Today’s human resources professionals destroy the status quo, use cutting-edge technology, and help unlock each employee’s potential, according to Inc. Magazine. With these talents, they go on to become leaders within organizations and make key decisions. Students who want to affect change and solve problems may find that a human resources degree is the first step to a rewarding career.
While there are many different levels of human resources professionals, those who advance to management have a median pay of more than $110,000.
This field can also bring financial success and job security. While there are many different levels of human resources professionals, those who advance to management have a median pay of more than $110,000. Jobs within this field have a projected job growth rate at or above the national average. Now is the time to earn a human resources degree.
Should I Get a Bachelor's in Human Resources?
While online programs may appeal to working professionals who want to switch careers, an on-campus human resources plan is ideal for traditional college students. Degree candidates who come straight from high school or junior college can immerse themselves in learning. On-campus students can take advantage of the networking opportunities these programs afford. By meeting face-to-face with classmates and professors, learners begin building professional connections before graduation. Students who make a particularly good impression on professors may benefit even more since these teachers often know experienced human resource managers and can serve as excellent references.
As graduation approaches, degree candidates can further leverage their on-campus status to find internships, and many higher learning institutions offer job placement assistance. Courses allow students to rub elbows with potential employers, gain real-world experience, boost their resumes, and gain college credit all at once. Graduates can then use each of those benefits to land their first full-time human resources job.
Courses cover a wide range of topics, including conflict resolution, employment law, workplace psychology, business ethics, and innovative recruiting. With these classes, students gain several skills that will carry them through successful careers. In pursuit of a human resources degree, students learn to communicate effectively. Degree candidates may also develop talents for recruiting effective workers and retaining them through great company cultures. Graduates further develop crisis intervention abilities.
What Can I Do With a Bachelor’s in Human Resources?
Human resources is a varied field with opportunities for many personality types. Natural leaders may gravitate toward compensation and benefits management. Those with strong logical skills may excel in management analysis, and naturally likable people can have a stable career in labor relations. Human resource specialists are often extroverts, curious, and interested in psychology. Training and development specialists must be able to give presentations. Most human resource professionals work in office settings. However, new technologies allow some to work from home. It’s essential for these workers to relate to others and understand what drives people.
- Compensation and Benefits Manager
Pay and benefits are vital parts of recruiting and retaining great talent. These managers ensure that employees get the compensation they deserve while keeping the company profitable. Because these professionals run whole systems within a business, employers often require a compensation manager to hold a human resources bachelor’s degree.
Median Annual Salary: $119,120
Projected Growth Rate: 5%
- Labor Relations Specialist
The hiring process often involves negotiations, navigating legal requirements, and signing contracts. These professionals work with talent to reach labor agreements. Because there are several legal and ethical considerations, many employers prefer applicants to have a bachelor’s degree.
Median Annual Salary: $63,200
Projected Growth Rate: -8%
- Training and Development Specialist
Human resource professionals hire and fire, but they also work with current employees. These specialists design training programs and approve outside education for employees. Like other human resources positions, these jobs typically require a bachelor’s degree. Many graduates take on these positions straight out of college.
Median Annual Salary: $60,360
Projected Growth Rate: 11%
- Management Analyst
Lower-level employees aren’t the only people who need supervision in a business. Management analysts examine an organization’s management and remedy inefficiencies and problems. This position can be entry-level, but most companies prefer professionals with at least a bachelor’s degree.
Median Annual Salary: $82,450
Projected Growth Rate: 14%
- Human Resource Specialist
These professionals recruit, interview, and hire new employees. They also help ensure that managers and others in the interview process follow procedure and the law. In most cases, human resource specialists must have a bachelor’s degree.
Median Annual Salary: $60,350
Projected Growth Rate: 7%
How to Choose a Bachelor's in Human Resources Program
Choosing a human resource management program requires time and careful consideration. First, prospective students should consider how much time each program will take to complete. While most bachelor’s programs take about four years, some factors could change this. For example, some colleges offer accelerated courses that allow students to earn a human resources degree in three years. Learners who already have some college experience should consider whether their credits will transfer. If so, degree candidates with associate degrees can finish in as little as two years. However, some programs cater to working professionals who can only attend school part-time, which can extend a student’s time in school.
