How Much Does a Recent Human Resources Graduate Make?

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As a necessary part of any modern business, the human resources department helps plan and coordinate many business functions like recruitment of new employees, as well as hiring. Students who enter a human resources (HR) program in college will make a salary commensurate with the degree earned and will be eligible for pay increases as they gain work experience.

Minimum Education for HR Specialists

Educational planning is important for those seeking a career in HR, and the right planning will ensure a job applicant has the right skills needed to work in HR. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), HR specialists and labor relations specialists need a bachelor’s degree for entry-level work.

Valuable skills required for success at the entry-level include good interpersonal skills and business management knowledge, as well as knowledge of finance and accounting. Graduate degrees are also available in human resources, but entry-level jobs are available at the bachelor’s degree level. Some HR workers return to school to get a graduate degree after getting work experience.

Pay in the HR Departments

The BLS┬áreports that median pay for HR specialists is $55,640; however, it’s important to look at the overall median wage levels to determine the likely income an HR graduate might expect right after graduation. Pay varies greatly in HR with the BLS reporting that the lowest 10% of workers earned a median wage of $33,630 and the highest-paid workers earned a median wage of more than $98,000.
For students exiting college who want to find the highest paying HR jobs right after graduation, working in certain industries and in certain geographical locations is helpful. For example, the highest-paid HR employees live in Washington D.C., Maryland, and California. Major metropolitan areas with high salaries include San Jose, San Francisco, Washington D.C., and Bethesda, Maryland.

Advancing a Career in HR

The BLS suggests that job growth of HR specialists over the next several years will be just eight percent, which is slower than the 11 percent average estimated for all occupations. Therefore, it may be challenging to enter the field at the entry level. However, growth in management positions within HR is supposed to be approximately 13 percent, which is slightly faster than average.

HR managers don’t need any education beyond a bachelor’s degree, but they do require about five years of work experience. Their median average pay is near $100,000 a year, so dedicated HR employees who wish to move into management may be able to do so within approximately five years of graduation from an undergraduate program.

A graduate degree isn’t absolutely necessary for work in management; however, students may consider an MBA program with a specialization in HR or a master in HR to gain access to higher pay than entry-level HR jobs. Some companies may even provide tuition reimbursement for advanced education, so it’s a good idea to inquire with an employer about such opportunities.

Working in HR offers students a chance at steady and reliable employment. Virtually all businesses require an HR department of some sort whether it’s an outsourced company handling HR duties or an in-house department. Anyone interested in working and advancing their career in human resources should consider earning a bachelor’s degree to secure entry-level employment.

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