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What is Human Resources Management?

Massachusetts is one of New England's most important states, and Boston is surely its most important economic hub. Where Boston is a major metropolis full of financial firms, retail shops, manufacturing concerns, and other businesses, the rest of Massachusetts is home to a myriad of other economic forces. The coastline is a major tourism hub for the northeast and inland Massachusetts features agriculture, transportation, wholesalers, and more.

A human resources manager is a business professional who focuses their work on all things related to employment in their firm. Human resources managers oversee the firm's recruiting efforts, employee compliance with state and national regulations, compensation, and employee termination. Human resource managers may report to a higher-up in the C-suites or there could even be a vice president of HR to whom they report, depending on the firm.

The field can include outside consultants who may help prepare benefits or compensation packages for employees. Outside human resources consultants may also work as recruiters who find employees for all parts of the company. Thus, this career path is full of options.

For their workplace environment, most HR professionals work in an office setting. However, the pandemic may have shifted this focus for many in human resources. These days, HR managers might work from either home or in the office, though it’s certain that they will need to have a certain level of face-to-face interaction with co-workers and the employees they serve. Recruiting consultants may conduct much of their work from the road, especially those who seek out top executives. In fact, the travel demands of this field are intense, though the compensation can be very good.

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Online Human Resources Education in Massachusetts

The Massachusetts economy is rather large, especially given its geographic size. It is led by the super sector known by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) as professional and business services. This area includes any services that businesses use in their daily work including waste management, scientific services, technical work, management services, and human resources. Given that Boston is well-known as a hub for financial consultancies, it's little wonder that Massachusetts' professional and business services sector generates over $102 billion in annual revenue, which earns it the nation's #7 spot.

The remaining top five industries in Massachusetts include #2, real estate, which brings in annual receipts of over $80 billion (8th nationwide). The #3 spot goes to the state's educational, healthcare and social services activities, which yield nearly $70 billion and takes the #7 spot on the national stage. The #4 spot goes to finance and insurance, which pulls in $53 billion, earning it the #7 spot in the country. The fifth spot goes to manufacturing, with $53 billion in revenue, ranking it as the nation's 15th such industry.

Since human resources services are such a vital part of the state's economy, the Massachusetts state legislature works hard to fund its colleges and universities to provide relevant HR educational options. Their business schools, and human resources degree programs, continually produce highly qualified graduates for the Massachusetts economy. These fresh graduates keep the state's economy healthy and growing. Naturally, each human resources management degree program seeks to develop and grow. They do this by recruiting top academic talent from New England and elsewhere. They are also looking for HR professionals from the Massachusetts economy. Locals are intimately familiar with how state regulations manifest in the workplace. These experienced professionals are thus able to help students prepare for the realities of their lives in the Massachusetts economy.

Online Associate Degree in Human Resources (AS)

A two-year associate human resource management degree from a Massachusetts community college is a terrific way to launch a career. Associate degree programs prepare students for the working world by teaching them the fundamental concepts needed to land an entry-level position. They also provide a firm foundation for those who wish to proceed toward a bachelor’s human resource management degree program. There are other advantages, as well.

Since there are community colleges throughout the state, students can usually stay in their hometown and start college without having to move. These schools also charge far less per credit hour than four-year colleges and universities, so students can reduce the total cost of a bachelor’s degree when they start at a community college. Finally, many community colleges are now offering online courses, which help students with scheduling, enabling them to have a full- or part-time job while they finish their associate degree program.

Online Bachelor's Degree in Human Resources (BS)

Human resource management students who earn a bachelor’s degree are perhaps the most sought by Massachusetts' top firms. This is because employers know that those with a bachelor’s degree have the most thorough and well-rounded education. Students in bachelor’s human resource management degree programs often take other business courses such as business administration, accounting, business law and employment law, and marketing. They already have a broader sense of the business world when they start an entry-level position.

Human resource management degree students can also broaden their academic life with experiential learning. Most HR management degree programs will support students who want to complete an internship program with a local human resources department. Naturally, they will also support students who want to go far afield for their internship experience. On top of this, human resource management students can also augment their studies with a minor concentration in a related field such as psychology, sociology, or business administration.

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Online Master's Degree in Human Resources (MS)

After human resource management students complete their third year of undergraduate studies, they should start considering a master’s degree program. The two primary options are a master’s human resource management degree or a Master of Business Administration (MBA) with a concentration in human resource management.

Both of these options are terrific. The MS in human resource management focuses solely on human resources for the duration of the two-year degree, which can be a boon for any human resources professional. These programs offer more opportunities to dive deep into a specialty area such as compensation, benefits, or labor laws. Meanwhile, a Master of Business Administration will immerse students in a general business curriculum, including organizational leadership and organizational behavior, for the first year and then provide a concentration in human resource management for the second year. The curriculum may include courses in talent acquisition, interpersonal communication, etc. Both are terrific options, though the MBA may be better suited to students who are interested in a C-suite position or opening their own HR consultancy due to the focus on business administration.

