Get on the Right Track for Success in HR Management

August 14th, 2014 by

Human ResourcesIn every large organization, company or business, there are dedicated staff who handle the administrative side of the equation.

From hiring new recruits to training existing staff and even acting as a liaison between staff and executives, the human resources team is an integral part of any corporation or group.

Heading up this human resources department, or HR department, is a manager.

If you believe that you have natural leadership abilities, you are a strong communicator and you are interested in securing a career in business, then consider earning a degree that will help you accomplish all of those goals and many more.

HR technology reviewer Software Advice recently conducted an extensive study into what, exactly, employers are looking for when it comes to hiring HR positions. The results can help guide your decisions and lead you to the right education for success within the field.

Get a Solid Understanding of HR Management Roles

Before you decide on the level of education that will best meet your needs or what major to pursue, make sure that you have a clear understanding of what human resources careers entail.

In a nutshell, human resources professionals help a company to make the most of the staff and their abilities.

This might include creating a strategy for workplace efficiency, fostering better relationships between staff and managers, acting as the mediator for any disputes that might arise, ensuring that the workplace is free from discrimination, creating a safe place to work that follows state or federal guidelines and attracting new potential employees to the organization that can further improve the business.

Leading a human resources department is typically the HR manager. Other positions available within the same field might include titles like labor relations managers, recruitment managers or staffing managers, all of which fall under the category of human resources personnel.

Choose a Degree That Helps You Get Ahead

If working in human resources sounds like a career that you would be interested in, then you will want to start with earning the right degree for the job.

For roughly 85 percent of the human resources jobs included in the Software Advice study, a bachelor’s degree was required.

Only three percent said just a high school diploma was sufficient, and 11 percent did not specify what degree would be necessary.

Since the overwhelming majority of employers want candidates with a four-year bachelor’s degree, those interested in HR careers should definitely aim to complete that program before looking seriously for work.

HR Required Education

This information goes hand in hand with findings that show that most titles within the human resources field were filled by people with a bachelor’s degree.

A full 100 percent of employees ranked as associate HR directors, senior HR generalists, employee relations managers and employment managers had a minimum of a bachelor’s degree, and only a minority of similar titles were able to gain employment with just a high school degree or an associate degree.

HR Degrees by Title

Also worth noting is that when employers are asked about the preferred level of education among their employees in the HR department, they often pick a graduate level certification like a master’s degree or an MBA.

An advanced degree may take more time for you, but it can be worth it if it expands your employment options as well as your overall earning potential for the future.

HR Preferred Education

Pick the Right Major for a Successful Career

It should come as no surprise that the most commonly requested major among employers looking for HR candidates was human resources.

Roughly one-third of employers wanted their employees to have studied human resources as their major, but almost 20 percent preferred applicants who had earned a degree in business administration.

HR Areas of Study

The best way to prepare for any of the careers within the field of HR, then, is to earn your degree in human resources.

However, other options that might be worth considering, depending on your interests and the direction you want your career to take, could include majors like psychology, business administration, organizational development, public administration or even labor relations.

How to Earn Your Bachelor’s Degree in Human Resources

Before you can graduate with a bachelor’s degree in human resources, you will need to apply to the college of your choosing, be accepted into their program and then complete the four years of courses.

The admission requirements of each college can vary depending on the competitiveness of the school, but almost every college will expect applicants to have a high school diploma or a general education degree, have either SAT or ACT scores and be willing to submit a written essay, references and copies of high school transcripts.

Students who want to study human resources, or nearly any other related major, can opt to study on a traditional college campus or through an accredited online college.

Online degrees can often be a simpler way for busy students to earn the education they need to secure lucrative careers in the field of human resources management.

Gain a Realistic Expectation Regarding HR Management Salaries

To get on the right track toward success within the field of HR management, it is important to get a realistic expectation of salaries in the industry.

The annual wage of a HR manager in the United States is approximately $60,000. Just eight percent of the HR management positions included in the study offered salaries over $100,000 annually, and roughly 12 percent of the positions offered salaries of less than $40,000 per year.

HR Salaries

However, it is important to keep in mind that salaries can vary depending on a number of different factors. Geographic location, degree type and industry can all play a role in the exact salary offered to employees in HR.

Also relevant is years of experience within the field. Some job titles, such as HR specialist, may require just one to five years of experience.

Other job titles, such as senior HR manager or senior HR business partner, may require upwards of 10 years of experience for hire, which will naturally drive up their potential salaries.

HR Experience by Title

Becoming an HR manager, or securing any other HR position, requires both education, natural ability and training. Learning about what employers in the field are looking for can go a long way in helping you choose the right major and degree type for success within the field.

To find the accredited college or university that fits your needs best and offers the program of study that will most effectively help you reach your career goals, visit



About the Author:

Sandy Davis

Sandy Davis is a long-time educator who holds a Master’s Degree in Education, having taught English, writing, and communication on the secondary and college levels. With ten years of experience in blogging, social media and content management, she is a freelance writer and content marketing specialist for a diverse range of clients.

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