What Can I Do with a Degree in Human Resources?

Learn more about what you can do with a degree in human resources. Find information on human resource management careers, salary, job outlook, and schools. View popular schools that prepare students for careers in HR.


The single most important resource is any business is the human being. Without workers, no company could survive. Productive, satisfied employees are generally viewed as a desirable resource, as the consequences of dissatisfied workers can be disastrous. It is the responsibility of the Human Resource Manager to find, train and motivate employees for corporations. Human Resource Managers are frequently responsible for such diverse aspects as conducting interviews, monitoring employee satisfaction, and acting as a liaison between worker and management when questions or conflicts arise. The Human Resource Manager is face of corporate policy for the average worker, and the resource to which employees can turn. In the modern, changing business world, Human Resource Managers often work with company executives in shaping and implementing new policies and procedures that make the most effective use of employee skills. Human Resource Managers must be “people persons,” not only familiar with the organization’s structure, but also comfortable in dealing with the myriad of concerns that individuals will have. They must balance the collection of data with the specially tailored needs of the worker in the company. Everything from salary and benefit packages through job performance and workplace safety can fall under the umbrella of the Human Resource Manager.


There are a number of career paths available to those seeking to become Human Resource Managers. In smaller companies, a single HR Manager might be responsible for the entire range of the HR department. However, in larger corporations there may be an entire HR team, led by a director of human resources. Under that director, an employment manager will be concerned with the hiring and firing of workers. A recruitment specialist may be out in the field, visiting college campuses and job fairs, seeking out qualified candidates, recommending them to the office’s employment interviewer. Once a person is hired, the compensation, benefit and job analysis specialist will handle their questions regarding pay and benefits. Employee pay scales are set and monitored by the compensation manager. Training managers will be responsible for overseeing new workers becoming fully competent in their duties. Finally, the employee welfare manager, or work-life manager, will ensure employee safety and intangible job satisfaction by overseeing items such as counseling or the operation of a workplace daycare center.

Industry Salary Info

Since there are a number of different positions available in the Human Resource field, there is a wide range of salaries, depending upon geographical location or corporate size. As a rule, the greater the responsibility in the Human Resources Department, the better the salary package. Compensation managers, for example, earn $86,500 on average. Training managers made slightly more, $87,700 per year, while a general human resource manager can make approximately $96,130. Recruitment specialists fall lower on the pay scale, earning on $45,470 per year. Job analysis specialists earn similar amounts, or $53,860 annually. A training specialist, before moving into manager status, makes $51,450.

Any individual seeking employment in the human resource field, regardless of eventual job title, is best served by first earning at least a Bachelor’s Degree. According to a 2009 survey by the National Association of Colleges and Employers, those individuals, when first recruited, are offered starting salaries in the range of $45,000 per year.

Job Outlook

The need for qualified Human Resource Managers is expected to grow at a rate much greater than the national average over the coming decade. Newer regulations regarding occupational health and safety, equal pay, healthcare plans, as well as the desire for corporations to mediate between workers and management, will see the need for skilled candidates. Certain specialties, such as job training specialist, will be in greater demand, as the modern workforce requires each job to have tailored skills.

Individuals seeking career advancement would be well advised to seek out professional certification offered by the American Society for Training and Development (ASTD), which allows the individual to become a Certified Employee Benefits Specialist (CEBS). Also, the Society for Human Resource Management offers certification as a Professional in Human Resources (PHR) or Senior Professional in Human Resources (SPHR). The World at Work Society of Certified Professionals offers four distinct professional certifications, including Certified Compensation Professional (CCP), Work-Life Certified Professional (WLCP), Global Remuneration Professional (GRP) and Certified Benefits Professional (CBP).

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