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Jobs for human resources majors: All your options

Human resources jobs put you right at a business's heart. With a human resources major, you can manage people and workplaces across industries.
Written by Melissa Sartore, Contributor on

A human resources major prepares you to take on the multifaceted duties of an HR professional. Human resources professionals are key in recruiting, hiring, and training. 

In an HR job, you also serve as the go-to person for administering employee benefits, managing problems and concerns, and overseeing employee-related policies and programs. 

Below, we'll explore possible jobs your human resources major may qualify you to land.

What's it like to work in human resources?

A human resources major opens the door to HR careers in business, healthcare, education, and other industries across the workforce.

Human resources involves working with employees at a business or organization, providing support and information about everything from onboarding to retirement. 

As an HR professional, you interact with job candidates, new employees, managers, and executives. You may spend time networking and making connections outside of your workplace at events like job fairs.

Within HR, you can specialize in recruiting and hiring, employee compensation and benefits, labor relations, or organizational structure. Some human resources professionals also take on payroll duties or oversee labor compliance — or, depending on the size of the organization, all of the above.

Experience and HR certifications can lead to managerial human resources jobs. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, human resources specialists earned a median annual salary of $62,290 in May 2021 while human resources managers earned twice that at $126,230.

Careers for human resources majors after graduation

Careers for human resources majors include generalist roles as HR assistants and specialists. With a human resources degree, you can also work in a subdiscipline like benefits, payroll, or recruiting. Earning a master's degree, such as human resources master's or an MBA in human resources, may open management positions to you.

Benefits administrator

Minimum degree level required: Bachelor's degree
Salary expectations: $127,530 annual median pay (May 2021)
Alternate job titles: Compensation administrator, benefits manager, compensation and benefits manager
Important qualities: Inquisitive, analytical thinkers, able to direct colleagues and explain complex terms and concepts, decisive

Business administrators oversee benefits programs offered to employees throughout a business organization. They plan these programs and ensure compliance with applicable laws and regulations. Benefits administrators make changes to existing benefits programs or seek out new ones that meet financial and workplace needs. 

Human resources assistant

Minimum degree level required: Bachelor's degree
Salary expectations: $41,780 average base salary (April 2022)
Alternate job titles: Human resources associate, compensation and benefits assistant, payroll assistant
Important qualities: Outgoing, detail-oriented, articulate, organized, computer-proficient

This entry-level human resources job provides support to fellow human resources professionals. Many human resources assistants handle paperwork and administrative tasks related to hiring, termination, benefits, and other workplace programs. Human resources assistants must understand HR practices and applicable regulations. 

Human resources consultant

Minimum degree level required: Bachelor's degree
Salary expectations: $75,580 average base salary (April 2022)
Alternate job titles: Compensation and benefits consultant, employee relations consultant, human resources program reviewer 
Important qualities: Comprehensive understanding of HR field, analytical thinker, able to solve problems and make decisions

As an outside reviewer, a human resources consultant assesses human resources practices, policies, and structure to determine effectiveness and efficiency. HR consultants identify ways to improve employee relations, boost hiring, increase retention, and improve morale. They recommend changes to existing practices and introduce new methods and strategies.

Human resources coordinator

Minimum degree level required: Bachelor's degree
Salary expectations: $48,680 average base salary (April 2022)
Alternate job titles: Benefits coordinator, human resources supervisor, recruitment and hiring coordinator
Important qualities: Able to explain concepts and policies to employees, organized, written communication skills, able to take on multiple tasks, discrete

Human resources coordinators handle HR programs and activities within a business or organization. They may take on all aspects of human resources or specialize. Duties for HR coordinators include posting job listings, participation in new employee orientations, and answering employee questions. HR coordinators often maintain and supervise employee files.

Human resources manager

Minimum degree level required: Bachelor's degree
Salary expectations: $126,230 annual median pay (May 2021)
Alternate job titles: Human resources administrator, compensation and benefits manager, employee program manager
Important qualities: Analytical, able to solve problems and make decisions, capable of explaining complex ideas and information to others, organized, can delegate duties and responsibilities 

Human resources managers oversee a business or company's human resources programs. They supervise recruiting, interviewing, and hiring activities after coordinating with fellow managers and executives about organizational needs. HR managers aid communication between employees and management, share information with staff and other managers, handle disciplinary actions, and mediate disputes.

Payroll specialist

Minimum degree level required: Associate degree
Salary expectations: $51,000 average base salary (April 2022)
Alternate job titles: Compensation specialist, payroll coordinator, budgetary specialist
Important qualities: Knowledge of finance, mathematics, and budget practices; multitasking; knows employment laws and regulations; meets deadlines; detail-oriented

Payroll specialists process compensation for employees and manage budget expenditures. They use software to calculate wages, make sure taxes are withheld properly, and ensure paychecks are delivered on time. Payroll specialists may also do data entry, maintain personnel databases and employee files, and answer questions from employees as they arise. 

Recruiter

Minimum degree level required: Associate degree
Salary expectations: $53,750 average base salary (April 2022)
Alternate job titles: Headhunter, talent acquisition specialist, recruitment specialist
Important qualities: Persuasive, good eye for talent and judge of character, outgoing

Recruiters identify potential employees for businesses and organizations. They may be employed by the company for whom they're hiring or a staffing agency. They explore job search sites, social media, and their own networks, contacting qualified individuals to assess compatibility and interest in a job. They may travel to recruitment events where they explain their organization and business to potential candidates while simultaneously evaluating their strengths. 

Some talent acquisition specialists screen candidates, conduct interviews, and make recommendations to fellow human resources professionals. They may have a role in determining hiring policies.

Training and development specialist

Minimum degree level required: Bachelor's degree
Salary expectations: $61,570 annual median pay (May 2021)
Alternate job titles: Onboarding specialist, professional development specialist, employee training specialist
Important qualities: Organized, good at explaining concepts, comfortable with public speaking, outgoing, collaborative, creative

Tasked with creating and administering training programs to new employees, training and development specialists also develop instructional programs for current employees. They design manuals and online modules, coordinate with departments and colleagues to make sure training materials are appropriate, and serve as a point of contact for employees. These professionals may teach in offices, online, or at a training facility. 

Unless otherwise noted, salary data is drawn from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics as of April 27, 2022.

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