Human Resource Management Degree Guide

Budget-Wise HR Degrees: Start Your Dream Career

Human resources (HR) is an important job in any company or organization. There are multiple types of HR jobs available, but there are several shared commonalities among the professions. HR is responsible for protecting employees, ensuring their rights are upheld. If there are any disputes, whether due to labor laws or conflicts with a fellow employee, it must be reported to HR. In many companies, HR is also responsible for hiring and recruiting new staff members. It is common for HR to participate in training as well.

HR managers also act as guides for employees. This includes explaining benefits, investment options and helping employees retire. HR is also brought in whenever an employer wants to terminate an employee. This may include setting up severance pay or participating in hearings for unemployment claims. Finally, companies rely on HR to improve company morale and give employees a safe place to report any potential issues with the company.

HR Assistant

HR assistant is a common starting job for graduates with a bachelor’s degree. An HR assistant works under an HR manager, largely performing administrative and clerical tasks. This includes updating employee files, marking absences and disciplinary actions or filing supervisor reports and termination information. The exact requirements vary, with some businesses only requiring an associate degree or previous experience working in an HR role. On average, HR assistants make an estimated $41,000 a year.

Payroll Clerk

Another entry level HR position is payroll clerk, sometimes called timekeeper. A payroll clerk handles any data relating to employee payment, such as hours worked, who gets overtime or paid sick leave and marking when employees take vacation days. They also prepare paychecks and setup payroll information for new employees. Due to advancements in business management software, the payroll clerk position is becoming phased out and rolled into other positions. In 2021, many companies still use payroll clerks, but the employment rate has been on a decline. The average salary for a payroll clerk is $46,000.

HR Manager/Administrator

HR managers, sometimes referred to as specialists, have a number of responsibilities. HR managers act as company recruiters, meeting with prospective clients at job fairs and other events, explaining why prospective workers should join the company. They also assist with the hiring process, performing interviews and screening potential employees. HR managers address any employee disputes. If an employee feels like their rights are being violated, an HR manager launches an investigation.

In some companies, HR managers also help with corporate strategizing. In these meetings, HR managers work with other high ranked employees to determine whether there are currently enough employees or what specialties are needed to advance the business.

The starting salary for HR managers has more variance depending on where they work, as this determines their general responsibilities. On average, they make between $61,000 to $70,000. The Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts that more companies are looking to hire HR managers, with job prospects expecting to grow by 7 percent over the next 10 years.

Training and Development Specialist

Training specialists focus on teaching new employees and advancing existing employees. Training specialists develop specialized programs to improve employee skills, as well as teaching proper workplace etiquette. In addition to working directly with employees, training specialists also create informative documents and videos. Training specialists are responsible for creating new material as well as updating previous training programs. They work closely with other managers to determine what areas the company wants to focus on for future training. The average salary for a training specialist is $61,000.

Compensation and Benefits Specialists

While it has existed for years, compensation specialists are sometimes viewed as a new HR position. This is because a greater number of companies have hired compensation specialists in recent years. Compensation specialists often have a background in accounting or finance. These specialists work with management to come up with benefit plans for employees. This includes retirement plans, insurance policies and workplace wellness programs, as well as individual advancement, such as raises and promotions. Benefit specialists not only come up with programs, but they must assess company finances and come up with ways for the company to promote these benefits. On average, compensation specialists make between $63,000 to $66,000.

Florida International University (FIU)

FIU runs a bachelor of business administration program, which allows you to select a concentration in human resource management. The program starts with 60 credits of general education and business electives before moving on to advanced courses. Some of the courses include human resource information systems, managing happiness at work, union negotiations and addressing civil rights violations at work. This extensive program prepares students for a variety of HR related jobs. It is also one of the most affordable HR bachelor programs.

San Diego State University (SDSU)

If you want to get a bachelor’s in business administration from the comfort of your home, SDSU runs an entirely online program with a concentration in HR. The school prides itself on keeping up with the current political landscape, teaching future HR managers how to address workplace issues that are relevant today. In addition to teaching finance and ethics, the course covers general marketing techniques and business negotiation.

University of Wisconsin, Madison (UW)

If you are interested in advancing your career, UW runs a master’s program for HR management through their school of business. There are multiple courses available to cover different HR paths, such as personal staffing and evaluation and labor management relations. The school partners with major companies, bringing in guest speakers from Cisco, General Mills and GE Healthcare. In the program, students gain real-world experience working as consultants for these companies.

Texas A&M University

A&M is another university with a master’s program for HR management. A&M offers an expedited program, allowing you to get your degree in less than two years. As part of the course, all students are required to complete an internship, which typically lasts for 12 weeks. Students can go through the Center for Human Resource Management to arrange an internship, if they are unable to find their own. This provides excellent network opportunities for students, with many going on to get jobs from the larger corporations in Texas. Companies like Pepsi, Lockheed Martin and CenturyLink are partnered with A&M.