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Careers in Human Resources

Knowing what to expect when you choose human resources as your career path can help you plan your education, training and job search.

The human resources field presents exciting and varied career opportunities. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the human resource field is expected to grow at a fast as average rate of about 7 percent. A job in human resources can mean many different things. Human resources occupations are typically broken down into two main categories.

Human resources generalists typically handle the following:

  • Maintain adequate levels of staffing
  • Conduct training and development
  • Manage a diverse workforce
  • Maintain a fair and equitable compensation program
  • Develop personnel policies and procedures
  • Plan ways to meet the human resources needs of the future
  • Ensure that internal policies and programs conform to all laws that affect the workplace

Recruitment specialists typically handle the following:

  • Workforce planning and employment
  • Human resources development
  • Total rewards
  • Employee and labor relations
  • Risk management

If you want to start your career in human resources, you will have to meet the basic education requirements for an entry-level position. An undergraduate degree in business with a strong core of business classes or an undergraduate degree in human resource management is typically the entry-level requirement. As you progress in your career, you may need an advanced diploma. The MySECO College Exploration lifecycle stage will help you research postsecondary institutions to find the right school for you. Tools such as the American Association of Community Colleges, Resources for Choosing a School and College Scorecard can all be valuable resources to help you determine and achieve your education goals.

Along with your education requirements, you can make yourself more marketable by obtaining specialty certifications and licenses in the human resources field. The CareerOneStop License Finder tool lists certifying agencies, licenses and organizations that offer accredited human resources programs. The more experience and credentials you have, the easier it should be to find a new job as you relocate to new duty stations. Be sure to view the Spouse Licensure Map for state legislation and licensure information for military spouses in your specific state. 

While not required, many human resources professionals join a professional organization. Membership organizations offer opportunities to network and build skills in your chosen field. Membership organizations also provide information on careers, training and seminars, certifications, job opportunities and more. Read The Value of Professional Associations for more information on how becoming a member can help enhance your career.

Another source of job opportunities comes from the Military Spouse Employment Partnership. This is a targeted recruitment and employment solution for spouses and companies that connects military spouses with employers seeking to hire. Most MSEP partners have human resources personnel, and since they have made the commitment to support military spouses, they make a great place to look for employment. Using the Military Spouse Employment Partnership Job Search, you can enter your location and use the keywords 'Human Resources' to pull a list of MSEP partners currently hiring in that occupation.

To explore additional information related to the human resources profession, check out the Occupation Profile on CareerOneStop. You can also visit the Research Occupations page on MySECO or speak with a career coach at 800-342-9647.

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