Human Resources

Associate Degree in Human Resources: A Complete Guide (2024)

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Explore what’s required to earn an Associate degree in Human Resources. We'll cover what it is, its pros and cons, the steps, how long it takes, online options, what you'll study, and future careers.

Key Points

  • An associate degree in Human Resources (HR) provides a solid foundation in HR principles and practices
  • Pursuing an HR associate degree offers several pros, including affordability, flexibility, and career opportunities
  • The admission process, financial aid options, and program completion timeline are key considerations
  • Graduates can pursue entry-level HR roles, graduate school, or leverage their degree for career advancement

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What is an Associate Degree in Human Resources?

An associate degree in Human Resources (HR) is a two-year undergraduate program that focuses on the fundamental principles and practices of HR management. This degree is designed to equip students with the knowledge and skills necessary to support various HR functions, such as recruitment, training, employee relations, and compliance. The curriculum typically includes courses in HR management, employment law, compensation and benefits, and organizational behavior, among other relevant topics.

Pros and Cons of Pursuing an Associate Degree in Human Resources


  • Affordability: An associate degree is generally more affordable than a bachelor's degree, making it a cost-effective option for those looking to enter the HR field.
  • Flexibility: Many HR associate degree programs offer flexible scheduling, including part-time and online options, allowing students to balance their studies with work and other commitments.
  • Career Opportunities: Graduates with an HR associate degree can pursue entry-level HR roles, such as HR assistant, HR coordinator, or HR specialist, providing a solid foundation for career growth.


  • Limited Advancement Opportunities: While an HR associate degree can lead to entry-level HR positions, it may not provide the same level of advancement opportunities as a bachelor's or master's degree in HR.
  • Narrower Curriculum: Associate degree programs typically have a more focused curriculum compared to bachelor's programs, which may offer a broader range of HR-related courses and electives.
  • Potential Salary Limitations: Salaries for entry-level HR roles with an associate degree may be lower than those for positions requiring a bachelor's or higher degree.

How to Get an Associate Degree in Human Resources

1. Meet the Admission Requirements: To enroll in an HR associate degree program, you'll typically need a high school diploma or equivalent, and you may be required to submit transcripts, standardized test scores, and/or a personal statement.

2. Apply to the Human Resources Program: Research and compare different HR associate degree programs, considering factors such as program accreditation, course offerings, and campus or online options. Complete the application process, which may include submitting an application form, application fee, and any additional required documents.

3. Explore Financial Aid Options: Investigate various financial aid opportunities, such as grants, scholarships, and student loans. Complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) to determine your eligibility for federal and state financial aid. Additionally, check with the college or university about any institutional scholarships or assistantships available for HR associate degree students.

4. Enroll and Complete the Program: Once accepted, work closely with an academic advisor to develop a course plan and register for classes. Attend classes, complete assignments, and participate in any internships or hands-on learning experiences offered by the program. Maintain satisfactory academic progress and fulfill all graduation requirements to earn your HR associate degree.

List of Online Associate Degree in Human Resources

For those looking into an online associate degree in Human Resources, there are many choices available. Dreambound is a website to consider, offering a flexible and cost-effective Human Resources degree program.

Dreambound is an online education platform that partners with accredited universities to deliver top-notch, affordable degree programs. Their online associate degree in Human Resources is designed for students needing a convenient and adaptable learning option.

Some of the schools and programs available through Dreambound include:

Delaware Valley University


  • AAS degree in Human Resource Management

Cost Range: $10,000 - $25,000

Broward College


  • AS degree in Human Resources Management

Cost Range: $3,000 - $20,000

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How Long Does It Take to Get an Associate Degree in Human Resources?

Typically, an associate degree in Human Resources can be completed in two years of full-time study. However, the exact duration may vary depending on factors such as the number of credits required, the student's course load (full-time or part-time), and any prior college credits or relevant work experience that may be transferable.

What to Expect from an Associate Degree in Human Resources

An HR associate degree program will provide you with a comprehensive understanding of the HR field, including the key functions, legal and ethical considerations, and best practices. You can expect to develop skills in areas such as:

  • Recruitment and selection
  • Employee training and development
  • Compensation and benefits administration
  • Employee relations and conflict resolution
  • HR data analysis and reporting
  • Compliance with labor laws and regulations

The program will likely include a mix of classroom-based instruction, hands-on projects, and potentially an internship or capstone experience to apply your learning in a real-world setting.

What Can You Do with a Human Resources Associate Degree?

Graduate School Preparation

Earning an HR associate degree can serve as a stepping stone towards a bachelor's or master's degree in Human Resources or a related field, such as Business Administration or Organizational Management. Many four-year universities accept credits from accredited associate degree programs, allowing you to transfer and complete your bachelor's degree in a shorter timeframe.

Entry-Level Human Resources Roles

With an HR associate degree, you can pursue various entry-level positions, including:

  • HR Assistant
  • HR Coordinator
  • HR Specialist
  • Payroll Administrator
  • Employee Relations Coordinator
  • Recruitment Coordinator

Career Opportunities

Individuals with an HR associate degree can leverage their education and skills to pursue a wide range of career paths, including:

  • Human Resources Manager
  • Compensation and Benefits Specialist
  • Training and Development Specialist
  • Employee Relations Specialist
  • Talent Acquisition Specialist
  • HR Information Systems Coordinator

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the median annual salary for HR specialists was $67,650 in 2023, and the job outlook for the HR field is projected to grow 6% from 2022 to 2032, faster than the average for all occupations.

Final Thoughts

An Associate Degree in Human Resources can be a valuable and affordable pathway for individuals interested in pursuing a career in the HR field. By providing a solid foundation in HR principles and practices, this degree can open the door to entry-level HR roles, graduate school opportunities, and the potential for career advancement. Whether you're just starting your educational journey or looking to upskill, an Associate Degree in Human Resources is worth considering as a stepping stone towards your professional goals.

Should this guide miss the mark, sift through the other guides below to pinpoint one that aligns better with your needs:

Vduani Martinez
Written by
Vduani Martinez

Vduani Martinez is a part of the Growth team at Dreambound. She creates and fixes workflows and automation to guarantee seamless operations. On top of that, she manages databases to ensure all information is up to date. Vduani is a licensed Electronics Engineer who loves coffee and is a travel enthusiast. Out of the office, she enjoys going on road trips and discovering new cafes and restaurants.

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