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Bachelors and Masters Programs for a Human Resources Management Career in North Carolina

In its 2009 Career Outlook Handbook, the North Carolina Employment Security Commission released data showing job growth projections for human resource managers, specialists and assistants through 2016. Between 2006 and 2016:

  • The number of human resource assistant jobs is expected to grow by 13.2 percent
  • The number of human resource management jobs is expected to grow by 14.5 percent
  • The number of human resources training and specialist jobs is expected to grow by 19.1 percent

Along with this, the U.S. Department of Labor indicates that as of May 2014, North Carolina’s human resources professionals enjoyed some distinctions in terms of earnings and job prospects:

  • Human Resource Managers: The average salary in the Western Central North Carolina nonmetropolitan area was the third highest in the nation for this job classification
  • Human Resources Specialists: The average salary in the Western Central North Carolina nonmetropolitan area was the fifth highest in the nation for this job classification
  • Human Resource Assistants: The employment rates in the Western Central North Carolina nonmetropolitan areas were the highest in the nation 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

The following list includes North Carolina’s top employers, which are largely responsible for driving the demand for skilled HR professionals in the state:

Between 20,000-32,999 employees:

  • Carolinas HealthCare System
  • Wells Fargo

Between 10,000-19,999 employees:

  • American Airlines
  • Bank of America
  • Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools

Between 5,000-9,999 employees:

  • North Carolina State Government
  • City of Charlotte

Between 3,000-4,999 employees:

  • AT&T North Carolina
  • Cabarrus County Schools
  • University of North Carolina at Charlotte

Exploring Careers in Human Resources with North Carolina’s Top Employers

Projected job growth for human resource professionals in North Carolina tends to align with key growth industries and major employers. In general, job growth among major employers indicates an inherent need for more human resource professionals to recruit, vet, hire, train and manage a growing number of employees.

Human Resources Positions with the Government

In North Carolina, human resource professionals may be found within the Department of Homeland Security, U.S. Coast Guard, Department of Commerce, and more.

One example of a listed federal government human resources job vacancy in North Carolina is shown here for illustrative purposes (From a survey of job vacancies taken in March 2015):

Human Resource Specialist (Military) with the Department of the Army in Knightdale – This professional will review, analyze, and coordinate HR studies, maintain an efficient relationship between employees and headquarters, and conduct periodic special staff visits.

HR jobs with the federal government are typically classified as GS-05 to GS-11:

  • GS-05: Four-year bachelor’s degree
  • GS-07: Four-year bachelor’s degree (with superior academic achievement) OR one academic year of graduate education
  • GS-09: Master’s degree (or equivalent) OR two academic years of progressively higher level graduate education
  • GS-11: PhD (or equivalent doctoral degree) OR three academic years of progressively higher education

Human Resources Positions with State and Local Governments

State and local government human resource jobs are found within the North Carolina University system and the North Carolina Office of State Human Resources, among other state organizations. State and local government human resource job vacancies in North Carolina are shown here to illustrate what employers are looking for (From a survey of job vacancies taken in March 2015:

Title IX Coordinator with Fayetteville State University in Fayetteville – In this position, the professional will be the guiding resource for Title IX issues throughout the university, ensuring that discrimination laws and regulations are adhered to. A master’s degree is required.

Administrative Officer III / FNS Employment and Training with North Carolina Office of State Human Resources in Wake County – In working with the Alabama Department of Health and Human Services in the Division of Economic and Family Services, this professional will work to remove barriers preventing local partnerships between community partners and employers, while helping clients establish and sustain employment. A bachelor’s degree is required.

Agency Human Resources Director III with the Office of State Human Resources in Wake County– In this position, the professional will focus on creating strategies and plans to coordinate and administer the human resource programs that influence talent management, employee relations, classification and compensation, recruitment and staffing, EEO diversity and inclusion, benefits, retention, organizational culture enhancement, and more. A bachelor’s degree is required.

Human Resources Manager with the Department of Health and Human Services in Pitt County – In this position, the HR Manager will consult and manage the professional leadership staff to understand all aspects of the HR Program, including workplace safety, employee relations, salary and benefits administration, and more. This professional will also play a role in forecasting staffing needs and developing effective relationships with management and employees. A bachelor’s degree is required.

Human Resources Positions in the Private Sector

There are various jobs for Human Resource professionals within the private sector, ranging from employee services specialist to associate business partner. Job descriptions and requirements from a few private sector human resources job ads placed in North Carolina are shown here as examples (From a survey of available HR jobs taken in May 2015):

Human Resources Generalist with Velocitel in Raleigh – Working daily with internal directors, managers, and employees, this professional will focus on administering HR processes, policies, and programs, including recruitment and selection, employee onboarding, performance management, benefits, employee relations, and employment law compliance. A bachelor’s degree is required.

Employee Services Specialist with Informatica in Cary – Within the larger Human Resources Operations team, this professional will work with other HR professionals in the company to ensure excellence in overall quality, efficiency, and strategic service. Specifically, this professional will be the one-stop-shop for all employees and managers within the company, and should be able to detail all important HR matters. A bachelor’s degree is required.

