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Prepare for a Career in Human Resources Administration

If you enjoy working with people and have a mind for details like employment regulations or employee compensation, you might be interested in human resources administration. Almost every business or organization needs people to handle their internal needs, including nonprofits, government agencies, medical centers and schools.

The field of human resource administration is growing rapidly thanks to the increasing complexity of employment law and benefits packages. As the number of companies increases, so does the need for human resources professionals.

Read on to learn more about careers in human resources administration and whether it is the right path for you.

What is Human Resources Administration?

Human resources administration involves helping an organization with their employee needs. This can include everything from recruiting workers to administering employee benefits programs. The human resources department may also be in charge of providing proper training to a business’s employees.

Because employers have to follow laws related to how they hire and treat their workers, human resources professionals are responsible for ensuring the organization is complying with guidelines such as the Americans with Disabilities Act. A human resources representative must know current policies and stay up to date on any changes. In addition, the HR manager deals with any employee complaints related to employment laws.1

What Does a Human Resources Specialist Do?

Human resources specialists handle employee relations and training, as well as compensation and benefits programs for their organization. They can also play a part in recruiting new employees, which includes screening and interviewing talent.

The day-to-day tasks of an HR coordinator may vary, depending on the company. However, typical duties include:2

  • Hiring new employees after completing interviews and background checks.
  • Processing paperwork related to new hires.
  • Providing or arranging employee orientation for new hires.
  • Using HR management system software to maintain employment records for all employees.
  • Creating and maintaining documents, such as employee handbooks or performance review forms.
  • Administering the employee benefits program.
  • Monitoring changes to employment laws and regulations and determining how the organization can comply with them.
  • Working with management to implement or change personnel policies.
  • Analyzing data to determine the company’s employee retention rate and developing plans to improve worker retention.
  • Scheduling testing, such as skills tests or drug tests for possible new hires.
  • Evaluating the criteria used to select applicants and revising as necessary.
  • Analyzing staffing levels and consulting with management about the need for hiring opportunities, or reduce the number of employees, as dictated by management goals.
  • Developing strategies to recruit new employees.
  • Contacting temporary staffing agencies to arrange for short-term workers.

Why Become a Human Resources Specialist?

The outlook for jobs as an HR specialist is ever-increasing, as the number of professional careers is expected to grow by 7% between 2019 and 2029, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). That is faster than the average for jobs overall and will result in about 64,500 jobs opening up each year.3

Several trends are driving the growing need for HR professionals. For example, as options for employee benefits get more complex, organizations need HR specialists to administer them. New HR specialists are also needed to fill posts that are left open when human resources managers are promoted, change jobs, or retire.

Benefits of Being an HR Rep

The median pay for human resources specialists was $61,920 per year in May 2019. That is far above the median annual wage for all workers in the United States, which was $39,810.4

Human resources specialists typically work in an office environment, performing routine tasks during normal business hours. Which means they have evenings and weekends off. In some cases, such as recruitment specialists, you may be required to do a lot of traveling, like visiting college campuses or job fairs to meet with potential employees.

Additionally, HR workers can also find jobs in consulting firms or employment services firms.5

Benefits of Being an HR Rep

The median pay for human resources specialists was $61,920 per year in May 2019. That is far above the median annual wage for all workers in the United States, which was $39,810.4

Human resources specialists typically work in an office environment, performing routine tasks during normal business hours. Which means they have evenings and weekends off. In some cases, such as recruitment specialists, you may be required to do a lot of traveling, like visiting college campuses or job fairs to meet with potential employees.

Additionally, HR workers can also find jobs in consulting firms or employment services firms.5

Human Resources Administration Salary

Salaries for jobs in human resources administration can vary for many reasons, including: 

  • Experience
  • Company size
  • Industry standards
  • Geographic location
  • Educational background
  • Seniority in the organization

Human resources assistant salary had a median average of $41,430 in 2019, the BLS says. That equates to $19.92 per hour for full-time workers.6 Despite this, human resources manager or HR coordinator jobs saw median salaries of $116,720 in 2019. Be advised, salary for entry level positions may be lower than the national average.

The BLS also compiles data on median salaries for more specialized jobs in the field of human resources administration. Training and development specialists earned a median of $61,210 in May 2019, while training and development managers had a median salary of $113,350.

Lastly, an HR specialist salary that focuses on compensation, benefits, and job analysis earned a median salary of $64,560 in May 2019. Compensation and benefits managers saw median salaries of $122,270 in the same period.7 Be advised, salary for entry level positions may be lower than the national average.

