Human Resource Specialist: Job Description and Education Requirements

Human resource specialists must have some formal education. Learn about the degrees, job duties and requirements to see if this is the right career for you.

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Essential Information

Human resource specialists maintain employee relations on behalf of a company, hire new workers and perform other related tasks. They need a minimum of a bachelor's degree. Higher-level positions might require a master's degree in human resources. Voluntary professional certification is available for experienced specialists seeking advancement in the field.

Required Education Bachelor's degree; master's degree might be required for higher-level 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.

Human Resource Specialist Job Description

Companies hire human resource specialists to help manage, inspire and hire the best employees for their job positions. Human resource specialists are the link between employer and employee. The exact duties of the human resource specialist can vary; some have specific titles like recruitment specialist or employment interviewer. However, at smaller companies, human resource specialists perform a variety of job duties.

When a position needs to be filled, a human resource specialist creates a wanted ad and then interviews potential new employees. They ensure that the best candidate possible is chosen for the position. If they find any other applicants particularly qualified, they might file their resume for later positions. When they aren't looking for new employees, human resource specialists regularly observe current employees and interview them to determine their satisfaction with their job. Human resource specialists are available at any time for comments from employees, accepting feedback and applying it to create a more effective workplace.

Human resource specialists often report to high level executives. In these meetings, a human resource specialist gives an overview of employee relations and offers suggestions on what the company can do to increase productivity or draw in new employees.

Education Requirements

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, human resource specialists need a minimum education of a bachelor's degree (www.bls.gov). Degrees in human resources are typically not offered until the graduate level, so human resource specialists pursue degrees in business or similar majors. However, specializations and minors are available in areas like human resource management, organizational development or human resources administration. An aspiring human resource specialist chooses one of these options for their degree if it is available. For higher level positions, it is recommended that a human resource specialist acquire a master's degree in human resources or business administration. Professional certification is also advised for individuals seeking advancement.

Career Outlook

The BLS anticipates 8% job growth for human resource specialists between 2012 and 2022. In 2013, BLS data indicated that the salary range for most human resource specialists was $33,240 to $96,470 per year, with the highest wages found in the District of Columbia, Connecticut, Virginia and Maryland.

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    Areas of study you may find at Harvard University include:
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