An MBA in human resources leads to various high-paying and rewarding careers. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), HR managers earn a median salary of $116,720 per year, and pay rates for professionals with a graduate degree could be even higher.
Some professionals may be interested in an MBA in HR but cannot fit the graduate degree around their busy schedules. Fortunately, many schools offer an MBA in human resources online, allowing busy students to earn their degree while continuing to work. This resource explores the best online MBA in HR programs, potential career outcomes, and what to expect when completing your MBA in HR online.
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Students are interested in the best online MBA in human resources programs. We’ve compared numerous factors, including tuition rates, prestige, and online flexibility, to determine the best MBA programs for human resources.
Online education typically comes with lower tuition rates, and professionals can earn a high-quality online MBA from a regionally accredited institution. These are the most affordable online MBA in human resources programs.
Understanding an MBA Human Resources Online Program
An online MBA in human resources combines business courses with advanced human resources topics. Current business professionals looking to advance their careers tend to benefit most from an HR MBA program.
Common Specializations for an Online MBA in HR
Many online MBA in HR programs allow students to select a specialization, and others offer specialized degrees like an MBA in human capital management or strategic human resource management. Each specialization could lead to different career outcomes, so students can prepare themselves for future positions with their specialization.
Area of Focus
Careers This Concentration Prepares For
Human Capital Management
Best for those who plan on focusing on managing employees over other HR tasks, human capital management introduces the rules and regulations associated with HR and applies them to managerial styles. Topics include recruiting, training, and development talent. Students also learn to communicate with employees.
General manager Human resources manager Human resources specialist
A more niche field than human capital management, people management deals with all things people, from talent acquisition to retention. This specialization also dives into the recruitment process, including employer branding, benefits packages, and administration. Students in this specialization may find more high-level careers after graduating.
Human resources manager Human resources partnerHuman resources director Manager of people operations
Strategic Human Resource Management
Strategic human resource management prepares students for executive careers. Unlike a normal HR program, this specialization focuses on the overall HR strategy. Professionals tend to work closely with business leaders to develop strategies for staffing, compensation, and employee relations. This program also emphasizes all-around business fundamentals.
Human resources business partner Talent Management Organizational training development and management
MBA in Human Resources vs MSW in Human Resources: Understanding the Differences
Returning students looking for a graduate degree in human resources have several options, including an MBA or a master of social work (MSW). While both options lead to high-paying careers in human resources, the two have different program structures and outcomes.
Briefly introduce this section, then fill in the below to help readers understand the difference of pursuing an MBA in HR vs MSW in HR. Look into main differences, what type of person/profession might consider each, pros/cons, etc.
MBA in HR
MSW in HR
Includes foundational business courses
Covers topics like HR planning, strategy, and management
Prepares students for careers in business
Professionals often find careers working with white-collar employees
Includes foundational courses in social sciences and research
Covers the methods of social work, including working with groups
Prepares students for careers in communities
Professionals often find careers working with unions
Online MBA in HR Admission Requirements
Every school sets its own requirements for admission, though most online MBA in HR programs set similar admissions requirements. Potential requirements for admission include:
All graduate-level programs, including an MBA in HR programs, require applicants to submit all previous college transcripts. Some schools also set GPA requirements.
Most online MBA in HR programs cater to current professionals, so schools require two or more years of professional experience. This guarantees the student’s readiness for the coursework.
The GMAT, a standardized test used specifically for MBA programs, helps schools evaluate applicants. A high score could also waive other admission requirements.
Letters of Recommendation
Colleges and universities often require applicants to submit 2-3 letters of recommendation, at least one of which must come from a current or former employer.
Personal Essay: Personal essays give the applicant a chance to explain why they want to enroll in an MBA in HR program. A strong essay could outweigh other admission factors.
Online MBA in Human Resources: No GMAT Requirement
Some schools, such as Southern New Hampshire University and Texas Woman’s University, do not require GMAT scores during admissions. Applying to online MBA in human resources with no GMAT programs saves applicants time and money by avoiding the standardized test. Here are few more universities that offer Online MBA Human Resources No GMAT programs:
Curriculum for an Online Master of MBA in Human Resources Program
Online MBA in human resources degrees combine general business courses with HR specialty curriculum. Specific courses vary by program and choosing a specialization could further alter curriculum expectations. However, most programs require courses similar to these.
Business Analytics: Data and analytics are becoming more important in day-to-day business functions. As a foundational business course, business analytics introduces the use of data and introduces data-based decision making. Students explore different ways to collect and analyze information to support business strategies.
Marketing and Strategy: Another business-minded course, marketing and strategy examines the approach of analyzing the market and strategically placing the business to succeed. Along with teaching students different marketing and position strategies, learners also develop leadership and teamwork skills. HR professionals benefit by learning more about the high-level functions of a business.
Ethics and Responsibility: An important course for all business students and HR students in particular, ethics and responsibility looks at corporate culture, business values, and regulations. Students learn to become aware of diversity, company culture, and best business practices. HR professionals regularly deal with ethical issues within a business, so this course teaches many valuable skills.
Sourcing and Managing Talent: Sourcing and managing talent introduces HR students to different models of recruiting new employees and developing talent. Learners explore different workforce planning strategies and work with other business leaders to develop employment and talent goals for the organization. Skills learned in this course directly apply to HR programs.
Capstone: Every online MBA in HR program ends with a capstone project. The capstone allows learners to demonstrate the skills they learned in a real-world scenario while building their resume and learning even more new skills. Students usually select the subject matter of their capstone, ideal for those interested in working for a specific industry.
