A human resource management degree can strengthen your business skills and advance your career.

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Gone are the days when “human resources” meant hiring employees and overseeing payroll. In today’s business environment, individuals with a degree in human resource management, or another degree with a human resource specialization or concentration, are positioned as key business partners in company growth. They can be responsible for hiring, determining and advising management on organizational policies, linking employees to management, handling staffing issues, administering employee benefits, planning compensation, developing and conducting training, and more.

Job Outlook and Salaries

Individuals reviewing human resource management career options soon discover that human resource professionals have a versatile set of skills, often allowing them to change positions—and even companies—easily. Professionals with human resource management degrees can use this to their advantage, considering the job outlook for HR managers shows a job growth of 13% by 2022.* In addition, the median wage for a human resources manager was $99,720 in 2012.* It’s important to note, however, that there are a number of relevant degree options.

Top 5 Degrees With a Focus on Human Resource Management

  1. PhD in Management with a specialization in Human Resource Management
    In this doctoral degree program, you’ll explore the latest management concepts and theories, and then challenge conventional wisdom by posing deeper questions about how to strengthen leadership. At this level, you can further focus on human resource management through a specialization. You’ll have the opportunity to explore theories and tools, and determine how a company and its employees can best meet each other’s needs to optimize performance all around.
  2. MS in Human Resource Management
    Also known as a master’s degree in human resource management, this program helps prepare you for multifaceted roles in human resources. You will be able to develop skills that include performance management, employee management, compensation planning, resource allocation, maximizing employee productivity, negotiation and conflict resolution, and much more.
  3. Graduate Certificate in Human Resource Management
    Prior to seeking an MS in Human Resource Management, you could earn a graduate certificate. A certificate typically requires fewer credits than a master’s degree program (generally, about 12 credit hours). However, you may be able to apply these credits toward your master’s degree. The course of study provides you with a strong overview of HR and its role in both business results and human capital development.
  4. Master of Business Administration with a specialization in Human Resource Management
    A Master of Business Administration (MBA) degree provides well-rounded, graduate-level insights into today’s business fundamentals. While the MBA degree curriculum encompasses more than human resources, a human resource management specialization will help you acquire business skills as well as the knowledge of how to best position, motivate, train, and retain employees.
  5. BS in Business Administration with a concentration in Human Resource Management
    If you plan to earn a bachelor of science degree in business administration, consider focusing your studies on human resources. As a business manager, you will be working with HR’s most important asset: people. The knowledge you gain by choosing a concentration in human resources management will give you insight into the hiring process, employee evaluations, compensation and benefits, job design, training, retention, turnover, and other key areas that directly affect your staff.

*Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2014–2015 Edition, Human Resources Managers, on the Internet at www.bls.gov/ooh/management/human-resources-managers.htm.

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