What Careers Can I Pursue With a Human Resources Degree?

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The field of human resources involves the assessing of professionals and workers who apply to work at a company. Human resources professionals are the first line in the hiring process where they evaluate, review, and discuss with general management or specific departments if such a candidate is a right fit for a job. Because of this, human resources professionals play an integral role in helping a company succeed. However, there are several other career choices a person can invest in if they have a human resources degree.

General Human Resources and Specialties

According to the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM), human resources workers come in two pairs: generalists and specialists. Generalists refer to typical human resources responsibilities held by managers and their assistants. Human resources managers, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), oversee the recruitment, interviewing, and hiring of all staff members for different departments across a company. The assistants of those managers may help with the recruitment, interviewing, or consulting with who the company should hire. In addition, the managers and their assistants maintain a cohesive work environment by acting as an arbitrator between workers and management, enforce workplace regulations, and aid in the pay and compensation of workers.

This is in contrast to specifically trained human resources workers that the SHRM calls specialists. These individuals help a company with a specific task with the human capital of the company. The SHRM lists five different occupations human resources workers can be employed in. One is a workforce planner. These individuals help create the recruitment strategy for a company, as well as the proper pre-screening strategies, like background checks on employment-based tests. Another specialist is a human resources developer, who create the training sessions for workers as well as career development and counseling resources for all workers. Total rewards workers are another specialist who analyze the compensation and benefits of workers. These workers may make suggestions to management about the expectations of benefit packages and monitor the progress of pay and compensation for all workers. The fourth kind of specialist are labor relations specialists. These specialists must help unions with their negotiations with management or help one-on-one interactions between a worker and management or other co-workers. Finally, the SHRM considers are risk managers. Risk managers analyze how healthy and safe the workplace is for workers, enforce OSHA standards, suggest security systems and devices to management, and report all injuries that occur in the workplace.

Proper Education

The BLS states that human resources managers or specialists must, at least, have a bachelor’s degree in human resources or business administration. Managers may tend to earn MBAs in human resources or business administration, and take more general education courses in information technology, psychology, education, or finance. Specialists tend to have work-experience that supplements their bachelor’s degree to help them with their specific human resources specialty. In addition, specialists tend to earn certifications in their particular field, like labor relations or risk management. The BLS states that managers can earn certification as well, but it is more voluntary than common.


Human resources involves several facets of finding and keeping quality workers at a company. Specialists can help develop unique strategies to keeping and maintaining a quality, effective workplace. Managers and their assistants help with the executive direction of the entire human resources department and help work with general management with the company workforce. Whichever route seems better, working in human resources will help bring the highest quality human capital to companies and ultimately help with the business’ bottom line.

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