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Bachelors and Masters Programs for a Human Resources Management Career in Arkansas

Whether with major multinational retail corporations, government agencies, or in Arkansas’ healthcare industry, human resources professionals are responsible for managing human capital for the state’s major employers.

HR professionals can look forward to exciting job growth prospects in Arkansas. While the Arkansas Department of Workforce Services projects an average job growth rate of 10.5 percent between 2012 and 2022, the projected statewide job growth rate over this same period is higher for the following HR professionals:

  • Human Resources Managers – 16 percent growth rate through 2022
  • Administrative Service Managers – 13 percent growth rate through 2022
  • Training and Development Specialists – 13 percent growth rate through 2022
  • Training and Development Mangers – 12 percent growth rate through 2022
  • Compensation, Benefits, and Job Analysis Specialists – the US Department of Labor reports that of all non-metropolitan areas in the nation, East Arkansas offers the second-highest average annual salary for this job classification

Featured Programs:

Capella offers 100% online DBA, PhD, MS, and BS degrees in Human Resources Management. These programs are designed to prepare you to enhance the performance of organizations and to foster innovative workplaces whether you are new to Human Resources or a seasoned professional. Click here to request information about Capella's Human Resource Management degrees.

Benedictine University offers an online Bachelor of Arts in Management with a concentration in Human Resources Management. Courses in the concentration are 100 percent online and examine employee recruitment strategies, performance and appraisal management, compensation and benefits administration, and employment law. Students may be able to transfer up to 90 credits from previous undergraduate work. Classes start every eight weeks – Click here to learn more.

The University of Scranton's online Master of Science in Human Resources program offers a curriculum that fully aligns with the Society for Human Resource Management's (SHRM) HR Curriculum Guidebook and Templates. The rigorous coursework integrates the most up-to-date research and incorporates human resource best practices to illustrate how HR professionals achieve organizational goals. Click here to request information.

Offered within the Haub School of Business, which holds dual AACSB International accreditation, the MS in Strategic Human Resource Management from Saint Joseph's University's program will transform you into a strategic partner within your HR profession. Click here to request information

As is evident in the statewide unemployment rate of just 5.6 percent as of the end of the first quarter of 2015 – the lowest it has been since 2008 – Arkansas’s major industry employers are actively rebuilding their labor force. More people going to work means greater demand for HR professionals who recruit, train, and retain the state’s workforce.

A Closer Look at Human Resources Careers in Arkansas

The CBS station THV11 released a report in 2013 identifying the three largest employers in Arkansas as those that also retain the largest HR staff:

  • State of Arkansas – over 57,000 employees
  • Wal-Mart – 47,700 employees
  • Tyson Foods – 23,000 employees

Other large employers in Arkansas include:

  • JB Hunt Transport Services
  • Baptist Health
  • ALLTEL
  • Pilgrim’s Pride
  • Whirlpool
  • Georgia-Pacific

HR careers in Arkansas can be divided into two main categories: government employers and private employers. The following job descriptions provide a deeper insight into what’s involved in working in the HR departments of some of the state’s major employers (from a survey of job vacancies taken in May 2015 and shown for illustrative purposes only):

Government Employers

  • Human Resources Specialist with the Arkansas Department of Human Services in Little Rock – This professional will be responsible for performing activities that include personnel recruitment, interviewing, and orientation. The incumbent will also provide correctional oversight and foster the growth of employees.
  • Human Resources Director with the City of Fayetteville – This upper-level professional will be responsible for ensuring the city’s Human Resources Department functions efficiently. Duties include interviewing, hiring, and training employees, directing, planning, and assigning work, creating performance appraisals, as well as addressing and resolving problems.

HR jobs with federal agencies operating in Arkansas are classified according to the federal General Schedule (GS), a 15-level scale that designates required education and work experience:

  • Human Resources Assistant (GS-07) with the Department of the Air Force – This professional must posses a strong understanding of HR procedures, guidelines, policies, and directives. Duties for this position include employee recruitment and placement, employee relations, creating job classifications, incentive awards, and development activities.
  • Human Resources Specialist (GS-09) with the Department of the Army – This advanced professional will be responsible for providing guidance and expertise for all military personnel in Arkansas. Incumbents will oversee one of these HR programs: Standard Installation and Division Personnel Systems, Office of Personnel Management, or Enlisted Personnel Management.

Private-Sector Employers

Like their public-sector counterparts, HR professionals in the private sector provide the organizational talent necessary to keep Arkansas’ economy running strong. Each company will have its own job descriptions, such as those shown in the following examples:

  • HR Service Representative with JB Hunt in Lowell – This professional will provide HR customer service support for current employees. Incumbents will be a resource for questions about group benefit plans, company policies, and other HR policies.
  • Human Resources Manager with Tyson Foods in Springdale – This professional will be focused on talent development, scouting, recruiting, and interviewing prospective employees to find the best matches for the company. Other duties will include developing creative solutions to HR problems and one-on-one coaching.
  • Human Resources Generalist with Georgia-Pacific – This professional will act as a bridge between personnel and management. Duties include daily HR support, disciplinary decision-making, employee compensation and training, and talent search.

