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What is Human Resources Management?

Many colleges and universities in Kansas offer higher education degrees in human resource management. Notably, studying this subject can lead to a wide variety of career opportunities in various industries throughout the nation. Graduates often qualify to work in business, finance, education, and healthcare, as well as many other popular fields.

Human resources managers work for companies and organizations across many different industries, functioning as a link between employees and upper management. They often plan, coordinate, and direct a variety of administrative functions, as well as overseeing many processes related to the recruitment and training of staff. These professionals may also be tasked with discussing strategic planning and worker satisfaction with top executives.

Job specifics vary from business to business, but some of the most common assigned duties include managing employee benefits programs, supervising the work of departmental specialists and support staff, and addressing staff issues through mediation and disciplinary procedures. They are also often involved in conducting interviews and in-take briefings. Additionally, human resources managers regularly coordinate with other management staff.

In most cases, these professionals specialize in one or two aspects of the field. They typically work within a department of other specialists to maintain operations, with tasks appropriately divided among workers at the same level.

Some common areas of expertise include:

  • Compensation and Benefits Managers
  • Training and Development Managers
  • Labor Relations Directors
  • Employee Relations Managers
  • Payroll Managers
  • Recruiting Managers
  • Staffing Managers

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Online Human Resources Manager Education in Kansas

According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), employment for human resources managers is projected to grow 7% from 2021 to 2031. This is about as fast as the average for all occupations and will result in an increase of about 16,300 jobs openings each year.

A similar profession in the field, human resources specialists, is expected to fair even better. The projected growth rate for these professionals is 8% from 2021 to 2031, which is faster than the average for all occupations. This will result in approximately 81,900 job openings each year. It’s important to note that positions like this are typically considered to be entry-level, with workers reporting to human resources managers.

Professional and business services is the third largest industry in Kansas, accounting for $18.1 billion in revenue each year. Most workplaces hire individuals skilled in human resources, however, making it possible for graduates to find jobs in almost any of the state’s topic sectors.  Kansas residents are likely to find work in manufacturing, real estate, education services, healthcare, wholesale, retail, finance, transportation, information, and construction.

Based on data provided by the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, Kansas employed 1,090 human resources managers and 6,650 human resources specialists in May 2021. The annual mean wage reported for these jobs ranged between $63,760 and $115,620. Even the lower end of this income scale is higher than the state’s annual mean wage of $49,680 for all occupations.

Prospective students should have little trouble finding colleges and universities that offer human resources management degrees in Kansas. Many academic institutions offer this and other similar majors. While programs are available throughout the nation and online learning makes studying from anywhere easy, those planning to work in the state may want to give preference to local schools. Not only does this ensure instruction is geographically relevant, but graduates can also take advantage of institutional connections with nearby companies and organizations when seeking internships and professional employment. Students interested in attending a private, public university, or community college in Kansas have plenty of options throughout the state. These options include Wichita State University, Friends University, Southwestern College, Grantham University, Ottawa University, Kansas State University, etc.

Enrolling in a human resources degree program ensures that you have the knowledge and skills necessary to be successful in your chosen profession. When entering the human resource management field, it’s also important to realize that some level of higher education is necessary. Employer expectations vary, but there are very few employment opportunities in this field available to individuals with high school diplomas or GEDs only. Most companies and organizations in the United States require professionals in this field to possess bachelor’s degrees. Some entry-level jobs may be available to those with lesser degrees, however.

Human resource management programs are typically offered by colleges and universities at the associate, bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral levels. Some institutions also have professional certificate programs for undergraduate and/or graduate students. Consider your career goals carefully, as the type of degree you obtain will dictate the kind of work you are qualified to perform.

Online Associate Degree in Human Resources Manager (AS)

Associate degrees in human resource management generally consist of 60 credit hours of coursework that take full-time students approximately two years to complete. As undergraduate programs, those enrolled typically study both general liberal arts and major-specific subjects. This helps students develop a strong academic foundation for future learning, while also providing an introduction to the field. Curriculums vary by institution, but those enrolled can expect to learn about talent acquisition, labor laws, conflict resolution, and compensation benefits.

While insufficient to meet education requirements for many human resources management professions, this type of degree is ideal for those planning to pursue entry-level employment in the field. Because most associate degrees are offered by community colleges, which charge lower tuition and fee rates, graduates often enter the workforce with less student loan debt. Common employment options after graduation include human resources assistant, human resources associate, and administrative assistant.

Not all graduates seek employment right away. In fact, many choose to continue their education by enrolling in bachelor’s degree programs. Fortunately, undergraduate credit hours are relatively easy to transfer between properly accredited academic institutions. As a result, those with associate degrees are often able to enter bachelor’s programs as juniors instead of freshmen.

