15 Best Associates Degrees in Human Resources Online [2021 Guide]
If you’re interested in working in a professional setting and playing an important role in workforce planning for organizations, then an associates degree in human resources online may be right for you.
An associate’s degree in human resources management online program can help you break into the world of human resources as an HR professional and help businesses balance the needs of the organization with the needs of employees.
As an HR professional, you may work on projects related to recruitment, training and development, compensation and benefits, HR metrics, performance management, and employee engagement.
Associate’s in Human Resources Online
An associate’s degree in human resources online can help you develop the foundational knowledge and skills required to be successful as an HR professional.
With an online degree in human resources you may be qualified for entry-level positions in the field of human resource management. As your experience grows, you may be able to grow your career and take on upper-level positions in human resource management, seeing increased earning potential as a result.
Coursework for an associate degree program in human resource management will cover a broad range of HR related topics. This may include recruitment and selection, business law, organizational behavior, training and development, health and safety, and compensation.
Courses may also cover job analysis and design, labor relations, and employee benefits including pensions and health and dental plans. With an associate’s in human resources, there are a number of career options available for you to pursue.
There are general HR positions including roles like HR Assistant or HR Coordinator, HR Generalist, and HR Manager or Director. These roles may allow you to work on projects ranging across the various content areas of human resource management.
There are also specialized positions in human resources. These roles operate in a specific content area of HR, providing you the opportunity to have a more narrow or focused field of work and develop a level of expertise in a particular area of human resources management.
Specialized positions may include Training and Development Specialist, HR Analyst, Recruiter, or Compensation Manager.
An associate’s degree in human resources online may also be a stepping stone towards other career options including an HR consultant, employment lawyer or a top executive, such as a chief human resource officer.
Human Resources Careers & Salaries
Careers in human resource management exist across all industries and sectors, from retail, hospitality, and entertainment, to manufacturing, government, and education. While the details of each position may differ, all industries require some degree of HR functions.
Recruitment and selection, compensations and benefits, training, and employee-employer relations are important for all workplaces regardless of the type of work they do or industry the workplace is operating in.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, when it comes to an associate’s degree in human resources salary, there are a number of well-paying career options that include general and specialized HR positions.
It’s important to note that entry-level salaries are quite a bit less than managerial and executive positions which may take 10 years or more to attain.
|Careers||Annual Median Salary|
|Chief Human Resource Officer||$185,950|
|Compensation and Benefits Manager||$125,130|
|Human Resources Manager||$121,220|
|Training and Development Manager||$115,640|
|Occupational Health and Safety Specialist||$76,340|
|Labor Relations Specialist||$73,240|
|Compensation, Benefits, and Job Analysis Specialist||$67,190|
|Human Resources Specialist||$63,490|
|Training and Development Specialist||$62,700|
|Human Resources Assistant||$43,250|
As you can see in the chart above, there are numerous career paths available to pursue with an associate’s degree in human resources management. Depending on the employer, you may need additional education or work experience to qualify for some of these jobs.
With your associate’s human resource degree online, you may choose to work in a general HR position as a human resource assistant, human resource manager or chief human resource officer.
On the other hand, you may prefer to specialize in the various content areas of human resource management, including recruitment and selection, compensation and benefits, training, health and safety, or labor relations.
A number of positions in the field of human resource management are seeing above average growth rates. This includes the positions of human resource specialist and manager, training and development specialist and manager, and compensation, benefit and job analysis specialist.
Top executive positions, such as chief human resource officer, are growing as fast as average with a predicted 4% growth rate over the coming years. Labor relations specialists have a declining job outlook with a predicted -7% decline over the next decade. However, some of these positions may require an online masters degree in human resources.
Choosing an Online Associate’s in HR Degree
When choosing an associate’s degree in human resources, there are some key considerations to ensure that the program is the best fit for you.
- Tuition Costs: The total cost you will need to pay to complete all program courses and obtain your degree.
- Program Length: The total time it will take you to complete the program from start to finish.
- Attendance Options: Some programs may offer full-time or part-time study options. Part-time studies can help you balance coursework with other life demands, but the time to complete your degree will be longer than a full-time coursework option.
Each school may have small differences that could impact which degree program is the best fit for you. Taking time to research and understand the nuances of each program before finalizing your enrollment options can help ensure you select the right one for your circumstances.
Human Resources Curriculum & Courses
When you enroll in an associate human resource program, there are a number of core HR topic areas you’ll likely be required to complete to obtain your degree. Some of the courses you may take are outlined below:
- Human Resource Management: An overview of the fundamental principles of human resource management, including employee-employer relations, recruitment, performance management, training, compensation, business law and more.
- Leadership and Management: A look at theories related to individual and team dynamics in the workplace, leadership styles, and productivity.
- Recruitment and Selection: How to source candidates for vacancies within an organization, and select the best fit for the position, team and organization overall.
- Compensation and Benefits: Discover the various components of employee payment plans including base pay, profit sharing, retirement plans and supplemental healthcare benefits.
