The business of human resources has evolved in ways that can make it difficult for even seasoned professionals to keep up without acquiring new skills. For many years, human resources was seen as simply the hiring hub of an organization, however today’s HR workers are vital to constructing a company’s culture while also identifying and nurturing talent. Furthermore, a human resources education is becoming more valuable to employers who are in vital need of people with wide-ranging experience in areas such as communications, business, research, and analytics, and the “soft skills” that enhance day-to-day productivity. Thus, to an employer, a candidate with a master’s degree in human resources can be the ideal fit, even for a role that doesn’t fit the traditional HR mold.
A Program That Maximizes Your Potential
As a prospective human resources student, you’ll want to ensure that your degree program aligns perfectly with your needs and is ranked among the best in the nation. HR.com has cited the University's online Master of Human Resources Management as one of the top 15 master’s programs with an emphasis on human resources in its 2018 LEAD (Leadership Excellence and Development ) Awards, alongside such esteemed brick-and-mortar schools as Pepperdine University and Ohio State University.
“Our students are best prepared for careers in HR when HR is taught within the business context,” explains Dr. Katie Thiry, program chair for the Master of Human Resource Management (MHRM) and the Bachelor of Arts in Human Resources Management (BAHRM) degree programs in the Forbes School of Business & Technology™ at Global Campus. “This is a significant differentiator of our [master’s] program, compared to other HR degrees.”
The University of Arizona Global Campus award-winning degree program is focused on “critical content areas,” Dr. Thiry says, citing change management, compensation and benefits, and training and development among the most critical parts of the curriculum.
Additionally, a UAGC master’s degree in human resources is aligned with curriculum guidelines set forth by the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM), the world’s largest and most respected association for HR professionals.
A Degree That Opens Many Doors
Students who wish to use their master’s degrees as a means to advance their human resources careers will be pleased to know they’re getting ahead in a growth industry. The United States Bureau of Labor Statistics has identified human resources as one of today’s strongest and fastest growing fields, predicting it will grow 9 percent through 2026. Equally strong is the amount of competition you’ll likely face during the hiring process, as employers will seek to capitalize on those with the most education and experience.
So what can you do with a human resource management degree? Among the careers most needed are human resources managers, who, among other things, “oversee the recruiting, interviewing, and hiring of new staff; consult with top executives on strategic planning; and serve as a link between an organization’s management and its employees,” according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
Many managers begin their careers as human resources specialists after earning their Bachelor’s in Human Resources Management. While specialists serve under managers, those who hold or are pursuing their master’s degree education come into their roles knowing that courses in organizational development, employment law and labor relations, and leading organizational change – to name a few – will prepare them to move quickly up the ladder.
Additionally, human resources is becoming a more specialized career field, and not just when you consider that HR professionals are needed in every industry, from telecommunications to health care. Your master’s degree can put you in line to pursue a career as a compensation and benefits manager – an increasingly in-demand role that will see you developing and implementing benefits plans for your organization.
Other specialized human resources careers include labor relations specialist, which requires the aforementioned education in employment law, and sees workers interacting with multiple stakeholders, including union representatives, upper management, and even departments such as communications and public relations.
Some additional potential human resources management career options include:
- Benefits manager
- Compensation Direct
- Human Resources Manager
- Human Resources Director
- Training and Development Manager
The Opportunity for Greater Advancement
Education and experience go hand-in-hand when it comes to human resources. The higher you climb the ladder academically, the closer you get to reaching the pinnacle of performance and expertise in your career.
For human resources professionals, that pinnacle is known as the SHRM certification.
“This is a big deal in the industry,” says Dr. Thiry, who holds the SHRM Senior Certified Professional (SHRM-SCP) credential in addition to her degrees.
The University of Arizona Global Campus Master of Human Resource Management students are eligible to sit for the exam in their final year of study, if they’ve completed 500 hours of relevant experience. For full-time professionals, that’s a work commitment of less than four months, and offers the potential to become an expert in human resources with a globally recognized, resume-changing credential.
The path to a fulfilling career in human resources — or any growing industry — starts in college. That’s why it’s critical that you do your research ahead of time. Identifying the schools that have been recognized for their HR programs and aligning those degree programs with your ultimate career goals is the first step up the ladder, and success comes as you continue to climb.