Human resources personnel in today’s market place are some of the most critical personnel in keeping the business functioning at peek efficiency. Once these individuals were primarily responsible for receiving and sorting applications, setting up interviews and making sure the paperwork was properly signed for new hires; today they not only form the first contact for new applicants, but also manage employee benefits such as health insurance and vacations, ensure adherence to labor laws, contribute to company policy on smoking, vacations, absenteeism, help maintain and improve morale, and communicate between management and employees.
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It is possible to find entry level jobs with a certificate or associate degree in human services; however, individuals who end their training at this level will be primarily responsible for recruitment, selection, processing payroll, and evaluating employees. Some positions—like those in government organizations—require a bachelor’s degree for even an entry level position.
A bachelor of either science or arts is much more common in this field. In fact the bachelor degree will not only result in a higher paid job but will also prepare you for certification exams to qualify as a Human Resource Professional, Senior Human Resource Professional, or International Human Resource Professional. These designations are offered by the Society of Human Resource Management and qualify you for status beyond that merited by the degree alone.
If you want a position as a Human Resource Manager, you may want to consider obtaining a master’s degree. The advanced degree allows you to specialize in an area such as arbitration and mediation, organizational behavior, labor law and more. In fact a master’s degree in Human Resources is one of the highly recommended options for those seeking management positions.
Other degrees and certificates are available such as graduate certificates in Human Resources, MBA degrees in Human Resources, and even the Ph.D. in Human Resources. At the Ph.D. level, you will focus on obtaining the skills needed to become a full business partner or consultant.
Salary and Responsibilities
Salaries and responsibilities of human resource managers vary greatly depending on the size and needs of the employer and on the education and experience of the individual. Salaries range from $35,000 to $80,000. In 2004, the annual salary of human resource managers employed by the federal government was $66,000. Job opportunities are good and are expected to increase with about 18% in government and the remaining employment coming from the private sector.
If you consider yourself a “people person,” you have the first requirement toward a successful career in human resources. You need to be able to communicate both orally and in writing, and thanks to modern technology, you will need to be or become proficient with computers, databases, record keeping, analysis, files systems, and more.
Human Resources is a field with almost infinite variations and possibilities. A creative and ambitious individual would be able to build a very satisfying career.