The evolving workplace is creating tremendous opportunities for human resources professionals. No longer relegated to the back of the office, HR has a larger seat at the table as today’s organizations prioritize company culture and employee engagement.
With organizations increasingly dependent on bachelor’s degree-holding HR professionals, you can make a lasting impact on any company that wants to balance the traditional responsibilities of HR with next-level skills such as strategic analysis, data-driven decision-making, and long-term talent development. Areas that HR professionals are involved with include:
- Recruiting and staffing employees
- Employee benefits
- Employee compensation
- Employee and labor relations
- Human resources compliance
- Organizational structure
- Human resources information and payroll
- Employee training and development
What Is a Bachelor’s in Human Resources?
A Bachelor of Arts in Human Resources is a foundational education for prospective HR professionals who want to contribute to an organization’s culture of continuous improvement. The program goes beyond the fundamentals, focusing on the strategic contribution that HR brings to an organization, the broader concepts of HR management, and the business, ethical, legal, and social factors that influence day-to-day decisions.
For example, graduates of the HR bachelor's degree at UAGC will be able to:
- Evaluate internal and external organizational environments and the impact of their interrelationships on human resource functions
- Analyze the process of job analysis, staffing, appraisal and compensation, training, career planning, and organizational development
- Examine the interaction among management, labor, and labor law
- Assess and develop methods designed to prevent employer liability and labor-relation issues (anti-discrimination statutes, employee and labor relations, as well as union and non-union issues)
- Analyze the ethical, legal, and safety challenges faced in the workplace
What Will I Learn in a Human Resources Bachelor’s Program?
Because the scope of human resources has grown to encompass so many different areas of organizational culture and the employee experience, any bachelor’s program you enter should focus on the following courses:
This course is designed to develop the student’s skills in the understanding of factors that affect how individuals and groups act and interact with one another and management. It also looks at how organizations manage their internal environment with the aim of improving productivity, efficiency, and communications among members.
Students will study and apply alternative theories, models, and strategies for creating and managing organizational change. The effectiveness of management tools in initiating problem-solving and decision-making to bring about change within organizations is evaluated.
This course provides essential managerial-level comprehension of training theory and its practical applications in the business and management environment. Students learn the functions and duties of training: trainer/developer, the identification and assessment of training needs, program design and development, selection of delivery methods and means of instruction, the implementation of training programs, and evaluation.
Employee and Labor Relations
The course provides students with the common and complex issues related to human behavior in the workplace as they relate to employee relations, and an examination of relationships among unions, workers, management, laws, and government regulation.
Human Resources Technology Management
This course explores the impact of using technologies in serving HR by building an awareness of technological skills. The content investigates how information technology can be applied to strategic management, records and employee tracking for enhanced recruitment, selection, staffing, compensation, benefits administration, policies and procedures, performance evaluation, training, and organizational development. Ethical and legal challenges regarding protection of human resource data are researched.
Compensation & Benefits Management
This course reviews the fundamentals of wage and salary programs, including conducting salary surveys, defining compensable factors, adjusting pay structures, evaluating pay differentials, and relating pay to performance. Benefit programs and related employee incentive and service programs are also covered.
How Long Does It Take to Earn a Bachelor’s in Human Resources?
Like any bachelor’s degree, your HR degree is designed as a four-year program that will include a combination of core courses, general education courses, and elective courses. Graduation is contingent upon completing 120 credits, although many schools, such as the University of Arizona Global Campus (UAGC), allow you to transfer credits from community college, military, or work experience. This can significantly speed up your time to graduation.
Can I Earn an HR Degree Online?
Many leading schools offer bachelor’s degrees in human resources or human resources management online. An online university may offer a more flexible path to graduation by allowing you to take one course at a time over a series of weeks (typically one course over five weeks). This can be incredibly beneficial for working adults and learners who balance multiple responsibilities. At UAGC, for example, you can complete your HR program by taking one course at a time, and still graduate within the traditional four-year timeline.
As always, accreditation matters. Accreditation is a quality assurance measure, and you want to ensure that your HR degree program provides you with the most up-to-date and relevant curriculum. The most important accreditation to look for when researching your online HR degree is from the International Accreditation Council for Business Education (IACBE). The IACBE accredits business, accounting, and other business-related degree programs at the associate, bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral levels at institutions of higher education worldwide.
Further, your HR program should align with the curriculum and guidelines set forth by the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM), which defines the HR content areas and competencies that should be studied by HR students at the undergraduate level.
What Can I Do with an HR Degree?
As noted by SHRM and The Wall Street Journal, the role of human resources manager is one of today’s most promising careers and educated professionals are needed to tackle what has become a critical job in nearly every industry.
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the agency that tracks and evaluates employment data, backs up those claims with data that estimates a 9% growth in the hiring of HR managers through the end of the decade. The BLS reports 14,800 projected openings “are expected to result from the need to replace workers who transfer to different occupations or exit the labor force, such as to retire.”
As an HR manager, your responsibilities don’t end at your office door. In addition to managing your own department, you must liaise with other functional/departmental managers to ensure they are fully informed of HR objectives, purposes, and achievements. Among the responsibilities noted by the BLS:
- Planning and coordinating the workforce to best use employee talents
- Linking management with employees
- Planning and overseeing employee benefit programs
- Serving as a consultant to advise other managers on HR issues, such as Equal Employment Opportunity and sexual harassment prevention
- Coordinating and supervising the work of specialists and support staff
- Overseeing recruitment, interviews, selection, and the hiring processes
- Handling staffing issues, such as mediating disputes and directing disciplinary procedures
Skills You Will Need as an HR Manager
Like many roles, an HR manager brings a combination of soft and hard skills – qualities that are learned and refined during your education and early work experience. These are the most important qualities, according to the BLS:
As an HR manager, you will need strong speaking, writing, and listening skills to give presentations and direct staff. These skills will need to be developed for both in-person and remote communication.
Human resources managers must be able to balance the strengths and weaknesses of different options and decide the best course of action. Much of today’s HR decisions are also made based on data, and your degree will train you to analyze data in order to recognize potential value in employees, improve retention, and enhance morale.
Your ability to develop working relationships with colleagues and leadership is paramount to your success as an HR manager.
Leadership and management are two different things, and HR managers must not only coordinate work activities and ensure that staff complete their duties, but they must also be able to inspire employees at every level of the organization.
Your ability to prioritize tasks and manage several projects will be critical, as you will be charged with planning, developing, and implementing strategy for everything from recruitment to performance appraisals.
Other HR roles that you will be qualified for after completing your bachelor’s degree in human resources management include:
- Human resources generalist
- Human resources specialist
- Compensation specialist
- Benefits coordinator
- Benefits analyst
- Benefits specialist
- Benefits administrator
- Training and development coordinator
- Training and development specialist
- Training and development manager
- Recruitment manager
How Can I Get Started?
Because human resources is always changing, no professional can rest on one set of strategies. Your bachelor’s degree will help you stay relevant in the face of increased competition and evolving technologies. If you want to be part of a fast-growing discipline with the opportunity to play a role in major decision-making, speak to a UAGC advisor about your Bachelor of Arts in Human Resources Management today.
Written by University Staff
Successful completion of the Bachelor of Arts in Human Resources Management degree by itself does not provide licensure or certification in any state, regardless of concentration or specialization.
Certain degree programs may not be available in all states.