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Strategic Human Resource Management Education and Training Programs

Read about degree and certificate programs that cover strategic human resource management. Get details about the prerequisites for admission and the subjects students might learn. Check out some popular career options and continuing education info.

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Essential Information

A variety of educational programs are available to prepare individuals for careers in strategic human resource management. General human resource programs with a specialization in strategic human resource management might be found at the bachelor's and master's degree levels. Certificate programs also exist.

The focus of a bachelor's degree program is often fundamental business, statistics and organizational management courses. Aspiring management professionals might gain hands-on experience through internships. A high school diploma is required for admission. Certificate and master's-level programs were developed for educated and currently employed professionals who want to increase their knowledge. These two programs may be taken simultaneously and they could offer opportunities for online study.

Bachelor of Strategic Human Resource Management

Human resources involve all aspects of employer-employee relationship, such as salary, workforce diversity, labor laws and performance incentives. Many schools focus on strategic human resource management via bachelor's degree programs in general human resources. This type of program is typically available through an institution's business school, and results in a Bachelor of Science or Bachelor of Business Administration.

These types of programs are meant to prepare individuals for decision-making and planning roles in the human resources for all types of organizations. Because the programs confer bachelor's degrees, students are exposed to general education in English, math and social science in addition to human resources coursework. They also feature business coursework such as business communication, economics and statistics.

Education Prerequisites

A high school diploma or its GED equivalent is required for admission. Most schools also want to see solid ACT and SAT test scores and previous coursework in English, math, science and social science.

Program Coursework

The typical bachelor's degree program will include general education along with fundamentals in business, such as accounting, economics and business law. Some programs also have an internship option. Classes may address:

  • Strategic human resource management
  • Organizational management and behavior
  • Employee compensation
  • Global human resource management
  • Staff training and development

Popular Career Options

Professionals who are well-versed in strategic human resource management are able to plan for a workforce that will be most beneficial to an organization. Earning a bachelor's degree in strategic human resource management can prepare an individual for many professional careers within a public or private organization. Among them are:

  • Benefits specialist
  • Employee communications specialist
  • Executive recruiter
  • Human resources administrator
  • Job placement specialist

Continuing Education and Certification Information

The Human Resource Certification Institute, which is a part of the Society for Professional Human Resource Management, offers several certification programs. The Professional in Human Resources, which is sort of an entry-level certification, requires two years of professional experience and a passing score on a national exam. Continuing education opportunities help to satisfy certification renewal requirements.

The International Foundation of Employee Benefit Plans also has certifications for experts in group benefit, retirement and compensation. To earn certification, a candidate must take college-level courses and pass an exam. Each certification gives a candidate credit toward becoming a Certified Employee Benefits Specialist. Furthermore, the American Society for Training and Development offers certification in nine areas, each of which involves passing an exam and having a certain amount of work experience.

Finally, the WorldatWork Society offers certification programs in the areas of compensation, benefits, work-life and global remuneration. All four programs require candidates to pass an exam. The professional organization also offers continuing education classes.

Strategic Human Resource Management Certificate

Certificate programs often allow for focused graduate study into the issues surrounding human resource management, such as developing talent, attracting good employees and handling challenging work issues. Like a master's degree program, this graduate option is typically geared toward professionals in the field looking to sharpen their skills. Many of these programs are available, at least partially, online. Some coursework may transfer to a master's degree program in strategic human resource management. Some schools award this certificate while a student is en route to completing a master's degree program in a related or complementary field.

Education Prerequisites

An undergraduate degree from an accredited institution is typically required to enroll. Although not necessarily needed, some schools recommend that applicants have some business foundation coursework.

Program Coursework

A certificate program is typically shorter in length than a master's degree program, but offers graduate-level study. Classes may touch upon:

  • Strategic human resource management
  • Human behavior in organizations
  • Organizational training and development
  • Diversity issues for human resource professionals
  • Workforce planning and talent development

Master of Strategic Human Resource Management

These programs are intended for business professionals seeking focused, advanced study on human resource issues, such as laws and ethics, information and technology, and management issues in a global economy. Those who want to move into managerial or supervisory roles in an organization often enroll in this type of program.

There are many options for specialized study of human resources on the graduate level. Some schools offer a strategic human resource management specialization within a master's degree program in business administration (MBA) while others may offer a dual MS/MBA program. Some schools even offer a combined bachelor's and master's degree program in strategic human resource management. Many schools allow students to further customize their degree programs via elective courses.

Education Prerequisites

A bachelor's degree from an accredited institution is required. Most schools also require applicants have a 3.0 grade point average (GPA) on a 4.0 scale.

Program Coursework

This type of program usually includes an internship or professional work experience, as well as a graduate research and writing project. Classes often discuss:

  • Human resource solutions
  • Employment legal and ethical issues
  • Supervisory decision-making
  • Compensation and benefit packages
  • Human resource consulting

Employment Outlook and Salary Information

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts that employment growth for human resources managers should be about as fast as the average for all job fields, with 13% expansion between 2010 and 2020. The median annual salary for human resource managers was $99,720 as of May 2012 (

Continuing Education and Certification Information

Human resource managers are eligible for the Senior Human Resource Professional designation from the Human Resource Certification Institute, which is a part of the Society for Professional Human Resource Management. Managers with at least two years of experience can take a 4-hour exam for the certification.

The Human Resource Certification Institute also has certification programs for global human resource professionals as well as for those who work in human resources in California. There are also continuing education courses for professionals. Several colleges and universities offer Ph.D. in Human Resource Management programs to prepare individuals for high-level management jobs, research roles or teaching positions.

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