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How is an online human resources degree program different than a traditional program? The differences can be quite stark, but so are the similarities: many human resources programs delivered online are  SHRM certified , offer the same exact curriculum as the traditional program, and even gives you access to the same professors during their online office hours. But there are some big differences, which are outlined below.


One of the biggest differences between online human resources programs and traditional programs is the amount of time it takes to complete a degree. If you choose to pursue your degree online, you can take anywhere from one-and-a-half to five years to complete the requirements; traditional degrees are more regimented, meaning that you would have, at a minimum, four years in college. Another difference is that you can choose to attend college full-time or part-time, meaning that in an online program, you can take as little as one course per term and still be enrolled; many traditional programs require enrollment in at least two courses in order to stay enrolled.


How you schedule your time in an online program is much different from a traditional program: depending on the school you choose, you can take part in traditional-length terms or terms that range from five weeks to 11 weeks in length; J-terms, which is a month-long term delivered between the fall and spring semesters, are also available for online students. This is an advantage afforded to online students because it allows them to focus on fewer courses at a time while still staying on track to finish their degree on time. Traditional students do not have this advantage and must stick with the 16-week academic term in order to complete their degrees. Online students also have the ability to take an asynchronous or synchronous course, which are self-paced and live classes, respectively. This is a departure from the participation requirement many traditional programs have, allowing students to choose how and when they engage in their schoolwork.

Co-hort Options

Some human resources programs operate on a cohort model; this is when you go throughout your entire online degree with the same classmates, offering you the opportunity to get to know them and your professors as well as provide you support in the form of team projects, which are necessary for completion of the degree, as well study groups. This is not usually offered in a traditional program because students may not all be on track to graduate at the same time.


Perhaps the biggest difference between online human resources programs and traditional programs is the cost.  Online degrees can cost significantly less  because many schools utilize online tuition rates that are on par or lower than in-state tuition costs. Additionally, because you are not living and studying at the school, you are not required to pay the overhead that keeps the school running. However, the cost of your online degree will change depending on what school you choose and whether or not the program is accredited, so choose wisely.

Choosing an online human resource program is not a bad choice when you’re deciding between online and traditional programs. Now that you’re aware of the answer to, how is an online human resources degree program different than a traditional program, you can make the choice that’s right for you and your needs.

Related resource:

Top 15 Cheap Online Master’s and MBA in Human Resources Management Degree Programs

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