Should I Become an HR Professional?
|Degree Level||Bachelor's degree; master's degrees often helpful for advancement|
|Degree Field||Human resources, business administration or a related field|
|Certification||Certification not required, but may demonstrate professional knowledge|
|Experience||No experience required for HR specialists; 1-5 years of experience required for HR managers|
|Key Skills||Strong communication skills and attention to detail; good speaking and listening skills|
|Average Salary (2015)|| $63,710 (for all HR specialists)
$117,080 for all HR managers)
Sources: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics
Human resources professionals can work as specialists or managers. Their duties might include handling administrative work or helping hire and train new employees. Administrative work might consist of payroll, benefits and contracts. When hiring new employees, human resources professionals must understand the qualifications necessary for the position, interview candidates and perform background checks. Once someone is hired, they also might oversee employee orientation and assist with training.
These professionals can find work at corporations, government offices, technical companies and health care organizations. Their duties might require them to travel frequently for business. Some workers put in overtime hours on a regular basis. Human resources professionals need strong communication skills and attention to detail, as well as good speaking and listening skills.
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), human resources specialists earned a mean annual salary of $63,710 as of May 2015, while HR managers made an average of $117,080 per year.
Earn a Bachelor's Degree
A bachelor's degree program, such as a Bachelor of Science in Human Resources, can prepare graduates to work as human resource professionals. Students in these programs learn to develop and implement training programs. The curriculum also might cover areas like working in teams, intervention strategies, instructional design and career guidance. Other common courses in HR degree programs include organizational development, human resources leadership, principles and practices of human resources, diversity issues and multimedia development.
Find schools that offer these popular programs
- Human Resources Development
- Labor and Industrial Relations
- Labor Studies
- Organizational Behavior
Participate in an Internship
Some bachelor degree programs include an internship as part of the curriculum; if not included, students should seek one on their own. The purpose of an internship is to help students become familiar with human resources practices and begin developing experience in the field. Interns will be able to apply what they learned in the classroom in a practical environment. Opportunities might be available to work as part of a team, assist in training and begin developing organizational skills.
Completing an internship in the summer can help students study the field without the additional pressure of attending classes and completing homework. This allows students to work during regular working hours and participate in all company activities during the day.
Professionals can seek voluntary certification in human resources, such as the Certified Human Resources Specialist designation. To obtain certification, professionals need to attend a workshop and complete a training program. They also need to pass an exam. The advantages of earning certification include enhancing employment opportunities and developing connections in the field.
After working in the field, human resource specialists can advance to become managers. Human resource managers generally need at least a year of experience working in a human resource specialist position. Additionally, the BLS notes that candidates who have certification or a master's degree, such as a Master of Business Administration, should have the best job prospects.
In summary, the road to becoming an HR professional typically includes an undergraduate degree program and internship. With experience in the field, voluntary certification, and additional education, a position in management is possible.