Is a Masters Degree in Human Resources Worth It?

Is a masters degree in Human Resources worth it? Find out the pros and cons of earning your graduate degree in HR.

Is a Masters Degree in Human Resources Worth It

Every company needs someone to handle the HR department, and if you the expertise to do this, you could earn over $140,000 per year for your services.

What Is the Best Masters Degree for Human Resources?

Best Masters Degree for Human Resources

There are two paths to take for your future career in human resources: pursue a Masters in Human Resources or an MBA with a concentration in Human Resources.

Masters in Human Resources

A Masters in Human Resources will help you build a company’s human resources department from the ground up. You will be able to learn about recruitment, policies, and how to handle various issues that may arise in your future place of employment.

MBA with a Concentration in Human Resources

An MBA with a concentration in Human Resources will allow you to focus more on the business side of a company. You will only take a few classes concerning human resources that will give you a basic overview of policies.

You will receive a much more concentrated focus on human resources if you follow the Masters in Human Resources path.

Why Get a Masters in Human Resources?

Why Get a Masters in Human Resources

There are many benefits to getting a Masters in Human Resources, including becoming more experienced, knowledgeable, and profitable.

Growth of Experience and Expertise: A Masters degree in Human Resources online or on-campus will assist you in understanding how to manage difficult issues in your place of employment. You will become an expert in your field and will qualify for higher level jobs.

Growth of Knowledge: This degree will also allow you to be more knowledgeable in your field. You will have more influence on company decisions, making you an asset to the business you work for. Your job stability will increase as an effect.

Growth of Profitability: Your income will significantly increase with this degree. A human resources manager, for example, makes $113,300 a year, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Becoming more of an expert in your field and commanding a higher salary also brings more job satisfaction.

Masters in Human Resources versus MBA

There are many similarities and differences between the Masters in Human Resources and the MBA.

Masters in Human Resources MBA – Human Resources
A curriculum with a focus on human resources A curriculum with a focus on business
Courses on bargaining, recruiting, interviewing, management information, organizational decision making, and leadership Courses on broad business operations
A lower cost of around $30,000 per year A more expensive cost of around $50,000 per year for a top school
Careers solely in human resources, such as recruiters or HR managers Careers in any business field, including human resources
Two-year commitment Two-year commitment
Six-figure salaries in senior management upon graduation Six-figure salaries in Human Resources management upon graduation

You can see that there are distinct differences between both programs, despite the six-figure salaries and two-year completion times offered by both.

What Can You Do with a Masters Degree in Human Resources?

human resource managers asking questions to an applicant during job interview

A Masters degree in Human Resources opens up the possibility for more advanced positions. You can obtain an entry-level job in human resources with just a Bachelors degree, but a Masters degree is required to get an advanced level position.

Ultimately, what you can do with a human resources degree is endless because Human Resource employees are needed everywhere and in every industry.

Management in a Business

You could play an integral part in the management of a business as a human resources employee. You could get a career as a senior HR manager or a vice president of human resources, for example.

Another option for an advanced management position could be in managing benefits for a company or in managing information systems.

Employment Related Services

Many cities have employment services organizations. These organizations offer assistance to individuals with disabilities, veterans, and individuals who are unemployed.

Human Resource specialists can help these employment services organizations in meeting the needs of the diverse people that will come in the doors.

Consulting Services

Consulting services are provided on a temporary basis. If you become bored easily, consider working in consultation-based services. Businesses will hire you on an as-needed basis, offering you the ability to work for many different industries and individuals.

Administrative Services

Administrative positions often need human resource-related skills. You could provide these skills as a human resources administrator or human resources assistant.

Local Government

A local government, no matter the location, needs human resources employees. You must have additional skills as well, however. You have to uphold confidentiality and understand electronic software in many positions with local governments.

You can provide great assistance to a company, organization, or business by pursuing a career in human resources.

How Much Can You Make with a Masters in Human Resources?

How Much Can You Make with a Masters in Human Resources

Here’s a sampling of what you could make as an HR professional, according to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Careers Average Annual Salary
Information Systems Manager $142,530
Human Resources Manager $126,700
Compensation and Benefits Manager $121,010
Training and Development Manager $111,340
Vice President of Human Resources $104,980
Medical and Health Services Manager $99,730
Management Analyst $83,610
Labor Relations Specialist $67,790
Human Resources Specialist $60,880
Training and Development Specialist $60,870
Human Resources Assistant $41,620

The keys to achieving one of the higher level careers, such as how to become a human resources manager, depends on your location, education, and experience in the field.

Many positions are available in the field of human resources. You can find a position in almost any industry and in almost any location.

Further Education – How to Move Up in HR

human resource students listening during a classroom lecture

You can get a degree past your Masters in Human Resources as well. A doctorate degree will open up the most advanced positions in the field. You can obtain a career in education, consulting, or research with a doctorate.

A doctorate in human resources requires a full-time commitment to schooling. Courses are taught on behavior, management, and human capital. You will also probably take research courses such as reasoning and analysis, research methods, and research design.

You can complete a doctorate in Human Resources in four to five years if you are a full-time student. There are both online and residential programs available.

You should make sure that the program you choose is regionally accredited to ensure you are getting the best education possible. Make sure you have your human resources licensure and professional experience before applying. Your acceptance chances will be increased greatly.

HR Certification Options

logos of association groups dedicated to assisting your professional development in human resources

There are many association groups that are dedicated to assisting your professional development in human resources.

The Association for Talent Development is a great organization if you want to become part of a group of human resource professionals. It gives credentialing courses on Certified Professional in Learning and Performance and Associate Professional in Talent Development.

The Certified Employee Benefit Specialist Program offers certifications based on challenges that you may face in human resources. It will teach you about retirement plans, health care plans, and all other employee benefits that can be offered. It prepares you for work and not just for the exam.

The HR Certification Institute has been offering professional development for your HR career for over forty years. They offer over eight certifications, including a Professional in Human Resources certification or a Senior Professional in Human Resources. The courses are provided online with an exam at the end.

The International Society for Performance Improvement is another membership organization. It offers networking along with certifications, and it is accredited in the courses it provides to you. You can get certifications in Certified Performance Technologist, Certified Facilitator of Training, and Certified Developer of Training.

The Institute of Management Consultants is run by other professionals who volunteer their time to assist you. IMC offers its own certification called the Certified Management Consultant. This certification is recognized by employers worldwide for the professional experience, ethical standards, and competence associated with having it.

The Society for Human Resource Management is a leader in understanding and providing information on all things that influence the workforce. They work to promote human resources and offer certifications. The certifications are the SHRM-CP certification or the SHRM-SCP certification, which you can apply for on their website.

WorldatWork is a non-profit dedicated to human resource employees who work in a rewarding workplace. They offer seven certifications, including the Certified Compensation Professional and the Global Remuneration Professional.

You have many certifications at your fingertips when you begin your career in human resources. These certifications are offered through various organizations, associations, and non-profits to best fit your needs. Each has its own benefits and originality.

Accreditation for an HR Master’s Degree

logos of six regional accreditation boards

It is important to choose a school that is regionally accredited. This means that the coursework and academic programming are of the highest quality.

Other methods of accreditation can make a university or college choice stand out even more. These accreditations are specific to the school’s programs in human resources. The more accreditations a school has, the better the education will be.

You should look for the Distance Education Accrediting Commission accreditation if you are planning to take classes online. This accreditation uses peer review to give courses a quality. Schools are also offered feedback to improve even more.

Accreditation from the Society for Human Resource Management or the Accreditation Council for Collegiate Business Schools and Programs guarantees the quality of your specific program within a university.

Financial Aid for a Human Resources Master’s Degree Online

screenshot of FAFSA website

Financial aid is a necessity for many at any level of college. Look for the following funding opportunities.

Federal Aid

Filling out Free Application for Federal Financial Aid (FAFSA) is the first step to getting financial aid for any level of collegiate learning. You can obtain federal loans and grants depending on your income.

School-Specific Aid

There are many colleges and universities that offer financial aid as well. Be sure to call them to best understand what they can do for you. You could obtain an academic scholarship for your grades or a scholarship for the specific field you are looking to go into.

Private Organizations

Finally, don’t overlook private businesses and organizations that may want to sponsor graduate students. Your own company may offer a tuition assistance program.

Is a Masters Degree in Human Resources Worth It?

human resource manager looking at a document with a colleague

Yes, a masters degree in Human Resources is worth it. Earning your graduate degree sets you up to earn between $42,000 and $142,000 per year.

Find a university or college that provides the courses you need to obtain your Masters in Human Resources. Contact each university you are interested in to ensure they have what you need and can offer financial aid to you if necessary.

Natalie Anderson
WRITTEN BY
Natalie Anderson