Best Places to Work as an HR Specialist

The BLS also collects data on the industries that employ the most HR specialists and the geographic areas where people who fill those positions make the most money.8

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Industries with the most HR specialist jobs             Number of jobs Annual average salary
Employment services 101,080 $63,510
Management of companies 50,380 $71,240
Federal executive branch 28,140 $87,280
Management, scientific and Technical consulting services 27,900 $75,130
Computer Systems design And related services 24,880 $74,770
Top-paying states for HR specialists Number of jobs Annual average salary
Washington, D.C. 7,500 $97,730
Washington (state) 17,310 $77,220
New Jersey 18,200 $76,380
California 71,130 $76,200
New York 41,880 $76,170

Find Your Path as a Human Resources Specialist

SJVC is committed to hands-on training in the skills you need as a Human Resources. Learn more about our program and exciting opportunities.

Human Resources Jobs

Human resources administration is a broad field that encompasses all aspects of employment, from recruiting talent to managing retirement programs. For that reason, you’ll find that HR jobs may have a large variety of titles and roles in any given industry.

As a corporate recruiter, for instance, your job would involve tasks such as developing recruiting strategies or attending job fairs to find qualified applicants. But if you’re a payroll manager, your job focuses on issues such as keeping records of hours worked, taxes withheld, and deductions for benefits. You’d use accounting software to assist with these tasks as well.

Wondering how to get a job in human resources? There are many roles you can pursue. Let’s take a closer look at some of the top HR jobs in the field.

  • HR assistants handle tasks like keeping personnel records, preparing reports, and assisting employees who have questions about HR policies. Other titles for this job include HR administrative assistants and personnel clerks.9
  • Compensation and benefits managers are responsible for planning and overseeing systems related to employee pay and benefits. A few examples of this include retirement plans and health insurance.
  • HR specialists focus on compensation, benefits, or job analysis that assess the company’s pay structure. To determine employee salaries, the specialist then compares regional compensation and benefit trends to see how the organization ranks with other companies in their niche.10
  • Training and development managers oversee development programs that are designed to help employees learn or enhance their job-related skills.7
  • Training and development specialists help plan training programs and may also administer programs to improve employee skills.7
  • Labor relations specialists help interpret and administer the contracts an organization has with its workers.7

4 Key Skills for HR Specialists

HR specialist skills are comprised of various assets, qualifications, and experience. But when it comes to the skills you need to be a human resources specialist, the word “human” is key. You’ll be working with people, so the ability to communicate well is the most important skill. Specifically, HR specialists must have competencies in:2

  1. Active listening: You must pay close attention when other people are speaking in order to understand the points they are making. You must understand when it’s appropriate to ask a question and when not.
  2. Reading comprehension: You’ll be working with several records and documents, and you must understand what they say.
  3. Critical thinking: You can look at proposed solutions or approaches and use logic and reasoning to determine if they are good ideas or not. You should be able to pick out the strengths and weaknesses of proposals.
  4. Writing: You must be able to put information into written words and write at an appropriate level for the intended audience.

How to Become an HR Rep in 3 Easy Steps

To become an HR specialist, you should:11

Step 1: Start attaining a degree in a field related to human resources administration. A general business degree might be acceptable, depending on the employer, but there are also Human Resources Administration degrees. It’s also best to take classes in topics that include HR management, accounting, and employment law.

Step 2: Get real-world experience in the field. You might start in an entry-level role such as a human resources assistant, or you may be able to get the necessary experience by working in customer service or a similar position.

Step 3: If you intend to advance in this growing profession, consider human resources certification programs. How to get a human resources certification? Consider programs run by the Society for Human Resource Management or other national organizations. These certifications usually require you to meet proper education credentials, experience requirements, along with a passing score on the exam.

What to Look for in a Human Resources Administration Program

If you’re thinking about getting training for a job in human resources administration, carefully review each program before selecting one and signing up. Here are a few items to consider as you look at HR training programs.

Convenience 

Let’s face it, you’re not going to enjoy driving 90 minutes to attend class. Whether you’re working full-time or have family needs to take care of, you want a program that allows you to be flexible. Many students find that getting a human resources degree online is much easier to keep up with when it comes to classwork, testing, and projects.

Cost

Getting more education can advance your career and increase your earning power, making it an investment in the future. When thinking about getting your human resources certification online, look for a school that offers financial aid assistance and an affordable tuition rate.

Quality of the instructors

Coupled with the program’s cost, you should also look for a school where the instructors are focused on students rather than on research. You want your teachers to be available to answer questions when you need help. Try looking for instructors who have experience and contacts in the business world, so they understand how today’s human resource departments operate and what HR skills are in current demand.

