By Cooper Nelson
Human resources (HR) is a department within a company that assists with hiring, administrative support, and the onboarding, training and evaluation of employees. HR specialists are crucial because they organize virtually every aspect of employee life and are involved in ensuring that the company gets, trains and retains talented workers. HR professionals also help ensure compliance with local, state and federal employment regulations.
Because HR specialists play a vital within most organizations, this position is expected to grow by 8% from 2021 to 2031, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). That translates to about 81,900 job openings for this role each year.
Typically, those interested in working in HR will need to hold a bachelor’s degree in human resources. But where do you go from there? Here’s a closer look at the paths available to professionals with a human resources degree.
Disclaimer: Please refer to related degree program pages for career outcomes that are aligned with University of Phoenix degrees.
Salary ranges are not specific to students or graduates of University of Phoenix. Actual outcomes vary based on multiple factors, including prior work experience, geographic location and other factors specific to the individual. University of Phoenix does not guarantee employment, salary level or career advancement. BLS data is geographically based. Information for a specific state/city can be researched on the BLS website.
A human resources consultant offers advice and services related to HR management. Some specialists provide general guidance for a client’s HR department, while others focus on a specific area, such as hiring, professional development, benefits or labor relations.
As a consultant, you can work independently or for a firm that offers third-party services to businesses and organizations. You will work with different clients in different locations. Some jobs may involve assessing current HR practices to recommend improvements, while other clients may hire you to help implement changes.
An executive recruiter, known colloquially as a “headhunter,” finds qualified professionals for vacancies in a company or organization. In this specialty, you typically try to find people with specific skills for senior or executive positions. In addition to CEOs, presidents, vice presidents and senior management professionals, headhunters may seek out people for highly technical positions in fields like computer programming, data science or machine learning.
Executive recruiters can work for one company or serve different clients as independent consultants. Regardless of where you work, you will need to research candidates thoroughly and create relationships with schools, organizations or other talent sources. You will also need relationship-building and negotiation skills to persuade qualified candidates to come work for your employer or client.
Human resources managers oversee specific departments within a company or supervise a specific aspect of HR operations. In this position, you make decisions about how to coordinate operations to ensure the best use of employee experience and talents. You may also be responsible for bringing new talent into the company by recruiting and hiring.
HR managers often have administrative duties such as arranging and managing employee compensation and benefits packages, organizing professional development opportunities and handling complaints from employees about policies or management practices.
HR managers typically have bachelor’s degrees and extensive on-the-job experience.
A graduate degree, along with professional certification and some years of experience, can help nurture skills to succeed in this kind of role.
A labor relations manager is an HR specialist who acts as a liaison between management and the workforce. In this career, you report to company management about worker contract demands and policy-change requests. You might also look into employee complaints or grievances.
This position also has a legal aspect. Labor relations managers ensure that the company is operating according to all relevant health, safety and employee rights laws. Additionally, your job responsibilities could include communicating with union representatives and drafting company policies and rules with their input. You will play a central role in union contract negotiations and ensure that all parties honor labor agreements.
A training manager is a human resources specialist who oversees onboarding, training, professional development and other workplace education efforts.
As a training manager, you might conduct learning sessions yourself or hire qualified instructors to teach employees. Regardless of your exact responsibilities, you will find that this is an employee-facing position, so you will need good public speaking and communication skills.
In this management-level job, you may be also responsible for maintaining a training budget and assessing programs, altering them if they no longer meet the company’s needs.
A compensation and benefits manager oversees the salary and benefits packages for employees. In this senior role, you typically have a budget and must ensure that all compensation fits within its limitations. Doing so often requires restructuring payments and benefits and negotiating with third-party vendors to provide perks like health insurance and retirement account management.
In addition to meeting budget requirements, you must ensure that payment packages are competitive for your industry and meet federal, state and municipal requirements. Finally, you need to educate employees about their benefits and pay packages and answer their questions or concerns.
An employment manager helps with staffing needs. Hiring is a part of the job description, but the position can also involve planning for outsourcing or temporary workers.
In some companies, employment managers are involved in planning for future workforce needs. This involves the development of workforce plans, which include hiring, contracting and developing staff in alignment with the company’s goals.
This job has a legal aspect, because you must be sure the company’s hiring and employment practices meet local, state and federal standards. This includes ensuring the rights of job applicants and employees and assessing their eligibility to work for your company.
Talent acquisition specialists assess the needs of a company and try to recruit workers who have the right skills and education. In this career, you typically handle all aspects of recruitment, including finding skilled workers or advertising vacancies to attract qualified applicants.
Like other HR specialties, this one typically requires a degree in human resources, business or a related field. Your duties can move beyond recruiting to include vetting applications, conducting interviews and making hiring decisions. Some companies ask HR specialists to be part of onboarding for new employees.
A global human resources manager works for a multinational company. Their duties are similar to those of a regular HR manager with one significant exception: They work with international employees or those with dual citizenship.
Requirements include an HR degree and experience. You also need knowledge of international business practices, including employment laws and requirements in each country where your employer operates.
In terms of demand or salary, BLS does not distinguish between domestic and international HR managers. However, depending on company locations, there are some things that can help applicants stand out, such as language skills or familiarity with one or more of the countries where the company operates.
How can you qualify for a job in this growing field? A bachelor’s degree in human resources, business or a related field is typically required for entry-level HR jobs.
Many business degrees can provide the knowledge base necessary to pursue more-advanced studies in human resources. In addition to an HR management certificate, you might consider pursuing an MBA with a concentration in human resources or a Graduate Human Resource Management Certificate.
In human resources, you can have a direct impact on the lives of workers, which can be rewarding both professionally and personally. This, along with the ability to choose from a wide range of specializations, can make HR an attractive career option.
University of Phoenix offers several business degrees that prepare students with skills to succeed in a variety of career paths. Whether you’re looking to build the fundamentals or advance your skill set, there’s a degree program for you.
Here are some of the business degree programs and certificates at University of Phoenix:
Associate of Arts with a concentration in Business Fundamentals — If you’re interested in essential skills that make a business career possible, this associate degree program might be a great fit for you.
Bachelor of Science in Business — This degree program helps develop an in-depth understanding of how to address business needs and prepares students with skills to work as business managers, operations managers and more.
Bachelor of Science in Business with a Human Resource Management Certificate — In this program you’ll learn sought-after skills such as human resource management, regulatory compliance, talent management and operations.
Graduate Human Resource Management Certificate — In this program you’ll learn how to recruit employees and develop talent, address legal issues, manage employee and labor relations, and build compensation and benefits packages.
Bachelor of Science in Communication — Writing and communication skills are critical when it comes to translating an idea to a broad audience.
Master of Business Administration — Whether you’re looking to take on greater leadership roles or just develop your business skills at the graduate level, this degree program can be a great next step. Learn how to develop strategies to foster innovation and facilitate change in a dynamic business environment.
Master of Management — From communication and leadership skills to operations and strategic planning, the lessons learned in this program are important for running a complex business operation.
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