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What is Human Resources Management?

Many colleges and universities in Maryland offer human resource management degree programs. As a fairly expansive area of study, this major can lead to a wide variety of career opportunities in various industries throughout the nation. Notably, graduates most frequently qualify for jobs in business, finance, education, and healthcare, though positions may be available in other popular fields, as well.

Human resource managers often function as a link between employees and upper management at companies and organizations across many different industries. These professionals are typically responsible for planning, coordinating, and directing various administrative functions, as well as overseeing many processes related to the recruitment and training of staff. They may also be expected to discuss strategic planning and report on worker satisfaction to top executives.

Those interested in this field should realize that the daily duties assigned typically vary by job title, business type, and industry. It’s common, however, for these professionals to manage employee benefits programs, supervise the work of departmental specialists and support staff, and address staff issues through mediation and disciplinary procedures. They may also be expected to participate in the interview process, as well as in-take briefings. Additionally, the need to coordinate with other management staff is common.

Notably, most of these professionals specialize in one or two aspects of the field.

Some popular areas of expertise include:

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

Human resource management professionals may be employed by companies and organizations of every type and size. While the majority of employment opportunities exist within the professional, scientific, technical services, management, and manufacturing industries, work in healthcare, social assistance, and the government are also fairly common.

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Online Human Resources Education in Arkansas

According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), employment for human resource 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.

Job outlook for a similar profession in the field is slightly better. Employment for human resources specialists is expected to increase by 8% from 2021 to 2031, which is faster than the average for all occupations. This will result in an additional 81,900 relevant job openings each year. While these positions are often considered to be entry-level, they do provide a good means of entering the field.

Professional and business services is the second largest industry in Maryland, accounting for $58.3 billion in revenue each year. Individuals skilled in human resources are needed by almost every industry, however. This makes is possible for graduates to find jobs in almost any of the state’s topic sectors.  In particular, those seeking work in Maryland are likely to find jobs in real estate, education, healthcare, manufacturing, finance, retail, construction, wholesale, information, and entertainment.

Based on data provided by the BLS, Maryland employed 2,770 human resource managers and 13,610 human resources specialists as of May 2021. The annual mean wage reported for these jobs ranged between $78,590 and $137,430. Even the lower end of this income scale is well above than the state’s annual mean wage of $65,900 for all occupations.

Human resource management degree programs are offered by colleges and universities throughout the state. While institutions across the nation offer similar enrollment opportunities, those who intend to work in Maryland may want to give preference to higher education human resource management schools in the local area. These offer the most geographically relevant curriculums and ensure graduates are prepared to meet employer expectations in the region. Students interested in attending the best colleges and universities offering human resource management degrees in this state can choose from a variety of on-campus and online learning options from various Maryland schools. Some of these choices include the Maryland Global Campus, Bowie State University, MD Strayer University, Towson University, etc.

Some level of higher education is generally necessary to enter the human resource management field. Obtaining a degree ensures that you have the knowledge and skills necessary to meet minimum hiring expectations set by potential employers. While companies and organizations set their own standards, few seek to hire candidates who possess only high school diplomas or GEDs.

Many colleges and universities offer human resource management programs at the associate, bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral levels. Professional certificate programs may also be available at the undergraduate and graduate levels, although these tend to be most appropriate for current professionals entering the field after working in an unrelated profession previously.

It’s important to realize that the type of degree obtained often dictates the kind of work that may be performed. Additionally, the majority of employers in the United States require professionals in this field to possess bachelor’s degrees. Some entry-level jobs may be available to those with associate degrees, but opportunities are likely to be limited with lower pay potential.

Online Associate Degree in Human Resources (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. These are undergraduate programs, which mean they are comprised of both general liberal arts and major-specific classes. In addition to communication, mathematics, and science subjects, those enrolled can expect to study talent acquisition, labor laws, conflict resolution, and compensation benefits. Curriculums vary, but most students obtain a basic introduction to the field, as well as develop a strong academic foundation for future higher education learning.