Online Bachelor's Degree in Human Resources Manager (BS)

Bachelor’s degrees in human resources management often consist of 120 credit hours of coursework that take full-time students approximately four years to complete. Like associate degrees, these are generally liberal arts undergraduate programs comprised of both general studies and major-specific classes. Curriculums at this level tend to be more intensive, however. Students can expect to receive extensive instruction in various core communication, business, and accounting subjects. Other common areas of study include team building, organizational psychology, and conflict resolution techniques.

Many colleges and universities allow bachelor’s students majoring in human resource management to select concentrations.

Some of the most common specialty options available include:

According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, bachelor’s degrees are the standard minimum education requirement for most companies and organizations hiring human resources managers and specialists. Graduates can typically for work across numerous industries, but some of the most prevalent employment opportunities include corporate recruiter, compensation and benefits manager, and training and development specialist.

It's also fairly common for graduates to enroll in master’s programs in order to further their higher education. Notably, however, those interested in graduate school must meet minimum grade point average (GPA) and Graduate Record Examinations (GRE) score requirements set by gaining institutions prior to enrollment.

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Online Master's Degree in Human Resources Manager (MS)

Master’s degrees in human resource management generally range from 30 to 36 credit hours of coursework that take full-time students approximately two to three years to complete. Most of these programs are designed to help graduates qualify to pursue more advanced positions in the field. Curriculums vary, but students can expect to develop specialized knowledge related to business strategy, organizational change management, organizational ethics, effective team leadership, personnel staffing, and worker evaluation. Instruction in human resources strategy, organizational culture, and talent management is also common.

While infrequently required by employers, this type of degree generally serves as a sign of superior skill and dedication to the field. Those who plan to pursue advanced occupational opportunities are likely to find master’s degrees in human resources management particularly helpful. Graduates are typically qualified for many lucrative professions, including compensation and benefits managers, senior human resources managers, labor relations specialists, and human resources information systems managers.

Online PhD Degree in Human Resources Manager (PhD)

A PhD or doctorate in human resource management generally consists of between 60 and 120 credit hours that take full-time students up to seven years to complete. Programs with fewer academic requirements may take less time to finish, but graduation timeframes generally depend most on when students are ready to defend their dissertations. Curriculums vary, but most focus on topics related to compensation management, foundations of human resources theory and practice, recruiting and retaining talent, organizational behavior and performance, and creating adaptive workplaces. Those enrolled will also conduct independent study and research.

Some colleges and universities also allow students to select concentrations.

Some common specializations include:
  • Human Resources Management
  • Organizational Management
  • Training and Development
  • Benefits and Compensation
  • Higher Education

These are terminal degrees for the human resources management field. As a result, graduates can expect some of the best employment opportunities and pay potential. They typically qualify for several advanced careers, with many pursuing work as postsecondary educators, human resources consultants, and industrial or organizational psychologists.

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Become a HR Manager in Kansas

Because there are many different types of human resource management professions, a good first step into the field is identifying your preferred occupation. Your ultimate career goals will dictate much of how much education, training, and experience you need to be successful. It’s also a good idea to research your intended job thoroughly. Once you are familiar with the minimum hiring qualifications you will be better prepared to select the most applicable degree program, as well as associate elective human resource management courses, minor areas of study, concentrations, and/or internship opportunities.

As mentioned above, the majority of employers in this field expect candidates to possess bachelor’s degrees. Those who have completed graduate programs, however, are likely to have better occupational and financial prospects. Notably, it’s also not uncommon for companies and organizations to give preference to applicants who have more years of professional experience, especially in management positions with conflict resolution components.

Once you have earned the necessary degree(s), it may be beneficial to seek professional certifications and licenses. While the state of Kansas does not require a specific credential for human resource managers, obtaining at least one can set you apart from other job candidates. As a result, you may have more employment and higher pay potential.

There are many certifications appropriate for both prospective and current professionals in the field. Factors to consider when choosing which credential(s) to pursue include subject matter sustainability, accessibility, learning format, and skills focus.

Some of the most popular options available include:

  • Society for Human Resources Management Certified Professional (SHRM-CP) via SHRM
  • Society for Human Resources Senior Management Certified Professional (SHRM-SCP) via SHRM
  • Certified Human Resources Professional (CHRP) via the Human Resources Professionals Association (HRPA)
  • Certified Professional in Learning and Performance (CPLP) via Association for Talent Development (ATD)
  • Professional in Human Resources (PHR) via the Human Resources Certification Institute (HRCI)
  • Talent Management Practitioner (TMP)
  • Strategic Human Resources Leadership (SHRL) via the Human Capital Institute

A particularly popular goal among individuals in this field is to become a Society for Human Resources Management Certified Professional (SHRM-CP). It is offered by the Society for Human Resources Management (SHRM), which is the world’s largest human resources membership organization. This credential demonstrates an ability to perform most general duties associated with the human resources management profession, validates expertise in the field, and indicates the ability to function at standard operational levels.

