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MBA in Human Resource Management: Degree Overview

Learn about human resource management and business studies at the master's degree level. Find information about prerequisites, courses taken and continuing education options. Get details about career titles for graduates as well as employment growth statistics and salaries for various positions within the human resource field.

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Essential Information

Students in an MBA program with a focus in human resource management can take courses in business strategies and concepts, with an emphasis on corporate headhunting, benefits analysis, compensation management and business coaching. An MBA program typically involves advanced level assignments, reports, presentations, internships and group projects. These programs may be available in full-time, weekend only or online formats, depending on the school. Programs typically take about two years to complete, though some might take less.

Education Prerequisites

MBA programs typically have strict entrance requirements that require students to provide proof of a strong academic background with a bachelor's degree from an accredited college or university. Schools usually also require students to submit a resume that highlights past work experience in business and letters of recommendation.

Course Topics

Coursework typically involves basic business concepts and human resource-specific topics. Students can be taught business strategies and learn to use them in everyday business operations. Topics covered in a program can include:

  • Accounting
  • Business analysis
  • Economics
  • Finance management
  • Organizational development
  • Marketing
  • International human resources
  • Employment law
  • Compensation and benefits
  • Global business

Popular Career Options

Human resource managers can have a variety of job tasks, from deciding how a corporation should be staffed to making the choice between using independent contractors or hiring from within the company. Managers also recruit and train employees and ensure that employees are high performers. A graduate of an MBA in Human Resource Management program can work in positions that include:

  • Human resource manager
  • Affirmative action officer
  • Payroll director

Employment Outlook and Salary Information

General human resource manager employment is projected to increase 13% over the 2012-2022 period, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). The BLS reported that median earnings for these managers were $99,720 in May 2012. Slow 3% growth is projected for compensation and benefits managers from 2012-2022, and about average 11% growth is reported for training and development managers for the same period. Compensation and benefits managers received median wages of $95,250 in May 2012, and training and development managers received median earnings of $95,400.

Continuing Education

Graduates of a human resource program may decide to increase their viability in the job market through professional certification. According to the BLS, individuals may seek certification through various organizations, including the Institute of Certified Professional Managers, the American Society for Training and Development and the International Foundation of Employee Benefit Plans.

Individuals also might consider advancement opportunities in top manager or executive positions. Individual wishing to work in consulting, research or writing may continue their education at the doctoral level. Ph.D. programs in human resources also might include studies in organizational behavior.

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Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics