The world of corporate talent management and training is complex, and companies need skilled, knowledgeable individuals who can help them recruit, retain and train people with the skills they need to accomplish their business goals and stay competitive. Human resource manager, training coordinators and administrators all need to be aware of how critical the people who make up their organizations are to fully cultivate their potential.

The career paths available to people with master’s degrees in human resource management pay well for those who are able to distinguish themselves as effective leaders and managers. Let’s explore some of the skills available to those with this degree and what their salary prospects are.

Skills and Demand for this Degree

Strayer’s master’s in HR program splits into two separate concentrations: Human Resource Generalist and Human Resource and Organizational Development. The Generalist track helps students gain an understanding of how to attract and retain top talent, develop effective compensation packages, measure performance and step into a management role over other generalists. This track cultivates several key skills:

  • Performance Assessment: Actually measuring the ability and work done by employees is a big challenge for organizations. You’ll need to know the methodologies involved with determining the performance of individual employees to help reward and advance top talent.
  • Talent Management: Companies are spending big money to attract and retain people with in-demand skills. HR generalists and managers need to understand how to recruit those valuable individuals and convince them to stay.
  • Training Development: Part of managing the people who work in an organization is training them to perform the work that needs to be done. You can learn the principles of adult education to help create training programs that cultivate talent within your organization.
  • Organizational Change: Managers need to understand how organizations change and evolve over time so they can help companies scale up, cut back and measure the effectiveness of their hierarchical structures.

The Organizational Development route teaches students he practices of building organizations, developing training programs, measure employee development and help organizations change through adult education and training.

  • Human Resource Information Systems: The systems that manage company data on employees, training, compensation and tax information are complex. You’ll need to know how to handle them, and how to keep that data safe.
  • Ethics and Advocacy: The ethics involved with hiring, firing, promotion and discipline carry some complex organizational and moral implications. Understanding these will better help you serve both employers and employees.
  • Leadership and Organizational Behavior: Work environments and relationships create interesting social dynamics and economic incentives that can make or break a company’s mission. By understanding how to build effective organizations, you can influence the behavior of people throughout any department of a firm.
  • Business Employment Law: Employment law touches on everything from race and gender to disability and bereavement. You need to understand how all these laws effect what a company can and cannot do within the human resources department.

While some careers in human resources are seeing faster or slower than average growth over the next several years, most positions requiring a bachelor’s or master’s in HR are seeing growth that is keeping pace with the rest of the economy.

Salary and Prospects for HR Grads

While positions for HR specialists with bachelor’s degrees may start out small, it’s the mid- and upper-level management positions requiring a master’s that really start to pay off salary-wise. Just look at the earning potential that some grads have:

  • Human Resources Managers ($99,180)
  • Administrative Services Managers ($77,890)
  • Human Resources Coordinator ($80,000)
  • VP of Human Resources ($137,350)
  • Training and Development Managers ($89,170)

The Future

With growth for most of the above careers on pace with the rest of the economy, it’s likely that demand for people graduating with this degree will see steady employment opportunity over the next decade. And with salary prospects like those above, it looks like a career in HR can be a lucrative one for those who can prove themselves effective at talent management and organizational structure.