By Gabrielle Kratsas
Earning a human resources degree online at one of the many affordable online colleges out there will equip students with a solid foundation of business, marketing, leadership, economics, law, accounting and more, setting them up for success in a wide variety of career fields and graduate study. According to U.S. News & World Report, “Human resources professionals are often thought of as the administrative backbone of an organization.”
Most human resources degree programs allow students to take their education further with specializations like project management, human resource management, labor and collective bargaining, employment and labor law, and staff, training and development. Plus, with an online degree, students are able to operate as working adults while earning their bachelor’s, and many of these online universities accept prior work and military experience as academic credit.
Finding an affordable college degree at the best colleges and universities is important to us; therefore, placement in this ranking is focused solely on the “net cost” of each school, as reported by the National Center for Education Statistics’ College Navigator Database. Also, almost all of the schools on this list have earned awards for their excellence and/or affordability by multiple sources like Best Value Schools, The Best Schools, College Choice and U.S. News & World Report.
20. Athens State University in Athens, AL
Online BS in Human Resource Management
Net Cost: $274 per credit hour, according to the school’s website. Athens State did not report its net cost with NCES for this academic school year.
Athens State University is the oldest two-year Upper Division university in Alabama that offers over 50 different degree programs to its students. With a semester enrollment of over 3,000, Athens State offers a flexible course schedule to meet its busy students’ needs with day, night, weekend and distance courses. Athens is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges to award bachelor’s and master’s degrees.
The online bachelor’s degree in human resource management at Athens offers a curriculum that combines traditional business courses, specialized management courses and related psychology courses. This online degree program requires a minimum of 124 total credit hours for graduation, which includes 62 professional credits and 18 major prerequisite credits. Courses in this curriculum include Quantitative Business Analysis and HR Analytics, Business Policy and Management of Change.
19. Philadelphia University in Philadelphia, PA
Online BS in Human Resource Management
Net Cost: $28,130
Founded in 1884, Philadelphia University is a private university that enrolls about 3,500 students and offers more than 40 areas of academic programs. Philadelphia University is accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education (MSCHE).
The online human resource management bachelor’s degree program offered at PhilaU Online offers a curriculum guided by the Society for Human Resource Management and equips students with relevant skills for working effectively in companies and organizations of all sizes. Students can complete the program’s 120 credits in two to three years. This online BS degree program includes courses like Economic Decision Making, Labor/Management Relations and Learning with Technology.
18. Herzing University in Madison, WI
Online BS in Business Management with a concentration in Human Resource Development
Net Cost: $23,352
Herzing University is a private non-profit university with career-focused classes, convenient scheduling and caring faculty and staff. Herzing is the first post-secondary institution focused on preparing students for careers in the computer industry and is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.
As students earn their online business management degree at Herzing, they acquire critical skills in accounting, management, business law, economics, marketing and sales. Students can tailor this program with a concentration in human resource development, which provides them with key soft skills, such as professionalism, teamwork and leadership. Graduates of this online degree program are prepared for positions as office managers, human resource staff, employee recruiters, payroll, healthcare, safety administrators and more. Courses within the curriculum include Research and Decision Making, Risk Management and Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) Essentials.
17. LeTourneau University in Longview, TX
Online BS in Business Administration with a Human Resource Management Concentration
Net Cost: $23,024
LeTourneau University is a private, interdenominational Christian university with programs in engineering, aeronautical science, education and business. According to the website, the university’s founder, R.G. LeTourneau, believed in the importance of college education while not giving up a full-time job, and LETU was founded specifically to train the employees working in Mr. LeTourneau’s factory. LETU is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.
Students in this online BSBA will acquire skills in human resource concepts, staffing procedures, compensation and benefits and conflict resolution. This degree program and concentration align with the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) HR curriculum guidelines. Example courses include Dynamics of Leadership, Conflict Resolution and Organizational Behavior.
16. University of the Incarnate Word in San Antonio, TX
Online BA in Human Resources
Net Cost: $21,451
Founded in 1881 by the Sisters of Charity of the Incarnate Word, The University of the Incarnate Word is a Catholic institution that welcomes students of all backgrounds. The School of Professional Studies at UIW offers classes at night, in a hybrid format and is completely online. UIW is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges and has been ranked as a top college for online degree programs by multiple sources.
UIW’s BA in human resources is offered both online and in the classroom. The curriculum is designed to prepare students for challenges in the workplace related to managing and developing people. This major requires completion of 46 semester hours of courses like Management Science, Compensation and Benefits and Staffing.
