Human Resource Management Degree Guide

Kickstart a career in human resource that focuses on training employees, solving workplace disputes and payroll management. 

The process of becoming a human resources manager first requires obtaining a proper education. Human resources (HR) are an umbrella term under which multiple types of career opportunities are possible. Training and development for all HR-related occupations (including HR management) are available at top educational facilities and colleges nationwide. Research is required to locate the accredited college or university best suited for your career path and needs. Research and guidance are also required to understand job placement and salary potentials for your career path of choice. Continue reading this helpful guide for more information about obtaining your human resources management degree today.

What Is Human Resources Management?

Human resources (HR) are a vocation consisting of varying types of employee-based job tasks and company scenarios. For example, HR departments oversee hiring, training, re-training and (as applicable) firing employees. HR staff members teach employees all necessary company protocols, policies, and procedures. HR departments are also in charge of:

  • Payroll tasks.
  • Maintaining employee and overall company morale.
  • Communication between employees, management, and ownership.
  • Developing team leaders.
  • Mediating complaints, disputes, and other workplace issues between staff members.
  • Ensuring company-wide diversity.
  • Establishing and enforcing dress codes.

Defining HR Management

HR management careers involve the organization, oversight and management of all job tasks and duties as described above. A human resources manager is essentially in charge of the entire HR department inside a company. Certain HR companies only provide online and/or outsourced teams, which might serve multiple third-party businesses simultaneously. HR management for this type of HR company might manage multiple teams instead of a single department inside a business. Duties are still similar, however, and include:

  • Interviewing applicants.
  • Assessing employee performances.
  • Managing safety and wellness company wide.
  • Recruiting.
  • Implementing and distributing benefits packages and programs.
  • Organizing company goals and objectives pursuant to collective and individual employee performance.
  • Providing legal and managerial advice as applicable.


What Can You Do with a Human Resources Degree?

Multiple career opportunities await those who graduate college with an accredited human resources management degree. Primarily, an HR manager is responsible for the overall productivity and quality of work delivered by HR department employees. HR managers are significantly responsible for recruiting the best candidates into a company via a proprietary talent management system. Talent management is a vital aspect of HR in both the private and government sectors, which translates to more jobs available for you once you obtain the appropriate degree and training.

HR managers are also responsible for strategic planning. Strategic planning involves the development of an HR department business plan and overall company organizational strategies. Strategic HR planning also influences the improvement of company profitability factors. Candidates with appropriate degrees and the training required to take on these important responsibilities have the potential to earn higher salaries and create long-term job security. Various degree programs are also available for candidates seeking non-management positions as well, however. This is beneficial for candidates pursuing careers in HR but not ready for or interested in the highest level of managerial responsibilities.

Related Occupations

For example, your HR management degree might qualify you to become a benefits administrator. Careers as a payroll specialist, training manager and compensation specialist are also available as HR management-based occupations. Qualified candidates with interest in computers, networks and programming have opportunities to become Human Resources Information System (HRIS) analysts. This HR management career path combines HR tasks with Information Technologies (IT) duties. Additional related occupations available to candidates with qualified HR management degrees include:

  • Employee relations manager.
  • Training coordinator.
  • Compensation specialist.
  • Recruitment and hiring specialist.
  • HR assistant manager.

Human Resources - Training and Development

Most companies looking to hire a new HR manager require candidates to possess a minimum of a bachelor’s degree. Associate HR degree programs prepare candidates for entry-level positions but not positions where high-level management skills are required. Candidates who hold master’s degrees are typically given priority consideration for upper-level HR management positions and higher salaries.

Bachelor’s vs Master’s Degree

HR management associate, bachelor’s and master’s degree programs are all available. Certificate programs are also available, although, along with associate degrees, they typically lead to entry-level jobs. Common courses and topics of study included in HR management bachelor’s degree programs include the following plus more:

  • HR fundamentals.
  • Business communications.
  • Organizational development.
  • Critical thinking.
  • Emerging issues.
  • Management theory.
  • Emerging issues.
  • Ethics.
  • Introduction to computer applications and systems.
  • Management practice.

HR management master’s degree programs expand upon the course topics listed above. Master’s degree programs also add numerous advanced topics such as business management and leadership to their list of required courses. Conflict resolution (advanced) and labor laws (advanced) are also typically taught in HR management master’s degree programs.

Online, on-campus and hybrid course programs are available nationwide. Accelerated curriculum scheduling is also possible at certain colleges and universities. Accelerated scheduling allows students to complete their programs and enter the job market faster. Please note: Not all institutions offer all these options. Consult the admissions office at your applicable school(s) of choice for more information.

Affordable Program Options and Course Durations

HR management bachelor’s degree programs require four years to complete on average. Obtaining a master’s degree typically requires two-to-three additional years of study. If you choose a certificate program or associate degree course you might complete your studies in as little as three months through two years respectively.

Costs for obtaining an HR management degree vary based on the institution you attend and type of degree you pursue. Tuition is possible to view as a per-credit, per-semester or annual (schoolyear) cost. Tuition prices also differ for in state and out-of-state students as well. As an example, credits cost $350 each at Colorado State University. The University of Alabama (Birmingham) charges $41,690 per year to in-state students but out-of-state attendees pay $95,000 per year or more. Online HR management degree programs cost only $9,180 and $16,295 per year through Florida International University and Rutgers University and respectively.

Financial aid is available to help pay your tuition costs when you fill out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). Various scholarships programs and Federal Pell Grant options are also available via the FAFSA form. Accredited colleges and universities with the best HR management degree programs available today include:

Salary and Job Growth Potential Upon Completion of Degree

HR managers are paid an average annual salary between $65,00 and $114,000 per year. The salary you receive will be based on a combination of your level of training, education, experience, and company policies. The area where you live/work might also impact average salaries across the region. Once employed, HR managers can expect to experience a six percent job growth rate through 2029, which is six percent higher than the average growth rate for vocations nationwide.