An associate degree in human resources puts you on that pathway that boasts a favorable projected growth rate. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), jobs for human resource managers are growing faster than average. Plus, an online HR associate degree that you can earn at your own pace is a smart investment in your future. Human resource managers routinely bring home well over six figures per year. Earning your associate degree in HR management is the first step towards securing a lucrative position in this growing field. In this ranking, we probe the 12 best online associate degree programs in human resource management.
Interested in pursuing an accelerated online associate degree? Check out our ranking of the Fastest Online Associate Degree Programs!
Methodology: Ranking Value Colleges for Online Associate in HR
In developing this list, we considered several factors. Tuition cost is, of course, a significant factor. Student-to-faculty ratio is a good estimate of how much one-on-one attention you can expect to receive from your instructor. The relevance of the curriculum to the current conditions in the field is also key. Other factors like recognition of excellence for their online HR associate program, college credit for life experience, and the professional expertise of the faculty was also considered.
All tuition, enrollment, and student-to-faculty numbers were collected from the U.S. government’s National Center for Education Statistics.
#12 – San Joaquin Valley College – Visalia
Online Associate of Science Degree in Human Resources Administration
Tuition and Fees: $43,990
This private junior college celebrated their 40th year of operation in 2017, has 14 campuses throughout California, and also has an online division. San Joaquin Valley College advertises that their associate degree in human resources can be completed online in just 14 months, and all courses maintain a student-to-faculty ratio of 19:1. The HR associate degree includes pertinent curriculum such as introduction to Microsoft Office, and workforce training, managing, and safeguarding. SJCC employs student advisors, to help with advising and individual course issues that may arise, specifically for online students.
#11 – Waldorf University
Forest City, IA
Online Associate in Arts in Human Resource Management
Tuition and Fees: $22,352
For more than 100 years, Iowa’s Waldorf University has been consistently at the forefront of innovation in education and offering online degrees is a natural extension of this vision. Waldorf University’s associate in human resources management, completed 100% online, is a 60 credit hour program that can be completed in two years with full-time enrollment. IWU’s HR associate degree has courses in recruitment and staffing, HR management strategy, and emerging issues. WU’s program is designed to directly transfer into their bachelor’s degree program in human resources with upper division status.
#10 – Montana State University – Billings
Associate of Science in Human Resources Online
Tuition and Fees: $19,257
Montana State University – Billings offers a 60 credit hour program for their associate degree in human resources that can be obtained wholly online. Their student to faculty ratio of 14:1 is creditable. Employment law and practices and organizational training and development are topics that you will cover in the course of your studies. MSUB prioritizes online education with their commitment to the stated values of “Access and Excellence.”
#9 – Guilford Technical Community College
Online Associate of Applied Science in Business Administration, Human Resource Management Option
Tuition and Fees: $7,695
Guilford Technical Community College’s online associate in business administration with a human resources concentration is a program that confers a sound business education background that sets one up for lifelong learning. Their student to faculty ratio is a sound 18:1. Class titles from the proposed schedule include people skills and training and development. GTCC’s associate is a 65-66 credit hour program that they recommend completing in a fall, spring, part-time summer, fall, spring pattern, but there may be flexibility in scheduling available.
#8 – Lehigh Carbon Community College
Associate of Applied Science in Human Resource Management Online
Tuition and Fees: $11,160
Lehigh Carbon Community College’s associate in human resources management available 100% online is a 60-62 credit hour program. The associate in applied science offered by LCCC is intended primarily for use in the job market, and not as a transfer degree. Their student to faculty ratio is moderate at 18:1. Industrial psychology and labor relations are two of the areas of study in this program. Lehigh Carbon Community College was chartered in 1966 to serve a region in eastern Pennsylvania and has expanded to offer online education nationwide.
#7 – Concordia University – Wisconsin
Associate of Human Resource Management Online
Tuition and Fees: $30,352
Concordia University – Wisconsin offers a 64 credit hour online associate in human resource management. Their student-to-faculty ratio is an impressive 12:1. Intercultural communication, philosophy, values, and ethics are among the topics covered in this program. For a small fee per request, CUW offers course credit for life experience through CLEP, DANTES and their “Online Portfolio Review” process. Concordia University – Wisconsin is affiliated with the Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod and the Concordia University system.
#6 – South Texas College
Associate of Applied Science Degree in Human Resources Assistant Online
Tuition and Fees: $7,830
The largest higher education institution south of San Antonio, South Texas College boasts affordable tuition and top quality student services. South Texas College offers a 61 credit hour program for their online associate degree in human resources. Their student to faculty ratio is 23:1 which is elevated. Management & labor relations and organizational behavior are two of the required courses for this major. STC has an office of online advising tasked with keeping online students on track to graduate in the most efficient manner, saving valuable resources like time and money. They also offer tutoring for online students through their Centers for Learning Excellence.
#5 – Herkimer County Community College
Associate of Applied Science in Human Resources Management Online
Tuition and Fees: $8,510
Herkimer County Community College has a transfer agreement in place with Bellevue University so that graduates of their online associate in human resources management program can seamlessly transition to a new completely online four-year program with the optimal number of transfer credits. HCC’s student to faculty ratio is 19:1. This is a 63 credit hour program, covering such topics as business ethics and organizational behavior. Herkimer Community College was named one of the top 150 community colleges in the nation by the Aspen Institute.
#4 – Minnesota State Community and Technical College
Fergus Falls, MN
Associate of Applied Science in Human Resources Online
Online Associate of Science in Human Resources
Tuition and Fees: $5,560
Minnesota State Community and Technical College has a standard student-faculty ratio of 18:1. There are two options available in the human resources program, the associate of applied science (AAS) and an associate of science (AS). The AAS is a 60 credit hour online associate degree in human resources program intended for direct application to an entry level HR position. The program includes classes in benefits administration and 6 hours of ethics coursework. The AS is a 60 credit hour program intended for use in transfer to a four-year program. Policy administration and wage and employee processes are two recommended courses in this schedule of classes. MSC&TC has articulation agreements with three universities to ensure transfer into partner programs.
#3 – Fayetteville Technical Community College
Fayetteville, North Carolina
Online Associate in Applied Science in Business Administration with Human Resources Management Concentration
Tuition and Fees: $8,688
Fayetteville Technical Community College offers a 66 credit hour online associate degree in business administration with HR management concentration that can be completed in four standard fall and spring semesters along with one summer semester. Studies in this program include statistics and diversity in management. FTCC’s student to faculty ratio is a respectable 19:1. Their website lists the 42 states where they are authorized to provide distance education. Fayetteville Tech offers up to 12 credits for prior learning (CPL). Fayetteville Technical Community College is a publicly funded school serving North Carolina and beyond since 1961.
#2 – Bryant & Stratton College – Parma
Online Associate in Applied Science in Human Resources Specialist
Tuition and Fees: $18,102
To complement their top ranking for student/faculty ratio of 11:1, Bryant & Stratton College offers the Career LifePrep Plus program. This program includes résumé help and interview preparation when you are ready to take your skills to the job market as well as advice on the job search. This online associate in human resource specialist includes 39 credit hours of study within the major and the standard complement of general studies courses. Sample course titles include employment law and labor relations and research and writing for the workplace. This for-profit school advertises that this program is authorized in all 50 states.
#1 – Lakeshore Technical College
Online Associate Degree in Human Resource Administration
Tuition and Fees: $4,341
Lakeshore Technical College offers a 60 credit hour online associate degree in human resources administration. Their student to faculty ratio is a commendable 13:1. Payroll applications and training for organizations are some courses required for this degree. Credit for prior learning is available in certain situations. LTC maintains career coaches on staff, available for career advice and guidance through the admission process. Lakeshore Technical College stresses the institutional values of community connections, attitudes of adaptability, excellence, and positivity, respect through communication, environmental sustainability and student success.
