Human Resources Careers

Read on to learn about typical courses, resources, and careers in this field.

Staff Writer

2022-09-0825 min read

A career in human resources gives you access to multiple career prospects across different industries and markets. This career path is focused on mediating between the people in your organization and the organization.

So if you're seeking to help people and companies relate better, this is your career path. This article will explore career trends, job prospects, resources, and salaries for people in human resource roles.

Why Choose Human Resources?

Consider HR if you want a high-income job with growth potential where you can deploy your people skills. This area offers several prospects because many firms and industries have HR departments.

Human resource professionals can help others with their career development. For example, you can provide ongoing support as a human resource expert after the company hires an employee.

How to Start your Human Resources Journey

Many entry-level HR jobs require a degree and experience, which you can gain through internships, temporary employment, or part-time work. These starter positions offer a realistic understanding of the profession and firm and may lead to a full-time HR assistant or other entry-level careers.

HR assistants often become recruiters, payroll managers, staffing managers, administrators, or HR managers. Most HR professionals specialize or become generalists.

Education Requirements

Associate Degree

Human resources associate degrees typically prepare graduates for entry-level positions as administrative assistants, HR assistants, or HR associates. However, most human resources occupations require a bachelor's degree; thus, many people with associate degrees earn their full bachelor's degree.

Bachelor's Degree

Many HR positions call for a bachelor's degree in human resources. For example, entry-level HR manager, director, specialist, coordinator, and corporate recruiter positions require a bachelor's degree.

Master's Degree

Master's degree grads have more specific skills. Master's degree holders can seek senior HR manager, VP of HR, and IT management positions.

Many organizations would rather hire someone with a master's degree in human resources or labor relations than someone with a bachelor's degree. This is especially true for positions in compensation and benefits management.

Doctorate in Human Resources

A doctoral degree increases job opportunities in a candidate's specialty. For example, doctoral graduates can work in higher education, consultancy, and research in HR. In addition, a doctorate is necessary for positions like I/O psychologists and postsecondary business professors.

Employment Prospects

HR is a fast-growing industry in the US. Human resource managers are expected to see stronger job growth than the average for all occupations, with a 7% increase in employment by 2031. That's 16,300 annual job openings.

The median annual HR manager income is $126,230. According to the BLS, the lowest 10% earned less than $75,000, and the highest 10% earned more than $208,000.

Human Resources Career Forecast

Human resources specialists' job prospects depend on title, geography, education, and experience. The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) stated that human resources professionals made $62,290 in 2021. These positions are predicted to grow by 8% between 2021 and 2031, which is faster than the national average.

Lucrative Human Resources Career Paths

Here are some lucrative careers open to human resources professionals

Human Resources Specialist

HR specialists recruit, screen, interview, and position new hires. They could also be responsible for employee relations, training, and benefits and compensation packages.

Average Salary

The average annual salary of a human resources specialist is $62,290. The salary ranges from $37,680 to $108,160.

Roles and Responsibilities

  • Discuss employment needs with employers.

  • Interview applicants about their experience, education, and talents.

  • Check references and backgrounds.

  • Inform candidates of responsibilities, benefits, and workplace conditions

  • Hiring qualified candidates

  • Help with employee orientation

  • Keep and process employment records

Industries Employing Human Resources Specialists

The industries actively hiring human resources specialists include:

  • Employment services

  • Technical services

  • Government

  • Healthcare and social help

  • Manufacturing

Training and Development Managers

Training and development managers oversee and direct employee skill- and knowledge-enhancement programs.

Average Salary

The average annual salary of a training and development manager is $120,130.

Roles and Responsibilities

  • Train and develop employees

  • Determine training needs.

