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What is Human Resources

Human Resources (HR) is the branch of a company that in general, focuses on management and direction of employees.  They, in a sense, govern the rule book and blow the whistle when necessary.  They also deal with issues related to pay, hiring, safety, benefits, administration, and training.  Culture and an environment are intertwined here.  A person best fit for an HR job is someone who is likeable, diplomatic, and organized. 

PHR – Professional in Human Resources Certification

A certification program may be the perfect fit for someone who is experienced in HR and would like proof of his or her knowledge and competency.  The PHR is a certification for people who’ve worked in Human Resources.  It consists of a rigorous test which demonstrates competency within with theories and practices related to HR. 

With a Professional in Human Resources (PHR®) you are able to prove your expertise in technical and operational features of Human Resources.  It can make a world of difference when you can show people JUST how functional you are in HR.  The certification program sets you apart from the rest and will ultimately improve your chances for employment.

Getting my HR Certificate

Courses are offered online to prepare you for this exam.  The test is ultimately awarded by the Human Resource Certification Institute, but private schools and online study guides and courses are available to assist in your study for the PHR.

Associate's Degree Programs

As with any concentration, an Associate Degree in Human Resources is not as valuable as a Bachelor’s program.  Graduates with an AA in Human Resources will typically qualify for entry-level jobs.  This may include retail management or sales, volunteer work for non profit organizations, or payroll assistant.  Of course SOME schooling is better than none, but a Bachelor Degree is far more valuable when applying for positions in Human Resources.  

Bachelor's Degree Programs

A Bachelor Degree In Human Resources equips students with the mandatory skills to prepare them for a job in a variety of HR business fields.   Programs generally focus on an overview of HR principles, technology and business training, and fundamental human communication study. 

Human Resources – What will I study?

Some schools offer Human Resources as a Bachelor Degree major.  Others offer it as a concentration within the a Bachelor of Business program.  One could expect that with a Bachelor’s in HR, or a concentration, course work would cover some of the following:

  • Management Theory and Practice - Exploring the field of management in theory and in practice.  Teaching students to apply management skills to modern workplace issues. 
  • Ethics – Providing a perspective for social responsibility.  Helps students understand logistics in working with community, organization, and individuals
  • Computer Application Systems – Processing, Spreadsheet, database, and presentation software
  • Communication – Teaches critical thinking and decision-making skills.  Course work should emphasize written communication through such mediums as email, memos, reports, and such.  Other topics of study may include intercultural communication, various interpersonal communication skills, and solving organizational issues within the organization.

What job can I get with a Human Resources Degree?

There’s a wide variety of skills learned in Human Resource study that will likely prepare you with a large enough skillset for a variety of jobs.  Here’s an example of some specialties you should be prepared for:

  • Employee Training
  • Workplace Psychology
  • Employee Bennefits
  • Management
  • Business Communication
  • Presentation Skills
  • Recruiting and Staffing
  • Payroll Preparation
  • Labor Relations

Master of Business Administration (MBA) Programs

When looking for a Masters Program for Human Resources, one might consider an MBA with a concentration in Human Resources.  This will definitely prepare most students for HR tasks across multiple industries.  This type of study prepares students for higher level HR positions such as lead, director or vice president.  An MBA with HR emphasis will teach you a broad skillset for a wide range of managerial experiences within Human Resources.

Human Resources Certification

If you’ve already been to school (preferably with a Bachelors degree), but you’re interested in moving into the Human Resources field, a Human certificate may be a perfect fit for you.  Sometimes universities will allow you to begin their certificate program and then transfer in the full-time degrees if you’re interested.  A certificate demonstrates to employers that you’ve studied an obtained a skillset that directly qualifies you for positions within HR.  For those who have studied business management, this can be good preparation for higher-level management within HR. 

Online Human Resources Degree

For working individuals, going back to school can be a difficult decision.  Some HR degree programs only offer classes during the day.  This schedule most likely wouldn’t work for you if you’re already a working professional.  However, many schools now offer online study programs, allowing you continue working while you work toward your Human Resources degree or certificate. 

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This site is for informational purposes only and does not constitute legal, financial or tax advise. The information on this site should not be relied upon as an official source of information and should be independently verified.


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