Doctorate in Human Resources Program Guide

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July 28, 2021

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A doctorate in human resources (HR) prepares graduates to work in research, postsecondary education, entrepreneurial endeavors, and the corporate world.

In 2021, the Society for Human Resources Management (SHRM) reported that nearly 85% of companies still struggle to comply with COVID-19 regulations and policy changes resulting from the pandemic.

SHRM also reports that effective HR practices and forward-thinking human capital strategies are integral to organizational success. With a doctorate in human resources, tech-savvy graduates with strong interpersonal and organizational skills and a strategic mindset are prime candidates for top HR managerial and executive roles.

The Bureau of Labor and Statistics (BLS) projects 6% job growth for human resources managers between 2019 and 2029. These professionals earn a median annual salary of $121,220.

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Should I Get a Doctorate in Human Resources?

Students can earn a doctorate in human resources online or in person. Common courses include developing talent in healthcare, information systems leadership, organizational strategy, innovative executive development, and transforming the employee learning experience in a global world.

In the past, HR departments were known as the enforcers of company rules. Today, HR divisions are the lifeblood of a successful organization.

In the past, HR departments were known as the enforcers of company rules. Today, HR teams offer much more than compliance. Now, HR divisions are the lifeblood of a successful organization.

If you are organized, fair, and detail-oriented, an online doctorate in human resources could be a good fit.

What Can I Expect from a Doctorate in Human Resources Program?

A doctoral program in HR teaches you how to manage people and maximize overall employee performance and satisfaction. Students learn how to interact with people at various levels of an organization. Many programs offer classes in organizational change, human capital management, compensation and benefits, diversity and inclusion, and labor laws.

Concentrations

Human Resources Manager

Human resources managers ensure that all company policies, procedures and regulations comply with governmental authorities. They manage day-to-day operations and budgets of programs related to employee recruitment, development, compensation, and benefits.

Human Resources Director

Human resources directors are responsible for company policies, procedures, regulations, and related programs. They also serve as strategic partners to company leadership and oversee budget, compensation, and staffing. They plan, manage and direct all HR initiatives and programs to align with the company's vision, mission, and values.

Training and Development Manager

Training and development managers are responsible for increasing operational and organizational efficiencies through behavior and performance-based training. They create, manage and implement training programs to realize business goals and help address pain points.

Compensation and Benefits Manager

These professionals specialize in planning, developing, and managing employee compensation and benefits. They help employees with professional development, salary, benefits, and retirement.

College Professor

Professors teach students about HR management, organizational leadership, change management, learning and development, and other related areas. Some professors publish their own original research.

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How to Choose a Human Resources Doctoral Program

If you are choosing between a Ph.D. and an Ed.D. in HR, you should first think about your career goals.

A Ph.D. is a good fit for learners who want to become researchers or professors. Most Ph.D. programs require significant original research. Some programs offer students graduate assistant positions with modest stipends to offset costs.

Ed.D. programs prepare learners for careers as HR practitioners in the business world. Learners evaluate current HR trends and solve problems by designing innovative research studies.

Programmatic Accreditation for Doctorate in Human Resources Programs

Accreditation is a critical factor for program consideration. Make sure that your chosen school holds regional accreditation, as you may not be able to get jobs, transfer credits, or receive financial aid without it.

Keep an eye out for programmatic accreditation as well. For human resources programs, look for accreditation from the International Accreditation Council for Business Education, the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business, or the Accreditation Council for Business Schools and Programs.

How to Get Into a Human Resources Doctorate Program

Each HR program maintains unique admission requirements, but there is usually some overlap among top programs. Most schools require a master's degree, official transcripts, a minimum 3.0 GPA, and letters of recommendation. Some programs also require professional experience, a personal statement, and GMAT scores.

What Can I Do With a Doctorate in Human Resources?

Earning a doctorate in human resources can lead to several lucrative careers. Graduates can pursue careers in academia or high-level management positions in human resources. Most of these careers pay six-figure salaries, reflecting the investment of time and money it takes to earn a doctorate in the field.

Popular Career Paths

Professor

Senior Human Resources Manager

Human Resources Business Partner

Human Resources Director

How Much Money Can I Make With a Doctorate in Human Resources?

According to the BLS, human resources managers make a median annual salary of $121,220. Compensation and benefits managers ($125,130) and training and development managers ($115,640) also earn six-figure salaries. If you earn a Ph.D. in human resources, you can pursue a career as a professor. These professionals earn a median annual salary of $80,790.

Certifications and Licenses a Doctorate in Human Resources Prepares For

Senior Professional in Human Resources

The SPHR is for senior professionals who want to demonstrate their mastery of HR management's strategic and policymaking aspects. Candidates must complete work experience, education, and a multiple-choice exam.

Global Professional in Human Resources

The GPHR is for senior professionals who want to demonstrate their mastery of the knowledge and skills required to manage HR challenges in a global marketplace. To earn the credential, candidates must pass an exam and meet varying education and experience requirements.

SHRM-Senior Certified Professional

You can earn this certification through varying education, work experience, and passing an exam. This certification demonstrates significant skills in the HR field.

Frequently Asked Questions About Doctorate in Human Resources Programs

How much does it cost to get a doctorate in human resources?

Total cost depends on many factors, including tuition, residency requirements, and the chosen program. Most doctoral programs in human resources charge $500-$1,200 per credit.

Is a doctorate in human resources worth it?

It depends. These programs are a good fit for students who aspire to careers as human resources managers, compensation and benefits managers, and training and development managers.

How do you get into a human resources Ph.D. program?

Admission requirements differ by program. Most schools require a master's degree with a 3.0 minimum GPA, letters of recommendation, and a personal statement. Some programs require GMAT scores.

Can I do a Ph.D. after MBA in human resources?

Yes. Many programs actually require a master's degree for admission.

What is the difference between human resources and personnel management?

Personnel management is an administrative function that ensures people are in the correct positions in an organization. Human resources focuses on acquiring, developing, using, and maintaining all employees' skills in an organization.

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