- Business Law: Understand the legal considerations surrounding the workplace and employment, including the employer-employee relationship, contract law, human rights and termination of employment.
- Training and Development: Cover the fundamentals of employee training and workplace development, including adult learning theories and instructional design methodologies.
- Organizational Behavior: A look at various theories impacting workplace performance and management, including decision making, conflict resolution, and communication.
- Labor Relations: Understand the relationship between organizations and unions representing employees in the workplace.
- Finance: An overview of fundamental financial principles and using financial insights as a mechanism to improve decision making and workforce planning.
- Health and Safety: Learn about practices and procedures required to ensure a safe workplace, including an in-depth look at legislation governing workplace health and safety.
In addition to the courses listed above, you may be required to take general education courses such as coursework relating to mathematics, communication, or arts and humanities. This requirement depends on the program and school you choose to attend for your degree.
Admission criteria for an online associate’s degree in human resources management will differ from one school to the next, but there are some consistent standards to be aware of when you’re looking to enroll in a program.
- High School Transcript: You may be required to submit a copy of your high school transcript or GED scores with your application to a human resource management program.
- College Transcripts: If you’ve completed courses at another university, you may be required to submit a transcript for those courses as part of your enrollment package.
- SAT or ACT Scores: Although a growing number of schools no longer require SAT or ACT scores, some schools may require you to include your scores as part of the application.
Be sure to check the specific admission requirements or criteria for each school you are interested in attending.
The accreditation status of a degree program is an important consideration when you are choosing an associate’s degree program in human resources online.
Receiving accreditation verifies that a school and the programs offered by that school are of high academic quality. Credits earned at schools or in programs that are accredited are generally easier to transfer between universities.
Before you decide on the school that you want to attend for your online associate’s degree in human resources management, you can check each schools accreditation status on the U.S Department of Education’s website.
Financial Aid and Scholarships
There are a number of financial aid options that you may be eligible to receive that could help you fund your online associate’s degree in human resources management, including those listed below.
- Federal Aid: This is a program delivered by the federal government and, if eligible, may offer you loans or grants to help fund your studies.
- State Aid: This program is similar to federal aid, but is managed by local state governments.
- Scholarships: Funds received as a scholarship can be used towards your studies and do not need to be repaid once you obtain your degree.
Eligibility to receive financial aid may depend on various factors, including but not limited to the accreditation status of the school you attend, academic standing, and life experiences. You can use the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) form to apply for financial aid online.
What Can You Do With an Associate’s in Human Resources?
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, there are a number of career paths you can take with an associate’s degree in human resources management, and as you gain experience there is significant room for growth.
Careers in human resource management can be general in nature, offering you the opportunity to work within the many areas of human resource management. Careers in human resource management can also be specialized in nature, allowing you to pursue a specific area of human resources and become an expert in that space.
Areas of specialization may include labor relations, recruitment, training and development, or compensation and benefits. This may lead to positions as a specialist, manager or top executive in each respective area.
How Long Does it Take to Get an HR Associates Degree Online?
The time it will take for you to complete an HR associate’s degree online depends on the program you choose to enroll in and the type of schedule the program and school offers you as a student.
Programs that offer a 16-week semester can typically be completed in four years when attended on a full-time basis. Programs that follow an 8-week semester can be completed in less time if you stay continuously enrolled throughout the entire year.
Some schools may offer their associate’s degree in human resources management with a part-time schedule. This means that you can take fewer courses at once, but it will take longer for you to complete the entire program than with full-time attendance options.
Is an Associates in Human Resources Worth it?
Yes, an associate’s degree in human resources is worth it for many students. The Bureau of Labor Statistics projects 5% job growth in management, business and financial occupations for the next 10 years, faster than the average for all occupations.
Common human resource management careers in this field include Human Resources Assistant, Training and Development Specialist, Occupational Health and Safety Technician, Compensation and Benefits Manager, and Human Resources Manager.
With a career in human resource management, you may work in an administrative role or move up the ranks to a position in management or as a top executive throughout your career.
An associate’s degree in human resources offers a broad selection of entry-level career paths to pursue, giving you opportunities to define the direction of your career and grow over time.
Universities Offering Online Associate’s in Human Resources Degree Programs
Methodology: The following school list is in alphabetical order. To be included, a college or university must be regionally accredited and offer degree programs online or in a hybrid format.
Bryant and Stratton College offers an Associate of Applied Science Human Resources Specialist degree both on-campus and online. It works to provide students with the foundation needed to learn about the business world and the HR department’s role in it. Main course topics focus on state, federal and local employment laws as well as ethical practices.
Bryant & Stratton College is accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education.
At Chippewa Valley Technical College, students can earn full, 60 credit hour associate’s degrees in human resources.
The degree program is designed to equip students with the knowledge to examine organizational programs, create organizational workforce plans, develop and implement training programs and more. Because it’s an actual associate’s degree, it may also be transferred towards a bachelor’s degree.
