Careers in Human Resources

Human resources offers the opportunity to help others develop their skills and talents to their maximum potential. Careers in human resources vary in scope, responsibility, and salary, but nearly every industry employs HR professionals. Many of those who work in HR are employed in management, scientific or technical services, government, manufacturing, or healthcare. Salaries can vary widely depending upon the industry and the size of the company.

Top Careers in Human Resources

Below is a list of careers in human resources ranked from the lowest paying to the highest. Note that all job information is sourced from PayScale and the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Human Resources Coordinator

Salary: $45,286

Human resources coordinators handle matters related to training, compensation, benefits, staffing, and workplace safety. They may post job openings, review resumes and applications, and oversee employee orientations and open enrollment for benefits. HR coordinators manage the personal information of their company’s employees and ensure that proper security and privacy procedures are followed for all employee files. Generally, at least a bachelor’s degree in a relevant field is required to become an HR coordinator.

Human Resources Administrator

Salary: $48,564

Human resources administrators handle recruiting, interviews, and employment contracts, and administer benefits plans to their company’s employees. They may also supervise other HR employees. HR administrators usually serve as a liaison between employees and benefits providers, such as health insurance and retirement fund companies, to resolve benefits issues. Prior experience in human resources and a bachelor’s degree in human resources, business administration, or a related field are usually required.

Human Resources Generalist

Salary: $52,814

A human resources generalist serves in all areas of the field, including employee relations, benefits, compensation, training, and recruitment. They may be the only HR employee at a small company or the only one at a single location in a larger enterprise. Also, HR generalists may supervise administrative staff. Prospective human resources generalists typically have a bachelor’s or master’s degree, along with at least two years of management experience.

Training and Development Specialists

Salary: $60,870

Training and development specialists serve in nearly all industries, making presentations, leading training events, and conducting one-on-one informational exercises. They evaluate the needs of their company to develop and administer employee training programs. To help train employees and help them improve their knowledge and skills, they assess training programs and create training manuals and course materials. To become a training and development specialist, one needs at least a bachelor’s degree.

Human Resources Assistant

Salary: $60,880

Human resources assistants facilitate processes for new hires, manage documentation relevant to current employees, and complete paperwork surrounding benefits, employer programs, and terminations. HR assistants may organize employee events, manage employment verification, process salary requests, and approve benefits. In most cases, an associate or bachelor’s degree provides the education needed for this entry-level position.

Human Resources Specialist

Salary: $60,880

Human resources specialists often do work similar to that of a generalist, although they may specialize in a single area such as recruiting, interviewing, or compensation. They collaborate with employers to determine their needs, contact applicant references, conduct background checks, and maintain employee records. Specialists can work in any size company and in any industry, and the position requires at least a bachelor’s degree.

Compensation, Benefits, and Job Analysis Specialists

Salary: $63,000

Compensation, benefits, and job analysis specialists research, analyze, and manage insurance and retirement plans, job classifications, and salary structures. Some of their duties include researching compensation trends and comparing their company’s pay structure to other organizations within a certain industry or area, administering insurance policies and wellness benefits plans, and drafting job descriptions, and preparing pay scales. To enter this career path, a bachelor’s degree is required.

Labor Relations Specialists

Salary: $67,790

Labor relations specialists serve as the point of contact between unions and management. They work on labor contracts to address issues such as healthcare, pensions, wages, and practices. In addition, they make sure that HR policies align with union agreements, address worker grievances, and lead meetings between union representatives and a company’s management. Generally, a bachelor’s degree is required to become a labor relations specialist.

Human Resources Consultant

Salary: $72,411

A human resources consultant provides advice and guidance to help a company improve its recruiting processes, hiring procedures, and employee performance tracking systems. They may work as independent agents or as staff members for a consulting firm. An HR consultant can improve their annual salary by accruing skills in change management and organizational development through earning an advanced degree.

Human Resources Director

Salary: $86,819

A human resources director may serve as the functional chief personnel officer in a small company or as the on-site HR leader in a larger one. They take responsibility for day-to-day employee problems, managing human resources programs, and ensuring compliance with professional standards and employment law regulations.

Human Resources Manager

Salary: $113,300

Human resources managers direct an organization’s administrative functions and serve as a link between management and employees. They may coordinate the HR component of strategic planning and talent management issues with company leadership. Additionally, they determine ways to maximize employee value. Like most HR careers, this career path needs at least a bachelor’s degree.

Training and Development Managers

Salary: $111,340

Training and development managers plan, coordinate, staff, and direct activities that improve employee learning and enhance organizational performance. They supervise training and development staff, ensure that training aligns with their company’s strategic goals, and revise training programs so that they remain relevant. Typically, one needs a bachelor’s degree to enter this career; however, some positions require a master’s degree.

Compensation and Benefits Managers

Salary: $121,010

Compensation and benefits managers take responsibility for all programs, policies, and plans related to employee benefits and compensation, and they often oversee a team of specialists and administrative workers. They identify the most ideal benefits and compensation plans for their organization, make sure that wages and benefits are compliant with state and federal laws, and select and manage benefits vendors, investment managers, and insurance brokers.

Chief Human Resources Officer

Salary: $153,070

Chief human resources officers create the HR policies and strategies that help organizations achieve their missions. They serve as top-level executives, working in tandem with the rest of the company’s leadership. Chief HR officers support staff development and retention, administer training, and evaluate the effectiveness of human resources programs. To become a chief human resources officer, a master’s degree with a concentration in human resource development is typically required, along with many years of experience.

Careers in human resources offer professionals an opportunity to make work better for teams of employees, to improve organizational performance, and to serve as a connection between management and the workforce. Many human resources careers also pay salaries well above the national average, and those working in this profession can find job opportunities in nearly every industry and in locations across the country. With an online degree in a relevant field, you can gain the competitive edge you need to enter or advance your career in HR.

70+ Online Degrees

If you’re ready to reach your full potential, an online degree can help you get there. Discover the possibilities for what’s next in your career.

View Degrees