Human Resources: How Does One Become a Human Resource Professional

Learn how to become a human resources professional. Research the education, experience and career requirements for starting a career as a human resource professional. View article »

View 10 Popular Schools »

An error occurred trying to load this video.

Try refreshing the page, or contact customer support.

94% college-bound high school students
…said it was important to communicate with colleges during the search process. (Source: Noel-Levitz 2012 trend study)

Select a school or program

    • MBA - Human Resources
    • MS in Management - Human Resources
    • MS in Management - Organizational Design and Development
    • MBA
    • BS in Business Administration - Human Resources
    • BS in Business Administration
    • Bachelor of Science in Business Administration, Investment Career Focus Area
    • AAS in Business Administration - Business
    • AAS in Business Administration
    • AAS in Business Admin-Office Management
    • View all programs
    • BA: Human Resources
    • BA: Business Administration - Management
    • BA: Business Administration - Logistics
    • BA: Business Administration - Marketing
    • AA: Business Administration
    • View all programs
View More Schools
Show Me Schools
 Replay
  • 0:01 Should I Become an HR…
  • 1:11 Earn a Bachelor's Degree
  • 1:43 Participate in an Internship
  • 2:25 Obtain Certification
  • 2:46 Pursue Advancement

Find the perfect school

Video Transcript

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.

Obtain Certification

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.

Pursue Advancement

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.

Next: View Schools

What is your highest level of education?

Some College
Complete your degree or find the graduate program that's right for you.
High School Diploma
Explore schools that offer bachelor and associate degrees.
Still in High School
Earn your diploma or GED. Plan your undergraduate education.

Schools you may like:

Popular Schools

The listings below may include sponsored content but are popular choices among our users.

    • MBA - Human Resources
    • MS in Management - Human Resources
    • MS in Management - Organizational Design and Development
    • MBA
    • BS in Business Administration - Human Resources
    • BS in Business Administration
    • Bachelor of Science in Business Administration, Investment Career Focus Area
    • AAS in Business Administration - Business
    • AAS in Business Administration
    • AAS in Business Admin-Office Management

    What is your highest level of education completed?

    • BA: Human Resources
    • BA: Business Administration - Management
    • BA: Business Administration - Logistics
    • BA: Business Administration - Marketing
    • AA: Business Administration

    What is your highest level of education completed?

  • What is your highest level of education?

  • What is your highest level of education?

    • Ph.D. in Organizational Leadership
    • Ph.D. in Organizational Leadership - Ecclesial Leadership
    • Ph.D. in Organizational Leadership - Entrepreneurial Leadership
    • Ph.D. in Organizational Leadership - Individualized
    • Doctor of Strategic Leadership - Human Resource Development
    • Ph.D. in Organizational Leadership - Human Resource Development
    • Master of Arts in Organizational Leadership
    • Master of Arts in Organizational Leadership - Futures Studies
    • Master of Arts in Organizational Leadership - HR Management
    • Master of Arts in Organizational Leadership - Interdisciplinary Studies
    • Master of Arts in Organizational Leadership - Organizational Development Consulting
    • Master of Arts in Organizational Leadership - Servant Leadership
    • Bachelor of Science in Business - HR Management
    • B.S. in Human Resource Management
    • Bachelor of Science in Business
    • Bachelor of Science in Professional Studies - Business
    • Bachelor of Science in Business - General Management
    • Bachelor of Arts in English - Government

    What is your highest level of education completed?

  • What is your highest level of education?

    • Master of Business Administration - Human Resource Management Concentration
    • Master of Business Administration - Human Resource Management Specialization
    • Master of Business Administration with a General Business Specialization

    What is your highest level of education completed?

  • What is your highest level of education?

    • Business Administration, MBA
    • Business Administration, MBA - Emphasis in Advanced Accounting
    • Business Administration, MBA - Emphasis in Health Care Administration
    • Business Administration, MBA - Emphasis in Leadership
    • Business Administration, MBA - Emphasis in Project Management
    • Human Resource Management, B.S.
    • Business Administration, B.S.
    • Business Administration, B.S. - Emphasis in International Business
    • Human Resource Management, A.S.
    • Business Administration, A.S.

    What is your highest level of education completed?

  • What is your highest level of education?

Find your perfect school

What is your highest level of education?