Online PhD Degree in Human Resources (PhD)

While most businesses don't seek out PhDs for their human resource management positions, that is not a hard-and-fast rule. In fact, there are many business opportunities for a human resource management student who earns their doctorate. This is particularly true for those interested in consulting. A PhD can often land contracts with businesses who want a doctorate level analysis of their operations. Also, those with top academic credentials may start their own consulting firms and use their status to lure Massachusetts' top firms as clients.

A PhD is naturally a great choice, if not the only choice, for someone wanting a position in academia. A doctorate is a virtual requirement for anyone seeking a tenure track position in a human resource management degree faculty. While many first think of careers in academia as restricted to teaching, there are also tenured positions for research faculty. Human resource management faculty may then spend their time seeking grants from firms and government agencies who need their insights into HR related matters.

Become a Human Resources Manager in Massachusetts

Nearly every business needs a human resource management professional to help them manage their staffing needs. This means that they need help finding the best employees for their organization, arriving at the optimal compensation for those workers and ensuring that all workers are happy and productive.

Given the ubiquity of human resources in the world of business, it’s a little surprising that so many students don't see a clear path to the profession. However, it all starts with a desire to work with people and to help them achieve their dreams. HR is one field that can also accommodate professionals with a wide range of skills and talents. Some HR professionals are focused on accounting matters such as payroll, but others are focused more on ensuring that the workplace is in compliance with the regulations that govern its industry. Then there are HR professionals who work as recruiters who need to have strong negotiating and sales skills.

Students who are still in high school but aspiring to a career in human resource management can do their best to excel in their studies. In particular, they might strive to complete Calculus, but should also take advantage of any accounting or business math courses. Then, when they enroll in a college level human resource management degree program, they will have a solid foundation.

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When it comes time to find the best human resource management degree program, students should investigate each program's curriculum. They should ensure that the program offers courses in the specialty areas that interest them the most, while also offering an internship program. For accreditation, they should only apply to programs that have at least a CHEA-approved regional accreditation. For best success, students should prioritize enrolling in any program with accreditation from either AACSB, ACBSP, or IACBE.

Students who are interested in gaining access to the highest roles in the field should also start looking at master’s level human resource management degree programs. Massachusetts may even have colleges or universities with an accelerated MBA program that offer concentrations in human resource management. Students in an accelerated MBA degree program can complete their MBA and bachelor’s degrees in a mere five years, thus saving time and money. It should be noted that these programs are often very intensive and don't often allow much time for sports or other extra-curricular activities.

Potential Careers for Human Resources Graduates

  • Insurance Claims and Policy Processing Clerks
    These entry-level positions are a great way to get started in the world of insurance and finance. They typically require that applicants can work at a high rate of speed and process as many claims or policies as possible in a shift. This is terrific training for those who are still in school.
  • Secretaries and Administrative Assistants (not legal)
    Nearly every sort of firm needs a secretary or other administrative assistant. The job requirements for these positions vary, but most emphasize a professional demeanor and a high level of organizational skill. Secretaries not only perform typing and filing duties but may also organize events such as board meetings, corporate parties, and may even help their boss with personal matters.
  • Legal Secretaries and Administrative Assistance
    This position often requires a specific academic background. While a law degree is not needed, most attorneys will want to see a paralegal degree or certificate. Students with a bachelor’s degree in legal studies are also great candidates for these jobs. Many legal secretaries earn six figure salaries, for which they often work long, hard hours.
  • Police, Fire, and Ambulance Dispatchers
    Emergency responders rely on their dispatchers to know where to go and what to expect upon arrival. Thus, these public servants are in high demand. To qualify for this position, employers like to see an ability to think clearly under pressure, as well as keen listening skills, on top of excellent oral communication skills.
  • Public Relations Specialists
    A public relations specialist has a keen sense of what moves public opinion. The field was first pioneered by Sigmund Freud's nephew, who implemented his uncle's theories to promote consumer goods, such as cigarettes. These days, public relations specialists write speeches, press releases, and arrange events that show their client in the best light.
  • Fundraisers
    A fundraiser is a non-profit professional who helps their organization grow by way of attracting donations. Fundraising specialists may organize mass-mailings to potential donors, or they may orchestrate fundraising events. A successful fundraiser can find the target audience for their organization and then convince them to donate to the cause. Fundraisers may organize charity gala balls, golf tournaments, or other events throughout the year.
  • Lodging Managers
    Every hotel, motel, and bed and breakfast needs a lodging manager to keep the operation running smoothly. Lodging managers often have experience in positions such as concierge, porter, or even restaurant management. These days, students can earn a degree in hospitality management to help launch a career in this exciting field. Note that entry-level hospitality management positions may involve overnight hours or perhaps even relocating to exotic locations such as Maui or the Caribbean.
  • Compensation, Benefits, and Job Analysis Specialists
    This career is where finance and/or economics meets human resource management. Every large firm needs to staff at least one compensation expert and smaller firms may outsource their compensation analysis work to an HR consultant.
  • Business Administrators
  • Healthcare Administrators
  • Marketing Managers