This has been a list of the top 12 online associate degrees in human resources.
About Human Resource Management (HRM)
If you’re a “people person” in the truest sense of the term, then a job in human resource management may be the ideal career path for you. Professionals in the field of human resources help a company manage its most valuable and potentially volatile asset—its staff. In doing so, these HR specialists assist an organization in maximizing its productivity and profitability.
Human resource managers and support staff may specialize in one of three distinct areas of the field: recruitment and hiring, employee benefits and pay, or job descriptions and scope of work. In small organizations, a HR professional may be responsible for managing all three sub-fields of human resources.
About Online Associate Degree Programs in Human Resource Management
For many individuals interested in working in human resources (HR), an associate degree in HR management represents a starting point. Typically two-year programs that require approximately 60 credit hours of coursework, these programs of study prepare students for entry-level work in the field or for transfer to a four-year university for a bachelor’s in human resources.
Types of Online Associate of Human Resource Management Programs
Students interested in entering the field of human resource management often turn to online programs for their flexibility. Though they usually find this flexibility, they may also discover that not all online offerings are the same. In fact, there are two basic types of online associate degree options in HRM: synchronous and asynchronous degree programs.
Synchronous Online Associate Human Resource Management Offerings
Some online human resource management associate degree programs are synchronous in nature. This means that their content delivery system is time-specific and requires students to log on simultaneously in order to participate in streaming lectures or real-time class discussions, for example. Synchronous programs are often praised for their ability to engage students, but lack some of the convenience of an asynchronous program.
Asynchronous Online HR Management Offerings
Of the two types of online human resource management associate degree programs, asynchronous offerings are indeed the most flexible. These types of programs allow students to complete coursework at their own pace, logging into their learning platforms at their convenience. Common components of these asynchronous offerings include pre-recorded lectures and offline discussion forums.
Associate Degree in Human Resource Management Programs: Admissions
Getting into an associate degree in human resource management program isn’t overly difficult, but there are a few hoops you’ll need to jump through. For instance, you’ll need to prove that you have a high school diploma or equivalent. This is easily accomplished by sending in a copy of your transcript or academic record. In addition, if English isn’t your first language, you may need to pass a proficiency test in order to be admitted into an associate degree program. Finally, you’ll need to fill out an official application, and you may be required to pay an application fee as well.
Other admissions requirements will vary by school. For example, some schools ask applicants to submit personal statements in which they explain their academic and career goals. Other schools may ask for writing samples and/or letters of reference.
Associate of Human Resource Management Degrees: Curriculum
The curriculum for a typical associate degree in HR Management program will likely be comprised of three elements: general education courses, general business courses, and more specific human resource management classes.
General Education Component
The general education component of an associate degree in human resource management ensures students have foundational skills typically expected of corporate professionals. These classes aren’t specific to human resources subjects, though. Instead, they cover fundamental topics in mathematics, communications, and the humanities. Some sample general education classes are listed below for reference. Keep in mind that course titles will vary by program.
- Information Literacy
- Mathematics for Business and Finance
- Research and Writing for the Workplace
- Computing Skills
- English Composition
- Intermediate Algebra
General Business Component
The general business component of a human resource management associate degree program will train students to function in a business environment. Like general education courses, these classes may cover topics outside of the field of human resources. They are intended to provide an overview of the skills corporate employees need in order to be successful in their professional roles. Some general business classes are listed below for the sake of reference.
- Introduction to Business
- Business Law & Ethics
- Business Principles
- Business and Technical Writing
- Business Statistics
Human Resource Management Courses
The real substance of an associate of human resource management program can be found in major-specific programs—that is, the classes that specifically address the topic of human resource management. In these courses, students will learn the very skills and concepts necessary to thrive in the field. Some sample HR management classes are listed below for illustration; the courses available through your chosen program will be similar in topic but may vary by name.
