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What is Human Resources?

The first thing most people think of when they think of Florida is vacation. The state is home to some of the most spectacular beaches, amusement parks, resorts, and amazing cities that have much to offer. They might also think of retirement, as so many in the over-65 crowd head to Florida to enjoy sunshine through their twilight years. In fact, Florida's economy does rest heavily on these things. Indeed, Florida is the most popular tourist destination in the world.

Unsurprisingly, Florida's top industry is real estate, including rentals and leases. The state turns over lots of real estate in the retirement community and rents scores of properties to vacationers who love to stay in a waterfront condo for a week. Indeed, with annual revenues exceeding $170 billion, Florida's real estate industry holds the #4 spot nationwide, and each of the state's top five industries also rank in the top five nationally.

A human resources manager is a professional who specializes in all things related to employment. HR managers oversee human resources departments that manage matters such as compensation, benefits, labor regulations, hiring, and firing. They are thus integral to every employee's work and home life.

HR managers often have multiple years of experience working as HR specialists in one of the core areas of the field. Increasingly, HR management will hold an MS in human resources, if not an MBA. Sometimes they hold other degrees such as management or leadership but the lion's share often have specialized in HR in their academic background.

Typically, HR managers work in an office alongside the other employees. In fact, this position may be best suited to work in the office since employees often need to speak with them. However, that may be shifting a bit in the wake of the COVID 19 pandemic. Many HR professionals might work from home if their firm's rules and regulations permit remote workdays.

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Online Human Resources Education in Florida

The #2 spot in Florida goes to professional and business services, a segment that includes human resources consulting, among other enterprise sectors. The #3 spot in Florida goes to social services, including education and healthcare, likely attributed to the state's aging population of transplanted retirees. The 4th and 5th spots go to retail and wholesale trade, respectively. The retail numbers might be due to tourist spending while wholesale trade could be attributed to the fact that Florida is home to the ports that welcome goods from much of Mexico, Central, and South America.

Meanwhile, Floridian firms must maintain their daily operations with help from their workers. Each of these firms thus needs a human resources department or help from an HR consultation group. The state's economy is, in large part, reliant on their human resources professionals for support and growth.

With that in mind, Florida fully funds its public colleges and universities so that they can appoint the best human resources professors to faculty positions, and their private institutions aim to keep up the pace. Educational institutions statewide look for top academic talent for full-time tenure-track positions, and they look for seasoned professionals from the field that hold at least a master’s human resources degree.

Online Associate Degree in Human Resources (AS)

Florida students who are interested in the human resources field can use an associate human resource management degree to get a jump on the field. Florida's community colleges commonly offer human resources or other associate business degrees. Students often gravitate to community colleges because they can be found in their local area or online. The associate degree offers students a solid introduction to the core skills needed to succeed in HR. An associate human resource management degree has other benefits, as well.

For instance, a two-year degree requires that all students complete core, general education college curriculum required by all bachelor’s business degree programs. Students also find that community college credit hours are far more affordable than those in four-year colleges and universities. Thus, those that decide to continue on for a bachelor’s degree are cutting their total costs dramatically by choosing a community college for their first two years.

Online Bachelor's Degree in Human Resources (BS)

A four-year degree is often the stated requirement for most employers looking to hire HR professionals. Businesses like to see a resume with a bachelor’s human resource management degree from an accredited Florida college or university. Hiring managers recognize that a four-year diploma represents in-depth study of human resources and may even include specialization in certain areas such as compensation, benefits, or employment law.

Bachelor’s HR degree students can also expand their horizons with courses in related fields that will surely enhance their work later in their career. Some options include a minor or concentration in fields including sociology, psychology, business law, business administration, or even mathematics. Many HR degree programs also enhance their course offerings with internships.

Internships often serve as a capstone experience for bachelor’s HR degree students. Practical experience in an HR department or with an HR consultancy can be invaluable. Employers like to see that candidates have had some real-world experience prior to joining the workforce full-time.

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Online Master's Degree in Human Resources (MS)

In order to reach the top of any business organization, a master’s degree is a virtual requirement. There are two general options for HR experts: an MS in Human Resources Management or an MBA with a concentration in Human Resources Management. A third option blends these two in the form of a dual-MBA program. Students in these programs pair a master’s program with their MBA studies to create an intense three-year experience that will surely rocket them to great things.

Most master’s degree students find that their earnings increase dramatically after completing their graduate schoolwork. Those who can continue working during grad school often find that they are promoted and receive a raise even before they have their diploma. Master’s human resource management degree students also find that their graduate school cohort is an invaluable resource in their later work-life. A strong grad school network can open hidden opportunities and thus pave the way to great successes.

