Career Information for a Degree in Human Resource Management

Human resource management is generally a field that involves overseeing employment of personnel. Continue reading for an overview of the programs, as well as career and salary info for some career options for graduates.

As a human resource manager, you're in the forefront of creating and maintaining an efficient, effective and even contented work force. With this in mind, you may be called upon to mediate labor-management issues.

Essential Information

Human resource management degree programs prepare students to handle employee relations, draft contracts, negotiate salaries and mediate personnel conflicts. Human resource (HR) professionals may work in small or large internal business departments within almost any industry. Human resource managers often have a bachelor's degree and several years of experience; however, a master's degree is required for some positions. Interpersonal skills are also necessary.

Career Human Resource Management Labor Relations Specialist
Required Education Bachelor's at minimum, master's required for some positions Bachelor's usually required, high school diploma sometimes accepted for experienced professionals
Other Requirements Several years of experience, interpersonal skills Experience or professional certification sometimes required
Projected Job Growth (2014 - 2024)* 9% -8% (decline)
Median Salary (2015)* $104,440 annually $58,820 annually

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

What Degree Is Needed for HR Management?

Those with an education in human resource can pursue leadership positions within the labor relations divisions of companies. Many universities and colleges offer bachelor's degrees in human resource management. Students take courses in psychology, management, economics, accounting, employment law and organizational theory. Some HR management positions may only be available to those with a master's degree, however a bachelor's and several years of experience is generally required. Advanced job titles include regional or international HR manager, HR director, general manager or labor relations manager, among other possibilities.

Career Opportunities

Human Resources Manager

Human resources managers design and oversee recruitment drives, employee training initiatives and compensation negotiations - among other programs. They often report to a human resources director, who directs the efforts of several different departments and managers. They may work above HR generalists who execute plans and work more closely with independent staff members.

Labor Relations Specialist

Labor relations specialists implement effective management-labor relations strategies, particularly in companies where a significant percentage of the labor force is unionized. They assist management in pursuing negotiations with employees by arbitrating disputes and helping both parties reach mutually satisfactory agreements.

Career Outlook for Human Resources Management

With shifting laws around equal employment opportunities, healthcare and occupational safety, job opportunities for human resources managers are expected to increase 9% from 2014-2024, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). Opportunities should be particularly favorable for professionals with technical, scientific or other consulting experience as companies continue to hire their human resources management personnel through consulting companies. A graduate degree in the field or professional certification is also likely to raise job prospects.

In 2015, human resources managers earned a median salary of $104,440 per year, according to data from the BLS. The field's highest-paying industries at that time were information services, securities and commodity contracts brokerage firms, deep sea, coastal and Great Lakes water transportation and cable and other subscription programming.

You'll need at least a bachelor's degree to secure a position as a human resources manager, in addition to a number of years of work experience in the field. While professional certification is not always necessary, you may find that it can be beneficial to your standing and your possibilities for advancement.


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