15. Thomas Edison State University in Trenton, NJ
Online BSBA in Human Resources Management/Organizational Management
Net Cost: $21,166 for an in-state Comprehensive Tuition Plan without considering financial aid, according to the school’s website. TESU did not report its net cost with NCES for this academic school year.
Formerly Thomas Edison State College, Thomas Edison State University is a public higher education institution that provides opportunities for working adults to earn a college degree. TESU is one of New Jersey’s 11 senior public institutions of higher education and one of the first schools in the country designed specifically for adults. The University offers undergraduate and graduate degree programs, as well as certificates, in more than 100 areas of study. TESU was originally established by the New Jersey Board of Higher Education and is regionally accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education.
The online human resources management degree at TESU is a 120-credit program that focuses on employee selection, training, management development, industrial relations, compensation and the dynamics of organizational behavior. By adding the organizational management component to the curriculum, this program prepares students to demonstrate competency in their knowledge of business practices, ability to make strategic contributions to the organization through personal credibility and effective management of the human resources function. Courses include Contemporary Labor Issues, Industrial Psychology and Labor Law.
14. Mount Mercy University in Cedar Rapids, IA
Online BBA in Human Resource Management
Net Cost: $20,274
Founded by the Sisters of Mercy in 1928, Mount Mercy University is a four-year, co-educational Catholic liberal arts university with an enrollment of nearly 1,900 students on its main campus. All academic instruction at Mercy is based on the school’s five critical concerns: caring for the earth, immigration, nonviolence, racism and women. This University launched its fully-online degree programs in 2014, which still allow students to get involved with research and participate in internships with local and global companies and organizations. Mount Mercy is accredited by The Higher Learning Commission and Iowa Department of Education.
Mount Mercy’s human resource management online degree program is endorsed by the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) with curriculum standards that match those of SHRM and Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB). Graduates of this online HR degree program should be able to correctly identify and interpret laws affecting labor in the workplace, utilize HR metrics to make recommendations and justify the cost of employee programs and demonstrate understanding of compensation issues. Classes in this program are offered in five- and 10-week sessions, and they are asynchronous. Examples of these include Technology & Communication in Business, Financial Management and Organizational Behavior.
13. Waldorf University in Forest City, IA
Online BS or BAS in Business Administration with a concentration in Human Resource Management
Net Cost: $19,564
Waldorf University is a bachelor’s college with an enrollment of approximately 650 students, offering various certificate, associate, bachelor’s and master’s degree programs. This private liberal arts school was founded in 1903 and is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC).
Waldorf offers an online BS in business administration that provides a comprehensive background in functional business areas like accounting, management and marketing. The human resource management concentration is a competency-based program built on the key competencies identified by the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM). To graduate, students are required to complete 120 credits, 60 of which are specific requirements for this major. Courses in this curriculum include Human Resource Management Strategy and Emerging Issues, Recruitment and Staffing and Human Resource Development.
12. Park University in Parkville, MO
Online BBA in Human Resource Management
Net Cost: $15,510
Park University is a private institution, founded in 1875, that provides undergraduate and graduate education in over 40 campus centers nationwide. Park offers more than 40 undergraduate degree programs, at least 24 of which are offered in a fully-online format. All online courses at this University are highly interactive and designed to keep students involved. Park is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools.
Park offers an online BBA in human resource management designed to help prepare students for a career in business or government leadership, as well as graduate study in law, management or other business specialties. The online BS major requires 57 to 69 credit hours completed with a 2.0 GPA or higher. Courses in the curriculum include Employment Law, Corporate Training and Development and Organizational Development and Change.
11. Metropolitan State University in Saint Paul, MN
Online BS in Human Resource Management
Net Cost: $14,625
Metropolitan State University is a four-year, comprehensive public university and a member of the Minnesota State Colleges and Universities system. Metro State offers 20 teaching locations and four primary campuses in and around Saint Paul. This online college is accredited by The Higher Learning Commission and has helped more than 37,000 students earn their degrees. It offers doctoral, graduate and undergraduate programs, as well as a student-designed option.
The online human resource management degree program at Metro State prepares students for professional career opportunities in business, government and nonprofit organizations. For acceptance into this program, applicants must first complete the COM Foundation Courses before submitting a College of Management Undergraduate Program Declaration Form. Many of the HRM courses in this curriculum are appropriate for general managers, as well as HRM professionals. Examples of these are Fundamentals of Information Technology in Organizations, Principles of Management Information Systems and Managing Employee Health and Safety.
