Employment Specialist: Education Requirements and Career Information

Learn about the education and preparation needed to become an employment specialist. Get a quick view of the requirements as well as details about training, job duties and experience to find out if this is the career for you.

Employment specialists are in charge of the process for hiring new employees. This can involve seeking out candidates for available positions, conducting interviews, and even assessing when new positions are needed in a company. Employment specialists need at least a bachelor's degree for most available job opportunities.

Essential information

Employment specialists offer assistance in matching people with jobs that fit their skills and interests. In some cases, employment specialists work for companies, recruiting employees or developing new human resources policies. Other employee specialists, often called supported employment specialists, provide job assistance to individuals with a physical disability or mental illness. These positions usually require a bachelor's degree.

Required Education Bachelor's degree
Other Requirements Experience may be required for advancement
Projected Job Growth (2014-2024) 5% for human resource specialists; 7% for training and development specialists*
Median Salary (2015) $58,350 for human resource specialists; $58,210 for training and development specialists*

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Employment Specialist Overview

Employment specialists typically work in a division of a larger company or corporation. These specialists are responsible for new employee hiring processes, including assessing candidates and conducting interviews, as well as developing new positions and roles as needed. Sometimes an employment specialist may recommend training or education for advancement, and they may also implement or monitor human resources policies and procedures in a company.

Educational Requirements

A bachelor's degree is usually the minimum education level required for an employment specialist. Employers prefer candidates with a bachelor's degree in psychology or administration, with either professional experience or completed coursework in human resource management. Prospective employment specialists should also take courses in organizational development, finance, business writing and communication.

Career Information

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reported that in 2015, human resources specialists took in a median income of $58,350 per year, while training and development specialists made a median salary of $58,210 annually the same year. The BLS also predicted 5% employment growth for human resources specialists and 7% growth for labor relations specialists from 2014-2024.

Supported Employment Specialist Overview

Supported employment specialists provide assistance to individuals with job-seeking challenges due to disability, mental disorder, addiction or other hiring disadvantages. These professionals are trained to assess the strengths of clients and place them with organizations that can both benefit from their work and accommodate their needs. Additionally, employment specialists may run job-training sessions to prepare clients for particular work environments.

Educational Requirements

A bachelor's degree is usually the minimum education level required for an employment specialist, though some employers may accept an associate's degree. Employers prefer candidates with a bachelor's degree in psychology, mental health, human services, social work or business. They also favor candidates who have professional experience working with mentally ill individuals or in employment placement services.

Specialized Training Programs

A number of universities offer supported employment specialist workshops and training programs designed for candidates looking to enter the field. These programs are available at the introductory and advanced levels, both online and on campus, and may culminate in a certificate.

Students in these programs learn to implement job training strategies and programs, assess potential vocational skills and accommodate clients by making customized workplace modifications. They also study legal and ethical issues regarding rehabilitation, disclosure and decision-making. At the advanced level, training programs provide instruction on various strategies to aid clients in learning to support themselves. Students also learn about government incentive programs designed to encourage employers to hire workers with disabilities.

Those who wish to become employment specialists need to obtain a bachelor's degree, preferably in psychology or administration. There are also some specialized training programs available which teach candidates the specific skills needed to be competitive on their job hunt and in the workplace.

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