Pros and Cons of a Career in Human Resources
Human resource professionals manage the hiring, training, benefits and employee relations within an organization and have opportunities for employment in various specialist, management and entry-level positions. Take a closer look at three human resources employment opportunities below - human resource specialist, manager and assistant:
|Human Resource Specialist||Human Resource Manager||Human Resource Assistant|
|Career Overview||Human resource specialists interview, hire and train new employees, conduct orientations and manage company benefits.||Human resource managers oversee the human resource department in a business.||Human resource assistants provide clerical support to specialists and managers.|
|Education Requirements||Bachelor's degree||Bachelor's degree, but employers may prefer a master's||No postsecondary education required|
|Program Length||4 years, full time||4 years, full time for a bachelor's and an additional 2 to 3 years for a master's||N/A|
|Certification||Voluntary certification available||Voluntary certification available||N/A|
|Experience||Several years of experience in the field may substitute for education requirements||2 to 7 years||2 years|
|Job Outlook 2012-2022||90,700 new positions predicted (7% increase)*||13,600 new positions predicted (13% increase)*||1,600 decline in positions predicted (1% decrease)|
|Salary||$57,420 median annual salary (2014)*||$102,780 median annual salary (2014)*||$38,040 median annual salary (2014)*|
Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics
Human Resource Specialist
Human resource specialists perform staffing, benefits and compensation duties in a business's personnel department. Specialists discuss benefits packages with employees, implement recruitment plans, interview job candidates and make job offers to new hires.
The BLS reports that most positions require a minimum of a bachelor's degree in human resources or business. Employers may also require applicants for a specialist position to have experience in the field. Some employers may hire human resource specialists with several years of experience instead of those with a degree in business or human resources.
See job postings from employers seeking human resource specialists in November 2012:
- An employer in Ohio in the chemical industry is searching for a human resource specialist to recruit, hire, train, manage employee benefits and monitor employee relations. The employer requires the human resource specialist to have a bachelor's degree in human resources and 2 or more years experience in the field.
- A Pennsylvania employer in the health services industry is looking for a human resource specialist to recruit and hire new employees, conduct new hire orientation and manage company benefits. The employer requires a minimum of a bachelor's degree and 4 years experience in human resources.
- An employer in Indiana in the banking industry is seeking a human resource specialist to work on employee recruiting, oversee worker relations and assist the benefits and compensation specialist. Applicants must have a minimum of an associate's degree in human resources and 3 years of experience in recruiting and human resource administration.
Voluntary certification may help you stand out when searching for a human resource specialist position. The Society for Human Resource Management offers educational programs and certification prep courses for professionals in the field. The HR Certification Institute offers the Professional in Human Resources (PHR) and global Professional in Human Resources (GPHR) designations. Strong communication skills can help you gain an edge over the competition for human resource jobs.
Human Resource Manager
Human resource managers oversee the activities in a business's personnel department. Managers determine the company's workforce needs and develop plans to staff the organization. In addition, human resource managers create and implement the business's employee services such as benefits.
According to the BLS, human resource managers must have at least a bachelor's degree in human resource management or business administration. Undergraduate programs in human resource management are not common, but you may pursue a business program to qualify for a position. Employers may also require experience in an administrative or leadership position and in human resource functions such as compensation and benefits.
Below are some examples of human resource manager positions available in November 2012:
- An employer in Florida in the telecommunications industry is looking for a human resource manager to oversee the personnel operations in its manufacturing facility. The candidate must have a bachelor's degree and 5 to 7 years administration experience.
- A Florida employer in the health care industry is seeking a human resource manager to oversee the staffing for the organization, employee relations and employment regulation compliance. The employer requires a bachelor's degree in human resources, organizational development or business to qualify for the position. In addition, successful applicants must have 3 or more years of experience in a leadership position in the human resource field.
- A Georgia employer in the information technology field is looking for a human resource manager to plan, implement and direct a human resource strategy for the organization. The manager must remain current on employment laws and regulations and investigate all claims of non-compliance. The employer requires candidates to have a bachelor's degree and 3 to 5 years of experience in human resources, but prefers candidates with a master's degree and 5 to 7 years of experience.
Upper management positions in human resources may require a master's degree in business administration with coursework in labor relations. Certification is not a requirement for a human resource manager, but it may help you stand out in the field. The Society for Human Resource Management offers certification prep courses, and you can earn designations such as Senior Professional in Human Resources (SPHR) and Human Resource Management Professional (HRMP) from the HR Certification Institute.
Human Resource Assistant
Human resource assistants provide clerical support for specialists and managers in the personnel department in a business. Assistants maintain the business's employee records, answer questions from workers and process the department's correspondence. Some human resource assistants participate in the hiring process.
A human resource assistant position is an entry-level job that typically requires the minimum of a high school education. Some employers may prefer candidates with up to 2 years of experience. Assistants must have good communication skills to work with employees, job applicants, human resource specialists and managers.
See job postings from employers seeking human resource assistants in November 2012 below:
- An employer in Kentucky in the legal industry is looking for a human resource assistant to perform data entry, filing and clerical duties. The human resource assistant will schedule appointments with applicants as well. To qualify for the position, candidates must have a minimum of 1 year of experience in an office setting.
- A Tennessee employer in the food manufacturing industry is seeking a human resource assistant to provide support for the human resource department. The employer requires the assistant to have a minimum of a high school education and 2 years experience in human resources.
- A Virginia non-profit organization is searching for a human resource assistant to assist in new hire orientation, recruiting practices and ensuring compliance with employment laws and regulations. The employer requires a bachelor's degree in human resources or a related field and a minimum of 2 years experience in the field to qualify for the position.
According to the BLS, human resource assistants must have good computer skills to work in the position. Experience or coursework in computers may help you gain an advantage in the job market. A background in customer service may also help you stand out in the field.