Resources program is actual students and graduates. They can give you an unbiased, real-world take on how the program has served them, what they have liked, and what they have disliked. Ask an admissions counselor to put you in touch with a current student or recent alumni. Alternatively, use LinkedIn or Facebook to find and reach out to people.

While a human resources MBA online program provides excellent preparation for a successful career, some positions require additional certification. Usually, further licensure must be obtained outside of a traditional online MBA in human resources degree program. While this process involves effort beyond your degree, keep in mind that certified human resources professionals are more likely to be hired and earn higher salaries than their noncertified peers. Below, we outline certifications commonly required for advanced human resources roles and careers.

Liscense Description
Professional in Human Resources This certification tests your experience in the technical side of human resources management, prioritizing workforce planning, compensation, labor relations, and U.S. legal regulations. PHR certification is commonly required for a career as a benefits administrator, HR coordinator, or payroll management positions.
SHRM Senior Certified Professional This certification tests your leadership abilities and experience developing strategies in human resources settings, focusing on performance metrics, upholding the influence of human resources on the community, and managing organizational goals. SHRM-SCP certification is commonly required to be an HR vice president, HR manager, or talent acquisition manager roles.
Global Professional in Human Resources This certification tests your experience overcoming human resources challenges on a global, multicultural scale, prioritizing global talent acquisition, international organizational growth, and globalization strategies. GPHR certification is commonly required for director of global talent acquisition or global HR advisor roles.

Several quality scholarships can help you finance your human resources master’s degree online program without breaking the bank. These scholarships aim to help undergraduate or graduate students who have demonstrated leadership skills in the field of human resources and who exhibit at least some financial need. These awards are generally single-year scholarships that range from $2,000 to $5,000. Below are some examples of eligibility requirements for the discipline’s most prestigious scholarships.