Online MBA in HR Degree Overview
MBA graduates specializing in human resources enter a growing field that offers salaries considerably higher than national averages. These professionals utilize effective business skills while practicing the soft skills essential to human resources positions. Far more than just data-driven numbers-crunchers, these skilled professionals lean on strong communication, leadership, and interpersonal skills crucial to a well-functioning organization.
An online MBA in human resources highlights foundational B school topics while looking closely at essential HR topics spanning from employee training to compensation and benefits. Additionally, MBA graduates leave school having honed the vital communication, decision-making, and problem-solving skills that translate into high-paying leadership roles.
The following guide explores online MBAs in human resources from the application process to the job market. We also spotlight several top-performing online MBA programs specializing in human resources. Keep reading to see which schools stand out and how you can jumpstart your HR career.
What Can I Do With An MBA In Human Resources?
From experience and education to marketable skills and luck, many factors influence how much you can make with an MBA in human resources. In the section below, we highlight several common careers for MBA graduates, what they make, and the job outlook through 2030. Keep reading to see how much you can earn with an MBA in human resources.
Human Resources MBA Salaries, Careers, And Outlook
Salary: $121,220 Outlook (2020-2030): 9%
Description: Leaders in the human resource field, these professionals oversee various administrative roles within an organization. Human resources managers supervise benefit programs, mediate staffing issues, and oversee various processes involving recruitment and hiring. These managers also work closely with top executives to craft hiring, training, and development programs. Other leadership positions in human resources include payroll managers, recruiting managers, and employee relations managers.
Salary: $115,640 Outlook (2020-2030): 11%
Description: Training and development managers play a significant role in an organization’s training programs while handling various staffing and budget issues simultaneously. These professionals review, update and implement training programs while evaluating their effectiveness. Training and development managers also oversee the production of training materials such as manuals, videos, and other digital content.
Salary: $125,130 Outlook (2020-2030): 4%
Description: Compensation and benefits managers are the folks who tackle the behind-the-scenes work to get you paid. These professionals oversee an organization’s benefits and pay structure, develop compensation plans, and ensure that programs adhere to state and federal laws. Compensation and benefits managers also evaluate wage rates and work closely with outside partners regarding insurance, investments, and benefits.
Earning An Online MBA Degree In Human Resources
Online programs are especially beneficial for working professionals. These flexible programs allow students to keep up with personal and professional responsibilities while completing academic requirements. And while online programs are an obvious choice for some, other students may benefit from the set structure of an on-campus program. Review the following graphic to review the pros and cons of online MBA programs in human resources.
Pros And Cons Of Online Programs In Human Resources
|Flexible online programming||Often requires more professional experience to gain admission|
|Often cheaper than on-campus options||Lacks personal, face-to-face interactions|
|Balance work, home, and academic requirements||Relies on self-discipline and time management to complete self-guided coursework.|
|Same quality programming as on-campus options||Expensive|
How Long Do Online Courses Take to Complete?
The length of your online MBA classes can vary between academic programs, but most online programs traditionally take between 6-8 weeks and follow a quarter or semester system. Additionally, some online MBA programs offer an accelerated track where students can complete degree requirements in 12-18 months.
Courses In Human Resources MBA Programs
When completing your online MBA in human resources, the curriculum you’ll tackle traditionally covers two areas: core MBA courses standard to all students and specialization coursework in human resources. Foundational MBA coursework makes up the bulk of your coursework, between 20-30 credits. Specialization classes in human resources encompass between 9-15 credits. We highlight some standard MBA coursework below.
Core MBA Courses
- Managerial Economics
- Financial Management
- Strategic Management
- Managing Behavior in Organizations
- Operations Management
- IT Innovation
- Legal and Social Foundations of Management
Human Resources Courses
- Effective Team Leadership
- Business Strategy
- Personnel Staffing and Evaluation
- Human Resources Management
- Strategic HR Planning and Development
- Advanced Personnel Management
Skills Learned in HR MBA Programs
The best online HR MBA programs provide students with widely marketable skills that can boost career options, increase earning potential, and often leads to leadership roles. Core MBA classes offer a strong business foundation, while HR coursework allows students to hone the critical thinking, problem-solving, and interpersonal skills essential to HR roles. We’ve highlighted some other skills you can expect to sharpen during your online MBA.