Tuition is another important consideration. Students who must rely on loans may wish to choose public universities or other low-cost options. When calculating a school’s expense, consider not only tuition rates, but also commuting, the number of credit hours needed, additional fees, and books. Online programs typically cost less than their on-campus counterparts. For in-person students, the school’s location plays a significant role in the decision to attend. Learners should consider the area’s employment opportunities, quality of living, and housing costs.
Human resources students should ensure that the chosen schools offer their desired specializations. Applicants can research each college’s curriculum, concentrations, and courses to see if they will learn the skills they need. Accreditation should also factor heavily into a student’s decision.
Programmatic Accreditation for Bachelor’s in Human Resources Programs
There are two main types of accreditation: regional and national. Either of these accredits the institution on the whole, but not the program specifically. Regional accreditation tends to be more prestigious than national, and students can transfer credits from regionally accredited universities with more ease.
There is also programmatic accreditation. As the name implies, this credential applies only to the program in question. Many fields have their own programmatic accrediting organizations that set the standard for that subject. Because it is a sub-category of business studies, the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB) is the primary accrediting organization for human resources programs. Students should prioritize these degree plans over others because they are more respected and the credits are more likely to transfer. Accredited programs are also vetted for the best possible education in the subject, which lays a solid foundation for a successful career.
Bachelor's in Human Resources Program Admissions
Applying for college can feel daunting, but some research and guidance makes the process seamless. There is no magic number of schools to which a student should apply. Instead, learners should carefully consider their needs and apply to programs that meet those requirements. Generally, it is smart to send applications to at least two schools just in case one does not work out. However, applicants may submit to any programs they wish to attend. Some students choose a safety school, which is one that they feel confident that they will get accepted to.
Acceptance rates and admissions requirements vary widely between institutions. According to U.S. News & World Report, online bachelor’s programs have an average acceptance rate that is just 2.4% higher than their on-campus counterparts. Before students submit their applications, they should check deadlines and gather all necessary materials. Below are some of the common requirements for admissions.
- Minimum GPA: While the minimum varies, many colleges and universities require at least a 3.0 GPA. Many colleges allow students to make up for a lackluster GPA with high test scores.
- Application: Completing college applications can take several hours, especially when the application requires lengthy essays. Students can use CommonApp to quickly apply to several schools at once.
- Transcripts: Transcripts from high school and any previous college courses help the institution verify an applicant’s GPA and experience. Many high schools offer a few transcripts for free with a small fee for additional documents.
- Recommendation Letters: Colleges generally ask for between two and four recommendation letters. These can come from high school counselors, teachers, professors, or managers.
- Test Scores: Many higher learning institutions will accept scores from either the SAT or the ACT, whichever the student submits. Learners can choose which schools to send scores to when they take the test.
- Application Fee: According to U.S. News & World Report, the average college application fee is $50. However, learners with financial hardship can often receive a waiver for this fee.
What Else Can I Expect From a Bachelor's in Human Resources Program?
Each higher learning institution offers its students unique opportunities. Applicants should thoroughly research a program before applying to ensure that it meets their needs. Learners should consider each school’s human resources concentrations and courses, program length, and potential licenses or certifications. Often, human resources is not its own major but is a concentration within the business or management programs.
|Entrepreneurship||This specialization includes courses on hiring and retaining talent for startup companies. Learners take classes in subjects such as innovation, venture capital, and new business strategies. Graduates can start their own human resource businesses or partner with innovators in other sectors.||Business owner or human resources manager|
Courses in a Bachelor’s in Human Resources Program
Each school’s program has its unique curriculum, but there are plenty of classes that most human resource majors can expect to take. Programs often require classes in employment law, recruiting staff, training employees, and compensation. Many school also require human resource management degree candidates to complete an internship.
- Employment Law
One of the most important functions of a human resources professional is to ensure that the company abides by all applicable employment laws. Most college students who earn human resource degrees study this subject. Learners discover how to conduct interviews and hire staff legally.
Finding the right person to fill a position is often difficult. It requires knowledge of psychology, ethics, and legal practice. In recruitment classes, students learn about emerging technologies and algorithms that help companies find and keep top talent.
- Organizational Training
While some training is job-specific, other learning opportunities benefit everyone in a company. In organizational training courses, students learn best practices for planning and executing both types of training. These courses prepare degree candidates to become training and development specialists.
