Does a Director of Human Resources Need a Masters Degree?

Find Your Degree!

director-of-human-resourcesWhen upper level managers and executives are hired in any organization, employers take into consideration a number of factors when posting the position, including the necessary education for a director of human resources. Many of the factors taken into account are skills, previous work experience, and the highest level of education completed by a candidate.

Related Resource: Entry Level Human Resources Jobs

Skills, Knowledge, and Experience Requirements for Director of Human Resources Positions

To begin to qualify for positions as the director of human resources, most candidates will need significant experience in the human resources field. Sometimes an upper level degree can take the place of the required experience, and holding a master’s degree in human resources could be beneficial in this case.

Employers also look to hire candidates with a specific skill set. Human resources directors must have leadership, interpersonal and verbal communication, training, assessment, decision-making, strategizing, and analysis skills. From retaining employees through analysis of benefits trends to leading by example, these skills can be developed with the right education. Find additional information at the National Human Resources Association website at

Related Resource: What is Workforce Diversity?

Education for Human Resources Director Positions

A master’s degree in human resources provides an overall, in-depth foundation that will be beneficial for directors in this area of an organization. Graduate students often complete coursework in business management economics, rewards systems implementation and assessment, managing workforce, employment law, workplace diversity, developing human capital, financial decision making, employee benefits, training, and human resources information systems. It is likely that upper management positions such as the director of human resources position will require a master’s level degree.

Human resources professionals, including directors and other managers, however, are not limited to pursuing an undergraduate or a graduate degree in just human resources specifically. There are a number of other options for a master’s level of education that will could be beneficial and could qualify candidates for these positions. Particularly at the entry-level, human resources professionals might be hired with a communications, business administration, legal studies, psychology, or marketing degree. Once a candidate has enough experience, it is possible that employers would consider candidates holding other degrees for human resources director positions.

For individuals whose career goal is to work toward a position as a director of a human resources department, there are also doctorate options in human resources to consider. Although not always a requirement, the doctorate level degree can give a candidate an additional qualification for consideration for director positions because of the advanced research and coursework completed in the Ph.D. curriculum.

On the Job as a Director of Human Resources

A director of human resources manages, and oversees a number of the essential business operations of all types of organizations from large private corporations to government agencies. At work, human resources directors typically handle everything from compensation, benefits, and performance evaluations to recruitment, hiring, and firing to employee training and professional development.

The most important qualifications employers will consider when filling openings for director positions in human resources departments are the ability the manage and an understanding of the wide range of responsibilities within this department. While the necessary education for a director human resources position will vary by company, generally, a higher degree in the human resources field or a related area will be beneficial when applying.

Related Resources: