How to Become a Human and Organizational Development Advisor

Mar 10, 2020

Find out how to become a human and organizational development advisor. Research the education and training requirements, and learn about the experience you need to advance your career in human and organizational development.

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Career Overview

Degree Level Bachelor's degree
Degree Fields Varies; business, human resources, or related field
Certification Optional, but some employers prefer it
Experience Five+ years in human resources or a related field
Key Skills Knowledge of relevant federal and state laws, workers' compensation and employment law, project management and recruitment; interpersonal communication and problem-solving ability; basic office computer skills such as word processing, databases, and spreadsheets; Human Resources Information System (HRIS) a plus
Salary 2018 $66,790 (mean salary for human resource specialists)

Sources: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, O*NET OnLine, online job postings at and

Human and organizational development advisors assist with managing and maintaining human resource systems. They can work in a variety of environments, like in the hospitality or insurance industries, where they collaborate with company management to implement and revise employee training, devise strategies to facilitate production and increase market awareness.

These advisors work with a wide variety of personality types, taking into account the needs of management and those of personnel they manage. They usually work in office environments but might get to travel to job fairs and other recruitment or training venues.

Human and organizational development advisors must be knowledgeable about relevant federal and state laws and workers compensation and employment law. They should have strong interpersonal and communication skills and problem-solving abilities. They also must be familiar with project management and recruitment and basic office computer skills, such as word processing, databases and spreadsheets. Knowledge of Human Resources Information Systems (HRIS) software is a plus.

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, human resource specialists made a mean annual wage of $66,790 as of May 2018. Let's look at the steps involved to become a human and organizational development advisor.

Step 1: Complete a Degree Program

While some employers will hire applicants with only a high school diploma, most require a bachelor's degree in business, human resources or another relevant field.

Some colleges and universities offer degree programs specifically in human and organizational development at the undergraduate level. Required coursework might include applied human development, intra- and interpersonal development and developmental psychology. Other classes that may fulfill degree requirements include macroeconomics, talent management and organizational theory. Bachelor's degree programs in human and organizational development often include internships and practical programs to help students develop relevant workplace skills. These programs can also help students determine which industry they'd like to work in, allowing them to make realistic professional goals. Internships are typically undertaken during the last two years of an undergraduate program.

Aspiring human and organizational development advisors also might consider graduate school. Some employers prefer applicants with a graduate degree so obtaining a master's degree or greater may increase your employment and advancement opportunities. Graduate programs are also designed to assist students with specializing in areas such as national or global leadership.

Step 2: Gain Experience

There are a variety of ways to develop relevant experience in human and organizational development. High school graduates, for example, might be able to enter the field as interviewers or recruiters. Other options include customer service or human resources assistant.

Human and organizational development advisors, however, are usually further along in their career and have sufficient experience to both consult with and provide advice to management and other relevant personnel. Their position may call for them to interview and recruit personnel, create policies and procedures or interpret and administer state and federal regulations.

Step 3: Consider Certification

Some employers of human and organizational development advisors prefer their applicants to be certified as a Professional in Human Resources (PHR) or Senior Professional in Human Resources (SPHR). The Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) offers the basic PHR/SPHR designations as well as the Global Professional in Human Resources (GPHR) and the California-based PHR-CA and SPHR-CA.

These credentials demonstrate that an applicant is committed to the profession and has mastered a relevant body of knowledge. The certification process also provides opportunities for skill development and maintaining awareness of current legislation and regulatory issues, as well as career resources, such as networking.

SHRM offers a variety of exam preparation and continued learning programs in both traditional face-to-face and online settings. In addition to self-study programs, the organization provides preparatory seminars, business focus and HR management programs. Its executive education program includes topics such as coaching, leadership and management.

Step 4: Maintain Certification

SHRM mandates recertification every three years, a process that requires completing continuing education. The upside to this requirement may be that the more you learn, the more you earn.

In summary, human and organizational development advisors typically need a bachelor's degree and experience in the field. Some employers prefer candidates who have gone the extra mile, earning a graduate degree or attaining voluntary professional certification.

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