It’s great that you know what you want to major in, but it’s just as important to know what to look for in a particular degree program. Want to get your human resources degree online? Great! Now all you need to know is what to look for in an online human resources program. Not sure where to start? Here are some ideas:
Do You Want to Specialize?
Did you know that you can have a specialty in human resources? You can! You can become an HR generalist, which describes human resources professionals who have a broad spectrum of knowledge and responsibilities, from staffing and training to workplace diversity and compensation. Positions for HR generalists are often found in small- to medium-sized entities, and entry-level job titles include human resources/personnel assistant.
Then there’s the HR specialist. Larger entities use HR specialists who focus their skills and knowledge in a specific arena of human resources, such as HR development, total rewards, or employee and labor relations.
If you want to specialize – and if you know what you want to specialize in – you can narrow your search for an online human resources degree that offers coursework in that area. Some colleges and universities are even beginning to offer degrees in these niches.
Does the Program Meet Industry Standards?
Believe it or not, it hasn’t been too long when there were no standard coursework requirements for human resources degrees, so it comes as no surprise that this led to much variation between HR degrees. Recently, the Society of Human Resources Management defined which courses should make up a human resources degree. Before you enroll in an online human resources degree, examine the curricula for the program to see if it aligns with the standards set by SHRM.
Of course, you can also check SHRM’s directory of human resources programs. The programs listed in the directory include both bachelor’s and master’s degrees that have been verified by SHRM to ensure they meet coursework requirements for the industry. This list may be found at SHRM.org/Education/HREducation.
It may seem like inconvenient extra work, but once you select an online human resources program that meets these requirements, you can proceed confidently, knowing that the education you’re getting is truly preparing you for success in your future career.
 Society for Human Resources Management, “Careers in Human Resources Management,” (2013).
 Monster, “Five Growing Human Resources Professions,” http://career-advice.monster.com/job-search/company-industry-research/human-resources-jobs-specialties/article.aspx (Retrieved 14 Feb 2013).
 Society for Human Resources Management, “How To Pursue A Career in Human Resources,” (2013).
 Society for Human Resources Management, “HR Program Directory,” http://www.shrm.org/Education/hreducation/Pages/HRProgramDirectory.aspx (Retrieved 14 Feb 2013).