  • Align training with company goals

  • Create training budgets

  • Implement training programs

  • Review and pick vendor training materials

  • Update training to make it relevant

  • Teach trainers and supervisors new techniques

Industries Employing Training and Development Managers

The industries actively hiring training and development managers include:

  • Technical services

  • Management enterprises

  • Educational services

  • Finance and insurance

  • Healthcare and social help

Labor Relations Specialists

Labor relations specialists read and manage labor contracts about wages and salaries, health care, pension plans, and management and union practices.

Average Salary

The average annual salary of a labor relations specialist is $77,010. The salary ranges from $22,880 to $126,330.

Roles and Responsibilities

  • Advise management on contracts, grievances, and discipline

  • Manage management-labor meetings

  • Consult union reps

  • Prepare legislation and policy proposals

  • Ensure HR policies match union agreements

  • Interpret management-labor communications

  • Examine labor complaints

  • Train managers on labor relations

Industries Employing Labor Relations Specialists

The industries actively hiring labor relations specialists include:

  • Management companies

  • Government

  • Labor unions

Human Resources Analysts

HR analysts examine HR data and make hiring and retention suggestions. In addition, HR analysts report to senior management, advise methods to improve an organization's structure, and administer and organize training.

Average Salary

The average annual salary of a human resource analyst is $60,942. The salary ranges from $46,000 to $78,000.

Roles and Responsibilities

  • Gathering information through exit interviews, personnel surveys, employment files, and management polls.

  • Implementing HR metrics to measure worker effectiveness.

  • Analyzing recruitment techniques, motivation, turnover, and employment law compliance trends.

  • Improving data procedures and systems.

  • Compiling data reports for senior management.

  • Developing short- and long-term objectives to ensure exceptional staff performance.

Industries Employing Human Resources Analysts

The industries actively hiring human resources analysts include:

  • Banking

  • Investment firms

  • Healthcare

  • Computer software

Executive Recruiter

Executive recruiters, often called executive headhunters, locate individuals for executive roles in various businesses.

Average Salary

The median annual salary of an executive recruiter is $74,892. The salary ranges from $43,000 to $125,000.

Roles and Responsibilities

  • Partner with customers to understand their strategic, financial, and hiring needs.

  • Create a targeted research approach

  • Research client companies, rivals, and marketplaces

  • Map role criteria, develop job descriptions, and document specifications

  • Track and identify prospects via many channels

  • Assess candidates' qualifications, fit, and compatibility

  • Conduct discreet interviews, follow references, and check credits

Industries Employing Executive Recruiters

The industries actively hiring executive recruiters include:

  • Recruitment agencies

Chief Talent Officer

A Chief Talent Officer oversees internal and external talent acquisition, especially for C-suite prospects (i.e., executives, managers, and team leaders). This senior-level role creates high-performing teams to help firms develop.

Average Salary

The average annual salary of a chief talent officer is $183,416. The salary ranges from $111,000 to $316,000.

Roles and Responsibilities

  • Create a plan for finding and hiring new talent by networking with potential applicants.

  • Improve human operations

  • Manage employee training programs

  • Increase brand and visibility of essential departments (e.g., Human Resources, Learning, and Development)

  • Coordinate hiring events to promote the company

  • Evaluate employee performance with team leaders.

  • Explore recruiting needs and create recruitment and succession plans.

Industries Employing Chief Talent Officers

The industries actively hiring chief talent officers include:

  • Banking

  • Finance

  • Investment firms

  • Fintech

  • Healthcare

  • Computer software

HSE Advisor

HSE advisors create safety rules, examine workplaces for dangers, and assist management in reducing risks and preventing accidents. As an HSE advisor, you make sure your organization follows safety rules.

Average Salary

The average annual salary of an HSE advisor is $78,424. The salary ranges from $50,000 to $110,000.

