Human resource management opportunities are found in all businesses. Human resource management focuses on managing the people within an organization. If you like working with policies and systems to support the recruitment, development, training and reward systems of employees, an advanced degree in this field may be for you.
Some of the types of master’s degrees that students can pursue in the field include:
- Global Human Resources focuses on acquiring and maintaining talent pools internationally. This degree track also focuses heavily on human resource legislation and cultural influences on the hiring process.
- Resource Management and Development provides strategies for promoting internal development and growth within a resource pool in addition to maintaining high-quality work standards. Key concepts taught in this track are performance analysis, recruitment and training.
- Benefits and Compensation deals with the basics of insurance and compensation benefits. In addition, students in this track learn key elements of insurance and compensation law, federal employment requirements and alternate forms of benefit structuring.
- Labor and Collective Bargaining provides grounding in state and federal legislation regarding labor relations and worker’s rights. Typical classes include developing worker representation, public collective bargaining and mediating labor disputes.
- Employment and Labor Law examines the legal aspects of worker’s compensation, collective bargaining and workers’ rights. This emphasis is designed for students going into legal work and can be the base for a future degree in employment law.
Length of Study
Most online master’s degree programs in human resources take 2 years to complete. Thus, students must complete about 38 credit hours of coursework.
Programs in human resources offer courses including:
- Employee Relations emphasizes the creation of a positive work environment and interpersonal relationships with employers and employees. Topics in this class may include nonviolent intervention, communication methods and grievance management.
- Diversity in the Workplace helps students evaluate personal prejudices and promote tolerance among associates, this course is a requirement in the best online master’s degree programs in human resources. It discusses the appropriate treatment of racial, sexual and gender roles in the workplace.
- Labor Market Analysis is a comparative course on historical and recent theory of labor in national and international markets. Theories regarding labor supply and demand, wage determination and labor policies are also discussed.
- Application form
- Undergraduate transcripts
- Revised Graduate Records Exam scores (Revised GRE)
- Personal statement or essay
- Letters of recommendation
Programs normally desire that candidates have either a bachelor’s degree in human resources from an accredited school, or a bachelor’s degree in a related field such as Communications, Finance, Business Management, Law or Information Technology.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, although there are jobs available for students with a bachelor’s degree in human resources, students with a master’s degree will be the most competitive in the future job market. Students with a master’s degree in human resources have generally taken classes in human relations management and law that can eventually lead to work in upper-level governmental or corporate positions. Students who pursue a PhD in human resources may also find opportunities to affect public police and human relations legislation.
Students who obtain their master’s in human resources can choose from a variety of different career options. Some of the most popular include:
- Training and Development Specialists: With an average salary of $58,000 per year, this career may be a good entry-level job for students. Professional trainers are responsible for the direction and coordination of internal education among employees. Jobs in this market are expected to grow by 15 percent over the next ten years, which is about average growth.
- Compensation and Benefits Managers: Individuals may oversee employee benefits such as retirement plans, health insurance and vacation time. The average salary for this position was more than $89,000 in 2010. Although this is a very lucrative career, jobs are expected to grow by only 3 percent. This is much slower than normal, possibly due to a general unwillingness of companies to hire more workers in this area.
- Human Resource Managers: This is predominantly an administrative position that works with staff recruitment, executive-level labor planning and mediating between employers and employees. It demands a high wage of almost $100,000 per year, mainly due to the level of responsibility that is required. In 2010, there were 71,800 people employed as human resource managers, and that number is expected to increase 15 percent by 2020.