Obtaining a Human Resources Degree
Working in human resources can be a challenging and rewarding career. Every day, you will meet new people, use your talents to engage them, and possibly help them land their dream job. While some positions in HR don’t require degrees, if you want to make it your career, you can start by earning your Bachelor of Science degree.
There are many schools that offer a Bachelor of Science in Human Resources, but each institution has its own way of packaging the degree. Some, like Purdue University in Indiana, require you to earn a degree in their business program with a minor in Human Resources. Others offer Human Resource Management degrees, like Illinois State University.
Regardless of the school you choose, the degree requirements are quite similar. You are required to take the following core courses in most degree programs:
- Business Fundamentals
- Information Systems
- Business Law
- Operations Management
- Conflict Resolution
- Human Resources Management
- Organizational Strategy
- Industrial relations
- Organizational Behavior and Administration
With this education, you will know how best to screen applicants for various positions, understand how human resources influence the overall organization’s needs, and how best to recruit from your local talent pool.
The jobs available to those holding a BS in Human Resource Management vary widely:
- Human resource generalist
- Human resources administrator
- HR Assistant
- Entry level recruiter
- HR Officer
- HR Placement Specialist
- HR Coordinator
Each of these positions would have responsibilities such as greeting job candidates, reviewing applications and resumes, scheduling and performing screening interviews, verifying references, performing background checks, recruitment duties, and new employee orientations.
HR generalists and specialists would also handle the intake and initial contact for misconduct reports (employees acting in inappropriate ways), and employee grievances. Every employer is required to abide by national and state labor laws, which include fair pay, the Family Medical Leave Act, requests for extended leave due to disability, and injuries that occur on the job. HR specialists would aid employees in applying for leave and provide the necessary request forms for FMLA or salary disputes.
According to the US Labor Department, jobs in HR requiring a bachelor’s degree earn a median income of $60,000 annually. The job outlook is positive, with steady growth over the next five years.
Studying at the Graduate Level
If you choose to move beyond the bachelor’s degree and pursue a master’s degree, there will be additional courses directly related to the management of a human resources department. Loyola University Chicago offers a Master of Human Resources program that includes courses, mentoring, and studying abroad. These are key components to performing the job of a HR manager in large corporations.
The course of study for a Master of Human Resources would include the following classes:
- Human Resources Law
- Global Human Resources
- Human Resource Development
- Employee Relation
- Staffing Strategies
- Decision Making
- Business Ethics
- Performance Management
- Organizational Development
- Collective Bargaining
- Global Employment Relations
The purpose of continued education is to gain knowledge and skills to ensure your capabilities in managing an HR department. Many corporations work and recruit globally, so having knowledge about global relations and human resources is essential for an HR manager. Managers are responsible not only for the recruitment of new employees for the company, but also in recruiting, hiring, and training their own employees.
According to humanresourcesedu.org, the duties and tasks of an HR manager include the following:
- Developing and administering human resources plans and procedures that relate to company personnel.
- Planning, organizing, and controlling the activities and actions of the HR department.
- Contributing to the development of HR department goals, objectives, and systems.
Managers achieve these goals by completing tasks that include implementing and revising a company’s compensation program; creating and revising job descriptions; conducting annual salary surveys; developing, analyzing, and updating the company’s salary budget, updating the company’s evaluation program, and developing, revising, and recommending personnel policies and procedures.
They are also responsible for the company’s handbook on policies and procedures, maintaining department records and reports, maintaining the company directory, updating organizational charts, and recommending new policies, strategies, and procedures.
Managers must also administer benefits, maintain affirmative action programs, oversee recruitment efforts for all personnel, conduct new employee orientations, oversee exit interviews, and plan and participate in administrative staff meetings.
Long-Term Career Prospects
With the appropriate education and experience, a job in HR management can yield significant benefits. According to the US Department of Labor, job opportunities for HR managers will continue to increase in the next five years. The median starting salary for an HR manager is $110,000 annually.
In addition to a good salary, HR generalists and managers are typically compensated with a benefits package including health insurance, paid time off, and holidays.
If you enjoy working with people and helping them get started in their careers, working in human resources is a good fit for you. You can succeed with either a bachelor or master’s degree, and the opportunities for employment are growing.