Hands-on training

Next, search for a program that allows you to get training on the tools and applications needed for a job in HR. You’ll likely need to learn about spreadsheets, word processing software, databases, and presentation software. Be sure to check the curriculum on specific projects or classes that include these skills.

Can I study HR Online?

Yes, you can study HR online, and it’s a great option for many people with busy lifestyles. However, online Human Resources Administration degree courses vary in quality. Because of this, it’s important to explore program details that can help you identify the best match for your learning objectives.

What are the advantages of studying HR online?

Due to an increasingly diverse work environment over the past decade, human resources training has become a key part of business initiatives. That said, online HR training is growing in great demand, as it offers several advantages that make it even more effective and practical.

Cost savings 

When you enroll in an online HR program, you can attend classes on your computer at your own home (or wherever you want to, really). That means you don’t have to commute to campus, so you don’t have to pay for extra gas or parking fees. That can be a substantial saving over attending on-campus classes.

Ease of scheduling

Online classes may be partly or fully asynchronous, which means you can view the class material and lectures at your convenience, as long as you turn assignments in on time. You don’t have to be online at a specific time, so you can attend class while riding public transportation to work or after the kids are in bed.

Prepare for your career change quickly

At San Joaquin Valley College, you can prepare for a career in human resources administration in just a few months. You could be ready to work in a human resources department in just a little over half a year.

Kickstart Your Career as a Human Resources Specialist

Small class sizes, individual attention, and hands-on training in the skills you need. Learn more about how to become a Human Resources Specialist with SJVC.

What Will I Learn in SJVC’s Human Resources Courses?

In SJVC’s HRA program, you’ll develop the skills that modern human resources departments are looking for. This includes hands-on training in systems or applications frequently used in HR, such as spreadsheets, databases, and presentation software. You’ll also learn about business communication, customer service, and payroll management. Other classes in the HR degree online program focus more on the “human” in human resources, such as psychology, team dynamics, and ethics.

Human Resources Degree Classes

  • Regulations and Laws Affecting Human Resources: This course gives an overview of the regulatory environment of the human resources profession. Students will investigate and discuss employment relationships, employee privacy topics, and wage and hour law issues. By defining Title VII of the Civil Rights Act, as well as other Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) regulations, students can evaluate employer responsibilities and the variety of situational applications that involve human resources management.
  • Ethics in Human Resources: In this course, students will apply ethical theory to business situations and practices. Students will describe the roles of corporate culture and leadership in a social and global economy, as well as discuss legislation regulating employer and employee rights and responsibilities. Students will analyze ethical situations and develop solutions needed by Human Resources Administrators.
  • Payroll Management & Compensation: Students will outline the goals of human resources management and explore laws affecting payroll and personnel records. Activities include performing payroll calculations and analyzing the function and performance of human resource information systems.
  • Principles of Human Resources: This course provides an overview of the administration of human resources in business, emphasizing legal and regulatory requirements and ethical obligations. Topics include recruitment and hiring, training and evaluation, compensation and benefits, and labor relations.

Prepare for a Career in Human Resources Administration with SJVC

Human Resources Administration is a growing field that can offer above-average salaries. By earning a certificate or associate degree in Human Resources Administration from SJVC, you can prepare for a career as a:

  • HR analyst
  • HR generalist
  • Accounts payable clerk
  • Administrative specialist
  • Human resources specialist
  • Employment representative
  • Human resources coordinator
  • Training & development coordinator

The programs are all available online. You may be ready for a new job in as few as seven months with our certificate program, or in as few as 14 months with the associate degree program.

To find out more information about our programs in Human Resources Administration and how it could be the right choice for you, contact us directly or call (866) 544-7898.

Human Resources FAQ

What’s the difference between an HR specialist and an HR manager? 

The biggest difference between HR specialists and HR managers is their role in the department. While HR managers have a supervisory role for the human resources department, HR specialists may handle a variety of tasks within the department.

Should I get an HR degree or certificate? 

Deciding between a degree and a certificate depends upon your career goals. An HRA degree may qualify you for more jobs or make it easier to advance in your career. However, since you can earn an HRA certificate in a shorter amount of time, you can start your career earlier.

How long is an HR program? 

At SJVC, you can earn your Human Resources Administration Certificate of Completion in as few as seven months. If you decide to pursue the associate degree in Human Resources Administration, you can complete the program in as little as 14 months.

Can you work in HR with just an associate degree? 

Yes, you can qualify for many jobs in HR with an associate degree. Some of the jobs you may qualify for include human resources specialist, bookkeeping clerk, payroll clerk, and administrative service manager.

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