Human Resource Careers: Salary Info & Job Description

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What are the pros and cons of a human resources career? Get real job descriptions, career prospects and salary info to see if becoming a human resource professional is right for you.
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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.

Requirements

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.

Standing Out

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.

Requirements

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.

Standing Out

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.

Requirements

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.

Standing Out

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.

Popular Schools

  • Online Programs Available
    1. Colorado State University Global

    Program Options

    Master's
      • Master - Human Resource Management
      • MS - Management
      • MS - Organizational Leadership
    Bachelor's
      • BS - Human Resource Management
      • BS - Business Management
      • BS - Organizational Leadership
  • Online Programs Available
    2. Herzing University

    Program Options

    Master's
      • MBA Dual Concentration: HR & Project Mgmt.
      • MBA Dual Concentration: BS Mgmt. & HR
      • MBA Dual Concentration: Healthcare Mgt. & Human Resources
      • MBA
      • MBA Dual Concentration: Accounting and Human Resources
      • MBA Dual Concentration: Business Mgmt & Project Mgmt.
    Bachelor's
      • B.S. - Business Management: Human Resource Development Concentration
      • B.S. - Business Management: Business Admin Concentration
      • B.S. - Business Management With No Concentration
    Associate's
      • Associate of Science - Business Management
      • Associate of Science - Business Studies
  • Online Programs Available
    3. Northcentral University

    Program Options

    Doctorate
      • Doctor of Business Admin - Human Resources Management
      • PhD in Business Admin - Human Resources Management
      • Doctor of Philosophy Organizational Leadership (PhD-OL)
      • PhD in Business Admin - Management
      • Ed.D. - Global Training and Development
      • Doctor of Business Admin - General Business
    Master's
      • MBA - Human Resources Management
      • Master of Science in Organizational Leadership - Accelerated Master of Science in Organizational Leadership
      • Master of Science in Organizational Leadership - Human Resources Management
      • Master of Business Admin - General Business
      • Master of Business Admin - Accelerated General MBA
      • MBA - Management
    Certificate
      • Education Specialist - Organizational Leadership
  • Online Programs Available
    4. Kaplan University

    Program Options

    Master's
      • MBA: Human Resources
      • Master: Management/Human Resources
      • MSM in Organizational Design and Development
      • Master : Business Admin
    Bachelor's
      • BSBA in Human Resources
      • Bachelor of Business Admin
      • BSBA - Investment
    Associate's
      • AASBA in Business
      • Associate: Business Admin.
      • Associate: Business Admin. - Office Mgmt
  • Online Programs Available
    5. University of the Rockies

    Program Options

    Doctorate
      • Doctor of Philosophy in Organizational Development and Leadership
      • Ph.D. in Organizational Development & Leadership - Organizational Diversity
      • Psy.D. in Business Psychology
    Master's
      • M.A. in Organizational Development & Leadership - Organizational Diversity
      • M.A. in Organizational Development and Leadership
      • M.A. in Psychology - Business Psychology
      • M.A. in Psychology - Career Management & Counseling
  • Online Programs Available
    6. Southern New Hampshire University

    Program Options

    Master's
      • MBA In Human Resource Management
      • International MBA in Human Resources
      • MS in Organizational Leadership
      • MS in Management
      • MBA
      • MBA in Six Sigma
    Bachelor's
      • BS in Business Administration
      • BS in Business Admin - Human Resource Mgt
      • BS in Business Studies - Human Resource Mgt
      • BS in Business Admin - Org Leadership
      • BS in Business Studies - Business Adminis
    Associate's
      • AS in Business Administration
  • Online Programs Available
    7. Colorado Technical University

    Program Options

    Doctorate
      • Doctorate: Management - Organizational Development and Change
      • Doctor of Management - Global Leadership (Executive Format)
      • Doctor of Management (DM) - General Concentration (Executive Format)
    Master's
      • MBA: Human Resource Management
      • Master of Business Admin
    Bachelor's
      • Bachelor of Science in Business Administration - Human Resource Management
      • Bachelor of Science in Business Administration - Management
      • Bachelor of Science in Business Administration - Organizational Behavior
      • Bachelor of Science in Business Administration - Business Development
      • Bachelor of Science in Business Administration - General
      • B.S. - Psychology - Organizational Behavior
    Associate's
      • Associate of Science in Business Administration
  • Online Programs Available
    8. Keiser University

    Program Options

    Master's
      • Master of Science in Organizational Leadership
      • Master in Business Administration - Management
    Bachelor's
      • B.A. - Business Admin: Human Resources
      • B.A. - Business Admin: Management
    Associate's
      • Associate of Arts - Accounting
  • Online Programs Available
    9. Penn Foster Career School

    Program Options

    Certificate
      • Certificate - Human Resource Management Essentials
      • Career Diploma: Small Business Management
      • Certificate - Business Management Essentials
  • Online Programs Available
    10. American InterContinental University

    Program Options

    Master's
      • Master of Business Admin: Human Resources
    Bachelor's
      • Bachelor of Business Admin: Human Resources
      • Bachelor of Business Admin: Management
      • Bachelor of Business Administration - Generalist
    Associate's
      • Associate of Arts in Business Administration

Featured Schools

Colorado State University Global

  • Master - Human Resource Management
  • MS - Management
  • BS - Human Resource Management
  • BS - Business Management

What is your highest level of education?

Herzing University

  • MBA Dual Concentration: HR & Project Mgmt.
  • B.S. - Business Management: Human Resource Development Concentration
  • Associate of Science - Business Management

What is your highest level of education?

Northcentral University

  • Doctor of Business Admin - Human Resources Management
  • MBA - Human Resources Management
  • Education Specialist - Organizational Leadership

What is your highest level of education?

Kaplan University

  • MBA: Human Resources
  • BSBA in Human Resources
  • AASBA in Business

Which subject are you interested in?

University of the Rockies

  • Doctor of Philosophy in Organizational Development and Leadership
  • Ph.D. in Organizational Development & Leadership - Organizational Diversity
  • M.A. in Organizational Development & Leadership - Organizational Diversity
  • M.A. in Organizational Development and Leadership

What is your highest level of education?

Southern New Hampshire University

  • MBA In Human Resource Management
  • BS in Business Administration
  • AS in Business Administration

What is your highest level of education?

Colorado Technical University

  • Doctorate: Management - Organizational Development and Change
  • MBA: Human Resource Management
  • Bachelor of Science in Business Administration - Human Resource Management
  • Associate of Science in Business Administration

Are you a US citizen?

Keiser University

  • Master of Science in Organizational Leadership
  • B.A. - Business Admin: Human Resources
  • Associate of Arts - Accounting

What is your highest level of education?