What You Should Know About This Degree
The human resources department often acts as a go-between for a company’s bureaucracy and its employees. Interacting with various constituencies within an organization is a key function of HR employees, so communication, interpersonal, and collaboration skills are essential to success in human resources.
While most human resources positions are office-based, those focused on recruitment may require extensive travel for job fairs, college campuses, and off-site interviews. Consider if this is something you are willing or able to do, as it may affect your prospects once you enter the job market. Additionally, since more companies are now outsourcing HR tasks to outside firms, you may end up working with multiple companies as an outside consultant, rather than being housed within a specific organization.
Professional certifications are technically voluntary, but employers are increasingly looking to hire employees with certifications as proof of their education and expertise. Earning and maintaining certifications can mean an additional commitment of time, money, and energy throughout your career, so it’s important to be prepared for this aspect of your HR career.
Here are some questions to ask when researching masters HR programs:
- Does this program have work experience requirements? While most programs accept students from all educational backgrounds, some programs are seeking applicants who have a professional background in HR. If you are earning a master’s degree as a way to enter the HR field, make sure you are selecting a program that does not require prior HR work experience.
- Does the program award credit for professional certifications? Conversely, if you already have HR work experience and certifications, some programs may waive required or elective courses for you. If this is the case, you may want to seek out programs where you can take advantage of this option.
Once you have narrowed down the list of programs that interest you, research their application, scholarship, and financial aid deadlines, processes, and requirements. This information is typically available on the program’s website. You can also contact the program directly if you have any questions.
Financing your graduate education is another important consideration. In addition to applying for scholarships and financial aid, check with your employer to see if they offer any kind of tuition remission or reimbursement for advancing your education.