What is the Difference Between a Master’s in Human Resources and a Human Resources MBA?

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If you are considering a career in human resources, you should know the differences between a Master’s in Human Resources and a Human Resources MBA. The major difference between the programs is the career they are intended to support. Other differences are found in the cost and length of the programs, and whether you can maintain your professional schedule while you earn your credentials.

What is Human Resources?

According to a definition found on the EHow.com website, HR encompasses “the support systems related to effective management and motivation of the company’s employees.”

It involves everything from recruiting “talent” to training them and monitoring their work performance. Motivation is part of that, and HR departments are responsible for negative and positive sanctions like raises.

Human resources personnel manage compensation packages, deal with unions, collective bargaining, workmen’s compensation and safety issues among others. They also arrange for professional development for those individuals identified as having potential for leadership. In this respect, people with MBA degrees in HR and people with HRM degrees can work in the same areas, but the degrees are different.

What is a Master’s Degree in Human Resources?

The Master’s Degree in Human Resources is more specialized than the MBA. While both degrees are intended to move the professional into upper levels of management, the person with a HRM degree will have more in-depth knowledge of things like collective bargaining, government labor laws and even some psychological aspects of human behavior.

You can earn this degree in a traditional format or online in about eighteen months for a full-time student to two years or more for a working professional taking the program on weekends and evenings or online. Your core classes will be in human resources, and you may also have some business electives. Some of the courses you will take include: recruitment and retention, training, compensation and benefits, leadership, collective bargaining and others.

As a professional within this degree, you can work in positions such as a corporate recruiting manager or a compensations manager. You can expect your education to cost you about $30,000 a year and you will earn an average salary in the range of $67,000 to $78,000 annually.

How is the MBA in Human Resources Different than that?

The MBA is a business management course. People within this major intend to become business managers with human resource backgrounds. The MBA program is a generalist degree that can be specialized to many fields. You can, for instance, earn an MBA in finance, leadership, entrepreneurship, information management, accounting and other business fields, including human resources.

Core classes in an MBA program include basic business disciplines like marketing, finance, management and organizational behavior. In addition to these, students take courses in their concentrations. So the main focus of an MBA in Human Resources would be business, with the human resource aspect as a specialization.

With this degree you could work in human resources, but you could also fill a number of other management positions in a corporation. An MBA degree is more expensive because it takes longer to complete, and you may not be able to work while you study. Your MBA could cost you $50,000 a year in tuition alone. If you get a good managerial position, however, you could earn a six-figure income.

The decision of which degree to earn involves the practical aspects of whether you want to spend the extra money and effort to get the MBA, and whether that degree is necessary for meeting your goals. The Difference Between a Master’s in Human Resources and a Human Resources MBA is the career for which the degree prepares students.

Related Resource: The 15 Cheapest Graduate Programs in Human Resources

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