Qualifying for a Career in HR Management and Other Key HR Specialty Areas

The leading employers in Arkansas will often prefer or require that their HR staff have a bachelor’s degree, master’s degree, and/or a professional certification in human resources.

Bachelor’s Degree in Human Resources

There are several colleges and universities in Arkansas that offer BA/BS or BBA (Bachelor of Business Administration) in Human Resources degrees through online, campus-based and blended programs. In-state residents can apply for these four-year programs, which would involve studying introductory subjects at first and progressing to upper-level courses such as these:

  • Principles of microeconomics
  • Principles of macroeconomics
  • General human psychology
  • English technical report writing
  • Ethics
  • Foundational human resources development
  • Professional leadership development
  • Workplace diversity
  • Management and development of human resources programs
  • Career development
  • Workplace operational dynamics

Candidates can meet the education requirement for the following jobs with a BA/BS or BBA in Human Resources (from a survey of job vacancies taken in May 2015 and shown for illustrative purposes only):

  • Human Resources Specialist with the Arkansas Department of Human Services in Little Rock – To qualify for this position candidates must be high school graduates and have at least three years of HR experience. A four-year degree may satisfy the experience requirement and give candidates preferred skills that relate to communication and interpersonal relations.
  • Human Resources Director with the City of Fayetteville – Candidates for this position must have at least a bachelors degree, preferably in a field related to Human Resources Management.
  • HR Service Representative with JB Hunt in Lowell – Applicants for this position must have a high school diploma and at least seven months of related experience or training. These requirements may also be fulfilled with a bachelor’s degree.
  • Human Resources Manager with Tyson Foods in Springdale – This position requires a bachelor’s degree in a field related to Human Resources or Business Management.

Master’s Degree in Human Resources – MBA in Human Resource Management

Colleges and universities in Arkansas also offer online and traditional master’s degree programs in the HR field. Prospective students will need to start by meeting the master’s program entry requirements, which are unique to each educational institution and can include:

  • Minimum exam score on a test such as the GRE or GMAT
  • Completion of an undergraduate degree in an HR-related field or completion of HR prerequisite courses
  • Letters of recommendation or a personal essay
  • Minimum cumulative GPA or minimum GPA on core-HR undergraduate courses

Depending on the program, a master’ degree in an HR field can range between one and two years. Topics that will be studied as part of the program include:

  • Human resources and diversity
  • Organizational analysis
  • International human resources models
  • Strategic human resources work development
  • Advanced management and organizational theory
  • Leadership and management psychology
  • Corporate culture, benefits, and advancement

Candidates can meet the education requirements for the following careers with a master’s degree in Human Resources (from a survey of job vacancies taken in May 2015 and shown for illustrative purposes only):

  • Human Resources Assistant (GS-07) with the Department of the Air Force – Candidates will need at least one year of graduate studies or superior academic achievement as an undergrad to qualify for this position.
  • Human Resources Specialist (GS-09) with the Department of the Army – Candidates for this position must have a master’s degree or at least two years of graduate-level education.
  • Human Resources Manager with Tyson Foods in Springdale – While applicants for this position must have a bachelor’s degree, a master’s degree in HR or Business Administration is preferred.
  • Human Resources Manager with L’Oréal in North Little Rock – Applicants can qualify for this position by having a master’s degree in Human Resources Management plus three years of HR work experience.
  • Director of Talent Development Management with Wal-Mart in Bentonville – While candidates for this position must have at least a bachelor’s degree in a field such as Human Resources or Business, applicants with a master’s degree in Organizational Development or a related field of study are preferred.

Professional HR Certification

There are several nationally-recognized professional HR certification companies. Each of these offers its own unique certification that comes with unique requirements. Some of the most well respected certifying organizations include:

  • Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM)Certified Professional (SHRM-CP) credential with one of these routes of eligibility:
    • Four years of work experience in human resources
    • Some college education in an HR field plus three years of related work experience
    • Bachelors degree in an HR field plus one year of related work experience
    • Masters degree in an HR field plus current related employment

The following jobs either require or prefer applicants who have a professional HR certification (from a survey of job vacancies taken in May 2015 and shown for illustrative purposes only):

  • Human Resources Director with the City of Fayetteville – Candidates who have an HR professional certification are preferred.
  • Human Resources Generalist with Tenneco in Paragould – Candidates who have an HRCI or SHRM certification are preferred.
  • Human Resources Manager I with Cooper Tire in Texarkana – Candidates who have an HRCI or SHRM certification are preferred.
  • Senior HR Generalist with Evergreen Packaging in Pine Bluff – Candidates who have a professional certification from SHRM are preferred.

Local HR Resources in Arkansas

Prospective HR professionals can find additional career resources with the following local resources in Arkansas:

Professional HR Associations

Major HR Departments in Arkansas

HR Staffing Agencies in Arkansas

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