Human Resource Generalist: Job Description, Requirements & Career Information

Learn about the education and preparation needed to become a human resource generalist. Get a quick view of the requirements as well as details about degree programs, job duties and necessary skills to find out if this is the career for you.

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Essential Information

Human resource generalists are charged with ensuring that companies hire and maintain the best talent available. This position requires a bachelor's degree at minimum, with higher executive positions needing a master's degree. Professional certification is voluntary, but recommended for experienced generalists.

Required Education Bachelor's degree; master's degree usually required for higher executive positions
Other Requirements Professional certification is voluntary
Projected Job Growth (2012-2022)* 8%
Mean Salary (2013)* $61,560 annually

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Education Requirements

The education needed for this position varies based on the level of responsibility and employer type. For example, most companies look for entry-level applicants with a bachelor's degree in business, human resources (HR), human resource management or human resource administration.

Applicants possessing a Master of Science in Human Resource Management have access to higher-level management positions. Classes in communication, business and psychology are useful for this career.

Job Description

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), human resource generalists are typically employed in small organizations, and their exact job duties vary greatly (www.bls.gov). Whatever an employer needs done related to HR, a human resource generalist has to be able to perform.

Administrative hiring duties like interviewing, recruiting, hiring and training can fall under the jurisdiction of a human resource generalist. Communicating regularly with employees is another important task, because human resource generalists want to ensure they keep staff members happy. Additionally, human resource generalists communicate on a regular basis with upper management to implement and create effective work policies.

Human resource generalists have to understand and know their fellow employees well to determine methods of improving or maintaining productivity and morale. If a worker is not performing well in one area, a human resource generalist might find a better use for his or her skills in a different position. In some cases, when an employee is not up to the company's standards, a human resource generalist might have to fire him or her. Overall, human resource generalists ensure that a company's employees are satisfied and working effectively.

Job Requirements

This position requires human resource generalists to be outgoing and professional; they must be careful listeners and clear communicators. Traveling is a common requirement for this vocation because human resource generalists need to find new talent at job fairs and college campuses. Human resource generalists normally work a 40-hour work week, according to the BLS, but sometimes additional work is required on nights and weekends during busy seasons.

There are many organizations that offer professional certification for human resource generalists. While these certifications are not necessary for employment, they are highly recommended because they demonstrate an extra level of commitment to employers. The Society for Human Resource Management offers two certification levels, leading to the designations of Professional in Human Resources or Senior Professional in Human Resources (www.shrm.org). Applicants for these certifications need to acquire a minimum amount of work experience and then pass an examination.

Career Information

The BLS reported that human resources specialist positions were expected to grow 8% from 2012-2022, which was about as fast as the average for other jobs nationally. These professionals earned a mean wage of $61,560 annually as of May 2013. The top ten percent of workers made $96,470 or more per year, while the bottom ten percent of human resources specialists took in $33,240 or less.

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Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics