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Consider a Career in Human Resources Management

Updated on September 5, 2012
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Human Resources careers involve a wide array of responsibilities pertaining to the management of company personnel. HR employees manage employees from their hire date to when they leave the company and beyond. They perform a wide range of duties within a company to manage personnel, including but not limited to: benefits management, recruiting, performance reviews, payroll, employee relations, employee training, and more. The following are typical positions within an HR department and are listed in order of the level of experience.

HR Associate or HR Assistant

Human Resources Associate or Assistant is an entry level position in the HR department. A person in this role usually has little to no prior experience in the human resources field. They may have either a bachelor’s degree or certificate.

HR Representative

Human Resources Representative is also considered an entry level position in the HR department. A person in this role usually has some prior HR experience. They may have either a bachelor’s degree or certificate.

HR Generalist

The HR Generalist usually has several years of the experience in the HR field. They are knowledgeable across all areas of Human Resources Management. They may have either a bachelor’s degree or certificate.

HR Manager

The HR Manager is a higher level position in the Human Resources department. They may manage a staff of a few people to a larger HR department. A person in this role in a larger company may manage a group dedicated to a specific aspect of HR, for instance recruiting. At a smaller company, they may be responsible for all areas of HR management. They will usually have a bachelor’s or may have a higher level degree with many years of experience.

HR Director

The HR Director is a higher level position in the Human Resources department. They may manage a staff of a few people to a larger HR department. They will usually oversee all areas of an HR department. They will usually have a bachelor’s or may have a higher level degree with many years of experience.

If you are just starting a career in human resources, a degree or certification is usually not necessary, but you will be hindered in how high a position you can attain in the long term. A bachelor’s degree is recommended and can help you achieve a higher level position. For HR Managers and Directors, master’s, Ph.D., and J.D. degrees are becoming more and more common. Certification through Society for Human Resources Management (SHRM) is also very useful in this career. They offer certifications as a Professional in Human Resources (PHR) or Senior Professional in Human Resources (SPHR). You may also look into certifications through professional organizations for payroll or benefits management.


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