10. Trident University International in Cypress, CA
Online BS in Human Resource Management
Net Cost: $14,110
Trident University International is an online university for military and adult education that offers comprehensive support services and guidance throughout its students’ academic careers. The University’s academics are based on the Trident Learning Model, which promotes active, case-based learning as opposed to standard test methods. Trident is the first 100 percent online university to be regionally accredited by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC).
The online human resource management degree program at Trident is designed to provide the education necessary for graduates to help organizations succeed by building great teams and nurturing their people. Students in this program learn practical skills like staffing, training, HR information systems, benefits, global HRM and more. Students can enter this program with up to 24 transferable credits as long as they had a minimum GPA of 2.0 in all high school or college coursework. Classes in this curriculum include Global HRM, Advanced Topics in Human Resource Management and Principles of Management.
9. American Intercontinental University Online in Schaumburg, IL
Online BBA with a Specialization in Human Resource Management
Net Cost: $13,366
American Intercontinental University is a for-profit university with open admissions, owned by Career Education Corporation. AIU is the first university in the state of Illinois to be approved to operate under the National Council for State Authorization Reciprocity Agreements (NC-SARA), and the University has ranked as one of the country’s Military Friendly® Schools six years in a row. AIU is is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission, and the business administration degree programs with all their specializations are programmatically accredited by the Accreditation Council for Business Schools and Programs (ACBSP).
The BBA in human resource management at AIU requires 40.5 credits within the specialization and 180 total for the degree. This human resources degree is offered completely online, as well as at the Atlanta and Houston campuses. The curriculum explores the business side of recruiting, developing and retaining an effective workforce in today’s professional environments. It is designed to help students develop a foundation in business while exploring topics such as employment law, the employment process, compensation and benefits, training and development, employee motivation, employee safety and labor relations.
8. Wilmington University in New Castle, DE
Online BS in Human Resource Management
Net Cost: $12,980
Wilmington University is a private, non-profit doctoral research institution that offers undergraduate and graduate-level degree programs online and throughout Delaware, New Jersey, and Maryland. More than 18,000 students enroll at WilmU annually, and they’re able to transfer up to 75 credits. About 41 percent of students at WilmU are enrolled online, and the University is accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education.
This online human resources degree program is in full alignment with the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) HR Curriculum. WilmU’s program combines a business management component with an emphasis on developing strong human resource, managerial and organizational knowledge, skills and abilities. Required courses in the curriculum include Strategic Human Capital Management, International Human Resource Management and Business Communications.
7. Ferris State University in Big Rapids, MI
Online BS in Human Resource Management
Net Cost: $12,813
Ferris State University is an American public university with campuses in Big Rapids and Grand Rapids, as well as off-campus locations across Michigan. Ferris offers 180 different degree programs and small class sizes. With a transfer rate higher than any other university in Michigan, Ferris enrolls more than 14,000 students annually. U.S. News & World Report ranked Ferris among its top online programs for bachelor’s degrees. The University is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission and the Accreditation Council for Business Schools and Programs.
Students in Ferris’ online human resource management degree program receive a well-rounded education in business through human resources training courses, as well as classes in accounting, computer information systems, finance, international business, management and marketing. Applicants to this program are expected to meet two of the following: a minimum high school grade point average of 2.50 (on a 4.00 scale), ACT math score of 19 or higher or an ACT reading score of 19 or higher. Specific courses in this curriculum are Recruitment and Selection, Negotiation and Compensation.
6. Granite State College in Concord, NH
Online BS in Human Resources Administration
Net Cost: $12,473
Granite State College is one of the four institutions of New Hampshire’s public university system. The main mission of this school is to provide accessible and flexible education to working adults. GSC is accredited by the Commission on Institutions of Higher Education of New England Association of Schools and Colleges, Inc.
Granite offers a fully-online human resources administration degree program, which explores the fundamentals of human resources along with change management, diversity and conflict resolution within various types of organizations. Students who can demonstrate college-level knowledge gained from military, workplace and volunteer-based training are able to earn credit for those experiences. Courses in this curriculum include Conducting Critical Inquiry, Workplace Coaching and Effecting Positive Change in Organizations.