- Performance Management
- Developing Training Programs
- Succession Planning
- Compensation & Benefits
- Data and Analytics
- Leadership Skills
- Developing Workplace Culture
- Staff Development
- Interpersonal & Communication Skills
How Long Does It Take to Get an Online Human Resources MBA?
Determining how long it takes to earn your HR MBA can be tricky as the duration of an MBA can vary between programs. Additionally, your status as a full-time or part-time student has a significant impact on when you’ll receive your diploma. And while most online MBA programs take 2-3 years to complete, programs offering an accelerated degree can cut that time in half.
Choosing The Best Master of Business Administration in Human Resources
While universities.com takes a data-centric approach to determine which schools we highlight, the best MBA in human resources is the one that best fits your personal needs. When deciding which program is the best fit, prospective students often consider academic specializations, resources for online learners, cost, and program outcomes.
Keep reading as we spotlight some standout MBAs specializing in human resources.
Universities.com’s Top MBA in Human Resources Schools
When ranking schools, universities.com crunches the numbers, taking a metrics-based to see which schools stand out. Factors such as academics, cost, diversity, and graduation rates play a big role—you can learn more about our ranking methodology here.
In the section below, we’ve highlighted several top-performing online MBA programs with a specialization in human resources.
Based in Mount Pleasant, Michigan, Central Michigan University is home to an online AACSB-accredited HR MBA. Throughout this 36-credit online program, students gain important business and human resources knowledge while boosting essential leadership and decision-making skills.
In addition to core MBA requirements, degree-seekers complete HR classes such as human resource management, seminar in organizational development, and employee selection and evaluation. Before graduation, students complete a degree-culminating integrative experience in strategic management.
Prospective students must hold a bachelor’s degree with a minimum 2.7 cumulative GPA. Applicants must submit a completed application along with a professional resume and a personal statement outlining academic and career goals.
Southern New Hampshire University offers working professionals a flexible and affordable online MBA program that students can complete in about one year. In addition to developing various essential business and leadership strategies, students gain a working knowledge of HR concepts through a curriculum that mirrors the skills promoted by the Society of Human Resource Management.
Alongside foundational MBA coursework, students complete HR classes that include topics such as leading change, strategic human resource management, strategic decision-making, and HR technology. Prospective students must hold a bachelor’s degree from an accredited institution and demonstrate relevant professional experience. SNHU does not require the submission of GRE/GMAT scores for admission.
Based in Joliet, Illinois, the University of St. Francis plays home to an ACBSP-accredited program that students can complete as a 100% online or hybrid option. Underscoring current trends in the business world, MBA students develop analytical, leadership, and decision-making skills while understanding various global and competitive challenges.
In addition to core requirements, students can select a human resource management concentration. HR courses include talent management, employment and labor laws, and compensation and benefits. St. Francis MBA students also have access to a deep roster of graduate certificates to accompany their online degrees.
Prospective students must hold a bachelor’s degree in an area relevant to MBA studies. Additionally, applicants must have at least two years of full-time employment in a management position. Applicants without managerial experience must submit GMAT scores.
Regent University is a private Christian institution that offers an MBA in human resource management that students can complete both online and on-campus. Throughout this MBA’s 42-credit curriculum, students learn both fundamental business practices while covering essential HR topics like wage negotiation, strategic HR planning, and effective HR management practices.
Core HR coursework for this online MBA includes topics such as performance management, training and development, strategic human resource management, and labor relations and collective bargaining. Applicants must hold a bachelor’s degree from an accredited college or university and submit official transcripts showing a minimum 3.0 cumulative GPA.
If you’re looking for other schools that offer Human Resources programs, check out the Find Your Perfect “U” tool. You can search over 6,000 colleges and universities with 11 different filters to find the perfect school for you!
Human Resources Certification and Licensure
Typically, the coursework involved in an HR MBA provides graduates with the skills they need to tackle leadership roles while comfortably applying various management, business, and HR knowledge. As a result, most programs don’t require HR certification or any type of licensure. If students are interested in adding additional credentials to their MBA, adding a tech-based specialization or post-grad certificate is a great way to beef up their CV.
While not required as part of most curricula, some HR MBA programs use the professional standards set by the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) as a guidepost for academic work. HR professionals can take the SHRM certified professional exam to boost their credentials.
When searching for the HR MBA the best suits your particular needs, a great place to start is with programs that hold both regional and programmatic accreditation. Accreditation is a higher education stamp of approval that ensures that you receive a quality education backed by solid academics, transparent financials, and quality student services. At universities.com, all the MBA programs we highlight hold both regional and programmatic accreditation.
