Human Resources Degree

Are you interested in becoming a human resources manager? To get the best salary and positions you have to first earn a human resources (HR) degree from a top U.S. college/university program. What is a human resources management certification? What types of high paying companies need HR managers today?


HR certificate programs are available but most employers only hire candidates who earn specific degrees. An HR certificate is good for updating your education every several years and getting you possible pay rises. To compete with other candidates for the best HR management careers you need to get your degree. What type of training is provided in HR management degree programs? What are the average salaries and career outlook for this type of job through 2029? Read ahead for an informative guide about how to get your human resources management degree from a top U.S. college or university today.


Human Resources 101

What is a human resources (HR) department? An HR department handles various employee-related situations inside a company. HR screens and recruits new employees. HR departments handle training new employees and re-training long-term employees about new company policies/procedures and safety protocols. HR staff helps maintain high morale inside the company and deal with employee-management communication issues. Leadership development, promotions, vacations, sick-days, maternity leave and payroll are all areas HR departments handle for businesses today. HR departments also deal with issues pursuant to sexual harassment, diversity in the workplace and dress codes.

What is a human resources manager? Simply put, an HR manager manages (oversees) the HR department as a whole. Part of an HR manager’s job is to make sure all departments inside HR are functioning effectively and appropriately. HR management tasks include executive-level strategic planning, conducting interviews (external/internal) and developing employee retention programs. An HR manager needs a complete comprehension of employment laws so companies adhere to applicable compliance regulations. The importance of HR manager roles cannot be overstated in today’s business world. Only the best-educated candidates with HR degrees from top quality U.S. schools are therefore hired in 2021.

HR Training & Course Requirements

Because of the demands required of HR management position, most 2021 companies only hire candidates who possess a minimum of a bachelor’s degree. Courses and training obtained in HR management bachelor’s degree programs include critical thinking, business communications, management theory and ethics. Additional courses/training learned in HR management bachelor’s degree programs also include introduction to computer applications/systems, management practice, organizational development, emerging issues, and HR fundamentals.

Associate degree HR courses qualify you for entry-level HR positions but not necessarily management-level jobs. For example, an employee candidate with an HR associate degree might get hired for an HR clerk, assistant or assistant recruiter job. An HR associate degree might also help you get job as a training/development coordinator, payroll assistant or benefits specialist. Masters degree programs include advanced courses such as leadership, business management, advanced conflict resolution, advanced labor laws and more.

Certificate programs are largely used to keep education and training levels up to legal requirements and specifications. An HR certificate program also increases your value as a manager and helps you potentially earn higher pay once completed. Examples of valued HR certifications include:

  • Professional in Human Resources (PHR).

  • Senior Professional in Human Resources (SPHR).

  • Global Professional in Human Resources (GPHR).

  • PHR-CA & SPHR-CA (specific to HR-related laws & regulations unique to California).

HR Graduates – Companies That Need You

While many types of businesses need HR managers in 2021, certain companies need you more than others. The COVID-19 pandemic drastically changed the U.S. employment landscape in 2020 and many of those changes remain intact today. The medical industry adapted to using large-scale Telehealth services. Many people began working from home in multiple industries as well. Schools switched to remote learning platforms. This adaptation to a virtual working environment requires a new type of HR manager to handle modern tasks and problems. A list of specific major companies hiring HR managers for various locations at the time of this writing includes:

Top Human Resources Degree Programs 2021

The best HR management degree programs are offered by accredited U.S. colleges/universities today. The Penn State World Campus offers one of the best HR management programs available in 2021. The following institutions provide other top HR management degree programs:

Salaries & Projected Job Growth

The average annual salary paid to an HR manager in 2021 ranges between approximately $65,490 and $113,300 per year. Average salaries vary based on experience levels of each employee and the state in which they are employed. The average predicted job growth rate for HR manager positions through 20219 is six percent, which is above average for many other U.S. careers through 2029. 

Costs of Human Resources Degree – Can I Get Financial Aid?

The type of institution from which you earn n HR management degree greatly affects the costs of tuition. For example, Colorado State University charges $350 per credit. Overall average tuition prices for HR degrees vary as much as $50,000 between different institutions. For example, some colleges charge $11,000 per school year. Others charge $60,000+. The University of Alabama (Birmingham) charges $95,000+/year to out-of-state students, but only $41,690 for in-state students. 

Online HR degree programs sometimes cost less due to the lack of room/board included in the total costs. Some online schools with HR degree programs such as Florida International University ($9,180/year) and Rutgers University – New Brunswick ($16,295/year) offer affordable online-only options. 

Filling out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) form might qualify you for Federal Pell Grant funding and multiple other financial aid opportunities. Specific HR-based educational scholarships might be available from private or government-funded resources. Talk with a representative from your school’s financial aid department to discover school-specific scholarships programs and other options to help pay for your human resources management education in 2021.