Careers with a Human Resources Degree

Human resources diploma and degree programs are meant to prepare you for competent professional practice in the field of HR.



In order to do so, these programs draw on coursework in other disciplines to help you examine employment relations within their social, legal, political, and economic contexts.


If your professional goals include improving a corporate culture, increasing employee productivity, and creating great places to work, then a career in this field is right for you!



What You Can Do with a Human Resources Degree

With a human resources-focused education (be it a certificate, diploma or degree) you will have the skills and competencies for careers such as Human Resources Manager, Recruiter or Employee Relations Officer.


Successful completion of the coursework within many HR programs also qualifies you for potential certification as a Certified Human Resources Professional by such professional human resources associations as the Human Resources Professionals Association (HRPA).


So, if you want to know more about where an education in HR can take you, read on below. This human resources careers guide contains detailed occupational information on career paths relevant to this degree. Included are job descriptions, expected salaries, educational requirements and other pertinent information related to these careers. We’ve also included HR-specific scholarships to help you pay for school!





Occupations Relevant to this Major

The knowledge and skills you can gain by studying human resources (HR) at the post-secondary level serve as an excellent foundation for a variety of careers.


Below, we’ve chosen careers that we feel relate to a human resources education, either because the occupational field is relevant to the subject matter, or because the skills you’ll need to be an effective employee can be gained in an HR diploma or degree program. Please note, this is not an inclusive list:


Assistant Personnel Officer

Bar Manager

Benefits Officer


Career Counselor

Compensation and Benefits Coordinator

Compliance Officer

Consumer Advocate

Director of Volunteer Services

Diversity Consultant

Divorce Mediator

Employee Relations Officer


Equal Opportunity Officer


Health Care Administrator

Human Resources Assistant

Human Resources Coordinator

Human Resources Manager

Industrial Relations Officer

International Aid Worker

Internship Coordinator

Labour Market Analyst

Labour Organizer

Labour Policy Analyst

Management Consultant

Multiculturalism Liaison Officer

Office Manager

Payroll Administrator

Personnel Manager


Restaurant Manager

Safety Coordinator

Small Business Owner

Staff Coordinator

Student Recruiter

Union Organizer

Visible Minorities Corporate Policy Officer

Volunteer Coordinator


Please Note: Some of the above listed careers require additional education, training and/or experience. Click on careers that are of interest to you to find out more about the qualifications you’ll need.



Where Do Human Resources Graduates Work?

HR is a critical function of any public or private organization. Because of this, human resource professionals can literally be found in every sector if industry, within almost every type of organization imaginable. After all, how can an organization grow if it cannot:


• Recruit employees

• Train staff

• Establish and administer compensation and benefits plans

• Manage employee performance


In fact, the largest portion of operating costs for most organizations is their staffing, which includes compensation & benefits, employee satisfaction & retention programs, and any other costs associated with staffing.


However, for budgetary reasons, these professionals aren’t often found in smaller organizations. Instead, human resources functions typically fall under the umbrella of responsibility of management, other employees, or 3rd party contracted organizations. 



Employable Skills of Graduates

There is a lot you can do with a human resources degree (or diploma, for that matter). The high success rate of HR grads finding work in their field isn’t wizardry, it’s an effect of the skills that can be gained in these programs, which include:


• The ability to recognize, analyze, forecast and develop solutions for employee related issues

• The ability to communicate with a high degree of effectiveness in a workplace setting

• The ability to balance corporate objectives with employee wants and needs

• The ability to demonstrate social responsibility

• The ability to demonstrate an understanding of workplace related laws

• The ability to design, develop, implement, review and adjust effective hiring and retention programs

• The ability to design, develop, implement, review and adjust effective compensation and benefits programs

• The ability to accurately plan staffing levels based on current and future need

• The ability to effectively resolve conflict in the workplace

• The ability to maintain discretion under duress in sensitive situations





Examples of Courses Towards an HR Degree

The following is a list of courses you may study as a human resources student, and is only meant to provide examples of possible course titles. Do many of them peak your interest and make you excited to take them on? If so, a career in this field may well be in your future. 


• Business Decision Making and Problem Solving

• Business Ethics

• Business Writing

• Compensation

• Contract Administration

• Employee and Labour Relations

• Employment Law

• Introduction to Financial Accounting

• Introduction to Human Resource Management

• Organizational Behaviour

• Organizational Effectiveness and Change

• Presentation Skills

• Resolving Conflict in the Workplace

• Sociology of Work and Industry

• Staffing

• Strategic Human Resources Management

• Training and Development

• Women and Work

• Workplace Health and Safety


Please Note: The coursework in HR degree or diploma programs can vary significantly from one college or university to the next, and even from one year to another within the same program.






Typical Salary of HR Graduates

The salary you could earn as a human resources graduate first entering the workforce can vary drastically, and is heavily dependent on the following factors (not an inclusive list):


• Your level of education (i.e. diploma, undergraduate degree, etc.)

• Whether or not you end up working in HR

• The industry in which you find work (such as oil & gas, transportation, etc.)

• The type of job you have, and your level of responsibility

• The size and type of your employer

• The region in which you work

• If you have an area of specialty (such as payroll)

• Other skills you may have


Graduate Salary - Ontario: According to a study in 2011 conducted by the Ontario Council of Universities, $52,276 CAD* is the average salary earned by Business and Commerce graduates, 2 years after graduating from Ontario universities in 2010.


*This figure is a composite of all graduates who earned a Bachelor’s degree in the Business and Commerce, not specifically for Human Resources graduates. Unfortunately, similar statistics for diploma and certificate-level graduates, as well as graduates from other Canadian provinces and the United States cannot be found from reputable sources.



Human Resources Scholarships

If you’re a human resources major looking for help to pay for school, then you’re in luck; our scholarships database has Canadian and American scholarships that are specific to human resources, as well as scholarships that are open to any field of study!


It's also very worth mentioning, that literally millions of dollars of unused scholarship money goes to waste every single year, simply due to a lack of applicants...not 'qualified' applicants necessarily, just applicants in general. Go get that money!



Professional Associations

To find out more about careers directly related to your human resources degree, consult the following professional association websites. They offer career-related information, and many have opportunities for student membership, as well as job placement and mentoring opportunities.



Canadian Council of Human Resource Associations

Hospitality Human Resource Professionals Association

HR Council

Human Resources Professional Association


United States

Academy of Human Resource Development

National Human Resources Association

Society for Human Resource Management



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