Choosing a Quality (and Accredited) Online MBA in Human Resources:
One-Year Programs: Online MBA in Human Resources Program
Part-time online MBA in human resources learners might complete the program in 2-3 years, but some students prefer to accelerate their education. One-year online MBA programs allow students to complete a quick, intensive program in under 12 months, shortening the time until they advance their current career. Some one-year online MBA in HR programs to consider include the following.
Skills Gained in an Online MBA in Human Resources Program
Online MBA in human resources programs teach the same employable skills as their on-campus counterparts. All accredited online MBA programs should help students develop the following skills.
Relationship Building: Whether it be networking or connecting with potential talent, HR professionals must build meaningful relationships with others. Coursework develops these skills by teaching valuable techniques and gaining real-world practice.
Analytics: Students in an online MBA in HR program take at least one course in analytics. From forming business strategies to evaluating employee performance, analytics play a key role in daily HR tasks.
Leadership: All MBA programs prepare learners for leadership positions. HR students develop important leadership skills that could help them secure top HR positions within organizations.
People Management: HR professionals work with people on a daily basis, helping them with everything from workplace problems to compensation. Students master people management skills through courses and internships.
Business Communication: As managers, leaders, and a point of connection for employees, HR professionals must be able to communicate with workers at every level of the organization and facilitate communication between management and employees.
MBA in HR Licensure Requirements
Human resources professionals perform an array of tasks across nearly all industries. So, states set no licensure requirements for HR professionals. However, professionals in specific fields may need to earn a license, though employers communicate these requirements before hiring HR workers.
MBA in human resources students find different ways to help pay for their degrees. Aside from scholarships, popular ways to cover some of your graduate school costs include grants, employer assistance, and fellowships.
Techniques for Paying for Your Online MBA
Similar to scholarships, grants provide what is essentially free money to MBA students. Human resources students earn grants for different reasons, including financial need and academic excellence.
Some employers want to strengthen their workforce and are willing to cover some, or all, of an employee’s MBA costs. Note that not all employers or schools accept employer assistance.
A fellowship works like an internship, having students work in return for both pay and experience. Some schools might also award credits to students who complete a fellowship.
Scholarships for Online MBA in HR Students
Many graduate students, including MBA students, help pay for their degree with scholarships. There are hundreds of scholarships available, some of which only apply to MBA and human resources students.
AfterCollege Business Student ScholarshipWho Can Apply: All students pursuing a degree in business, including MBA students, may apply for this scholarship. Applicants must hold a cumulative 3.0 GPA on all transcripts. Amount: $500
Hispanic Scholarship FundWho Can Apply: A merit-based scholarship designed for students of Hispanic heritage, the Hispanic Scholarship Fund awards multiple scholarships to graduate students with a 2.5 GPA or higher. Students can pursue any degree, including an MBA in human resources. Amount: $500-$5,000
Military MBAWho Can Apply: Any students who previously served in the military and earned an undergraduate degree can apply for the military MBA scholarship. Amount: Varies
National Academy of Human Resources SHRM ScholarshipWho Can Apply: Students pursuing an MBA in human resources can apply for this scholarship. Winners are selected based on their commitment to an HR career, academic achievement, leadership, and financial need. Amount: $5,000
National Black MBA Association ScholarshipsWho Can Apply: Members of the National Black MBA Association can apply for an array of scholarships. Winners are selected based on various factors, including region, school, and professional background. Amount: Up to $5,500
Career and Salary Outlook for Online Human Resources MBA Graduates
Human resources is a broad field, and professionals end up working in various positions and industries. Common career titles include human resources manager, training and development manager, and compensation and benefits manager.
Regardless of the position an online MBA in HR graduate earns, most individuals end up working for businesses, corporations, or the government. While no amount of education guarantees any specific career title, salary, or position, an MBA in HR can lead to many positions, including the following.
Human resources managers perform all types of administrative functions for businesses and organizations, including recruiting, interviewing, and hiring new employees. These professionals also oversee benefits, staffing, and internal problems.
A human resources specialist performs many of the tasks of an HR manager, only with fewer responsibilities. Tasks including conducting internal research to determine new employment needs, performing background checks on applicants, and taking part in interviews.
Instead of hiring new talent, training and development managers train current employees to align skills with the business’ goals. Other tasks include creating training programs, managing a training budget, and updating programs to remain relevant.
Compensation, benefits, and job analysis specialists compare different compensation plans, compare benefits and drawbacks, then recommend packages to other HR professionals. Daily tasks also include conducting surveys, creating job descriptions, and figuring out insurance.
A compensation and benefits manager oversees specialists to determine the compensation and benefits packages extended to employees. These professionals must create a program budget, compare different plans, and oversee the distribution of benefits to employees.
Resources for Online MBA in Human Resources Students
Current MBA in human resources students and seasons HR professionals benefit from professional organizations. These organizations connect HR students and professionals with anything they need, including certification, scholarships, and job networking.
Association of MBAs: Established in 1967, the Association of MBAs connects MBA, DBA, and master’s degree holders who work in business. AMBA publishes industry research and information, and members can access career advice and a job board.
Association for Talent Development: Created for those who develop talent, the Association for Talent Development connects professionals, shares innovative ideas, and publishes research. Members also gain access to an extensive job board.
National Black MBA Association: The National Black MBA Association serves to educate and empower Black students, entrepreneurs, and professionals. NBMBAA provides scholarship opportunities, networking opportunities, and professional development.
The Society for Human Resource Management: With over 300,000 members across the world, SHRM is one of the largest organizations for HR graduates. SHRM provides certification, networking, and e-learning resources to members.
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