15 Best Associate Degrees in Human Resources

An associate degree in HR gets graduates ready to start or advance their careers in HR management or to ultimately go on and finish their human resources bachelor’s degree. Typically, programs offer students working knowledge of HR procedures and policies, as well as relevant computer applications, in conjunction with the developmental and behavioral skills necessary to manage individuals in a workplace atmosphere.

Career Outlook

Human resource professionals may find themselves in nearly any work setting—education, government, legal, commercial—with a diverse array of frontline responsibilities. This means they must be versatile, flexible, and well-versed in different aspects of human resource. In turn, HR specialists command an average yearly salary of $64,240. Whether you earn your HR Associate Degree on the internet or not, as a step toward a bachelor’s degree, you may expect it to be a career asset within its own right—and assist in boosting your earning potential.

15 Best AA in Human Resources Degrees

If you want to make a real difference in the workplace, an associate’s degree in human resources can help you do just that. Here are 15 of the best programs out there to help you supercharge your search. You can check out our ranking methodology here, with our decades of experience working with these programs.

1. Penn Foster College

Penn Foster College offers one of the most hands-on programs in human resources – despite being fully online. The degree includes courses like Business Statistics and Organizational Behavior, providing a well-rounded approach to HR education. Students pay affordable tuition rates and have access to an inclusive online learning community as well. 

2. SUNY Herkimer

SUNY Herkimer in New York State has an online associate’s degree in human resource management that consists of 63 credit hours of study. You’ll take courses like Business Ethics and Compensation, Benefits, & Law. Throughout your educational journey, you’ll have access to all kinds of e-learning services to make the process as smooth as possible

3. Tarrant County College

This school has a general associate’s degree in human resources that provides a thorough education in the basic aspects of human resources, including organizational behavior, business ethics, and employee relations. However, it also has an embedded Basic Mediator Training that lets students take their studies one step further. 

4. American Public University

American Public University is known for its dozens of online programs that provide students with the real-world training they need for career success – and the human resources associate’s degree is no exception. Combining fundamental business practices with special topics you won’t find anywhere else, like managing a workforce in a diverse, global setting, this program is one of the best.  

5. Minnesota State Community and Technical College

At Minnesota State, you’ll have access to a 60-credit online human resources degree that is tech-oriented and incredibly hands-on. Not only will you be able to participate in an immersive internship course, but you’ll also take classes focused on HR management in the modern world, studying everything from computer systems and software applications to business computers

6. Columbus Technical College

Located in Columbus, Georgia, Columbus Technical College has an online associate’s degree in human resource management through the Georgia Virtual Technical Connection. You’ll learn the core professional skills and theories you need to succeed in any aspect of human resource management. You can complete your degree in just 64 credit hours of study, or five semesters, in most cases. 

7. Colorado Technical University

Technically an online associate of science in management, Colorado Technical University’s online human resource management degree covers a wider angle of subfields within the discipline. In this program, you’ll study everything from business law to marketing and even contemporary business trends.

8. Colorado Christian University

If you’re looking for an associate’s degree with a more Christian worldview, this is the program for you. Colorado Christian has an all-online program that includes five-week courses taken over four semesters, meaning you can complete it in just two years of study. You’ll take core classes that cover topics like business law and human resource administration.

9. Ashworth College 

A leader in the world of human resources education, Ashworth offers an immersive AA in human resources that has a strong general education core. It covers everything from the interviewing process to managing recruitment and can be completed in as little as 16 months of fully online study.

10. Northcentral Technical College

If labor relations and staffing are what interest you most about the human resources field, then the associate’s degree in human resources here might be a good choice. It has a 60-credit curriculum and includes basic classes like Employment Law and Talent Acquisition, but also covers the nitty-gritty of skills you’ll need in the day-to-day, like how to track and create reports with Microsoft Office. 

11. Penn State World Campus

Penn State’s famed World Campus is one of the best places to earn an AA in labor and human resources. This program includes 60 credit hours and covers classes like Race, Gender, and Employment and the Legal Environment of Business. You’ll also have access to countless financial aid and scholarship opportunities

12. Lehigh Carbon Community College

Lehigh Carbon, located in Schnecksville, PA, offers one of the best online human resources management degrees. It includes 61 credits spread out over the course of four semesters and teaches students everything they need to know about personnel management and workforce development. 

13. Madison Area Technical College

The human resource associates degree at Madison Area Technical College is designed to be completed in just two years of study. You’ll cover everything from employment law to management techniques in your courses, and even be able to transfer easier to local universities like the University of Wisconsin. 

14. Wake Technical Community College

Offered through the college’s business department, Wake Technical’s human resource management program is one of more than 100 online programs. It includes 65 credit hours of coursework and introduces students to the free enterprise system, along with core business functions and processes. Students study topics like economics, business law, marketing, and more

15. Rasmussen College

Rasmussen College has an affordable online associate’s degree in human resources and organizational leadership. Because Rasmussen was one of the first schools in the country to offer online classes, it truly is one of the most groundbreaking when it comes to blending on-campus instruction with flexible online activity. You’ll cover everything from employment law to project management in your courses.