Roles and Responsibilities

  • Training staff on safe working processes, hazardous materials, and accident prevention

  • Communicating safety issues to other departments

  • Developing and executing safety regulations to prevent workplace accidents, injuries, and illnesses

  • Investigating accidents, injuries, or diseases to determine causes and offer remedies

Industries Employing HSE Advisors

The industries actively hiring HSE advisors include:

  • Manufacturing

  • Retail

  • Construction

Benefits Administrator

Benefits administrators handle healthcare, employee discounts, subsidized tuition, and any other non-wage benefit a firm may offer. In addition, a benefits administrator helps prospective employees select their benefits and helps current employees supervise changes to their benefits when they have a kid or get married.

Average Salary

The average annual salary of a benefits administrator is $56,414. The salary ranges from $43,000 to $77,000.

Roles and Responsibilities

  • Update employee and benefits files.

  • Handle the day-to-day benefits administration, including new enrollments, cancellations, and claims.

  • Inform staff about firm benefits.

  • Respond quickly to benefit-related questions and requests.

  • Look into new vendors and employee benefit options.

Industries Employing Benefits Administrators

The industries actively hiring benefits administrators include:

  • Government organizations

  • Technology

  • Manufacturing

  • Retail

  • Education

  • Insurance

  • Healthcare

Chief Safety Officer

A chief safety officer (CSO) establishes rules and procedures to protect personnel. As a CSO, you must enforce regulations, manage safety protocols, improve safety training, and investigate accidents.

Average Salary

The average annual salary of a chief safety officer is $109,384. The salary ranges from $46,000 to $329,000.

Roles and Responsibilities

  • Create a company-wide "safety first" culture.

  • Check internal safety procedures and policies to ensure accuracy.

  • Research new legislation and advances, then suggest program adjustments and training.

  • Ensure safety policy compliance at all locations.

  • Verify that the onsite documents and reports are complete, correct, and filed.

Industries Employing Chief Safety Officer

The industries actively hiring chief safety officers include:

  • Manufacturing

  • Healthcare

  • Transport

Talent Acquisition Directors

A Talent Acquisition Director supervises the recruiting staff, identifies talented applicants, and monitors hiring and onboarding. The goal is to help a firm grow by recruiting qualified employees.

Average Salary

The average annual salary of a talent acquisition director is $117,890. The salary ranges from $78,000 to $162,000.

Roles and Responsibilities

  • Create talent pipelines to fill unfilled positions.

  • Manage college, job board, and HR software partnerships

  • Implement employer branding initiatives online and offline.

  • Plan hiring based on business growth.

  • Manage, train, and evaluate recruiters.

  • Take part in and conduct recruitment events to promote the firm

  • Build a network of future hires

Industries Employing Talent Acquisition Directors

The industries actively employing talent acquisition directors include:

  • Retail

  • Banking and Finance

  • Information technology

Assessment Consultants

Assessment consultants assess, evaluate, and analyze an institution's property, systems, investment plans, or protocols. They engage stakeholders to identify and offer solutions to fulfill organizational goals. As a consultant, you may check property, audit financial records, analyze protocols, and suggest improvements.

Average Salary

The average annual salary of an assessment consultant is $96,642. The salary ranges from $49,000 to $163,000.

Roles and Responsibilities

  • Determine action strategies to mitigate risks with the vendor.

  • Perform peer reviews as needed.

  • Assist the Information Security and Privacy Groups in enhancing the Third Party Risk Assessment Procedure.

  • Helps instructional designers produce training materials by sharing assessment knowledge.

Industries Employing Assessment Consultants

The industries actively employing assessment consultants include:

  • Business enterprises

  • Real estate

  • Health and Safety

Compensation and Benefits Managers

Compensation and benefits managers handle the company's various benefits and pay structures. They determine the starting salary for all employees and keep an eye on benefits, pay raises, and retirement plans.

Average Salary

The average annual salary of a compensation and benefits manager is $127,530. The salary ranges from $77,040 to $208,000.

Roles and Responsibilities

  • Supervise and manage the day-to-day activities of staff.

  • Figure out how the company will pay its employees and provide them benefits.

