When you study human resources, you’re equipping yourself with the skills you need to handle companies’ most valuable resources: their workers. Earning a bachelor’s degree in human resources can prepare you for a variety of business roles in this field, including HR specialist, labor relations specialist, training and development specialist and compensation, benefits or job analysis specialist. With experience and credentials like an advanced degree or professional certification, you could move into a senior-level HR role like human resources manager.
Human Resources Specialists and Generalists
The most obvious career path with an HR degree is human resources specialist. This occupation is concerned with the many different areas that fit under the category of human resources, from recruiting and training employees to administering company policies, benefits and compensation. Human resources generalists are HR professionals whose responsibilities include tasks related to each of these areas. Other jobs with a human resources degree have a narrower focus. For example, those with a title of recruitment specialist are responsible for publishing listings for open jobs, reviewing applications and interviewing candidates, according to the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). HR specialists earn a median wage of $60,350 per year.
Titles like personnel recruiter or, more informally, “head hunter,” also refer to recruitment specialists.
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Labor Relations Specialists
A more specialized career field within HR is labor relations specialist. Labor relations specialists work in the contract-related area of human resources. They act as an intermediary between management personnel and workers when labor issues arise. Those issues can range from contract negotiations involving wages and benefits to worker grievances about management practices.
The majority of labor relations specialists – 78 percent – work for labor unions and other labor organizations, the BLS reported. Just three percent of labor relations specialists work for the management of companies and enterprises industry and four percent for the government, but these roles are among the most lucrative. Labor relations specialists who work for labor organizations earn a median salary of $59,530, while government labor relations specialists make a $72,960 median wage and those employed in management earn a median salary of $84,570, according to the BLS.
Labor relations specialists are not in high demand. In fact, the BLS expects job opportunities for this occupation to decline by eight percent over a decade.
Training and Development Specialists
Another crucial area of human resources is employee training. Training and development specialists are the ones behind the training programs that help employees reach their full potential. These HR professionals determine what training a company or department needs and plan the programs that teach workers these important skills. Training and development specialists are responsible for everything from developing printed training manuals and online learning content and for coordinating and conducting in-person training programs, the BLS reported. The median wage for training and development specialists is $60,360 per year. The industries that employ the largest number of training and development specialists are professional, scientific and technical services, healthcare and social assistance, finance and insurance, educational services and administrative and support services, according to the BLS.
Job prospects for training and development specialists are on the rise, with the BLS predicting a faster-than-average 11 percent rate of job growth for the occupation over a decade.
Human Resources Managers
Human resources professionals like HR specialists, labor relations specialists and training and development specialists can all earn a good living, making comparable median wages that are all well above the median salary for all occupations. o fully maximize your earning potential, though, you will need to find a way to advance to a management role in human resources, where six-figure median salaries are the norm. Human resources managers usually have at least five or more years of HR work experience, and they often pursue credentials like a graduate degree, a professional HR certification or both.
Human resources managers make a median wage of $110,120 annually, the BLS reported. Like human resources generalists, their job duties encompass all of the areas that make up the field of HR. They coordinate the efforts of human resources specialists in all areas, filling roles such as consultant to top executives and intermediary between management and employees. Management roles exist in the specialized areas within human resources, as well. The median wage for training and development managers is $108,250, while for compensation and benefits managers, it is $119,120, according to the BLS.
Human resources managers go by many different job titles, including labor relations directors, payroll managers and staffing or recruiting managers.