Human resources specialists must usually have a bachelor’s degree in human resources, business, or a related field.
Human resources specialists usually must have a bachelor’s degree.
Human resources specialists typically need a bachelor's degree in human resources, business, or a related field, such as library science or communications.
Coursework typically includes business, industrial relations, psychology, professional writing, human resource management, and accounting.
Work Experience in a Related Occupation
Some positions, particularly human resources generalists, may require previous work experience. Candidates can gain experience as human resources assistants, in customer service positions, or in other related jobs.
Licenses, Certifications, and Registrations
Many professional associations that specialize in human resources offer courses intended to enhance the skills of their members, and some offer certification programs. For example, the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) offers the SHRM Certified Professional (SHRM-CP) and SHRM Senior Certified Professional (SHRM-SCP). In addition, the HR Certification Institute (HRCI) offers a range of certifications for varying levels of expertise.
Certification usually requires passing an exam, and candidates typically need to meet minimum education and experience requirements. Exams check for human resources knowledge and how candidates apply their knowledge and judgment to different situations.
Although certification is usually voluntary, some employers may prefer or require it. Human resources generalists, in particular, can benefit from certification because it shows knowledge and professional competence across all human resources areas.
Human resources specialists who possess a thorough knowledge of their organization, as well as an understanding of regulatory compliance needs, can advance to become human resources managers. Specialists can increase their chance of advancement by completing voluntary certification programs.
Communication skills. Listening and speaking skills are essential for human resources specialists. They must convey information effectively, and pay careful attention to questions and concerns from job applicants and employees.
Decisionmaking skills. Human resources specialists use decisionmaking skills when reviewing candidates’ qualifications or when working to resolve disputes.
Detail oriented. Specialists must be detail oriented when evaluating applicants’ qualifications, performing background checks, maintaining records of an employee grievance, and ensuring that a workplace is in compliance with labor standards.
Interpersonal skills. Specialists continually interact with new people and must be able to converse and connect with people from different backgrounds.