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Careers in Human Resources – Education & Job Outlook

Careers in Human Resources

For many employees, a “great profession” means employment growth, opportunities for promotion, and high levels of job fulfillment. Guess the surprise? Careers in human resources (HR) satisfies all those facets. In addition, this career improves things while advancing the success of businesses. Human resource is a rewarding job with room to expand. Almost all businesses, big and small, require HR specialists to handle employee interactions, supervise hiring, and handle benefits administration.

According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, the human resources job outlook is expected to rise by 8% over the next ten years. From engaging employees to recruiting at reputable institutions, you can choose many HR career paths based on your interests.

If you are pondering how to start a career in human resources, this article is for you. You’ll learn about careers in human resources and how to start those careers with a college degree. Read on to find out more!

What is Human Resources?

Human Resources (HR) is a company department tasked with discovering, vetting, hiring, and training potential employees. Aside from managing the benefit plans for employees, their duties include:

  • Boosting employee output
  • Safeguarding the business from any potential problems among the workforce

What are the Four Types of HR?

The four main types of human resources include:

  • Recruitment
  • Compensation and benefits
  • Employment and placement
  • Training and Development

Human Resources Education

What do you learn in a Human Resources program?

A human resources career path starts with education. In human resources degree programs, students learn about various forms of employee relations, including how to:

  • Manage grievances
  • Lead negotiations
  • Deal with labor strikes
  • Stay within the confines of the state/federal law when dealing with managers, employees, unions, and government officials.

How to Work in Human Resources – Education

To work in human resources, a candidate must earn an undergraduate and, most likely, a graduate degree in this field. Afterward, pursue internships and certification, and build your network. Also, craft your CV. Finally, look for potential job opportunities in start-ups or established organizations.

What Can You Do With an Associate in Human Resources?

An associate’s degree in human resources provides candidates with the knowledge needed for entry-level positions in HR administration. There are HR career opportunities in training, benefits management, administration, and recruiting.

What About an HR Bachelor’s Degree?

Professionals can advance into more defined senior positions with a bachelor's degree in HR. Depending on a student’s specialties and interests, they can assume positions as:

  • Public relations managers
  • Labor relations specialists
  • Training and development specialists

What Can You Do With a Master’s in HR?

A master's degree in human resources covers many business and employee management topics. Therefore, it can lead to many professional pathways. A few of the careers available to professionals with a master’s in HR include:

  • Top Executive
  • Human Resources Manager
  • Management Analyst

Note: For graduates wondering how to get a career in human resources, furthering education to the master’s level in this field is key.

Doctorate in Human Resources

With an HR doctorate, professionals offer expertise in the career development sector and top levels of academia or business. They can follow HR career paths such as:

  • Employee education consultant
  • Human resource executive
  • Professors in higher institutions

The human resources positions available to Ph.D. students are primarily in higher learning institutions. However, specialists continue to offer companies solutions to enhance employee productivity.

HR Careers

HR professionals are often saddled with creating a detailed recruitment plan and career growth in a small-scale or multinational corporation. In this section, we’ll examine a list of careers in human resources. However, primary job titles will differ depending on a company’s culture and structure.

Human Resources Managers

Annual Salary: $136,590 in May 2021
Projected Growth: 7%
Source: BLS

The minimum academic requirement for HR managers is a bachelor of science in human resources. However, students may also pursue a strongly related discipline in IT, finance, education, or business management. Also, human resource managers must have expertise in lower-level HR positions such as:

  • HR representative
  • Staffing coordinator
  • HR assistant

HR managers plan, organize and oversee an organization’s administrative operations. Specifically, they:

  • Supervise the interviewing, hiring, and onboarding of employees
  • Assist chief executives in the planning process
  • Act as a liaison between the management and personnel in a business

Compensation & Benefits Managers

Annual Salary: $127,530 in May 2021
Projected Growth: 2%
Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS)

Compensation & benefits managers must possess a bachelor of science degree to earn most roles. It can be in human resources, business, or a closely related discipline, like psychology or social science. In addition, they must have prior experience in managing employee insurance, payroll, and investing.

Typical duties and responsibilities of compensation/benefits managers:

  • They contribute to a firm’s profitability by ensuring that compensation programs attract and keep qualified personnel.
  • In addition to managing the actual wages paid to employees, they oversee annual bonuses, health insurance, and pensions.
  • They collaborate with management, provide HR duties and procedures feedback, and are in charge of data analysis and employee records.

Training & Development Managers

Annual Salary: $120,130 in May 2021
Projected Growth: 7%
Source: BLS

Training & development managers must earn a bachelor’s or master’s degree in human resources, curriculum design, or a related field. They must have in-depth experience in managing, motivating, and instructing employees under them.

Typical duties and responsibilities:

  • They assist individuals in reaching their maximum potential by optimizing their talents where necessary
  • They also maintain a clear emphasis on the wants & needs of the organization.
  • Among the human resources degree jobs, the training & development role ranks among the most lucrative.

Change Management Specialists

Annual Salary: $81,404 in June 2022
Source: PayScale

Change management specialists must have a bachelor’s degree in a related field, such as business administration, IT, or management. Becoming a change management expert requires three years of experience in a related field—also, 1 to 3 years of supervised experience and extensive familiarity with the role and departmental procedures.

Duties and responsibilities of Change Management Specialists:

  • Contribute ideas, record needs, and help create and implement training programs.
  • Define performance indicators, track change progress, and evaluate them.
  • Identify key partners, conduct impact evaluations, and evaluate change readiness.
  • Facilitate change management at the administrative level.

Labor Relations Specialists

Annual Salary: $77,010 in May 2021
Projected Growth: -3%
Source: BLS

Labor relations specialists must hold a bachelor’s degree in business, human resources, industrial relations, labor relations, or a similar discipline. Most hiring managers seek labor relations experts with two to four years of relevant experience in labor law, economics, and collective bargaining. They must also have experience interpreting the party’s demands regarding salaries and benefits.

Typical duties and responsibilities of Labor Relations Specialists are:

  • They draft plans and rules or regulations to aid in the facilitation of collective bargaining.
  • They oversee and analyze labor contracts regarding pay and benefits, pensions, and insurance.

Payroll Manager

Annual Salary: $71,435 in June 2022
Source: PayScale

Payroll managers need a bachelor’s degree in a related field, such as finance, accounting, or human resources. Organizations also demand that professionals in this field have adequate experience supervising and training the payroll team. In addition, it’s preferable to know about creating payroll procedures and policies.

Typical duties & responsibilities of Payroll Managers:

  • Accurate and timely payroll modification processing, including terminations, new hires, and pay rate adjustments.
  • Establishes and keeps accurate/detailed payroll transaction reports and documents.

Note: For recent graduates, payroll management is among the US’s most accessible human resources entry-level jobs.

Compensation and Job Analysis Specialists

Annual Salary: $64,120 in May 2021
Projected Growth: 7%
Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics

Compensation and job analysis specialists must have at least a bachelor’s degree in a relevant field, such as:

  • Psychology
  • Social science
  • Business administration
  • Human resources, etc.

Employers demand that specialists have work experience in benefits administration, human resources, and salary analysis in this sector. Also, having prior experience in finance, insurance, or business administration is advantageous.

Typical duties and responsibilities of Compensation & Job Analysis Specialists:

  • They check to see if an organization complies with state and federal laws
  • Offer suggestions to relevant human resources executives
  • Employ cost analysis to correlate benefits and compensation plans
  • Examine job descriptions to ascertain assessment and compensation.

Note: Human resources career salary in this field depends on years of working experience.

Human Resources Specialists

Annual Salary: $62,290 in May 2021
Projected Growth: 8%
Source: BLS

HR specialists must hold a master’s or bachelor’s degree in business administration, HR, or an interrelated discipline. In this field, practitioners must have also completed education in psychology, accounting, and professional writing. Employers seek specialists well-versed in the whole recruiting cycle with practical expertise in human resources information systems.

Typical duties and responsibilities of HR Specialists:

  • HR specialists interview candidates to gauge their education, training, and experience qualifications.
  • They conduct background checks and get in touch with a candidate’s referees.
  • They refer candidates to potential employers and assist with the training and hiring of new employees.

Note: The HR job outlook for managers in this field will continue to rise due to the emergence of more small and medium-scale enterprises.

Corporate Recruiter

Annual Salary: $61,794 in June 2022
Source: PayScale

A corporate recruiter must hold a bachelor’s or master’s degree in human resources, business administration, or a related field. Recruiters must have the core experience necessary for hiring employees to function effectively. In addition, they need a solid grasp of their organization’s purpose and goals. Furthermore, they must have expertise in HR databases, applicant tracking systems, etc.

Typical duties and responsibilities of a Corporate Recruiter are:

  • Establishing and carrying out the entire recruitment strategy
  • Locating and recruiting candidates through public databases, social media, etc.
  • Interviewing and vetting potential candidates for available roles.

Training & Development Specialists

Annual Salary: $61,570 in May 2021
Projected Growth: 8%
Source: BLS

Training & development specialists must possess a bachelor’s or master’s degree in one of the following areas:

  • Human resources
  • Training and development
  • Instructional design
  • Education or a relevant field

Most employers require professionals in this field to have work experience in personnel management and teaching.

Typical duties and responsibilities of Training & Development experts include:

  • They support the creation, implementation, and evaluation of employee training programs for enterprises, institutions, and governmental organizations.
  • They often help employees with job changes in the wake of a business acquisition or merger.

Human Resources Generalist

Annual Salary: $56,969 in June 2022
Source: PayScale

The majority of HR generalists have a bachelor’s and master’s degree in fields such as:

  • Business
  • Organizational development
  • Human resources
  • Human resource management

Depending on the prospective employer, candidates will generally require at least 2 to 3 years of work experience in a related occupation.

Primary duties and responsibilities of Human Resources Generalist:

  • Verify that the business complies with all applicable rules, employment laws, and labor laws.
  • HR generalist responsibilities include managing the day-to-day operations of the Human Resources (HR) division. For example, recruiting new hires, processing payroll, handling benefits and leave requests, and enforcing regulations and procedures.
  • Participate in employee development, orientation programs, and training schedules.

