Is a Human Resources Degree worth it?

There’s no doubt that a degree in Human Resources can be a valuable investment. With a Human Resources degree, you’ll be equipped with the skills and knowledge you need to enter into a successful career in HR.

But is a Human Resources degree worth it for you?

Let’s explore the benefits of a Human Resources degree to help you decide whether it’s a worthwhile investment.

Benefits of a Human Resources Degree

Job Opportunities

A human resources degree can lead to a wide range of career opportunities with ample job security. As a human resources graduate, you can work in a number of industries- including business, government, education, and nonprofit organizations.

Also, many human resources graduates find work in the recruitment and staffing industry. HR professionals are in high demand, as they are responsible for ensuring that businesses have the right employees in the right positions. They also help to maintain a positive workplace culture.

The most common career paths for human resources graduates include:

  • Human resources generalist: A human resources generalist is responsible for managing a wide range of HR functions, including recruiting, training, employee relations, and benefits administration.
  • Recruiter: A recruiter is responsible for attracting and hiring qualified candidates for open positions within an organization.
  • Training and development specialist: A training and development specialist designs and implements training programs to help employees improve their skills and knowledge.
  • Employee relations specialist: An employee relations specialist is responsible for managing and resolving conflicts between employees and management.
  • Benefits and compensation specialist: A benefits and compensation specialist is responsible for designing and administering employee benefits programs and determining appropriate pay rates.
  • HR manager: An HR manager is responsible for overseeing the HR function within an organization and ensuring that HR policies and procedures are followed.

In addition to these specific roles, HR graduates pursue careers in labor relations, organizational development, and talent management.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the employment of human resources specialists is expected to increase by 8% between 2021 and 2031, which is faster than the average growth rate for all occupations. For HR Managers, the expected increase is 7%.

The largest employers of human resources specialists in 2021 were:

Employment services17%
Professional, scientific, and technical services13%
Government10%
Healthcare and social assistance10%
Manufacturing7%
Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Increased Earning Potential

Generally, human resources professionals tend to earn competitive salaries.

According to the BLS, the median annual wage for human resources specialists was $62,290 as of May 2021. The lowest 10% of earners in this field made less than $37,680 annually, while the highest 10% made more than $108,160 annually.

Human resources managers tend to earn higher salaries than human resources specialists, with a median annual wage of $126,230 as of May 2021. The lowest 10% of earners in this career made less than $75,000 per year, while the highest 10% made more than $208,000 per year.

Note that human resources professionals with advanced degrees or specialized certifications may earn higher salaries. Additionally, professionals working in certain industries or geographic locations may earn more due to the demand for their skills and expertise.

Industries that typically have a high demand for HR professionals include healthcare, finance, and technology. These industries often have many employees and need experienced HR professionals to manage the various HR functions within their organizations.

May 2021 Median annual wages for human resources specialists in the top industries were:

Professional, scientific, and technical services$76,920
Government$74,150
Manufacturing$72,370
Healthcare and social assistance$57,720
Employment services$48,440
Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

For human resource managers, the May 2021 annual wages in the top industries were:

Professional, scientific, and technical services$133,980
Management of companies and enterprises$130,340
Manufacturing$125,080
Government$102,520
Healthcare and social assistance$99,870
Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Ultimately, your earning potential as a human resources professional will depend on factors, such as your level of education and experience, your specific job role, and the demands of the job market in your area. But if current trends are to go by, things are definitely looking up!

Specialized Skills

A human resources degree will provide you with the specialized skills you need to succeed in the human resources field.

These skills include:

  • Knowledge of employment laws and regulations: You will be well-versed in employment laws and regulations, including those related to hiring, firing, discrimination, and other workplace issues.
  • Communication skills: You’ll develop good communication skills to effectively communicate with different people, including employees, management, and external stakeholders.
  • Interpersonal skills: You will learn how to effectively manage relationships with employees and resolve conflicts as they arise.
  • Organizational skills: You will learn to juggle multiple tasks and priorities at the same time, and effectively organize and manage your workload.
  • Analytical skills: You will learn how to analyze data and make informed decisions based on that analysis.
  • Problem-solving skills: You will hone your problem-solving skills enough to n identify and solve problems in the workplace.
  • Leadership skills: You will develop as a leader, especially as you rise within the ranks into more team leadership or management roles.

In addition to these general skills, as a human resource professional, you may develop specialized skills depending on your specific job role or area of focus.

For example, as a recruiter, you will develop expertise in sourcing and interviewing candidates, while a training and development specialist might have expertise in designing and delivering training programs.

Pursuing a Human Resources Degree: What to Consider

Financial Costs

Now, the truth is, a human resources degree can have a significant impact on your overall financial situation. You’ve got to carefully weigh the program’s costs against the potential benefits in terms of your future career prospects and earning potential.

There are several factors to consider when thinking about the financial costs of a degree in human resources. They include tuition and fees, room and board, and other living expenses. Research and compare the costs of different programs and schools to get a sense of the overall financial commitment involved.

As of 2021, the tuition for an online bachelor’s degree in human resources management ranges from $43,000 to $64,000, while the average in-state tuition and fees for a full-time, in-person undergraduate degree is $42,960 for a four-year program.

Also, consider the potential return on investment of this degree. While there is no guarantee of future earning potential, human resources professionals tend to earn competitive salaries and have good job prospects- as discussed earlier.

Time Commitment

Consider the time commitment of pursuing a human resources degree because it can significantly impact your overall schedule and lifestyle.

When thinking about the time commitment, pay attention to the following:

  • Coursework: Most degree programs will require you to complete a certain number of credit hours or courses in order to graduate. This can involve a significant amount of reading, writing, and other coursework.
  • Class schedule: Depending on the program, you may be required to attend classes at specific times, which can impact your schedule.
  • Internships and practical experience: Some programs will require you to complete internships or other forms of practical experience to graduate. This will involve additional time commitments outside of class.
  • Balancing other responsibilities: Think about how you will balance your studies with other responsibilities and commitments, such as work, family, and personal obligations.

It’s advisable to discuss your time commitments with an academic advisor or career counselor to get a better sense of what to expect.

Program’s Career Placement

Pay attention to your prospective school’s career placement services before attending their human resources degree. These placement services can provide valuable support and resources as you transition from school to the workforce.

The benefits of considering a school’s career placement services include:

  • Access to job opportunities: Good career placement services maintain relationships with employers and can provide students and graduates with access to job openings and opportunities that may not be advertised elsewhere.
  • Career counseling and guidance: Career placement services often provide career counseling and guidance to help students and graduates explore their options and make informed decisions about their careers.
  • Resume and cover letter assistance: Career placement services will provide assistance with creating and refining resumes and cover letters, which is critical in the job hunt process.
  • Interview preparation: Solid career placement services will offer interview preparation resources and coaching to help you prepare for job interviews.

Career placement services are very impactful, especially if you are new to the job market or may not have much experience in the field. With good assistance from the school, you should transition from school to the workforce smoothly.

So, Is a Human Resources Degree Worth it?

In conclusion, earning a degree in human resources is a valuable investment if you’re interested in pursuing a successful and fulfilling career in HR. With a wide range of job opportunities, competitive salaries, and specialized skills and knowledge, a degree in human resources can open doors to a variety of exciting and rewarding career paths.

Additionally, the support and resources provided by career placement services can be invaluable as you transition to the workforce.

While earning a human resources degree involves a financial and time commitment, for most people, the potential benefits make it a worthwhile investment in their future. If this sounds like you, then yes! A human resources degree is totally worth it!

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