Alongside a school’s regional accreditation, the top-performing business schools and MBA programs offer programmatic accreditation through the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business. To review various schools’ accreditation status, you can take advantage of the US Department of Education’s accreditation database.
Applying to Online Human Resources Programs
While admission requirements and application materials can vary between schools, some elements are pretty standard across the board. When evaluating which schools will receive your application, review each program’s specific academic, professional, and standardized test score requirements.
Your B school application often acts as a formal introduction, so submitting a clean, precise, and fully completed application is vital. Avoid omissions and inaccuracies at all costs.
Admission Requirements for Human Resources MBA Programs
Even though admission requirements can be unique to each program, there are standards and materials common to almost any application. We highlight some admission requirements and materials below.
- Fully completed application
- Complete a bachelor’s degree from a regionally accredited institution
- Minimum 3.0 cumulative GPA
- GMAT or GRE scores
- Relevant work experience
- Personal statement outlining career objectives
- Admission interview
Paying For an MBA in Human Resources
Earning an MBA in human resources often requires a significant investment of both time and money. But while a steep tuition price tag can act as a barrier to academic work, various funding opportunities are available. Students can cut costs through graduate scholarships, business school fellowships, and federal student loans. Additionally, some employers often incentivize B school through tuition reimbursement programs.
How Much Does an MBA Cost?
The cost of an MBA can vary wildly between schools, and students can expect public institutions to offer lower tuition rates than the private institutions with name recognition. For Texas residents, MBA students at the University of North Texas pay just $278 per credit. Conversely, online MBA students at George Washington University spend nearly $2,000 per credit. While graduate school does require a fairly hefty investment, this tuition disparity reveals ample space where students can find a program the meets their academic and financial requirements.
Scholarships For Human Resources Students
National Black MBA Association Graduate Scholarship Program—The National Black MBA Association offers a wide variety of scholarships at both the graduate and undergraduate levels. This scholarship program is designed to assist the Black community in pursuing academic achievement, reduce unemployment, and enhance earning potential. Scholarships span $1,000-$100,000.
MBA Preparation Fellowship Award—Awarding scholarships between $250-$10,000, this award is reserved for the sons and daughters of US-based farmworkers who plan to attend an MBA program within three years. Recipients can use this award for standardized test prep, applications, and financial aid.
Jane M. Klausman Women in Business Scholarships—Since its inception, this scholarship program has impacted countless women pursuing a career in business. Scholarships are available to women of any age pursuing a business degree at an accredited college or university.
Susan R. Meisinger Fellowship for Graduate Study in HR—This generous scholarship is earmarked for HR professionals seeking an advanced degree in human resources. Awarding a one-time renewable $10,000 scholarship, applicants must have three years of professional HR experience and must be accepted or enrolled in an accredited HR graduate program.
Seol-Bong Scholarship—The Seol-Bong Scholarship is offered to Korean or Korean-American individuals currently enrolled full-time in various degrees, including an MBA. Designed to promote academic achievement, the Ryu Family Foundations awards $2,000-$3,000 annually. Applicants must demonstrate financial need and submit an application essay, photograph, and academic portfolio.
You can utilize our scholarships search tool for more information on MBA and human resources scholarships here.
Online MBA In Human Resources FAQ
For business-minded students interested in expanding their career options and earning potential, earning an MBA is a practical path towards the skills required for various leadership roles. Additionally, as HR leadership roles offer some of the highest salaries, earning an HR-based MBA can often fast-track your path towards essential roles in the human resources field.
Experienced HR professionals have the chance to earn a relatively lucrative salary. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, human resources managers earn a median wage exceeding $121,000 per year. Compared to the median salary of HR specialists—around $63,000 annually—it’s clear that experience coupled with an HR MBA results in significant earning potential.
While not offering as robust of a job outlook as other MBA specializations, the BLS projects that human resources manager roles should grow by 9% between 2020-2030—this translates to the addition of nearly 15,000 jobs. Similarly, training and development manager roles are projected to grow by 11% during that same decade.
An HR MBA can translate into a wide variety of professional roles and settings. In addition to HR specialist and manager positions, graduates with an HR MBA may have the skills to tackle executive HR roles while other graduates may pursue opportunities as an HR consultant. Additionally, an MBA supplies students with essential business skills that apply to a seemingly endless list of business-related careers.