  • Compare pay rates in the market to make or change pay packages.

  • Manage the information regarding employees' salaries and benefits.

  • Check to see that all the salary and benefits packages comply with the relevant laws and regulations.

Industries Employing Compensation and Benefits Managers

The industries actively hiring compensation and benefits managers include:

  • Management firms

  • Technical services

  • Insurance carriers

  • Government

  • Healthcare and social help

Employment, Recruitment, and Placement Manager

A recruiting manager assists both job seekers and employers. They're accountable for establishing a recruitment procedure that fits the organization's hiring strategy. In addition, recruitment managers develop hiring procedures that promote diversity and locate people who fit the company culture.

Average Salary

The average annual salary of a recruitment manager is $49,334. The salary ranges from $35,000 to $73,000.

Roles and Responsibilities

  • Supervise and evaluate the recruitment team

  • Track hiring metrics

  • Review recruiting software and offer the best alternative for the company's needs

  • Recommend interviewing techniques to hiring managers

  • Keep up with labor law developments and notify recruiters and managers.

Industries Employing Employment, Recruitment, and Placement Manager

The industries actively hiring recruitment managers include:

  • General Manufacturing

  • Fast Food and restaurant services

  • Healthcare

  • Education

  • Automotive

  • IT

Human Resources Consultant

Human resources consultants guarantee a company's human capital serves its best interests. By establishing a human resources model for their clients, HR consultants ensure that the firm uses its employees efficiently to meet its goals and that the workforce is productive and efficient.

Average Salary

The average annual salary of a human resource consultant is $76,050. The salary ranges from $52,000 to $110,000.

Roles and Responsibilities

  • Lead HR projects and programs

  • Give HR advice on daily issues

  • Formulate strategic, practical HR plans

  • Help with recruitment, training, and management

  • Develop and implement policies

  • Implement HR tech

  • Help create business and HR control systems

Industries Employing Human Resources Consultants

The industries actively hiring human resources consultants include:

  • Technology

  • Finance

  • Manufacturing

  • Healthcare

  • Retail

  • Insurance

Change management specialist

Change management professionals facilitate organizational change. They aid in the rollout of new rules, processes, and other alterations that affect employees' daily routines.

Average Salary

The average annual salary of a change management specialist is $81,404. The salary ranges from $55,000 to $120,000.

Roles and Responsibilities

  • Training staff on job-related policy and procedure changes

  • Coordinating with other departments to implement changes seamlessly

  • Creating reports summarizing change management results to benefit future initiatives

Industries Employing Change management specialists

The industries actively hiring change management specialists are:

  • Retail

  • Health

  • Insurance

  • Transportation

  • Education

How to Boost your Human Resources Career

Human resources professionals can develop their careers by gaining field experience. But there are additional measures you can take to increase your chances of success.

These measures include enrolling in relevant educational programs and getting relevant certifications from appropriate organizations. In addition, networking and developing personal ties are also essential for career advancement.

Pros and Cons of Human Resources Careers

HR has its good days and bad days, like any career. Likewise, it has well-known pros and cons. Here are a few.


  • HR specialists can assist people in reaching their professional goals.

  • HR work affects company productivity and success.

  • It's a diverse work. HR professionals connect with many individuals and face new challenges daily.


  • Conflict is common in HR. Dispute mediation and discipline can be stressful.

  • Getting colleagues to support new HR policies is difficult. Many people resist change.

Skills You'll Develop While Studying Human Resources

Here are some skills you'll develop in your human resources journey.

Active Listening

The HR department must practice active listening to communicate messages in both directions.

This entails interpreting verbal and nonverbal messages holistically. As a result, you'll gain vital information, improve the working environment, and build team trust and dedication.

Creating pathways for easy communication and employee expression is the most effective technique for practicing active listening.

You can do this via email, meetings, or apps like Slack.