5. Georgia Southwestern State University in Americus, GA
BBA eMajor in Human Resource Management
Net Cost: $12,133
Georgia Southwestern State University is a state university in the University System of Georgia offering bachelor’s, master’s and specialist degree programs. Great Value Colleges ranked GSW as one of our “Most Affordable Small Colleges” in 2015. It has about 3,000 residential, commuter and online students currently enrolled. This online university is accredited by the Commission on Colleges of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools and is authorized to deliver fully online educational programs by the National Council for State Authorization Reciprocity Agreements (NC-SARA)
The BBA eMajor degree program is ideal for working professionals, military members, transfer students and returning students seeking alternative routes to degree completion. The online human resource management major is designed to teach students resource HR functions like recruitment and selection of employees, labor relations, performance management, compensation and more in both private and public-sector settings. Georgia Southwestern works closely with the Society of Human Resource Management to align its courses with employer expectations and required competencies. Courses include Quantitative Management, Current Issues in HR and Compensation Management.
4. Columbia College in Columbia, MO
Online BBA with a Human Resource Management Major
Net Cost: $10,685
Columbia College is a private non-profit independent liberal arts and sciences college that offers associate, baccalaureate and master’s degrees in Columbia, MO and at branches around the country. Originally founded as Christian Female College, CC was the first women’s college west of the Mississippi River to be chartered by a state legislature. CC has been accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC) since 1918.
The course work in this online BBA curriculum reflects the recommendations of the Association of Collegiate Business Schools and Programs (ACBSP). All students in CC’s online degree program must complete 120 semester hours, including 39 upper-level courses specific to the human resources career field. CC’s HR program accepts both general education and major-specific transferable credits, and the program requires a foreign language component. A principle focus of the program is to prepare students for entry-level positions and advancement in various occupations and professions, as well as graduate study.
3. Western International University in Tempe, AZ
Online BA in Human Resource Management
Net Cost: $10,407
Western International University provides affordable online degree programs for working adults with flexible courses in accounting, business, information technology and behavioral science. Founded over 35 years ago, West integrates a global perspective into its curriculum and focuses on business and technology. Courses at the University last eight weeks and are structured to follow a weekly path of “Learn, Practice, Apply”, a teaching methodology to help students better absorb and utilize new information. West is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.
Students in the BA in human resource management at this online college will deal with issues ranging from operations management to labor relations while learning how to develop a safe and successful workplace. This online bachelor’s degree program provides students with a robust foundation in both general business and human resource knowledge. The program can last about 3.6 years, and requires a total of 120 credits for graduation. Course examples include Group Dynamics: Teambuilding, Negotiation and Conflict Management, Employment Law and International Business.
2. Bellevue University in Bellevue, NE
Online BS in Management of Human Resources
Net Cost: $8,727
Bellevue University is private, non-profit university with a focus on providing adult education and educational outreach. Bellevue serves nearly 10,000 students annually at 15 campus locations in four different states and online. Bellevue offers over 70 degree programs and certificates within its four colleges. Bachelor’s degree students benefit from the Kirkpatrick Signature Series which highlights the importance of active citizenship in a rapidly changing world. Bellevue is accredited by The Higher Learning Commission through the U.S. Department of Education.
Students can earn their bachelor of science in management of human resources completely online at Bellevue. This degree is based on the common body of knowledge that is used for the Professional in Human Resource (PHR). The curriculum emphasizes the management of human capital and the mastery of knowledge and skills associated with human resource planning and analysis; Equal Employment Opportunity compliance; staffing; human resource development; compensation; benefits; and employee and labor/management relations. To graduate, students must complete a total of 127 credit hours, including 40 credits within the major. Example classes include Recruitment, Selection and Placement of Human Resources, Foundations for Professional Success and Benefits Administration.
1. Amridge University in Montgomery, AL
Online BS in Human Resource Leadership
Net Cost: $4,613
Amridge University is an accredited, coeducational, non-profit, private university affiliated with the Churches of Christ. Founded in 1967, distance learning is the primary instructional delivery system for all of Amridge’s programs, making the university a long-time leader in online education. This university is one of the most affordable private universities in the U.S. with over 90 percent of its students qualifying for Federal Financial Aid. Amridge is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACS-COC).
The curriculum of the online human resource leadership degree program emphasizes enhancing human effort, human relationships and human leadership. This online degree program also provides preparatory training for law school, graduate school, public relations, sales, management, church management, government work and other management and human interaction areas. To graduate, students are required to complete 128 credit hours, which include 48 credits of program-specific courses, and 40 of those cannot be transferred. Course examples in this curriculum include Contemporary Supervision, Professional Public Relations and Money Management and Personal Finance.