- Compensation and Benefits
Human resources professionals often manage payroll and benefits enrollment within an organization. Thus, classes that cover the types of compensation, laws and ethics regarding payment, and how to structure benefits are common.
Many courses in human resources programs focus on theory. Some programs require degree candidates to put their learning into action with an internship. Students often fulfill this requirement as they near graduation, which sets them up with a strong network when they look for entry-level jobs.
How Long Does It Take to Get a Bachelor’s in Human Resources?
Like many bachelor’s degrees, it takes about four years to earn an undergraduate degree in human resources. However, students may have different timeframes based on several factors. Those with associate degrees may already have the core course requirements finished. If these learners transfer to an institution that accepts their previous credits, it may take two years or fewer to earn a bachelor’s. Students who have no previous college experience can graduate in fewer than four years if they attend full time, take summer courses, choose accelerated programs, or combine some of these strategies. However, many schools prevent students from taking more than full-time hours.
Those who must work full time or care for their family while in school may choose to attend part time. In this case, students may take longer than their peers with the same college experience starting out.
How Much is a Bachelor’s in Human Resources?
Before applying for any human resources program, learners should investigate tuition and other educational costs. According to The College Board, a year of school at a public, in-state university costs students an average of $20,090. However, this is just a benchmark. The cost for any particular student varies widely. Studying at a university outside the student’s state of residence can cost about $14,000 more per year. Private schools carry an average annual cost of $45,370. These estimations include room, board, fees, and tuition.
Studying online costs much less than attending an on-campus program because the book costs and fees are often less. Learners also save money by taking core classes such as college algebra, history, and composition at local two-year colleges. These public institutions cost an average of $11,580 per year. Degree candidates can also apply for scholarships and grants that cover these costs.
Another part of analyzing the cost of any college program is weighing the increase in earning potential. Human resource managers can make more than $100,000 per year on average. Most positions in the field require a bachelor’s degree.
Certifications and Licenses a Bachelor’s in Human Resources Prepares For
- Associate Professional in Human Resources
This entry-level certification comes from the Human Resources Certification Institute (HRCI). The aPHR is the first human resources certification exclusively for professionals who are just beginning their career. The exam covers operations, employee relations, recruitment, and compensation. Candidates with this certification are suited for most entry-level positions.
- Professional in Human Resources — International
This is the second level of certification from the HRCI, with an emphasis on international businesses. The PHRi credential demonstrates professional-level competency in global human resource standards. The exam includes questions about talent acquisition, administration, talent management and development, compensation, benefits, employee relations, risk management, and information management.
- Senior Professional in Human Resources
The SPHR certification from the HRCI shows a professional’s readiness to lead a human resources department. As such, 30% of the exam covers business management and strategy. Other topics include human resource development and workforce planning. The credential demonstrates the ability to solve high-level problems and see the big picture.
- Global Professional in Human Resources
International businesses face unique challenges when it comes to hiring and managing talent. Professionals withthis prestigious HRCI certification are ready to lead human resources departments at global organizations. The exam primarily covers strategic management, talent and organizational development, and global talent acquisition.
- SHRM Certified Professional
The Society for Human Resource Management provides accredited certifications for members who meet the qualifications and pass the exam. The SHRM-CP credential demonstrates a person’s ability to perform human resources functions with professional proficiency. An applicant with an undergraduate human resources degree must have one year of experience before taking the exam.
Resources for Human Resources Students
This website connects more than one million human resources professionals from around the world. Members can network, get feedback on ideas, and access online learning tools.
HR Crossing is one of the industry’s largest job boards. Students can find internships and entry-level positions or research their dream jobs.
This blog dives deep into trending human resources topics such as analytics, employee engagement, and onboarding. Students can sign up for the newsletter to receive relevant blogs through email.
Most human resources professionals must study before passing the certification exams. HRReview is the source for all things certification. This includes online courses and practice exams. Professionals can access what they need to get their desired credentials.
Before getting their feet wet, some students may wonder why human resources professionals do some of the things they do. Evil HR Lady is the blog that answers those questions.
Professional Organizations in Human Resources
Professional organizations often offer local groups and conferences in which professionals can grow their networks. Many advocate for their members in Congress in hopes of improving the profession. Recent graduates can use the job boards and career services these organizations provide. Some organizations also provide certification programs for qualified professionals.