You could think of the human resources department as the heart of the company.

People in this line of work aren’t just friendly; they truly enjoy interacting with others. On any given day, they find ideal job candidates, mediate disputes between employees, plan company events, or make sure that workers are aware of their benefits.

Jobs in human resources are highly rewarding. Getting your degree will qualify you for several diverse, exciting career paths and excellent pay.

What Is a Human Resources Degree?

Because this is such a broad field, there are a number of degree programs and levels of study to choose from. You can also add professional certifications along the way to increase your knowledge and earning power. Depending on the plan you select, your education might cover the following:

  • Accounting
  • Finance
  • Computer applications and systems
  • Marketing
  • Written and oral communication
  • Employee relations
  • Contemporary human resources issues
  • Ethics and sociology
  • Behavioral science
  • Management concepts
  • Employee training and development
  • Performance assessment
  • Compensation and benefits
  • Organizational theory and design
  • Business law

The more schooling you have, the farther you can advance into high-paying positions.

Whether you pursue an associate, bachelor’s, or master’s degree, make sure that the program you choose is fully accredited. Be especially careful if you study online. There are dozens of programs available but check for accreditation to ensure that your credits will transfer and, even more importantly, make you completely hirable.

How Much Money Can You Make?

The future looks rosy indeed for anyone who holds a degree in human resources. There is high demand for talented people in a broad range of settings: corporations, nonprofits, universities, government, health care, science, technology, and manufacturing. Job growth over the next decade is projected to be nine percent.

Some of the most popular jobs are recruiter, training and development manager, and human resources manager. In 2017, Forbes listed human resources manager as one of the most desirable jobs.

Salaries vary based on specialties, experience, location, and other factors. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the top 10 percent in management earn around $193,500. Technical and scientific consulting companies pay the best, and the most lucrative specialties are organizational development and labor relations.

Here is a sampling of human resource jobs and their approximate median annual salaries:

Recruiting and placement manager, $59,000

These managers oversee hiring. They have excellent discernment and interviewing skills. They coach their team members on finding talent and screening candidates.

Executive recruiter, $79,000

More commonly known as headhunters, they are knowledgeable in a wide range of industries. They can match top talent to the perfect executive positions and companies.

Labor relations specialist, $84,000

These specialists are liaisons between their companies and the labor unions. They are skilled negotiators, and they stay abreast of the latest laws and regulations.

Training and development manager, $88,000

Training and development managers make sure that employees are properly oriented, equipped for their jobs, and ripe for future advancement. They’re in charge of training materials, training sessions, and personal development resources. Motivational skills and the ability to preside over meetings are good assets to have.

Compensation and benefits manager, $94,300

When salaries, company vibes, and commutes are comparable, job candidates often go with firms that have good insurance and benefits.

The manager in charge of this department finds the best programs to attract top candidates. They keep a sharp eye on employee retention rates and tweak the benefits package if necessary. They also make sure that compensation plans are up to date while keeping salaries in line with the budget.

Human resources manager, $96,000

These managers wear a variety of hats. Since they supervise team leaders, they play a role in hiring, training, employee relations, and other day-to-day practices. They also make sure that everyone complies with the law and company policies.

Vice president of human resources, $214,500

Simply put, the veep is in charge of every single aspect of human resources from recruiting to resolving disputes to creating policies. The man or woman who lands this coveted job will report to the CEO and be deeply involved in the company’s policies and business strategies.

Available Degree and Diploma Programs in HR

With an associate degree, you’ll qualify for entry-level assistant jobs in recruiting, training, payroll, compensation, benefits, or employee relations. Associate programs take around two years to complete. A bachelor’s degree takes a minimum of four years, but it is much more comprehensive and equips you for better jobs and higher pay.

As for higher education, there are many routes you can take. For example, you could pursue a master’s degree in human resources or a master’s degree in business administration with a focus on human resources. Both take one to two additional years, but the extra schooling is well worth it.

With either of those, you’re eligible for all kinds of leadership positions such as manager of human resources. With the highly specialized MBA, the business skills you learn will apply in many other arenas if you ever consider a career change.

Special certifications from the Human Resources Certification Institute, the highest standard in the industry, are added testaments to your knowledge, competence, and experience. They are issued after you take certain courses and pass the exams. Some companies require certification for specialized jobs.

Take your first step up the ladder of success today by finding an accredited degree program.