A masters degree in human resources management online can focus on various topics, ranging from employee relations to decision-making. After you complete these degree, you may want to pursue an internship in the field.
Online Human Resources Management Graduate Programs
Online human resources management graduate programs focus on preparing students for careers in the management of people and organizations. Online programs are being offered by an increasing number of institutions as advancements in the technology used to facilitate online learning enhances the ability of academic institutions to deliver a high quality learning experience to their enrolled students.
Graduates of online human resources programs who pursue careers in the field will be qualified to perform the same duties as graduates of campus based human resources programs. Human resources managers duties typically include; directing a firms workforce to make the most of each individuals talents, serving as a liaison between management and other personnel, management of benefits, payroll, and other employee incentives, ensuring every member of the organization is treated with dignity and respect, overseeing recruitment efforts, and participating in developing strategies that will support the long term growth of the company.
Human resources professionals are not required to earn a graduate degree in order to pursue a career in the field, but advanced training may enhance a professional’s ability to perform in the work place and find creative solutions to organizational challenges. Earning a master’s degree in human resources management online may be one possible solution for individuals who are unable to participate in a campus based program due to professional, geographic, or personal limitations.
Accredited Online Human Resources Management Degrees
Simply put, accreditation is a process by which graduate programs are assessed and held to a regionally or nationally accepted standard. It is imperative that prospective graduate students review the accreditation status of a program before they apply. Institutions may be accredited by one of six regional accrediting bodies in the United States. The institution is evaluated as a whole and/or on a program specific level to ensure eleven standards of institutional quality are met.
Students interested in earning an online degree should inquire about the specific accreditations the school and program holds, there are a number of accrediting bodies that are not officially recognized by the Council for Higher Education. Therefore it is possible for some programs to be able to claim they are accredited even if the program does not meet regional and national standards. In order to help prospective students navigate the complexities of accreditation the Council for Higher Education(1) provides a list of accreditation organizations that are generally recognized for their commitment to holding academic institutions to a strict set of educational standards. You can view the full list here.
Human resources managers are not typically required to obtain licensure in order to work in the field, but ensuring that the online human resources graduate program you enroll in meets the requirements for PHR (Professional in Human Resources)(2) or SPHR (Senior Professional in Human Resources)(3) certification may be one way to vet a program.
Online Human Resources Management Graduate Courses
In both the online setting and the traditional classroom setting students will be required to participate in class discussions and complete independent and group projects. Though the content of these assignments may be very similar, the way in which they are completed differs.
In a traditional classroom setting students will most likely meet during the allotted class period and work on assigned projects and participate in group discussions on various topics. In an online format students will use online learning platforms to post discussion boards and interact in a blog-type setting and projects will be completed by using e-mails, web-chats, and phone calls to divide work and compare information in order to compile project information into a format which can be submitted and viewed online.
While the structure of coursework and communication formats differ among online and on campus programs, the required coursework is likely to be similar. Some classes a student might encounter in a student resources management graduate program include:
- Consulting Skills in Human Capital
- Diversity and Inclusion in the International Context
- Foundations of Human Resources
- Human Capital Analytics
- Strategic Thinking in Human Resources
- Workplace Ethics
- Organizational Behavior
- Managing in a Global Economy
- Employee Benefits
- Collective Bargaining in the Public Sector
- Employment Law
- Employee Dispute Resolution
- Employee Negotiations
- Employee Dispute Resolution and Conflict Management
Challenges and Benefits of Earning a Human Resources Graduate Degree Online
Earning a graduate degree in human resources management online affords students a great deal of flexibility to complete work at his or her own pace. Online students are also often able to complete a program without commuting or relocating. Another benefit to students enrolled in online programs is that the format provides a unique opportunity for students to study in a diverse cohort. The accessibility to the program by students across the country allows for students from various cultural, political, and socio-economic backgrounds to interact with one another in discussions and group activities.
The benefits of enrolling in an online human resources graduate program may seem appealing, but interested candidates should beware, with autonomy comes responsibility. For a student going directly from a traditional undergraduate program and entering an online formatted master’s degree program it may take time to adjust to a decreased level of support as compared to what is provided in a more traditional classroom setting. In addition students must be comfortable communicating with advisors and professors via e-mail, web-chat, and phone calls since meeting face-to-face is most often not a feasible option in this setting.
Tips for Students in an Online Human Resources Management Graduate Program
Students enrolled in an online human resources management program may want to enhance their skills by participating in volunteer work or an independent internship. Participation in such a program will add a human element to their learning experience. Practical experience in the field might also enhance the student’s perspective and enable them to better participate in class discussions creating opportunities for a more robust academic discussion.
Identifying volunteer or internship opportunities may be a challenge for online students, but the effort may be well worth it. Practical experience may enhance a student’s resume and help a student obtain a skillset not always readily available in a formal educational setting. Internship opportunities can be found through networking websites such as LinkedIn as well as through the university which a student is attending.
Human resources management students earning their graduate degree from through an online program may also want to join professional associations that admit students. Joining a professional organization may help the student make personal connections with other professionals in the field. The Society for Human Resources Managers has student membership options that may be very appealing to those enrolled in a graduate program(4).
Earning your graduate degree in human resources management online presents students with a unique opportunity to work on improving their time management skills. Learning methods and practices to enhance their productivity and self-discipline will be key factors to success as a student and a professional. It is also an opportunity for students to become more comfortable using different types of media to communicate and coordinate with others in remote locations.
In conclusion, earning a master’s degree in human resources management online may be a great option for students interested in a career that focuses on enhancing an organization by optimizing the output of the people employed within it. There are several differences between an online formatted program and a traditional classroom setting; however, both options are equally as useful in enhancing a person’s career opportunities as long as programs are carefully considered and proper accreditation is awarded to the program to which a student plans to attend.