Human Resources Managers: Schools and Careers

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Human Resources Managers - Career Information

Human resources manager is a job title that can be applied to a wide variety of professionals, all of who are responsible for one or more aspects of employee hiring, training, treatment, and job satisfaction. What they all tend to have in common is that they act as somewhat of a liaison between employees and employers. They perform many of the employee-related administrative functions of an organization, including recruiting, interviewing, hiring, training, and handling employee benefits.

To an increasing extent, they are also being utilized by management in a consulting capacity to assist organizations in their strategic planning. They are helping their management decide how best to utilize the skills of the firm's workforce, to provide the most effective training and development opportunities to improve those skills, and to increase employee satisfaction with employment and working conditions.

Human Resource Management Schools

Human resources personnel often have an associate or bachelor's degree in human resources or human resources administration. Employers also hire people that have a college degree in industrial and labor relations. Some employers seek college graduates that have a business or technical background or a well-rounded liberal arts education. For management positions, employers often seek candidates that have achieved a master's degree in human resources or business administration.

College classes which prepare students for careers in human resources are offered by departments such as:

  • Instructional technology
  • Business administration
  • Education
  • Human services
  • Organizational development
  • Public administration
  • Communication

Some of the recommended courses are compensation, recruitment, training and development and performance appraisal. Other beneficial classes are organizational structure, principles of management and industrial psychology.

Human Resource Management Specializations

Responsibilities of human resource managers depend on their specializations and also the size and nature of the organizations that employ them. In a small organization, a human resources manager is often a generalist who handles all aspects of human resources work and performs a wide variety of tasks. A large corporation, on the other hand, will often designate a Director of Human Resources, who typically acts as the overall manager in charge of several departments covering specific human resources activities. Each of these departments often has its own manager. Some examples of department managers are as follows:

  • Employment and placement managers oversee the hiring and separation of employees. They typically supervise a staff of specialists who handle employee recruitment, hiring, and placement.
  • Training and development managers oversee the development and conduct of employee training and development programs.
  • Labor relations managers implement labor relations programs and prepare information for management to use during collective bargaining agreement negotiations. They often supervise a staff of labor relations specialists who are familiar with economic and wage data and have extensive knowledge of labor law and collective bargaining trends.
  • Compensation managers are in charge of an organization's pay system. They need to maintain a fair and equitable salary structure and ensure that the firm's pay scale is in compliance with applicable laws and regulations. They also design pay-for-performance plans and similar employee reward systems.
  • Employee benefits managers oversee an organization's employee benefits program, most significantly its health insurance and pension plans.
  • Employee assistance managers are responsible for a wide array of programs relating to the safety, health, and welfare of employees. These programs address issues such as occupational safety and health, food service, recreation activities transportation, employee feedback, child care, and employee counseling.
  • Equal employment opportunity (EEO) managers are found in some organizations, particularly government agencies or large firms. They are responsible for investigating and resolving EEO grievances, examining corporate practices for possible violations, and compiling and submitting statistical reports.

Human Resource Management Training and Certification

Human resource managers are generally not licensed; however, certification can be useful and even important in many cases. There are several organizations which offer certifications in this field. The Society for Human Resource Management offers two of them:

  1. The Professional in Human Resources (PHR)
  2. The Senior Professional in Human Resources (SPHR)

The American Society for Training and Development (ASTD) Certification Institute offers certification in the learning and performance field. The International Foundation of Employee Benefit Plans confers the Certified Employee Benefits Specialist (CEBP) designation on those who complete a series of college-level courses and are able to pass qualifying exams. They also offer a designation in the areas of:

  1. Retirement
  2. Compensation
  3. Benefit

Some human resources personnel become Certified Benefits Specialists. The Society of Human Resource Management offers the Professional in Human Resources certification and the Senior Professional in Human Resources certification.

Resources for HR Managers


The Top Cities tab shows employment statistics for Human Resources Managers by major metro area.

The Top Industries tab shows which industries have the most jobs for Human Resources Managers, along with salary data by industry.

The Browse Schools tab lets you search for schools by field of study, degree level, and location.

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Metro Areas Rated for Popularity for:
Human Resources Managers

Listed below are metro areas ranked by the popularity of jobs for Human Resources Managers relative to the population of the city, as of 2008. Salary data was obtained from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

A Relative Popularity of 1.0 means that the city has an average number of the particular job, for its population, compared to the rest of the US. Higher numbers mean proportionally more jobs of that type.

Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

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Career Stories (Job Profiles) for Human Resources Managers

We currently do not have any stories for this career in our database.

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Most Popular Industries (as of 2008) for:
Human Resources Managers

Industries representing at least 1% of total jobs for the occupation.

Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Industry Jobs Percent Salary
Business Management 8,690 14% $107,280
Government 8,160 13% $88,790
Professional And Technical Services 6,240 10% $107,460
Education 3,640 5% $90,950
Office Services And Staffing 3,470 5% $88,610
Hospital 3,210 5% $90,790
Banking And Credit 2,370 3% $103,220
Insurance 1,870 3% $99,820
Electronics And Computer 1,600 2% $116,150
Automotive And Vehicle Manufacturing 1,280 2% $99,790
Medical Office 1,210 1% $81,980
Durable Goods Wholesale 1,060 1% $97,370
Chemicals 980 1% $99,070
Traditional Publishing 930 1% $110,880
Securities And Investment 920 1% $109,110
Food 880 1% $87,760
Hotel And Accomodation 880 1% $85,270
Telecommunications 850 1% $107,470
Non-durable Goods Wholesale 810 1% $101,050
Non-profit 800 1% $89,760
Machinery 720 1% $96,160
Social Service 700 1% $67,960
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