Is a College Degree Necessary to Work in Human Resources?

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If you have ever thought about pursuing a career in the field of human resources, an important question has probably crossed your mind: Do I need a human resource degree to work in human resources? This is an important question, and by reading the information below you can gain the knowledge necessary to make an informed decision regarding whether attaining a human resource degree would be ideal or advantageous for you. 

Human Resources-The Basics

Although broadly defined, human resources is basically a field that incorporates the hiring processes, benefits, pay, and human resource policies of an organization. In short, human resources incorporates the entire spectrum involved in the creation and management of employee-employer relationships. Some of the responsibilities involved when an individual works within the human resources sector include:

► Managing job recruitment, selection and promotion
► Developing and overseeing wellness programs and employee benefits
► Fostering a positive work environment
► Providing a county government orientation for new employees
► Developing and promoting appropriate personnel policies
► Managing the county’s pay-for-performance system
► Promoting employee job training and career development
► Providing guidance on disciplinary actions; and
► Serving as a primary contact for work-site injuries and accidents

Human Resource Degrees-A Brief Overview

Human resources degrees prepare individuals to work within their field of choice. Some of the courses that an individual can expect to take while pursuing the degree include Human Resources Management 101, Interview Skills 101, Accounting and Bookkeeping 101, Accounts Payable Management, Accounts Receivable Management, and Administrative Assistant Fundamentals.

Is A Human Resource Degree Necessary?

If you are planning to pursue a career in human resources, you probably want to know whether attaining a degree in human resources is necessary? The answer depends on what type of position you’re attempting to attain. As noted by Susan M. Heathfield, you don’t have to have a degree to work within the field. However, individuals who do not have a degree will generally only be able to work within the entry-level sectors of a human resources department. At the same time, there are some human resources jobs that can be obtained by employers who do not require that you have a degree. Some examples include positions as a human resources administrator or a payroll specialists.

Despite the fact that a human resources degree is not always required to obtain a position in the field, it is important to note that is increasingly common to note that human resources professionals obtain degrees at both the bachelor’s and master’s level. Because the field of human resources is highly competitive, having more education can oftentimes make you a more marketable job candidate or increase the likelihood that you will receive raises, bonuses, and promotions. According to Susan M. Heathfield, it is now a trend for HR directors to obtain a Ph.D. or J.D. (legal degree).

Human Resources Management

Since management is a relatively broad and profitable career field, it is practical to include information regarding educational requirements and salary expectations for individuals who opt to become human resource managers. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, a human resource manager is expected to have a bachelor’s degree. Additionally, human resource managers can expect to earn $99,720 per year or $47.94 per hour.


If you are seriously considering a career in human resources, you should know that doing so can be both personally and professionally advantageous. And if the question “Do I need a human resource degree to work in human resources?” has crossed your mind, remember that while the degree is not always necessary, it is almost always advisable.

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