Online PhD Degree in Human Resources (PhD)

The business world doesn't often look for doctoral degrees when filling human resource management positions. That may eventually change, however, since so many HR professionals have earned their MS in Human Resource Management, if not an MBA with an HR concentration. Thus, it may soon be advantageous to stand out in the pack with a PhD that reflects research vital to the field.

However, a PhD in human resource management is probably still currently most useful in academia. Those who go all the way and complete their doctoral dissertations are qualified to apply for tenure-track professorial positions with prestigious Florida colleges and universities and at similar schools all over the nation. While a master’s degree would suffice to teach at the undergraduate level, those degrees may not be sufficient for a full career. A PhD, on the other hand, enables the holder to teach at all post-secondary levels. They can also work as research faculty and avoid the rigors of lecturing and grading papers.

Become a Human Resources Manager in Florida

Given the incredible demand for highly qualified human resources professionals in Florida, many students may be curious as to how they might become a human resources management professional in Florida. Since human resources is not a licensed position in Florida, and is a field that spans numerous specialties, there are multiple ways to start this career. One of the most important first steps toward a HR career is the desire to work in business in some capacity.

Human resources is a field that is all about, well, humans. As such, it covers much of human behavior. After all, we spend a large part of our lives at work. Human resources students should thus have an interest in human motivations and behaviors. Much of their work will be focused on providing appropriate motivations for working to one's top potential.

While there are few courses a high schooler is likely to find that directly apply to an HR career, they can begin to prepare even before they apply to colleges. If their high school offers courses in psychology or sociology, they should take those. They should also strive to go as far with mathematics as they possibly can. After all, every business discipline is ultimately tied to numbers that measure performance.

By the later part of one's junior year in high school, students should start looking for the right human resource management degree program for them. For those who are already set on a specific specialty, such as compensation or benefits, they can scrutinize course offerings and find the programs that offer these particular topics. Other students, who may have decided on HR, but who haven't yet found a specialty, should look for the broadest HR programs available. All aspiring HR students should start considering possible minor concentrations that can inform their work and school lives. Again, mathematics is a good choice, as well as psychology, sociology, and economics. Business courses such as management or marketing can also benefit students.

Even those who only desire an associate degree to start should aspire to a bachelor’s and then master’s HR degree. This is because those degrees open up doors at a faster pace than mere experience alone. It's also vital that all students anticipate joining HR associations and earning specialized certifications in their particular niche within HR.

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Potential Careers for Human Resources Graduates

  • Public Relations Specialists:
    These business professionals specialize in helping their clients or employers put their best face forward for the public. PR specialists are adept at working with the press to promote positive messages, especially when their clients may have had some negative events befall them. PR specialists typically need a bachelor’s in marketing or a public relations degree, though many come from an academic background in journalism.
  • Insurance Claims and Policy Processing Clerks:
    These entry-level insurance positions are terrific for new graduates from associate or bachelor’s degree programs. Professionals in these jobs receive insurance claims from their policy holders or those harmed by their customers and determine how much to pay out for the claim. Policy processors, on the other hand, evaluate new policy paperwork and ensure that it's properly entered into the system.
  • Secretaries and Administrative Assistants (not legal):
    Business professionals all need administrative support to take care of smaller, though vital, jobs in the office. Secretaries and administrative assistants perform tasks such as answering phones, making copies, creating presentations, and organizing meetings, among other tasks. An administrative assistant position can often lead to bigger and better things for those who continue to expand their education.
  • Lodging Managers:
    Every hotel and motel requires a manager to help with the daily operations. For a small roadside motel, this position may require an associate degree along with appropriate experience. However, there are bachelor’s and greater degrees in hospitality that can pave the way to executive positions with top hotel chains such as Hilton or Marriot.
  • Legal Secretaries and Administrative Assistance:
    These administrative assistants stand out from the rest in that they often hold at least a bachelor’s degree in legal studies, or a paralegal certification. These professionals are known to command six-figure salaries because their support for attorneys is invaluable.
  • Police, Fire, and Ambulance Dispatchers:
    Emergency workers rely on their dispatchers to know where to go and what is waiting for them. Thus, this can be a high-intensity position that involves communicating with people in their hour of desperate need. Dispatchers are most often trained on the job, but it can be helpful to hold an associate degree, especially for those who want to rise into a management position.
  • Labor Relations Specialists:
    These professionals make their career helping labor unions come to an agreement with management. They may work with a law firm or with a company that employs union workers. Labor relations specialists may hold degrees in business law or perhaps human resources. To succeed, a labor relations specialist must have intimate knowledge of labor law while having top-notch communication and negotiation skills.
  • Compensation and Benefits Managers:
    Every employee needs to be paid, and these HR specialists are experts at creating the ideal salary and benefits packages. This HR position requires a degree in human resources management and skill in accounting, especially when it comes to budgeting. Firms rely on these experts to be able to craft compensation packages that will attract top talent while not breaking their bank.

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