If you have a distinct passion for helping others succeed in the workplace, pursuing a master’s degree in Human Resources (HR) may be the right path for you. A graduate degree in HR can equip you with the skills and knowledge to manage personnel, drive change, and shape company culture. But what career paths are available once you have earned your degree?

This article will analyze the career options available to individuals with a master’s degree in HR and the skills and experiences that can help you stand out in this competitive field.

What Is Human Resources?

Human Resources (HR) specialists manage the administrative functions of an organization’s workforce, including hiring, training, performance management, compensation, and employee benefits. In addition, they liaise between management and employees, ensuring workplace policies and procedures comply with federal and state regulations. HR specialists also guide employees on benefits, career development, and workplace conflicts.

The median salary for HR specialists in the United States was $62,290 in 2021, which can vary depending on geographic location, industry, and experience level. The job outlook is also positive, with a projected growth of 8% from 2021 to 2031.

To become an HR specialist, you need a bachelor’s degree in Human Resources, business administration, or a related field. In addition, some employers may require a master’s degree or relevant certifications, such as the Professional in Human Resources (PHR) or the Senior Professional in Human Resources (SPHR) certification.

While a bachelor’s degree in Human Resources is typically the minimum educational requirement for entering the HR field, earning a master’s degree can substantially benefit career advancement. A master’s degree in HR can offer more advanced knowledge and skills in organizational behavior, employment law, and strategic management, all highly valued by employers.

Furthermore, earning a master’s degree in HR can be particularly advantageous for those aspiring to management roles. A graduate degree can provide the advanced knowledge and skills necessary to land a job as an HR manager, a notably lucrative career. HR managers are often natural leaders who use organizational and communication skills to manage recruitment, employee relations, benefits administration, compensation, and regulatory compliance.

The median salary for HR managers was $126,230 in 2021, and the job outlook is favorable, with a projected growth of 8% from 2021 to 2031.

7 High-Paying Jobs for Workers With a Master’s Degree in HR

With the growing demand for skilled HR professionals in the corporate world, earning a master’s degree in Human Resources can lead to a rewarding career with lucrative salary options. Here is a list of high-paying jobs for workers with a master’s degree in HR that can help you kick-start your career in this field.

Editor’s note: Salary ranges are accurate as of August 2023.

1. Recruiting Manager

Median annual salary: $124,459

Individuals with excellent interpersonal and organizational skills will thrive in a career as a Recruiting Manager. People in this role oversee the recruitment process for an organization, ensuring that the company attracts and hires top talent to meet its workforce needs. The Recruiting Manager is often responsible for recruiting employees at all levels of the organization, from entry-level positions to senior executive roles.

Recruiting managers earn a median salary of $124,459 and often work remotely or in a corporate office environment.

2. Training Director

Median annual salary: $182,441

Strong leaders with a knack for communication may enjoy a career as a Training Director. Training Directors supervise an organization’s training and development programs, ensuring employees have the necessary skills and knowledge to perform their jobs effectively. In addition, the training director is responsible for designing, implementing, and evaluating training programs, keeping current training trends and best practices crucial to succeeding in this role.

Regarding salary, training directors earn a median salary of $182,441. They may work in a company’s headquarters or work remotely.

3. Compensation and Benefits Supervisor

Median annual salary: $115,006

Those with significant analytical skills who enjoy working in a collaborative environment might be exceptional Compensation and Benefits Managers. Individuals in this career play a critical role in an organization’s success by ensuring that employees are fairly compensated for their work and receive competitive benefits packages. They develop, implement, and administer compensation and benefits programs and analyze and report their effectiveness.

Compensation and Benefits Managers saw a median salary of $115,006. They typically work in an office environment or work remotely.

4. Employee Communications Supervisor

Median annual salary: $105,654

Individuals with strong written and verbal communication skills may excel in a career as an Employee Communications Supervisor. People in this role are responsible for developing and implementing internal communications programs within an organization to keep employees informed, engaged, and motivated. In addition, they help maintain open lines of communication between management and employees, ensuring that essential information is shared promptly and effectively.

Employee Communications Supervisors earn a median salary of $105,654. They often work remotely or in a company’s headquarters.

5. DEI Director

Median annual salary: $203,033

Natural problem-solvers with solid leadership skills may thrive as a DEI (Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion) Director. DEI Directors are essential in creating an inclusive work environment for all employees and ensuring that the organization represents diverse backgrounds and perspectives. Their job duties may include:

  • Developing and implementing strategies to promote diversity and inclusion.
  • Leading and supporting employee resource groups.
  • Working with senior leadership to ensure DEI initiatives align with the organization’s goals and objectives.

DEI Directors saw one of the highest median salaries in HR management in 2023, earning $203,033. While this number can vary based on geographic location and experience level, DEI Directors may also enjoy a flexible, remote work environment or work in a corporate office.

6. Workplace Health and Safety Manager

Median annual salary: $120,580

Individuals proficient in communication and collaboration may enjoy a career as a Workplace Health and Safety Manager. People in this role create and implement safety policies and procedures to ensure employees work in a safe environment. In addition, they are responsible for identifying potential hazards and taking steps to prevent accidents and injuries in the workplace. Typically, their day-to-day responsibilities include:

  • Conducting safety inspections
  • Investigating accidents
  • Providing safety training to employees
  • Developing emergency response plans

The median salary for Workplace Health and Safety Managers is $120,580. They often work in a corporate office environment but may work in a more industrial setting, like a factory or construction site.

7. Labor/Union Relations Manager

Median annual salary: $144,370

Skilled negotiators with a strategic mindset might excel in a career as a Labor/Union Relations Manager. Individuals in this field manage the relationship between an organization and its labor union, ensuring compliance with collective bargaining agreements and promoting positive communication between management and unionized employees. They are critical in promoting a positive work culture that fosters collaboration and mutual respect.

Labor/Union Relations Managers earn a median salary of $144,370. They can work in various settings, including manufacturing companies, healthcare facilities, educational institutions, and government agencies.