Chippewa Valley Technical College is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.
The Associate of Science in Human Resource Management program at Colorado Christian University is designed to give students the general foundation they need to succeed in human resources while also incorporating a God-first, Biblical worldview and scripture into all aspects of the degree.
Course topics include business law, organizational behavior, HR, leadership and management and more.
Colorado Christian University is accredited by The Higher Learning Commission, a commission of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools.
While Colorado Technical University doesn’t offer an HR degree, it does offer an ACBSP-accredited Associate of Science in Business Administration. It’s a flexible program that help prepare students to enter the workforce as professionals or continue on to earn bachelor’s degrees.
CTU also honors work experience, awarding college credit to qualified students who pass Fast Track exams.
Colorado Technical University is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.
Students interested in human resources at Concordia University – Wisconsin can work towards their Associate of Arts in Human Resource Management. It’s a 64-credit-hour program in total. It is designed to teach students how to easily relate to others in a professional manner, write and speak effectively, create a diverse, inclusive workforce and more.
Concordia University – Wisconsin is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.
At Georgia Piedmont Technical College, students can earn an Associate of Applied Science in Human Resources Management degree.
The program focuses on sending students directly into the workforce rather than into continuing education, so the course selection is comprehensive, allowing students to get real-world experience. There’s a strong management component to this degree program as well.
Georgia Piedmont Tech is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, Commission on Colleges.
Students at Guilford Technical Community College can earn their Associate of Applied Science in Human Resources Management degree 100% online. The degree is actually a specific concentration under the business administration degree, which means students get an intricate, comprehensive business education.
Course work includes needs assessment, interviewing, compensation and benefits, among others.
Guilford Technical Community College is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.
Students hoping to become HR assistants, staff training specialists, personnel specialists or pay and benefit specialists can enroll at Lakeshore Technical College and work towards their associate’s degree in human resources. It’s a 60 credit hour program featuring classes in HR, workplace safety, labor laws and ethics, payroll and more.
Lakeshore Technical College is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.
Lehigh Carbon Community College’s Associate of Applied Science in Human Resource Management program is fully accredited by the ACBSP. Skills that can be worked on in this program include critical thinking, team building, problem solving, recruitment, computer literacy, basic accounting, and supervisory skills.
Graduates are expected to be fully equipped to work in entry-level HR management positions upon graduation.
Lehigh Carbon Community College is accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education.
Minnesota State Community and Technical College offers two options for HR degrees: an Associate of Applied Science (AAS) or an Associate of Science (AS) in Human Resources. Both programs offer the same great business and HR foundations, but the AAS degree is for students headed straight to work.
The AS degree is for students hoping to transfer into a bachelor’s degree program.
Minnesota State Community and Technical College is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.
An associate’s degree in human resources from Northeast Wisconsin Technical College is designed to prepare students for HR specialist jobs at any type of organization. Course topics include compensation and benefits, labor relationships, wellness and safety initiatives, among others.
NWTC students who have earned HR certificates from work may also transfer them into college credits.
NWTC is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.
The human resources and organizational leadership associate’s degree at Rasmussen College is designed to teach students the fundamentals of HR, business ethics, leadership and more. Rasmussen honors Flex Choice exams, which allow students to earn college credit by passing exams based on work experience.
The school also offers a bachelor’s degree for students wanting to continue their college journey.
Rasmussen College is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.
At San Joaquin Valley College, students can earn an Associate of Science in Human Resources Administration in as few as 14 months online. Certificates of Completion can be earned after only seven months. The program is accredited by the ACCJC, and there are numerous financial aid options available to help with tuition.
San Joaquin Valley College is accredited by the Accrediting Commission for Community and Junior Colleges, Western Association of Schools and Colleges.
Students at South Texas College have a wide range of options if they’re interested in pursuing careers in HR.
STC offers an online Associate of Applied Science degree in human resources, but there are also numerous certificates for students to earn including a Human Resources Certificate, Payroll Assistant Certificate, and a Recruiting Assistant Certificate.
South Texas College is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.
Waldorf University offers an Associate of Arts in Human Resources Management that’s built upon the guiding principles laid out by the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM). In addition to core courses in leadership, management and HR, students can also choose four additional courses, each focused on a key competency as decided by SHRM.
Waldorf University is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.
Getting Your HR Associate’s Degree Online
Obtaining an associate’s degree in human resources online may lead to a rewarding career in human resource management. With a high average annual salary and diverse career options, this growing field may provide you with a great deal of opportunities once you’ve obtained your associate degree.
Your HR associate’s degree online can help equip you to pursue an entry-level human resource management position. Over time, you grow your career in the field, advancing to upper-level HR positions.
When it comes to enrolling in an associate’s HR degree online, each program may have slightly different course offerings. Each program may also be structured in a different way, with variance in program type, length, and attendance requirements.
Researching the programs you’re interested in attending can help you find the right program for your needs, and get you started on your educational journey today!