Negotiation Skills

Conflict resolution and negotiation are crucial HR skills. People management often includes mediating disagreements, proposing alternatives, and expressing "no." However, the way a professional handles crises is crucial.

A competent negotiator understands the other party, knows when to cede ground, and finds a win-win solution.

Salary increases, paid time off, and contract extensions are just a few areas where negotiations are routinely required.

Management Skills

The HR department manages a company's talent. A good professional can recognize, manage, develop, and promote talent.

Recruitment software helps you capture interview impressions, produce reports, and analyze them when making judgments.

Analytical and Organizational Skills

Human resources jobs involve organization and analysis to meet goals. Talent management is becoming more crucial to a company's overall strategy; therefore, department workers must be able to translate goals into specific activities to accomplish the desired results.

Technology Skills

Human resources departments are becoming more digitized to maximize efficiency and accomplish goals. As a result, HR specialists who are conversant with HRM software are usually in high demand.

How to Prepare for a Human Resources Career

1. Get a college degree

Employers probably won't consider you for a human resources management entry-level position if you don't have a bachelor's degree. The exception is if you have extensive professional experience in a field closely linked to HR (such as operations management, accounting, etc.).

2. Get experience

It's also crucial to get HR experience along the route. If you have relevant experience outside of HR, include it in your resume. Look for openings in your current position to increase your HR skills.

If you don't have relevant work experience, consider entry-level work that will expose you to payroll, record-keeping, and other administrative responsibilities linked to dealing with personnel.

If you can't find work, volunteer to get HR management skills. If you're in school or preparing to return, get an internship to gain HR experience.

3. Learn to network

Professional organizations can help you succeed in any career path. In addition, professional organizations expand your human resources horizon. Your local chapter of The Society for Human Resource Management is an excellent organization to join. You can network with local HR specialists and create connections that might boost your career.

As an active member, you can extend your horizons by attending chapter meetings, educational conferences, and other events. In addition, you can also meet people who may assist you in starting or changing your career. You can discover a mentor or even job prospects.

4. Consider a certification

HR certification is vital for long-term success, but those just entering the sector are ineligible for HR certifications.

To take the PHR or SPHR exam, candidates must have at least four years of relevant experience in human resource management.

Human Resources to Help Your Career

Professional organizations provide some of the best resources for finding relevant information. They go beyond linking people to provide job opportunities.

Also, open courseware is available to self-directed learners, allowing them to advance their education at their speed.

The organizations listed below are highly recommended for advancing your career.

How to Switch to a Human Resources Career

Undergraduates looking to enter a human resources career need a bachelor's degree. They may follow that with a master's.

If you're a young professional working for a while, then getting involved with your organization's HR department is the quickest way to switch careers. Find short-term exposure possibilities. Use this time to learn more about HR and verify you wish to switch.

You could also take part in HR projects, look for internship opportunities in HR within your organization, or take an entry-level HR role.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is Human Resources?

Human resources (HR) is the business department responsible for workers. It covers recruiting, vetting, hiring, onboarding, educating, promoting, compensating, and terminating workers and independent contractors.

HR monitors new laws governing how workers should be handled while hiring, working, and firing.

What certification do I need for a Human Resources career?

Certifications that can help boost your resume and help with your human resources career include:

Can I get a Human Resources degree online?

Yes, you can. Several universities offer online bachelor's degrees in human resources. Check the accreditation status before enrolling in any online university.

What fields can Human Resources professionals work in?

Human resources professionals can work in nonprofit organizations, government and government agencies, finance, consulting, digital media, information technology, and basically any highly structured industry or business.

Is there a high demand for Human Resources majors?

Yes, there is. However, the demand depends on several factors, like your level of education and work experience.

Final Thoughts

Working in HR includes managing other employees, which isn't for everyone. However, you can always switch to HR if you're employed in a different area and are interested in it.

It's an easy-to-enter career with great returns and growth. If you consider yourself a people-person, a career in HR might be your best move.

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