Human Resources: How Does One Become a Human Resource Professional

Oct 20, 2021

Human resources qualifications usually include a bachelor's degree and possible certification, depending on the position. Here we discuss how to become a human resource professional and what the career entails.

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How to Become a Human Resource Specialist

Students wishing to become a human resource professional may investigate how to become an HR specialist and/or how to become a human resource manager. Many HR managers begin their careers as human resource specialists, but either position typically requires students to meet specific human resources qualifications, such as education, work experience, and/or optional certification. Here we discuss some of the different human resources qualifications.

Human Resource Specialist Education Requirements

Although there are some free online courses in HR available, a human resource professional typically needs at least a bachelor's degree. An HR specialist degree is usually in business or human resources. Degree programs in HR are typically titled Human Resource Management and are offered as a Bachelor of Science (BS) or Bachelor of Arts (BA).

Students interested in becoming a human resource manager can choose from a variety of 4-year institutions that offer undergraduate and/or graduate degree programs in human resource management. Human resource managers are usually only required to have a bachelor's degree, but may need a master's degree and/or 5 years or more of work experience for some positions.

Human Resources Specialist Certification

Human resource specialist certification is not usually required, but depending on the position and employer, may be preferred or required. Several different organizations offer professional certification for the field, such as the HR Certification Institute and the Society for Human Resource Management.

To earn their certification, students typically must pass an exam and may need to meet work experience requirements. Some certifications may be offered at different levels of abilities.

What Does Human Resources Consist Of?

In order to answer the question 'what is a human resources professional?', we must examine the various aspects and areas of human resources. Human resources oversees the employee/employer relations and interactions to help support individuals and the organization. Many different responsibilities fall under human resources, including:

  • Employment
  • Training
  • Payroll
  • Benefits
  • Employee relations/ethics

What Do Human Resources Professionals Do?

A human resource professional job description will vary slightly depending on the exact position. For example, human resource managers oversee the actions of their staff and take on more advanced job duties than a human resource specialist. Even within human resource specialists and human resource managers there are specialty positions, such as recruitment specialists or payroll managers. In general, human resource specialists may be responsible for:

  • Recruiting and placing workers
  • Managing employment paperwork
  • Interviewing potential employees
  • Assisting with new employee orientation
  • Discussing job details and benefits with potential employees

In addition to managing their staff, human resource managers may:

  • Meet and plan with management
  • Consult on human resources issues
  • Mediate workplace disputes
  • Manage benefit programs
  • Coordinate training and development programs

Human Resources Salary

Salaries in HR also vary based on position. In 2018, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) stated that an average annual human resource specialist salary was $66,790. Most of these specialists worked in employment services and made an average of $63,230, while those working in the pipeline transportation of crude oil industry made the most at $95,910 a year. The BLS also stated that the average annual salary for human resources managers in 2018 was $120,210.

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