What Can You Do With A Human Resources Degree

There are concerns that even after putting in four years of hard work, some bachelor’s degrees might not be worth the time and expense because of stories of college graduates who are unable to secure employment after graduation.


It can be difficult to decide what program to study that can result in the ability to obtain, not only a job but a career path in a field that pays a decent salary so that you can pay off student loans.


If you share some of these concerns, one program that has demonstrated a return on investment is to study for a human resources degree. Human resource departments can be found in a variety of settings from large corporations to government offices to hospitals and even as consultants.


Although the workforce can change in many ways, most organizations will still require human resources to serve as a liaison between employees and management. Depending on the size of the company that hires you, you might be expected to wear many hats or deal with one specific aspect of human resources.

Human Resources Specialist

With an average seven percent growth expected over the course of the next ten years, a human resources specialist is a position that can typically be obtained with a human resources degree. In this job, the typical responsibilities include:

  • Recruiting, interviewing, and appointing new workers to positions within the organization
  • Handling employee payroll, benefits, compensation, and records
  • Ensure compliance with safety standards and ensure employees follow company policies

Depending on the company, you could either work in the office or serve as the face of the organization for college recruiting events or job fairs. Typically, most human resource specialists work regular business hours, so this could be an essential factor if you’d like to avoid a job that requires more than 40 hours a week.


In 2017, the median salary for human resources specialist was just over $60,000, and among the top industries they were employed in were government, manufacturing, and healthcare.

Compensation and Benefits Manager

Compensation and benefits managers set a company’s pay structure and handle the employee’s benefits packages. They can shop around to make sure their company stays on budget when providing health care and dental insurance packages for their employees. They will find the right 401k or retirement planning vendor that the company wants to offer.


Typically, compensation and benefits managers will put together the budget and allocate the funds accordingly to spend on employee pay and benefits. Depending on the company, you might be a hybrid of both positions, or you could be either the compensation or benefits manager.


Compensation managers make sure that the salaries being offered are similar or more attractive than competing companies. Benefits managers deal with monitoring government regulations to make sure the company’s meeting required policies regarding sick and vacation leave, insurance, and retirement plans.


In 2017, the median salary for benefits and compensation managers was close to $120,000, and the top industries they were employed in were insurance carriers, company management, and professional, scientific, and technical services.

Training And Development Managers

Do you want a business-related degree that can also help you teach? With a human resources degree, you can even land a job as a training and development manager. In this position, you can:

  • Determine what training is needed by the employees
  • Teach training methods to managers and supervisors
  • Ensure the company’s training methods are up to date
  • Develop the company’s training programs and procedures

It would be your job to create or acquire the necessary training materials, be it videos, handouts, or an in-person presentation. You might be responsible for locating and hiring experts for training that goes beyond your skill set. You could also come up with the budget for training expenses and ensure that the company doesn’t exceed the allocated funds.


Many training and development managers can find employment in management, educational services, insurance, finance, and healthcare sectors. The field is expecting faster than average growth since workplace education usually needs to stay current with practices, software, and technological advances.


On the low end of the salary scale, training and development managers earned just under $, and the highest earners made close to $$.

Labor Relations Specialist

A labor relations specialist usually works with a company’s management to handle employee complaints, coordinate meetings between labor unions and employers, and create contracts that result in collective bargaining agreements (CBA). A CBA will put in writing the terms of employment, wages, hours, overtime and other subjects unions usually negotiate on behalf of their members.


In some cases, a labor relations specialist can even be in charge of looking into or investigating the labor union’s complaints to verify what is actually going on, ensure employees are being treated fairly, and companies are not engaging in illegal practices.


Although most labor relations specialists work in an office, travel may be required to attend negotiation meetings, to conduct investigations, or to meet and talk with employees or management. Some may also work more than regular business hours when dealing with disputes.
Most labor relations specialists work for labor unions and similar organization or in government. In 2017, the median salary for this position was just over $60,000.

Human Resources Manager

If you’re thinking about obtaining a master’s human resources degree, then you could probably become a human resources manager. This position is expected to experience nine percent growth over the next ten years.


Human resources managers can:

  • Consult company management on human resource issues like sexual harassment
  • Oversee human resources specialists and staff
  • Manage a company’s recruiting, interviewing, and hiring practices
  • Deal with staffing problems, like arranging for coverage for leave or settling disputes

Human resources managers usually manage the entire human resources department including the payroll, compensation and benefits managers, training managers, and specialists. They can be involved with the company’s top management in the planning and identifying of what positions are needed to fill the organization’s mission.
In 2017, the median salary for human resources managers was around $110,000.

Global Human Resources

Can you speak more than one language and are interested in working for a large, international company? Then you can use your human resources degree working for your company’s global human resources department.


As more and more organizations expand their reach worldwide, they need human resources professionals that can help them coordinate their expansion, acquisition, and placement of employees.


For example, if a company headquartered in the United States decides to relocate a manager to their division in France, then a global human resources employee could assist in obtaining relocation services, visas, and other legal paperwork, and salary and taxes in the new currency calculations.


As a global human resources professional, you could work for the human resources department within the organization, or as part of a global relocation firm that a company outsources the work to. Also, instead of just dealing with the employee, you might find yourself dealing with the entire family as you assist with finding housing, and possibly schooling in the new country if the employee has children.


Working as a global human resources associate can be fast paced because sometimes executives can be sent abroad at a moment’s notice. So you may have to be flexible, have time management skills taking time zones into account, and able to handle the pressure of helping someone resettle their life in a new country with very little notice.


The median salary for a global human resources associate can vary widely, depending on the size of the organization and if your job is located in the United States or in one of the countries where you’ll be helping people relocate to. However, according to Payscale.com, the median salary by those who shared their information with the site was around $83,000.
Choosing which degree to pursue can take a lot of research before making your decision. With a human resources degree, you will know that there are many options available and that you can play a vital role in shaping the culture in your future place of employment.


Author: Sarah Landrum

Sarah Landrum is a freelance writer and blogger with an interest in all things college and career. For more great tips, catch Sarah on her blog, Punched Clocks. While you’re there, be sure to subscribe to her newsletter and follow her on social media.

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