After the completion of the Associate Degree in HR program, students should have the ability to:

1. Show proficiency with numerous aspects of HR management, which includes labor relations, compensation, staffing, recruiting, performance management, and training.

2. Discuss why development and training are critical to the success of a business and how development and training are successfully carried out within a corporation.

3. Identify the primary objectives of a compensation functionality and describe the strategic part played by compensation practices for companies in competitive atmospheres.

4. Show a foundation of business skills associated with marketing, business ownership, social responsibility, and risk management.

5. Apply solid management principles to the functionalities of organizing, planning, controlling, leading, and decision-making within an enterprise.

6. Apply and identify the basic principles of speech criticism, public speaking, audience analysis, as well as efficient techniques of delivery.

7. Show a fundamental comprehension of computer applications, and broad implications of technological innovation upon social organization as far as economic, political, personal, and environmental issues are concerned.

8. Show proficiency in English composition, which includes the capability of developing essays, and revising and editing one’s work.

9. Show fundamental mathematical skills by describing mathematical logic and reasoning as the basis for information analysis, as well as by applying the main concepts of college algebra.

10. Be ready to enter a bachelor’s degree program without any extra academic preparation.

Semester One

Basic Skills Evaluation: All applicants must finish two Basic Skills Evaluations, one in math and one in reading, to find out their readiness level for starting their chosen program. Extra studies might be necessary.

Business Orientation: Students succeed by learning how to utilize their program, and learn how to efficiently manage your talents, resources, and time in your academics, personal life, and career.

Information Literacy: Become better at using and finding information.

Intro to Business: This class introduces basic business theories, perspectives, and concepts.

Principles of Management: This class reviews the functionalities of management and its part in controlling, motivating, organizing, leading, and planning.

Art Appreciation: Within this class, students obtain knowledge of artistic media, artistic movements and historical periods, the principles of art criticism, and the roles of the viewer and the artist.

HR Management: This class offers an overview of HR Management as it is understood today.

Mathematics for Finance and Business: This class hones your math skills, so you have the ability to successfully utilize them in finance and business fields.

Proctored Exam: You’ll be required to finish a proctored examination on chosen classes every semester. These evaluations will assess the skills and knowledge you learned within the semester.

Semester Two

Computer Applications: This class will permit you to build up your computer skills through a blend of hands-on practice and reading. You’ll navigate software tools like Microsoft Office and Windows.

English Composition: This class will permit you to enhance and polish your writing skills.

Arts & Humanities Elective: Select one

Business Law One: This class is an intro to the legal atmosphere of business. Subjects covered include American court procedure and practice, employment law, alternative dispute resolutions, business regulation and organization, agency relationships, and contract law.

Business Law Two: This class will finish the exploration of the legal elements of business you started with in Business Law One.

Training Concepts: This class offers a synthesis of accepted theory concerning training and management of the training functionality in enterprises and examination of unsuccessful and successful practices of training.

Proctored Exam: You’ll have to complete a proctored examination on chosen courses every semester.

Semester Three

Psychology Essentials: This class introduces students to the relationship between behavior and biology. You’ll learn about human development throughout the lifespan.

Financial Accounting: The class allows you to develop fundamental knowledge of the financial accounting principles.

Compensation Management: Find the fundamental elements of an overall compensation package (benefits, bonus, and salary).

Technical and Business Writing: This class offers an intro to the numerous ways to organize material for professional settings. Students compose business documents utilizing the ABC method. They include emails, memos, reports, outlines, and descriptions, proposals, and organizing materials. In addition, students work on advancing their grammar skills.

Employee Benefits: The class assesses employee and employer goals for benefit plans.

Economics One: This class offers an overview of macroeconomics and modern-day market economy. You’ll learn of economy-wide phenomena like price levels, national income, and unemployment.

Proctored Exam: You’ll have to complete a proctored examination on chosen courses every semester.

Semester Four

Intermediate Algebra: This class introduces fundamental algebraic concepts you will require to be successful within your career.

Speech: This class offers students a basis in public speaking’s basic concepts. Students learn how to organize, research, and write efficient speeches, effectively deliver and rehearse speeches, and incorporate presentation aids. Students rehearse, prepare, submit, and record speeches in numerous rhetorical styles for a grade.

Business Statistics: This class provides you the chance to explore statistics, as well as how they affect business.

Labor Relations: The class assesses the interaction between company management and organized labor unions that pertain to responsibilities and rights, collective bargaining, and negotiations.

Science Elective: Select one

Organizational Behavior: The class offers a management approach overview.

Proctored Exam: You’ll have to complete a proctored examination on chosen courses every semester.

Tuition and Fees

Here’s some examples of comparisons from different online programs to gain a general idea of tuition and fees:

  • Strayer University; $1525 per course, 20 courses
  • University of Arizona Global Campus; $460/credit
  • Rasmussen College; $329/credit
  • University of Phoenix; $398/credit
  • Ashworth College; $3,297; $7,054/total program cost

Getting Started

An associate’s degree is a great entry to a career in HR. It may be all you need to start your dream career, or you may want to advance further with a bachelor’s in HR or a master’s in HR, depending on your career goals. Request information from a few programs so you can find one that is thte