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Is a Career in Human Resources Right for Me?

Working in human resources (HR) could be a satisfying career choice if you are fascinated by how people behave in the workplace and what drives them to perform.

HR encompasses many responsibilities that require a unique and broad set of skills. For example, communication and interpersonal skills could determine someone's success in organizational supervision roles like HR. Being able to manage HR budgets and lead people effectively are also necessities for the profession.

Studying HR and administrative supervision can help you improve and further develop these skills. The online Bachelor of Applied Science (BAS) in Organizational Supervision from Arkansas State University (A-State) allows students with an Associate of Applied Science to advance their education quickly and pursue leadership careers in areas like HR management.  

What Is the Role of HR?

According to the career website Indeed, HR management "includes hiring, compensating, training, developing and retaining an organization's employees." This description illuminates the many roles and specialties of HR professionals.

HR oversees hiring processes like recruiting qualified talent, conducting background and reference checks and matching recruits with jobs that best suit their skill sets. Once an employee joins a company, HR directs onboarding practices, ensuring employees receive the training needed to do their job well. Plus, HR facilitates ongoing professional development opportunities, helping employees expand their skills, knowledge and job performance.

HR also designs and manages compensation packages for employees. Satisfying an employee's financial expectations as well as an organization's budgetary constraints and financial goals can be a challenge to balance. This process involves an ongoing review of employee performance as well as negotiating raises and promotion opportunities.

HR professionals often assume mediator or negotiator roles when conflict arises. Conflict may be between employees or between an employee (or labor union) and the organization. It may also involve addressing harassment, discrimination and other inappropriate or illegal practices in the workplace. While firing employees and employee turnover are last resorts, HR guides the termination process when needed.

HR must also ensure all HR practices and policies comply with laws and regulations. While the responsibilities of HR are many, the goal is straightforward. HR aims to hire and retain the right people, manage their performance and maximize the employee experience while serving their organization's goals.

What Types of Jobs Are Available in HR Departments?

There are many roles for HR professionals in sizable organizations. HR specialists may focus on recruitment, administrative work, training, employee relations or compensation and benefits management.

HR professionals may pursue promotion from generalist roles to specialist positions. And, with experience, education and other qualifications, HR professionals could advance to HR manager or director positions.

How Do HR Jobs Pay?

HR professionals can expect salaries commensurate with their educational attainment, qualifications, experience and position. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reports that the median pay for HR specialists was $63,490 per year in 2020. According to Glassdoor data (October 2021), HR managers make an average of $81,185 annually, while HR directors earn $112,613 per year.

These figures represent base salaries. Benefits, bonuses and other additional compensation can substantially increase the total value of an HR professional's earnings.

How Can I Become an HR Professional?

According to BLS, an HR specialist position usually requires a bachelor's degree in human resources or a related field (like organizational supervision). If you already have an associate degree, a program like A-State's online BAS in Organizational Supervision program can help you achieve this educational qualification.

The program's coursework covers a breadth of organizational and business management subjects, emphasizing the study of organizational behavior, communication, leadership, conflict resolution, compensation management and other topics related to HR management.

These studies help students develop in-depth knowledge and competencies in the practices and duties of HR management. The program's focus on developing leadership and critical-thinking skills can also prepare students for a wide array of other leadership positions.

If developing this set of skills and knowledge and managing a successful workforce interests you, pursuing a career in HR could be a rewarding endeavor.

Learn more about Arkansas State University's online Bachelor of Applied Science in Organizational Supervision program.

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