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Which Degree Is Best for Human Resources and How to Get One

Human resources management or HRM is a critical part of most companies. You’d be involved in the hiring of new staff and the ongoing management of current staff. If you’re interested in pursuing a rewarding human resources career, which degree should you choose?

An associate degree in human resources management will allow you to work in such career roles as operations manager, payroll clerk, assistant recruiter, compensation and benefits specialist, and human resources generalist. You can pursue an associate degree at an online university, supercharging your higher education. You may also want to pursue a bachelor’s or master’s degree in human resources for advanced positions.

This guide to human resources degrees will discuss the benefits of having a human resources management degree, discuss how to get one, and provide more information on studying this unique career area. You won’t want to miss it.

Why Study Human Resources?

Human resources or HR is certainly worth studying for a myriad of reasons. Let’s take a closer look now.

Serves a Critical Function That All Companies Need

Few companies operate without an HR manager or human resources professional of some sort. As an HR manager or specialist, you may need to coordinate candidate interviews for open positions in your office.

You also might interview candidates and assist others within your company on which hiring decision is the best one based on their knowledge, skills, and abilities.

Further, you’ll work alongside key executives to aid in strategic planning. When a staffing problem arises, you’re there to solve it, coaching if necessary and resolving conflicts.

You’d work in a consulting role as well with support staff, specialists, and managers.

When an employee has a problem, they can come to you. This may require you to deal with weighty issues such as sexual harassment or equal opportunity hiring and recruitment, but you’ll have a solution that’s as fair to everyone as possible.

You can even positively affect the workforce, recommending roles or job responsibilities that suit the staff well according to the individual employee’s talents and skills.

Can Work in a Variety of Settings

Since HR managers and specialists are needed in just about every industry imaginable, your career can take you to many locations depending on your interests and preferences.

You could work for a retailer, in the service industry, for nonprofits or governments, or as part of a small or medium-sized business.

Your HR role could land you in a production facility or manufacturing facility, in a financial institution such as an insurance firm, in a business consulting group, or even working for the government on a local, state, or federal level.

Do you dream of working for yourself? Self-employment is an option as well as with an HR degree.

Projected Job Growth Is Strong

In today’s increasingly technological society, there exists a valid concern about the long-term security of some job roles.

Human resources is one of those jobs that well, humans need to do. It’s also a job that will demand relevant, up to date skills to help companies navigate the rapidly changing technological landscapes that businesses are facing.

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics or BLS, between 2020 and 2030, HRM will grow as a career field at a rate of nine percent.

Lots of Room to Climb the Career Ladder

An HR Specialist is just one of the titles you can hold should you pursue a degree in HRM. With more advanced education and degree levels, you may find greater opportunities for career growth await you.

Each new role would come with its own set of responsibilities and challenges that can fuel you to improve and work your best.

Is HR a Hard Major to Study in College?

Another factor in your decision-making regarding which college major you’ll pursue is how difficult it is.

To help you feel confident in whether HRM is the field for you, here is a little bit of information about what you’d potentially learn as an HR major.

The field of HRM balances human relations and business. You can expect courses in your HRM curriculum to cover topics such as ethics, communications, critical thinking, teamwork, marketing, accounting, management, and leadership.

Your time in college would also include classes on employee benefits, payroll and compensation, employee relations, employee development and training, performance management, and HR management.

You’d also learn important office applications such as Microsoft Office, including Word, Excel, and PowerPoint.

These topics are relevant and exciting, and your HRM education would be a well-rounded one.

Which Degree Is Best for Human Resources?

If you’re seriously thinking of joining the world of HRM, you should begin with your associate degree. Many HR professionals will continue on to earn a bachelor’s degree and even a master’s degree. More advanced degrees allow you to pursue higher-level positions.

Most HRM degree educations can be completed in 18 months to two years. Then you can decide to pursue higher education if you wish or launch your human resources career with your associate degree.

As you pursue an HRM associate degree, you’d take courses in the above topics to prepare you for the work you’ll face every day in your human resources role.

Which Certification Is Best for Human Resources?

aphr cert logo

One of the most recognized certifications in Human Resources is through the HR Certification Institute or HRCI. They offer the Associate Professional in Human Resources exam or aPHR certification.

The exam covers such topics as learning and development (15 percent of the test content), compensation and benefits (17 percent), talent acquisition (19 percent), employee relations (24 percent), and compliance and risk management (25 percent).

Once you’re aPHR certified, the certification is good for three years. To keep the cert current, you can obtain 45 recertification credits in three years. The other option is to retake the exam.

An aPHR certification isn’t necessary to find a job in HRM, but it does look especially great on your resume and employers nationwide recognize the credential. You’ll stand out to the hiring manager you interview with so that someday you might be the one interviewing job candidates for your new company.

How Do You Get an HRM Associate Degree?

If you’ve decided that HRM is the right career path for you, the next step is working your way towards your associate degree as the first step in your educational journey.

You’ll have to decide whether you’d like to enroll in a traditional in-person school or an online college. Obtaining your human resources degree online is advantageous for a variety of reasons.

Why Earn Your HRM Degree Online?

For starters, you don’t have to pay for room and board and other residential living fees. You won’t have to worry about how you’ll get to and from school, as there’s no commute. You’ll save money and time, both of which you can funnel into your education.

Bryan University’s online Associate Degree in Human Resources Management program could be just the educational experience you’re looking for.

As a Bryan U student, you’ll learn the pillars of HRM, everything from ethics to business management, employee management, marketing, leadership, and communications.

Your time at college will prepare you for the HRCI aPHR exam so you can pass and earn your three-year certification. You can also obtain a Microsoft Excel certification if you wish. You’ll certainly learn the program inside and out as part of the associate degree program.

All courseware and electronic books are included in your tuition as well.

At Bryan University, the learning environment centers on mastery of topics and concepts. You can retake assignments to improve your grades, pair with success coaches or tutors, and connect with peers and faculty using handy online tools such as Zoom.

To kickstart your HRM career, you can pursue your Business Administration Undergraduate Certificate while enrolled in the Associate Degree in Human Resources Management Program.

The Business Administration Undergraduate Certificate program covers valuable topics such as business communications, social media, marketing, Microsoft Office, reporting financial statements, accounting, and business fundamentals.

You’ll also receive prep for the Microsoft Excel Associate certification, which will make you a more shining HRM job candidate.

With so many exciting directions on the road to an HRM job, Bryan University's associate HRM degree is a great place to start!

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