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What is Human Resources Management?
Kentucky is traditionally thought of as an agricultural, southern state and many associate the state with horse farms and bourbon. Kentucky does create over 90% of the world's supply of bourbon. As for Kentucky's equestrian sector, the countryside is indeed full of farms where top thoroughbreds are raised and trained. Then, everyone is familiar with one of every year's top sporting events, the Kentucky Derby.
Kentucky is more than horses and booze, however. The state's economy is led by its manufacturing sector, which ranks 22nd nationwide. Much of that manufacturing activity concerns food, naturally, and top food industry leaders such as Nestle and Kellogg have significant outposts in the Blue Grass State.
Other top industries include real estate, social services such as education, professional services, and wholesale trade round out the top five Kentucky industries. In fact, two of these sectors, both manufacturing and wholesale trade, rank in the top 50% for their sector nationwide. Naturally, this manufacturing and wholesale activity could be focused primarily on the food and beverage sector.
A human resources manager is a business professional whose job is to oversee a human resources department. This department is tasked with managing all aspects of their firm's personnel issues such as compensation, benefits, legal compliance, hiring, and even firing. Many human resources managers work for larger corporations that span multiple departments and often multiple locations, though even smaller companies can use the support of an HR manager.
Human resources managers may also work for HR consulting firms. These firms work on a contract basis to help smaller or medium-sized firms solve their HR problems. Sometimes these consultants focus on recruiting executives, which can be paid on a retainer or commission basis. They can also help firms solve issues related to benefits or conduct trainings for employees regarding employment laws.
While HR professionals generally spend their days in office buildings, these days that may be changing. Since most of the work is conducted via computer, HR professionals may be taking advantage of remote-work solutions including streamed video conferences for training or other face-to-face interactions.
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Online Human Resources Education in Kentucky
Regardless of whether Kentucky workers are creating booze, cereal, or sugary snacks, each industrial outpost has at least one thing in common – a need for human resources services. HR professionals are a vital part of recruiting, hiring, and maintaining a healthy and productive workplace environment. Human resource management negotiates the best possible compensation and benefits packages while also educating workers on the latest workplace regulations, including sexual harassment and safety laws.
Thus, Kentucky legislators fund the state's community colleges, four-year colleges, and universities to ensure that their business degree programs support human resource management degrees. Students need to have professors who are the very best academic minds, at the vanguard of scholarly research in the field as well as seasoned professionals from the local economy.
Top academics are vital parts of any faculty, and human resource degree programs need them to lead the curriculum formation and other matters. All human resource degree programs benefit from master’s human resource degree level instructors who have experience in the Kentucky economy. They have experience with the state's regulations as well as the peculiarities of the state's economic make-up. For instance, an HR management expert from Nestle can help students understand how to navigate HR matters in a multi-national corporation.
Students interested in attending a Kentucky university will have plenty of options across the state, both private schools and public schools offering business programs focused on business administration or a human resource management major. These options include Bauernfeind College of Business in Murray State University, Sullivan University, Northern Kentucky University, and a variety of schools with accreditation from a regional accreditor or AACSB International. These schools may offer a human resource management major or an HRM concentration that will provide you with HR curriculum, practical experience, study abroad options, and more for working professionals and new students alike. They will prepare human resource professionals with knowledge of employee training, business communication skills, the chance to develop personal competencies, management skills, business ethics, etc.
Online Associate Degree in Human Resources (AS)
A two-year associate human resource management degree from one of Kentucky's top community colleges is a terrific way to launch into the field. Associate degrees provide students with a solid introduction to the core issues related to human resources and employers love to fill entry-level positions with graduates from two-year programs.
There are other reasons to earn an associate human resource management degree. One of the chief reasons is that Kentucky's community colleges charge far less per credit hour for their courses. Thus, students are able to finish the first two years of a bachelor’s degree at a steep discount, relative to a four-year college or university.
Community colleges are also very convenient for most students. They tend to be smaller sized campuses that are found in most towns throughout Kentucky. This means that many students don't have to move to a new city in order to earn an associate human resource degree. Further, many community colleges now offer business degree programs via online learning platforms. Online students often continue working while they earn their degree.
Online Bachelor's Degree in Human Resources (BS)
A four-year bachelor’s human resource management degree is usually an employer's preferred credential for their new hires. Students who work all the way through a full undergraduate business degree program have even more exposure to the core issues facing the HR profession. They have also had the opportunity to complete internship programs with Kentucky firms. These experiential learning opportunities enable students to become familiar with the corporate environment under the watchful eye of both their faculty advisor and their on-site mentor.
Graduates from a bachelor’s human resource management degree find that they have an easier time climbing the corporate ladder. They are also prepared to advance their credentials with a graduate degree. A master’s human resource management degree, or an MBA, will help them rise to the VP or C-suite level much more quickly.
Bachelor’s human resource management degrees have other advantages, as well. Since there's more time available, many bachelor’s business degree students enhance their learning with minor concentrations in related fields. Some human resource management degree students take additional courses in fields such as business law, organizational psychology, marketing, or business management, to name a few. A well-rounded education will certainly help attract the eye of a corporate recruiter.
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Online Master's Degree in Human Resources (MS)
Corporate careers reach the next level with a human resources graduate degree. Human resource professionals who want to earn more and to take on more responsibility are urged to consider a master’s degree as soon as possible. There are two general options for human resources professionals. They can pursue either an MS in human resources or an MBA with a human resources concentration.
A Master of Science degree takes two years and focuses exclusively on issues related to human resources. This is an excellent option and may suit HR professionals who wish to focus their degrees on specific areas, such as compensation or benefits. An MBA, on the other hand, focuses the first year on a general business education before focusing on human resources in the second year. This option may open more exciting opportunities since a more comprehensive business education may be highly valued by their employer.
Online PhD Degree in Human Resources (PhD)
Human resources hiring managers don't often seek out a PhD for their human resources management team. A PhD or doctorate is often considered to be too academic and not practical for the workaday world. However, a doctorate degree focusing on human resources can still yield great outcomes.
One of the first options a PhD usually pursues is a career in academia. Kentucky colleges and universities seek PhDs for their full-time, tenure-track positions. Once tenured, a PhD has a virtually guaranteed job for life. Most will work as teaching professors who help graduate or undergraduate students learn and grow into HR professionals. However, there may also be research opportunities available. Research faculty don't teach but rather consult with firms who may need to revamp their HR approach. To hold this position, researchers need to continually attract grants from outside sources.
Become a Human Resources Manager in Kentucky
Human resources is a career field supported by nearly all companies of a decent size. Even very small firms may need to hire a human resources consulting firm. Thus, there are likely to be opportunities in human resources regardless of where a professional lives. However, Kentucky students may still be left wondering how to become a human resources management professional. Here are some ideas.
One of the first steps to becoming a human resource management professional in Kentucky is to discover a desire for the field. One key indicator that HR may be a suitable field is a keen interest in people and a desire to help them succeed. After all, one overarching goal of any HR department is to help the individual workers succeed.
Students who are interested in human resource management should also have a desire to work in business. They might work on their mathematical skills and their knowledge of economics. Some may even be inspired by current events related to employment law. There are often controversies regarding race relations or gender issues in this field and human resources professionals are often at the heart of these matters.
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High school students who are interested in a career in human resources management should start looking into college degree programs. They can start comparing various HR degree programs by evaluating the course offerings from their top choice schools. It's important to find human resource degree programs that cover as many facets of the HR picture as possible. They should also ensure that their top choices are fully accredited.
Most Kentucky public colleges and universities will have CHEA-approved regional accreditation, as a minimum standard. Regional accreditation will show that the program has a good reputation, and that the degree will be well-regarded throughout the region. However, students who would like a career that takes them across the nation should look for programs with either AACSB, ACBSP, or IACBE credentials. Those nationally respected credentials will help students enroll in their first choice of graduate school and HR managers from NYC to LA will be eager to schedule an interview.
HR students should also look for the best MBA or MS program. Those who desire a position in the C-suites may even proceed directly from their bachelor’s degree graduation ceremony into graduate school.
Potential Careers for Human Resources Graduates
- Insurance Claims and Policy Processing Clerks
This is a great entry-level position for those aiming at a career in insurance and finance. Claims and policy processing clerks are essential to enter data from claims and policies. This is a terrific way to learn more about the claims process and perhaps about underwriting policies, too. Processing clerks may be hired with a high school diploma, but an associate degree is surely preferred by most employers.
- Secretaries and Administrative Assistants (not legal)
Every organization needs secretaries and administrative assistants to ensure that things run smoothly. These support staff personnel work with executives and corporate teams in matters related to organizing meetings, fielding telephone calls, and taking care of the more mundane tasks of business. Administrative assistants who work with top brass executives can earn a very handsome salary.
- Legal Secretaries and Administrative Assistance
These administrative assistants are more than support staff. Legal secretaries have credentials including paralegal certificates, bachelor’s degrees in legal studies, and others. Salaries for legal secretaries can run into the six figures while allowing them to take ample time off, work normal schedules, and not shouldering the burdens that attorneys must.
The non-profit sector runs almost exclusively on the work of its fundraisers. These professionals devise new and creative ways to approach donors who will provide funds for the cause. These fundraising campaigns can include mass mailings, parties, and auctions, among other possibilities.
- Human Resource Assistants, except payroll and timekeeping
This is a great first step for those seeking a career in human resources. Assistants help organize the personnel files in a human resources office, among other vital tasks. An assistant in a HR department might pursue an online HR degree from a Kentucky college or university.
- Police, Fire, and Ambulance Dispatchers
Public health and safety relies on the work of these front-lines workers. Dispatchers work under intense pressure as they field calls from people who are experiencing great distress. They work to gather all the information a police officer or paramedic will need to most effectively do their jobs.
- Lodging Managers
Hotels and the hospitality industry are often the cornerstone of local economies. Lodging managers ensure that their guests receive top service in the form of clean rooms, well-managed reservations, and pleasant grounds. Lodging managers can work for organizations that range from a roadside motel to a lavish seaside resort in Hawaii.
- Labor Relations Specialists
These workers specialize on issues intimately related to human resources. Labor relations specialists are often experts in labor laws, and some may even have full law degrees (JD) or undergraduate degrees in business law with a specialty certificate in labor law. These labor experts may work for corporations or unions, depending on their preference.
- Compensation and Benefits Managers
This specialty area of human resources is often of vital importance. A compensation and benefits expert is key when it comes to recruiting and maintaining top talent in a firm. Independent corporate recruiters must be experts in the current trends in compensation and benefits when it comes time to negotiate a salary for their recruits.