By Susan Ott
Degree Major: HUMAN RESOURCES
What is it?
Human resource professionals do more than just hire, fire and manage employee benefits. Today’s HR employees are also being asked to connect companies in a way that’s compatible with current networking trends, such as social networking and computer- and internet-based communications and data retrieval for all employees, bridging the gap between workers and management. This major requires several different skill sets, which range from business skills to people and technological skills as well.
There’s a wide variety of education options available in this subject, with dozens of colleges offering HR bachelor’s and associate’s degrees, including most of the major online schools. Because virtually every company needs at least one HR specialist, there are also very varied employment options in this field.
Who should choose this major?
If you enjoy working with people, both face-to-face and through technology, then human resources would be a good career choice for you. In order to succeed in this field, you must be able to develop a strong rapport with employees, yet be firm and able to make and enforce policies; you must also be well-organized and able to look at the big picture of a company and figure out how to streamline operations and communications to help it run more smoothly. A basic knowledge of IT is usually required as well, since more and more companies are looking to HR to help them transition to internet-based communications and operations. If you can communicate well, connect with people and implement systems, then a future in human resources may be the best choice for you. Some subjects you’ll generally study for an HR degree include employment law, labor relations, compensation and benefits and strategic staffing. Basic general education courses you’ll need to have done to get started on a bachelor’s completion degree will often include a psychology or organizational behavior course, and business math.
Which careers can you potentially obtain?
Generally, human resource jobs deal primarily with the communications of a company or firm, but the titles vary. Career choices include:
- Human Resources Assistant
- Labor Relations Manager
- Human Resource Generalists or Managers
- Director of Industrial Relations
- Director of Personnel
- Employee Relations Representative
- Compensation Specialist
- Job Analysis Specialist
- Occupational Analyst
- Employee Assistance Plan Manager
- HR Information Systems Specialist