This type of degree may be helpful for those seeking employment as human resources assistants, human resources associates, and administrative assistants. While graduates are unlikely to qualify for most human resource management professions, associate can lead to some entry-level employment opportunities in the field. The cost of enrolling in these programs is also worth noting. These degrees are often offered by community colleges, which charge lower tuition and fee rates. As a result, graduates typically acquire less student loan debt before entering the workforce.

Notably, many graduates choose to continue their education by enrolling in bachelor’s degree programs. These individuals may also transfer prior credit hours earned to their new institutions. Most colleges and universities accept up to 60 credits from properly accredited human resource management schools, which can significantly impact the total number of courses needed to graduate. Those with associate degrees often enter bachelor’s programs as juniors instead of freshmen and only require two additional years of instruction.

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Online Bachelor's Degree in Human Resources (BS)

Bachelor’s degrees in human resource management often consist of 120 credit hours of coursework that take full-time students approximately four years to complete. These are undergraduate programs, which mean they are comprised of both general liberal arts and major-specific classes. In addition to communication, mathematics, and science subjects, those enrolled can expect to study business, accounting, team building, organizational psychology, and conflict resolution techniques. While curriculums vary, instruction at this level does tend to be more intensive.

Human resource management majors may also be given opportunities to select concentrations. Doing this can help direct instruction and prepare students for work in certain sub-fields.

Some of the specialty options most commonly available include:

  • Business Administration
  • Healthcare
  • Accounting
  • Data Science
  • Organizational Leadership

According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, the standard minimum education requirement for most human resource management professions is the bachelor’s degree. Graduates are typically capable of finding work across numerous industries, but some of the most prevalent employment opportunities include corporate recruiter, compensation and benefits manager, and training and development specialist.

Graduates may also choose to continue their education by enrolling in master-level programs. This can lead to even more opportunities and higher pay. Notably, those interested in pursuing graduate school will need to meet established minimum grade point average (GPA) and Graduate Record Examinations (GRE) score requirements set by prospective institutions.

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Online Master's Degree in Human Resources (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. Those enrolled at this level no longer take undergraduate classes, but they may need to meet certain prerequisite requirements as part of the application process. These degrees in human resource management are excellent for those who want to gain knowledge in the field and improve their career development opportunities.

Curriculums vary, but most programs of this type are designed to help graduates qualify for advanced positions in the field. Students can expect to develop specialized knowledge related to business strategy, organizational change management, organizational ethics, employment law, employee training, organizational learning, effective team leadership, personnel staffing, and worker evaluation. Instruction in human resources strategy, organizational culture, and talent management is also common.

This type of degree is rarely required for employment, but companies and organizations do often give preference to applicants who possess them. This is particularly true for management positions that require conflict resolution. Graduates are considered to have superior skill and dedication to the field. As a result, they are typically qualified for many lucrative professions, such as compensation and benefits manager, senior human resource manager, labor relations specialist, and human resources information systems manager.

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Online PhD Degree in Human Resources (PhD)

A PhD or doctorate degree 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 typically require less time to finish, but graduation timeframes ultimately depend on how long it takes for students to prepare 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. While the first few years of enrollment are comprised of standard classroom instruction, those enrolled are expected to perform extensive independent study and research as well.

Some colleges and universities also allow students to select concentrations.

Some common specializations include:

  • Human Resource Management
  • Organizational Management
  • Training and Development
  • Benefits and Compensation
  • Higher Education

As terminal degrees, graduates are often prepared for some of the best employment opportunities in the field. They typically qualify for advanced careers as postsecondary educators, human resources consultants, and industrial or organizational psychologists.

Become a Human Resources Manager in Arkansas

It’s important to determine what kind of human resource management professional you want to become. There are many different jobs associated with this field, each with unique expectations and hiring standards. Identifying your ultimate career goals is often helpful, as it can narrow your area of focus and provide a clearer path to success. Once you know which occupation you are pursuing, it becomes much easier to research the type of education, training, and professionals experiences needed to qualify for and thrive in the position. You will also be better prepared to select the most applicable degree program, as well as elective courses, minor areas of study, concentrations, and/or internship opportunities.