In conclusion, HR Generalist ranks among the types of human resources jobs requiring applicants to hold a master’s degree in a related field.

Where Do HR Graduates Work?

For HR professionals, career opportunities exist in most organizations’ hiring, training, and general management departments. Some of the typical employers that hire human resources personnel include:

  • Hospitals
  • Media companies
  • Retail firms
  • Information Technology (IT) firms
  • Schools, universities & colleges
  • Local governments
  • Engineering companies
  • Tourism and Leisure companies
  • Banking & Finance institutions
  • Manufacturing and production firms

It’s also imperative for graduates to know that the types of jobs in human resources depend on the applicants.

Licensing & Certifications

Knowing where you are on your career track can help you choose the best human resource credentials. Nevertheless, whether you’re just starting your career or not, HR certificates are made to suit your demand.

A few of these certifications include:

Senior Professional in Human Resources (SPHR)

The SPHR credential is for skilled HR professionals who want to prove their expertise in the field. Ideally, practitioners that want to advance their HR careers into leadership positions must earn this certification.

Professional in Human Resources (PHR)

The PHR credential is for HR practitioners who have been in the field for a few years and are aiming for advanced career development.

Associate Professional in Talent Development Credential (APTD)

The APTD is mainly for HR personnel involved in talent acquisition or management. In addition, the certification is ideal for those a couple of years into a profession advancing to management.

Certified Professional in Learning and Performance (CPLP)

The CPLP credential is specifically for human resources professionals involved in employee performance and learning. Also, the certification is for individuals seeking to transition to a management position.

SHRM Certified Professional (SHRM-CP)

The SHRM-CP certificate is an HR credential provided by the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM). This certification is for HR specialists looking for management-level roles after several years of experience.

Associate Professional in Human Resources (APHR)

The APHR certification is ideal for entry-level human resources workers because it requires no prior job experience.

Professional Organizations & Resources

If how to start a career in human resources thrills you, you should familiarize yourself with societies/organizations in this field. Ideally, professional associations can be helpful for job applicants and students. Specifically, they are worthwhile because they can aid in networking and skill development, among other things. A few of these organizations include:

Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM)

SHRM advocates for the impact of human resources as a career. The organization offers networking, education, and certification opportunities. Furthermore, SHRM lobbies Congress on labor management-related matters.

National Human Resources Association (NHRA)

The mission of NHRA is to advance the individual career leadership, development, and planning of HR professionals.

College and University Professional Association for Human Resources (CUPA-HR)

CUPA-HR provides various opportunities for career advancement, partnership, and outreach. For example, it delivers personal and career development tools and fosters relationships within the Higher Education HR community.

Professionals in Human Resources Association (PIHRA)

PIHRA is committed to advancing human resources continuously through collaboration, education, and advocacy. The organization also teaches students how to get a career in human resources via seminars.

International Public Management Association for Human Resources (IPMA-HR)

The IPMA-HR is a nonprofit organization that advocates for human resource specialists at the local, federal, and state levels of government.

Academy of Human Resources Development: distributes four distinctive academic journals for HR practitioners.

International Association for Human Resource Information Management (IHRIM)

IHRIM is a leading human resource association assisting HR specialists in carving out a niche for themselves in the fast-changing field.

Association for Talent Development (ATD)

The ATD is an expert membership organization that provides support to people who educate and train workers all over the world. Also, the association promotes the career of talent development by offering reliable information through research, publications, events, webcasts, and educational programs.

Frequently Asked Questions: Best Careers in Human Resources

What type of career can you have in HR?

There are different human resources employment available to new graduates. Some available HR careers include:

  • Recruiter
  • Human resources assistant
  • Recruitment manager
  • Employee relations manager
  • Human resources coordinator

Is HR a good career option?

Yes, it is. HR is crucial to organizational success because it assists in hiring qualified workers and fostering a good workplace culture. Also, HR must increase employee productivity, develop benefit plans, attract and retain talent, and put company-wide policies into effect.

What are human resources jobs?

Human resources jobs cut across the employee life cycle, such as training, onboarding, hiring, recruiting, administering, and management.

Which HR job is best?

There’s no such thing as the best HR job. Ideally, the Vice President of HR earns the most in any organization. Some of the best human resources jobs include HR consultant and employee relations specialist.

Are there career change options for HR professionals?

There are numerous career change options for HR professionals, from job options as payroll specialists, administrative services managers, etc.

Which is the best HR certification?

There isn’t a specific certification that works for all human HR specialists. The perfect HR certification depends on your unique needs and professional goals. Some of the best hr certifications recognized worldwide include:

  • HRCI Certification
  • Certified Professional in Learning and Performance (CPLP)

Closing Notes!

HR practitioners are educators who seek out novel solutions to organizational issues. In addition, they are facilitators who improve employee and employer experiences. Finally, they implement values that support the success of all businesses. Education in human resources tends to draw practitioners closer to different HR positions in this field.

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