Do You Need a Master's in Human Resources?

Oct 25, 2017

Whether or not you need a master's in human resources, it's an advantageous credential to have. In this article, we'll review the curricula of a graduate program in HR and a few of the related professions in which this degree may be a benefit.

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A master's degree in human resources may not be necessary for most positions, but it can certainly be beneficial, whether by improving your job opportunities or helping to advance your career. Read on for more information about the coursework and career paths of an HR master's program.

HR Master's Program Information

The master's program gives students the chance to further develop their skills in management strategy, applied research, communication, and professionalism, as well as grounding them in the theoretical and foundational aspects of HR. Listed below are some typical course areas of an HRM program.

HR Strategy

In this area, students learn to take a strategic and system perspective of human resources, wherein one studies how business policy and competitive tactics merge with HR. Developing measurement systems and understanding the issues associated with these systems is also part of the curriculum. Students will use the knowledge they accumulate and apply it to a global context.

HR Decision-Making

Covered in this section are the financial and data-based aspects of making decisions in HR. Students are taught to interpret basic financial statements such as those involving cash flow, balance sheets, and income. They also study cost-benefit analysis, stock options, and so forth. On the statistical end of it, classes address research design methodology to help students create, use, and calculate outcomes of HR strategy.

HR Functional

Topics of the functional area include workforce flow, human capital, and rewards system. Courses may deal with human assets management, the training and development of such assets, organizational transformation and change, examination of incentive pay systems, and various performance pay issues.

HR Context

The contextual part of human resources encompasses the economics and demographics of labor markets, employment law, and management of the global workforce. Subjects include labor supply, demographic projection and trends, unionization, economic reasoning, and discrimination. One will also study the legal process in relation to employment issues, as well as international trade, multinational operations, and the impact of global markets.

Career Options with a Master's in Human Resources

Human Resources Manager

A human resources manager plans, directs, and coordinates a company's workforce, from recruiting and interviewing employees to consulting other managers. This individual also serves as a liaison between corporate and nonexecutive employees. HR managers might oversee the entire human resources administration, or be assigned to a specific department such as payroll or staffing. While a bachelor's degree could suffice for this position, some employers may require a master's degree in human resources or a related field.

Labor Relations Manager

These professionals strive to maintain a good relationship between management and lower staff. Labor relations managers develop and implement policies, investigate employee issues, and facilitate dispute resolutions, among other tasks. This type of job is particularly common in unionized employment. A bachelor's degree or higher is needed, usually in addition to experience.

Human Resources Generalist

Just as the title implies, a human resources generalist performs all-around duties in HR and often works under the department's director as a link between upper management and personnel. Training, hiring, and evaluating are tasks common to their job. A bachelor's degree may be the minimum requirement, but a master's is often desired by employers, along with years of experience.

Benefits Analyst

A benefits analyst typically reviews insurance/benefits plans and helps clients understand their coverage. One must understand applicable laws and be able to communicate well, and experience in HR is normal. They usually work in an office and contact clients through email, telephone, or in person. Benefits analysts need at least a bachelor's degree, and a master's degree could only foster their career growth.

Corporate Trainer

Corporate trainers devise and execute company training programs. These trainers seek to improve employee performance and help them recognize their strengths and weaknesses. To qualify for this role, you must be adept in communication and interpersonal skills. At minimum, a bachelor's degree is mandatory, though employers may prefer those with a master's degree in human resources or a similar discipline.

Earning a master's degree in human resources can make for an educational and informative experience, and it could surely aid your career in many ways. The programs delve deeply into the topics, and the extensive knowledge you acquire may lead you to be a competitive applicant for the jobs listed above.

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