Human Resources Manager: Career Profile, Employment Outlook and Education Requirements

Explore the career requirements for human resource managers. Get the facts about education and certification requirements, salary, and potential job growth to determine if this is the right career for you. Schools offering Human Resource Management degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

What is a Human Resources Manager?

Human resource managers hire personnel, manage benefit plans, calculate compensation packages and ensure compliance for organizations. They are the person employees go to when they have questions regarding these topics. Serving as the link between management and employees, they often are responsible for settling work-related problems. The human resource manager is tasked with organizational policies regarding equal employment opportunity and sexual harassment, and may recommend needed changes. A bachelor's degree program in human resources or business administration offers a solid foundation for this career. The below table provides important information for your review.

Degree RequiredBachelor's degree at minimum; master's degree for top-level positions
Other Requirements Prior management experience
Educational Field of StudyHuman resources, business administration, industrial psychology
Certification RequirementsVoluntary, though certification may be preferred by employers
Job Growth (2014-2024) 9%*
Median Salary (2015) $104,440*

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

What Is the Career Profile of a Human Resources Manager?

Depending on the size of the company or organization, human resources (HR) managers may research, direct and implement benefits programs, oversee employee relations and participate in organizational development. You may determine personnel policies, set compensation scales and ensure regulatory compliance. At larger companies, you may specialize in one of these areas while at smaller ones you may be required to perform all of these responsibilities.

What Is the Projected Employment Outlook?

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the human resources industry is expected to experience a growth rate of 9% between 2014 and 2024, which is above average growth across industries ( This increase is largely attributed to the creation of new companies as well as the expansion of existing organizations and their corresponding need for increased HR support. The BLS reports that competition for jobs is expected to be high.

The BLS expects jobs for HR managers specializing in benefits to increase as companies seek to create benefits packages that attract quality job candidates and are cost effective. Companies offering consulting, employment and management services are expected to be a primary source for hiring HR managers.

Human resources managers earned a median annual salary of $104,440 in May 2015, according to the BLS. The top paying industries at that time were management of companies and enterprises,

professional, scientific, and technical services, and manufacturing.

What Education Requirements Must I Fulfill?

Generally, you'll need a bachelor's degree in HR management or HR administration. Business administration programs with concentrations in human resources management also provide suitable training. If you're seeking top-level management positions or a job in labor relations, you should consider a master's degree in human resources or a related field.

When pursuing an undergraduate degree in human resources management, you'll take classes such as employee relations, human resources development and staffing, macroeconomics, public speaking and benefits administration. At the master's degree level, your program may include courses such as corporate social responsibility and ethics, advanced statistics, corporate governance, human resource information systems and financial management decision-making.

Certification and Continued Education

Several organizations offer certification for HR professionals. The Society for Human Resource Management awards certifications such as the Senior Professional in Human Resources and the Professional in Human Resources. Both require you to pass examinations on topics such as employee and labor relations, workforce planning and employment, risk management and strategic management.

Also, the American Society for Training and Development (ASTD) offers skill-building certificate programs which can be completed in less than a week. Programs offered include analyzing human performance, coaching, career planning and talent management and creating leadership development programs.

What Are Some Related Alternative Careers?

There are a number of different human resources careers that are related to human resources management. These include compensation and benefits managers, training and development managers, human resources specialists and training and development specialists. These different professions focus on a particular area of human resources. Compensation and benefits managers take the part of designing, evaluating and modifying compensation and benefit policies, budgets and plans. Training and development managers and specialist take charge of employee training and manage training resources. Human resources specialists do many of the administrative tasks of human resources managers, though they work as consultants to address specific company needs.

To continue researching, browse degree options below for course curriculum, prerequisites and financial aid information. Or, learn more about the subject by reading the related articles below:

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