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How Long Does It Take To Get An HR Degree

By David Krug 3 minute read

The first step in a career in human resources is to get a college degree. HR workers typically require a bachelor’s degree, but the full range of educational options available to you includes everything from two-year associate’s degree programs to advanced studies at the graduate level. The more education you have under your belt, the more career options you’ll have available to you.

Human Resources Associate’s Degree Programs

As a human resources professional, an associate’s degree may be the best option for you if you want to get your foot in the door quickly. If you work full-time, you can earn an associate’s degree in human resources in two years. Human resources assistants, payroll clerks, and timekeeping clerks are just a few of the positions that these courses can prepare students for. While pursuing an associate’s degree in human resources, you’ll be required to take general business courses such as Business Law and Ethics and Accounting Principles in addition to business-focused classes in math and communication. Introduction to Human Resources, Employment Law & Labor Relations, Payroll & Benefits and Organizational Behaviour are some of the HR courses that can be taken at the associate’s degree level.

Human resources specialists, for example, typically require a bachelor’s degree and at least two years of relevant experience in addition to their associate’s degree. This or similar positions require at least a bachelor’s degree from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics if you want to move up the ladder and become an HR leader (BLS). It is possible to land an entry-level HR position such as human resources assistant or a more specialized position such as payroll and timekeeping clerk with an associate’s degree. Administrative or clerical positions in human resources tend to be more common than positions in the field of HR. They may not be as well-known or as well-paid as positions in HR’s higher echelons.

According to the Houston Chronicle, the wage gap between HR specialists and assistants is over $20,000. Compared to human resources specialists, payroll and timekeeping clerks earn an average wage of $44,950, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Human Resources Bachelor’s Programs

A bachelor’s degree in human resources is usually required to enter this field. Most entry-level and upper-level positions in human resources can be obtained with a bachelor’s degree. Human resources specialists, generalists, recruitment specialists, labor relations specialists, training and development specialists, or compensation, benefits, or jobs analysis specialists can all benefit from earning this degree.

A bachelor’s degree in human resources requires students to take the same business and human resources courses as those pursuing an associate’s degree, but they also have the opportunity to gain more in-depth knowledge of the field through additional courses. Take a class in Human Resource Management, for example, or Human Resource Issues, or Global Human Resource Management, or Human Resource Compensation, or Human Resource Development, or Labor Relations, for example.

In spite of the term “four-year degree,” not all students complete their bachelor’s degree in four years. In fact, less than 60 percent of college students complete their bachelor’s degree within six years of beginning their studies.

Human Resource Management Master’s Degree

HR, like many other professions, relies heavily on management. Human resources managers, training and development managers, and compensation and development managers all require a bachelor’s degree, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). A graduate degree, on the other hand, can open up new avenues in HR management that you wouldn’t otherwise have access to. Having a master’s degree in human resources is no surprise given the six-figure median salary for each of these positions.

Students seeking a master’s degree in human resources must typically pick between two options. A human resources specialization is an option for those pursuing an MBA degree. The focus of this program is broader and more all-encompassing, including coursework in business administration, marketing, economics, and finance, as well as human resources management. Another option is the Master of Science in Human Resources or Master of Professional Studies in Human Resources Management. More attention is paid to graduate-level coursework in areas like human resources analytics and global HR management in these HR programs than in traditional undergraduate ones.

One way to advance in HR is to get a graduate degree, but it’s not the only one. Candidates who have either a master’s degree or a professional certification are predicted to have better career prospects, according to the BLS.

David Krug