Whether you’re an established human resources specialist who needs a degree to advance your career or an aspiring HR professional starting your education from the bottom, you don’t want to waste time. The sooner you earn your degree, the sooner you can reach your human resources career goals. Through options like degree completion programs, prior learning assessment credits and dual degree programs, accelerated programs in human resources are common at the undergraduate and graduate levels of study.
Degree Completion HR Programs
For students who are going back to school, degree completion programs could be your best option for getting your bachelor’s degree quickly. Degree completion programs are designed with students who already have some college experience in mind. They often require that students already have a minimum number of credits – such as 30 credits, or one year of full-time coursework – to be admitted. Degree completion programs stand out from conventional degree programs in that they have lenient transfer credit policies and are often designed for adult learners.
For example, the accelerated Bachelor of Science (BS) in Human Resource Management program offered through Thomas Jefferson University allows students to transfer as many as 72 credits, or more than two full years of coursework. Flexible scheduling options, including condensed eight-week terms, optional online class formats and afternoon, evening and weekend class schedules also help students finish their degrees on their own schedule.
Students pursuing the BS in Human Resources Management degree at Franklin University in Columbus, OH, can transfer even more credits. Up to 94 of the total 124 credits needed for the degree can be transferred from other colleges. Students who transfer the maximum allowed amount of credits need only complete 30 credits, or one year of full-time study, to meet graduation requirements.
Some students in a degree completion program have a bachelor’s degree from a community or junior college, while others have no formal degree, having previously studied at a four-year school or not completed enough credits to graduate.
Prior Learning Credit in HR Degree Programs
In the business world, your work experience matters. Schools that award prior learning credit acknowledge the value of real-world experience by translating your existing knowledge into college credits.
Chestnut Hill College in Philadelphia, PA, is one school that offers Prior Learning Assessment options. The school’s BS in Human Resources Management degree program, one of 13 Accelerated Adult Degree Programs, allows students to earn as many as 15 college credits through its portfolio assessment option. Students can also apply College-Level Examination Program (CLEP) credits, earned through standardized exams, as a form of transfer credit. Students take two courses, including hybrid courses that combine in-person and online studies, per eight-week accelerated term. Like many other schools that award prior learning credit, Chestnut Hill College has a very liberal transfer credit policy, allowing students to transfer up to 75 credits.
Wilmington University in New Castle, DE, also accepts alternate methods of earning college credits toward its BS in Human Resource Management degree. Up to 75 percent of your credits can take the form of prior learning credits. Students qualify for these credits through examinations, portfolio assessment programs and professional credentials.
Choosing a human resources degree program that awards prior learning credit is ideal for students with extensive experience working in HR, serving in the military, volunteering, taking non-credit online courses or undergoing on-the-job training.
4+1 Programs in Human Resources
A graduate degree in HR can be valuable, particularly if you hope to move into a human resources manager role one day. You don’t have to finish your bachelor’s degree before you begin thinking about graduate school. In fact, popular “4+1” dual degree programs allow human resources majors to begin working toward their master’s degree even before they finish their undergraduate degree. Though you will still spend a considerable amount of time – five years – in school, you will end up with both your undergraduate and graduate degrees, saving yourself time and money.
The 4+1 Human Resources Management program at Temple University’s Fox School of Business is one example of this ambitious program. From the fall of their junior year on, undergraduate students take one graduate-level class per semester. At the completion of their senior year, students will have 12 graduate credits completed already, allowing them to finish the remaining 18 graduate credits in one year instead of two.
The Driehaus College of Business and Kellstadt Graduate School of Business at DePaul University in Chicago also offer a combined bachelor’s and master’s in human resources program. Students complete three graduate courses, including Managing for Effective and Ethical Organizational Behavior and Strategic Management of Human Resources, as undergraduates.
While some 4+1 programs are intended for traditional college students, others only accept students who already have years of work experience in the HR field.