Become an HR Administrator: Step-by-Step Career Guide

Oct 20, 2021

Learn how to become an HR administrator. Research the education requirements, certification information, and experience required for pursuing a career in HR administration.

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94% college-bound high school students
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?!!!Should I Become an HR Administrator?

Human resource (HR) administrators, also referred to as human resources managers, are responsible for supervising the functions of the employees at a company or organization. Some functions include determining compensation and benefits, recruitment, training, and ensuring compliance with rules, regulations, and policies pertinent to the business and the workers. Human resources professionals receive steady full-time work, but need to earn overtime. These professionals work in comfortable indoor settings, and positions are found in nearly every industry. However, travel is required as part of the job.

Career Requirements

Degree Level Bachelor's degree generally required by employers
Degree Field(s) Human resources management, business administration
Certification Certification is not required, but it provides opportunities for career advancement
Experience Level of experience required depends on the job; several years are necessary
Key Skills Administrative and organizational skills; strong communication and interpersonal abilities; critical thinking; time management; general computer skills; ability to use industry-standard human resources software, accounting programs, and word processors
Salary (2018) $113,300 (Median salary for all human resources managers)

Sources: O*NET Online, U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, HR Certification Institute.

Steps to Become an HR Administrator

Step 1: Get a Bachelor's Degree

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), HR administrators need a bachelor's degree. Many colleges and universities now offer degree programs in HR management. A degree in business or a related area of study is also acceptable, so students have some flexibility when choosing a degree to pursue. HR management programs cover topics that come up in actual work scenarios such as labor relations, conflict management, and employment laws.

Aspiring administrators should consider a program that includes a work-study experience. Many colleges offer students the opportunity to gain valuable experience through these types of programs. For those pursuing an undergraduate degree in human resources management, the school is able to make arrangements for students to learn more about the industry through on-the-job training and instruction.

Step 2: Acquire Work Experience

Career advancement for HR administrators is directly tied to their work experience. Work experience as an HR assistant counts towards the necessary HR experience needed to advance to higher positions. Although the amount of experience needed to advance to a higher position varies, individuals need as many as seven years of working in HR to qualify for some management positions.

Individuals interested in this career should also join an organization that offers training opportunities and workshop events. The National Human Resources Association (NHRA) hosts a variety of meetings and events on a regular basis, giving HR professionals a chance to learn about new ideas and build a professional network. Membership benefits offer aspiring HR administrators access to a variety of industry tools and resources for career development. NHRA also offers an up-to-date list of job posts seeking HR professionals.

Step 3: Get Certified

Human resources professionals in some sectors wish to seek voluntary professional certification from the HR Certification Institute. Professional certification demonstrates to employers that the holder has a specific set of skills in HR management.

Certification also serves as a resume booster for those wishing to seek employment elsewhere. Some combination of education and demonstrated professional HR work experience, in addition to passing an exam, are requirements for certification.

  • Additionally, by enrolling in continuing education courses those working within the field of human resource management can stay up-to-date with the changes affecting industry standards and practices. Candidates should consider registering for courses providing the opportunity to acquire additional knowledge and sharpen skills essential to continued success.

Step 4: Complete a Graduate Degree

Advancing to high-level positions in human resources might require a graduate degree. Master's degrees in human resources, human resource management, or industrial and labor relations are solid options for HR administrators. A Master of Business Administration with a focus on human resource management is another relevant option. Most human resources master's programs are flexible and designed for professionals working full-time.

Individuals interested in a career in human resources administration need at least a bachelor's degree in human resources, business, or a related field as well as several years of HR experience.

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