Associate of Human Resources: Degree Overview

Human resources associate's degree programs prepare students for roles in the personnel department of organizations. Learn more about the program, common courses and job outlook.

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Essential Information

Students interested in human resources can earn an Associate of Applied Science, Associate of Science, or Associate of Arts in the field. These 2-year associate's degree programs are typically available at colleges and universities; some programs are available online. In addition to coursework, students may complete a practical training experience. Applicants must have a high school diploma or its equivalent.


Associate's Degree in Human Resources

Associate's degree programs in human resources cover a wide range of employee-related topics to teach students how to help maintain a productive workforce. Courses address fundamentals of labor law, employment regulation, compensation and benefits, payroll, and interpersonal relationships. Students also gain strong communication, interviewing, management and decision-making skills.

In addition to general education requirements, students complete courses in business and administration. Some associate's degree programs offer a capstone, which allows students to garner real-world experience in human resources. Typical courses offered may include:

  • Accounting
  • Training and development
  • Marketing
  • Human resources management
  • Compensation
  • Employment law

Employment Outlook and Salary Info

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), employment for human resources specialists is expected to increase 5% from 2014-2024 (www.bls.gov). For those who specialize in a particular area, such as training, the job opportunities are even better. In May of 2015, the BLS reported that human resources assistants earned a mean annual salary of $39,180 and specialists averaged $63,710.

Continuing Education and Certification Information

Graduates can either seek immediate entry-level employment or pursue a bachelor's degree in human resources management. Those who have a relevant bachelor's degree tend to have better odds of securing a job, according to the BLS. The human resources management major may be its own program or offered as a concentration within business programs.

Several organizations offer credentials to human resources professionals so they can validate their expertise and experience. The Society of Human Resource Management offers the Professional in Human Resources (PHR) and the Senior Professional in Human Resources (SPHR), both of which can be obtained once prerequisites are met and applicants pass an exam (www.shrm.org). For those associate's degree graduates, to earn a PHR, they must have at least four years of professional human resources experience while a SPHR requires seven years of experience.

Associate's degree programs in human resources focus on giving students the required business, administration and management skills to work entry-level jobs. Graduates can pursue higher education and voluntary credentials if they would like.

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