As businesses continue to grow throughout the nation, there is a need for hard-working, reliable human resource managers. These professionals blend their communication and organization skills with useful labor relations training in order to build effective office staffs. An associate degree in human resources management prepares students for the obstacles that commonly arise in the daily operations of businesses. Human resources professionals must have excellent communication, organization, problem-solving, and ethical skills. In addition to performing basic clerical and office skills, human resource managers must work to inform employees of fair business practices and labor laws.

Why an Associate Degree?

An associate degree is ideal for students who want to earn their college degree quickly so they can immediately dive into the workforce. That said, a popular career option is becoming a human resource specialist. Although the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics states that human resource specialists usually have at least a bachelor’s degree, the level of education and experience required to become a human resources specialist varies by employer. Thus, opportunities for associate degree holders do exist. But to increase marketability in the future, some should probably consider enrolling in a bachelor degree program after completing their undergraduate degree human resources program.

Getting Into an Associate Degree Program

An associate degree program commonly requires students to have the following:

  • High school diploma or its equivalent
  • Desired ACT or SAT scores

Inside an Associate Degree Program

A human resources associate degree can be earned typically within two years. Students enrolled in this degree program will take courses in human resources, organizational development, talent management, employee relations, compensation and benefits, conflict resolution, and employment law. Business-centric courses like these will teach students how to become astute human resource specialists.

Online degrees are growing in popularity across the globe, and many notable colleges and universities feature an online degree in human resources. In a virtual program, students are able to access and complete their exams and assignments either partially or completely online. Keep in mind, though, that some schools may require their online students to travel to testing centers a few times a semester. Moreover, online degrees in human resources may also require students to engage in live discussions with faculty and fellow students as well, although this is rare requirement.

What’s Next for Associate Degree Holders?

An associate degree in human resources prepares students to accept human resource specialist jobs in small businesses, large businesses, and diverse corporations, including the federal government, hospitals, and schools. Salary will naturally depend on where and who you work for as well as your level of experience, but human resource specialists earn about $52,690 a year, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reports. The employment of these specialists is expected to increase by 21% from 2010 to 2020.

Higher-level degrees, such as a bachelor’s degree in human resources, master’s degree in human resources, and/or a Ph.D. in human resources are offered to those who want to continue their education. Since human resources is a highly-competitive industry, additional education can’t hurt. Students who want to work as professors are encouraged to seek out PhD programs, while those who want to work in management are encouraged to look into master’s degree programs.