After obtaining the necessary education to pursue your preferred occupation, it may be beneficial to seek at least one related professional certification or licenses. While no additional credentials are required to work in human resource management positions in Maryland, employers in the state do often give preference to candidates with additional qualifications. In some cases, even the possession of a single certification can be enough to set you apart from other applicants.

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There is no one credential that is considered best for human resource management professionals. Those who are interested can, instead, choose from many different certifications in the field. The most important 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 Resource 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

Of these, the Society for Human Resource Management Certified Professional (SHRM-CP) credential is particularly popular. Administered by the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM), it demonstrates an ability to perform most general duties associated with the human resource management profession, validates expertise in the field, and indicates the ability to function at standard operational levels. Candidates must possess basic knowledge in the field, as well as actual work experience in operational human resources and with performing other specialized duties. A passing score on the SHRM-CP examination is also necessary. This test covers numerous pertinent topics including organization, people, leadership, business, interpersonal, and workplace structure.

Notably, SHRM is the world’s largest human resources membership organization and offers other relevant credentials as well.

Potential Careers for Human Resources Graduates

  • Compensation and Benefits Manager
    Compensation and benefits managers work to ensure employees are satisfied with company pay, benefits, and retirement processes. Working in human resources departments, they help verify that all laws and regulations are being properly followed. They may also be expected to find ways of boosting awareness of policy changes and/or package options available to workers. According to PayScale, compensation and benefits managers make an average base salary of $88,097 per year.
  • Compliance Officer
    Compliance officers ensure all legal and regulatory compliance matters are handled appropriately for the companies and organizations they work for. They often make sure certification and licensing requirements are current, as well as recommending possible policy changes to improve compliance practices. They may also be expected to share concerns, suggestions, and review findings with supervisors. According to PayScale, compliance officers make an average base salary of $71,287 per year.
  • Human Resources (HR) Assistant
    Human resources (HR) assistants often oversee a variety of departmental processes. Expectations vary, but often include completing administrative paperwork associated with on-boarding new hires, terminating employment contracts, administering worker benefits, and orchestrating workplace programs. They are often expected to communicate with employees on behalf of the companies and organizations they work for and may also be tasked with improving overall departmental efficiency, as well as using fewer resources and increasing staff satisfaction. According to PayScale, human resources (HR) assistants make an average base salary of $42,661 per year.
  • Human Resources (HR) Manager
    Human resources (HR) managers are employed by companies and organizations to oversee worker policies, procedures, and compliance. They are typically expected to design, implement, and manage benefits and initiative programs for employees. Possible examples include flexible work arrangements, maternity leave, open enrollment, sick leave, and vacation time. They must also ensure all human resources activities comply with local, state, and federal laws. According to PayScale, human resources managers make an average base salary of $70,245 per year.
  • Labor Relations Specialist
    Labor relations specialists provide assistance to companies and organization when resolving various labor relations matters. The services they offer vary but may include creating collective bargaining agreements and overseeing negotiations processes in accordance with federal government regulations. They are also regularly expected to participate in investigations and administer disciplinary action to employees, as well as conducting labor relations trainings and managing data and documentation. They may also 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.
  • Receptionist
    Receptionists work for companies and organizations, greeting clients and customers in person or over the phone. They are often the first representative seen and may be expected to perform a wide variety of duties, such as screening incoming 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 for other workers. According to PayScale, receptionists make an average base salary of $34,799 per year.
  • Training and Development Specialist
    Training and development specialists are employed by companies and organizations to create modern learning solutions. Using adult education theory, they may design short instructor-led exercises or entire online educational programs. They are frequently in charge of developing work-related training materials, guides, and presentations as well. Additionally, they are often expected to evaluate and improve existing materials and methods. In some cases, this may require 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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