Careers Grads Can Pursue with a Master's in Human Resources

  • Human Resource Manager
  • Labor Relations Manager
  • Compensation and Benefits Manager
  • HR Consultant
  • Human Resource Executive

Studying for a four year degree in Human Resources is enough to land a position, but HR professionals who want to advance their careers will need to dedicate at least 2 more years to earn a master's degree. There are plenty of generalist positions within the giant HR platform, but as degrees get more advanced, roles become more specialized.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics lists many careers related to the human resources manager. With so many options available, and factoring in the cost of a master's degree itself, it is important for HR professionals to know what they want be doing with their degrees out of graduate school. Here are five career paths graduates can take.

Related Resource: 30 Most Affordable Top Master's in Human Resources Online Degree Programs 2018

1. Human Resource Manager

With a graduate or business degree majoring in Human Resource Management, professionals will be equipped with the knowledge and skill set needed to manage associates and benefit programs. Human Resource Managers will either lead an entire department or, if applying for a position within a larger organization, they may be in charge of a function within the HR department.

There is a long list of responsibilities that fall on the lap of the HR manager. Typically, it is the manager who will start the recruiting process for open positions. They will interview, conduct background checks, ensure appropriate compensation, set up training, and ensure the workplace is safe. While a master's degree will help reduce the years of experience needed to qualify for an opening, HR managers still need experience leading others.

2. Labor Relations Manager

Often times HR and Labor Relations managers are considered to be the same professionals. In actuality, there is a difference between the two. Labor Relations managers are in charge of negotiating the agreements that are drawn up between labor organizations and a specific employer.

The purpose of having a labor relations manager is to ensure that employees within the organization are protected and their demands are being met. The manager will look up labor laws, investigate employee grievances, and help to pitch fair wages after conducting extensive research. Specializing a Master's in Human Relations degree in Labor Relations could be extremely helpful to land a managerial position.

3. Compensation and Benefits Manager

Compensation and Benefits Managers are specialists in the HR field whose role it is to review a company's benefits and compensation packages and modify them where they see fit. The purpose of the review and modification isn't just to find the company the least costly options, it is also necessary to ensure that employees are happy with their benefits to improve retention rates.

4. HR Consultant

There are Human Resource specialists who don't want to be tied down to an office all day. Unfortunately, anyone who works for an organization as an employee will generally have to report to the office every day. One alternative would be for graduates to work in the HR consultant role.

There is a growing need for HR consultants as employment law and policies become more and more complex. Consultants can work for smaller or mid-sized companies and perform various functions in which they are specialized in. They may help the company choose the right benefits plans or help with training and recruitment programs. The great thing about this position is that the best consultants get to choose who they work for and set their own rates.

5. Human Resource Executive

Graduates who have the experience and who plan to prove themselves in management may be interested in the executive track. In most HR settings, Chief HR Officers have no less than a master's degree and 10 or 20 years' of experience. Some experience may be negotiable but the right candidate will need to be a strategic thinker who can set policies for every department while still meeting about the bottom line.

It is best for prospective graduate students to evaluate the aspects of the career that they like best before they decide which ladder to climb. After assessing the careers, they will have an idea of which human resources concentrations will best prepare them to be a niche specialist.