- Introduction to Human Resource Management
- Labor Relations
- Organizational Behavior
- Employment Law and Labor Relations
- Recruitment, Selection, and Staffing
- Human Resource Management Strategy and Emerging Issues
Frequently-Asked Questions About Human Resource Management Associate Degree Programs
If you’re serious about earning your associate degree in human resource management online, then it’s likely you have more than a few questions. In fact, you may have general questions about the available degree programs as well as career-related questions about the field of human resources. Finding the answers to these numerous questions is a good starting place for research into your available options. To assist you in making an informed decision about your academic and professional future, we’ve listed some of the most common questions we receive about online associate in human resource management degrees as well as inquiries about job opportunities after graduation. As you peruse these Q&As, keep in mind that the information provided is general in nature. For information about a specific degree program or institute of higher education, you must speak to an admissions counselor or other school official.
Q: What can I expect to pay for an online associate degree in human resource management?
A: Tuition rates for online associate degrees in HR management vary widely and depend primarily on what school you attend. The costs for programs listed in this ranking range from under $5,000 annually to over $30,000 per year.
Q: How long does it take to earn an associate of human resource management online?
A: Generally, an online associate degree in human resource management program takes two years of full-time study to complete. Accelerated programs do exist, however. Some of these programs are listed in this very ranking. In an accelerated HR management online program, you may be able to earn your credentials in significantly less time, as few as 12 months in some cases.
Q: Can I complete an associate degree in HR management entirely online?
A: Yes. Most online human resource management associate programs can be completed without ever attending class in-person. It may be possible to find a hybrid program that blends traditional learning models with distance learning, however.
Q: Are part-time online HR management degree programs available?
A: Yes. Many schools that offer online associate degrees in human resource management also offer other flexible options for their students, such as part-time tracks.
Q: Can I transfer my credits to a four-year university after earning an associate in human resource management online?
A: Yes, but it depends on the program. Some associate of HR management programs have articulation agreements in place with local universities to facilitate a smooth transition from an associate to a bachelor-level program. Be sure to speak with an admissions counselor at the school you’re interested in attending if an eventual transfer is in your plans.
Q: What types of accreditation should I consider when looking for an online associate degree program in HR management?
A: Accreditation is an important consideration to make when choosing any type of academic offering. For an associate in human resource management, you’ll want to check for the school’s institutional accreditation from either a national or regional accreditation body. In addition, look for program-specific accreditation from the Accreditation Council of Business Schools and Programs (ACBSP).
Career Questions for Online Human Resource Management Associate Degree Programs
Q: What jobs are available for an associate of human resource management degree graduate?
A: Upon graduation from an online associate of human resource management program, you’ll have numerous career opportunities. Some of these include training coordinator, recruiter, human resource specialist, employee relations specialist, and accounts payable clerk, for instance.
Q: Are jobs in the field of human resource management in demand?
A: Yes. The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reports that jobs for human resource specialists are growing about as fast as average while the demand for human resource managers is even higher.
Q: What will I make with an online associate degree in human resource management?
A: It varies. The salary you can expect to earn after graduation will depend on a number of different factors. One of these factors is the exact type of degree you earn. For instance, PayScale reports that individuals who hold an associate of arts (AA) degree in HR management earn roughly $48k a year on average while those with an associate of applied science (AAS) in human resource management make slightly more (i.e., 51k). Your pay will also depend on your employer, geographical region, and specific job title.
Q: Should I join a professional organization in human resource management?
A: Yes!Joining a professional organization in HR management can provide many benefits such as networking opportunities and professional development resources. Many of these associations have open enrollment policies for students as well as graduates of human resource management programs. Some of the largest HR professional organizations in the United States are listed below:
- Society for Human Resource Management
- International Association for Human Resource Information Management
- Association for Talent Development
- National Human Resources Association
- Academy of Human Resource Development
This ranking was updated in June 2020. The 2020 updates may affect the ranking order, but the list has not been re-ordered.
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