Those interested in applying for this credential must possess basic knowledge in the field, as well as work experience in operational human resources and performing other specialized duties. It’s also necessary to pass the SHRM-CP examination, which covers topics in organization, people, leadership, business, interpersonal, and workplace structure. It is comprised of 80 knowledge-based questions that assess understanding of factual information and 54 scenario-based questions that assess judgement and decision-making skills. The examination takes approximately four hours to complete and must be taken on a computer.

Careers for Human Resources Manager Graduates

  • Compensation and Benefits Manager
    Compensation and benefits managers work in human resources departments to help ensure employees are satisfied with company pay, benefits, and retirement processes. They are often responsible for verifying that all laws and regulations are properly followed. They can also be tasked with boosting awareness of package options and changes to policy. According to PayScale, compensation and benefits managers make an average base salary of $88,100 per year.
  • Compliance Officer
    Compliance officers ensure all legal and regulatory compliance matters are handled appropriately. They are generally responsible for ensuring certification and licensing requirements are current. These professionals may also make recommendations for possible policy changes and/or report significant findings to stakeholders. According to PayScale, compliance officers make an average base salary of $71,287 per year.
  • Human Resources (HR) Assistant
    HR assistants are generally tasked with facilitating various departmental processes such as administrative paperwork for new hire, employment termination, worker benefits, and other workplace programs. These professionals represent the companies and organizations they work for when communicating with employees. They may also take steps to improve departmental efficiency, use fewer resources, and increase staff satisfaction by suggesting and implementing improvements. According to PayScale, HR assistants make an average base salary of $42,661 per year.
  • Human Resources (HR) Manager
    HR managers oversee employment policies, procedures, and compliance for companies and organizations. They are often responsible for designing, implementing, and managing worker benefits and initiative programs, as well as ensuring all human resources activities are in compliance with local, state, and federal laws. These professionals may also coordinate benefit programs, such as flexible work arrangements, maternity leave, open enrollment, sick leave, and vacation time. According to PayScale, human resources managers make an average base salary of $70,245 per year.
  • Human Resources (HR) Specialist
    HR specialists assist human resources managers with the daily operations of their department. In most cases, these professionals are assigned to a single departmental process such as payroll, benefits, training, compensation, recruiting, or customer service. While they are sometimes expected to submit employee-related paperwork, they spend most of their time answering questions, entering data, and administering benefit plans. According to PayScale, human resource specialists make an average base salary of $53,224 per year.
  • Labor Relations Specialist
    Labor relations specialists assist companies and organization in resolving various labor relations matters. This can include overseeing negotiations processes in accordance with federal government regulations, as well as creating collective bargaining agreements. They also regularly conduct labor relations training, manage data and documentation, participate in investigations, and administer disciplinary action to employees when necessary. They may be involved in employee hiring processes and/or social media maintenance. According to PayScale, insurance labor relations specialists make an average base salary of $73,764 per year.
  • Legal Secretary
    Legal secretaries provide attorneys with legal support services in addition to performing various secretarial duties as assigned. Every firm is different, but most count on these professionals to answer phones, make photocopies, schedule appointments, arrange legal correspondence deliveries, process legal papers, and organize and maintain documentation. They may also be asked to interview clients before referring them to specific lawyers. According to PayScale, legal secretaries make an average base salary of $57,697 per year.
  • Police, Fire, or Ambulance Dispatcher
    Police, fire, and ambulance dispatchers answer emergency calls and respond accordingly. They are responsible for determining which response teams are closest and best able to address caller concerns. These professionals also regularly coordinate with police officers, EMTs, and fire-response workers when addressing life-or-death situations. According to PayScale, police, fire, and ambulance dispatchers make an average base salary of $38,928 per year.
  • Receptionist
    Receptionists often serve as the first contact for clients and customers when entering or communicating with companies and organizations. These professionals generally have many responsibilities including greeting visitors, screening incoming phone calls, taking and distributing messages, and informing employees when people arrive for appointments. They may also sign for postal deliveries, manage calendars, and coordinate schedules. According to PayScale, receptionists make an average base salary of $34,799 per year.
  • Training and Development Specialist
    Training and development specialists create modern learning solutions for companies and organizations using adult education theory. This can consist of short instructor-led exercises or entire online educational programs. In many cases, these professionals are asked to develop work-related training materials, guides, and presentations. They may also be expected to evaluate and improve existing materials and methods. Additionally, these specialists can be tasked with assessing and meeting future development needs while working with subject matter experts and/or management. According to PayScale, training and development specialists make an average base salary of $58,520 per year.

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