Careers in Human Resources

Human resource professionals are trained to deal with the human aspects of running a business. Employees are often referred to as “human capital” and human resources deals with management of that particular form of capital, i.e. human employees working for an organization. Professionals in human resources will oversee all forms of employee interaction, from recruiting, hiring, training, evaluation and firing. They also work to make sure organizations are following labor laws and maintaining a productive and positive work culture.

While salary and benefits will vary from organization to organization, the median salary for human resource specialists was $52,690 in 2010, and job opportunities are expected to grow by 21% by 2020, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Required Education for Human Resources

The minimum education required to work as a human resource professional is an associate degree, according to, but a bachelor’s degree or higher will secure the best opportunities. Students should seek majors in human resources, or related disciplines, such as business, law, organizational management, psychology, or sociology. Choosing a discipline that provides a strong business or management background, coupled with coursework in human behavior, especially within a collaborative or workplace setting, will provide the necessary academic background required to excel in human resources.

Students who are sure they want to pursue human resources straight out of college would do well to enter a program specifically designed for human resources education. There are many traditional and online degrees in human resources, and, as long as students seek accredited online degrees, the academics should be of equal caliber to those at brick-and-mortar institutions. Human resource programs will consist of coursework such as compensation, negotiation, employment law, international human resource management, workplace psychology, finance, basic management, and marketing.

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