Associate Human Resources Business Partner with Interactive Intelligence Inc. in Durham – This professional will focus on providing guidance to employees on important human resources issues such as company guidelines, team member relations, compliance, performance, and training and development. A bachelor’s degree is required.

How to Quality for Careers in Human Resources with North Carolina’s Top Employers

The biggest employers in North Carolina look to retain management-level HR professionals, who generally have a master’s or MBA specialized in HR management. However, many start their careers as HR specialists or generalists with a bachelor’s degree in human resources.

Obtaining a Bachelor’s Degree in Human Resources

At the undergraduate level, most universities will offer generalist human resources degrees, which include research and study across many different areas within the field, such as recruitment, staffing, training, development, benefits, compensation, etc. This allows students to qualify for a wide variety of careers upon graduation.

Select undergraduate programs will allow students to obtain a specific specialization within the field of human resources, such as concentrating on finance, marketing, or project management.

Students may obtain either a bachelor of science, which will focus on more quantitative issues, such as recruitment and staffing, or a bachelor of arts, which will focus on more theoretical issues, such as employment law or organizational culture.

Although undergraduate degrees in human resources will generally be found under the title, “Human Resources Management,” some programs may label the degree differently, such as “Labor Studies and Employment Relations.”

Human resources undergraduate programs generally include, but are not limited to, the following core courses:

  • Developing a Business Perspective
  • Fundamentals of Management and Leadership
  • Business Law
  • Supply Chain Management
  • Human Resource Management
  • Organizational Communication
  • Fundamentals of Accounting and Finance

With a bachelor’s degree in Human Resources, job candidates may qualify for a wide range of jobs. For example, a survey of job ads from May 2015 showed these positions calling for a bachelor’s degree at minimum (Examples are shown for illustrative purposes and do constitute a job offer):

  • Human Resources Generalist with Velocitel in Raleigh
  • Employee Services Specialist with Informatica in Cary
  • Human Resources Generalist with Occidental Fire & Casualty in Raleigh
  • Associate Human Resources Business Partner with Interactive Intelligence Inc. in Durham
  • Human Resources Consultant with Laboratory Corporation of America in Burlington
  • Administrative Officer III / FNS Employment and Training with North Carolina Office of State Human Resources in Wake County
  • Human Resources Manager with the Department of Health and Human Services in Pitt County

Achieving a Master’s Degree in Human Resources

North Carolina’s HR professionals with a graduate-level education are more likely to find jobs in HR management or consulting.

Though entrance requirements differ by program, in general, a master’s degree program will require applicants to meet these two criteria:

  • Hold an undergraduate degree from an accredited university (human resources or business management preferred)
  • Have maintained a 3.0 GPA in undergraduate studies

Many master’s programs in human resources offer both on-campus and online curriculum in order to accommodate the schedules of working professionals. Through such programs, professionals may obtain any of the following graduate degrees:

  • Master of Arts (MA) or Master of Science (MS) in Human Resources
  • Master of Business Administration (MBA) with HR Concentration
  • MA or MS in Industrial and Organizational Psychology
  • MA in Management (MAM) with HR Concentration
  • MA or MS in Human Capital Development
  • MA or MS in Industrial Relations

Programs generally include 10-12 courses, including, but not limited to, the following coursework:

  • HR Leadership and Ethics
  • Strategic HR and Measurement
  • Recruitment, Selection, and Ret
  • Compensation and Benefits
  • Organizational Development
  • Research Methods
  • Finance for HR Leaders
  • Employee and Labor Relations
  • Performance Management
  • Legal Issues and Human Resources
  • Field Experience

With a master’s degree in Human Resources, job candidates may qualify for advanced jobs in the field. For example, a survey of job ads from May 2015 showed these positions calling for a master’s degree at minimum (Examples are shown for illustrative purposes and do constitute a job offer):

  • Human Resources Business Partner Director with Lenovo Talent in Raleigh
  • Title IX Coordinator with Fayetteville State University in Fayetteville
  • Human Resources Specialist (Military) with the Department of the Army in Knightdale

Professional certification

Employers may require HR professionals in their employ to hold certification. Even when this isn’t a stared requirement, employers recognize the credential as denoting a level of professional competence. The two most widely recognized certification agencies for HR professionals are the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) and the Human Resources Certification Institute (HRCI).

Society for Human Resource Management

SHRM certifications include the following:

  • SHRM-CP: This certified professional certificate is applicable to HR practitioner who work at the operational level, implementing policies and performing day-to-day functions
  • SHRM-SCP: This senior certified professional certificate is designed for senior HR professionals who operate at the level of policies, strategies, operations, performance, and organizational goals

To be eligible to take the SHRM-CP exam, an applicant must meet the following criteria:

  • Hold less than a bachelor’s degree AND have 3-4 years of HR experience

OR

  • Hold a bachelor’s degree AND have 1-2 years of HR experience

OR

  • Hold a graduate degree AND have 0-1 year of HR experience

To be eligible to take the SHRM-SCP examination, applicants must meet one of the following criteria:

  • Hold less than a bachelor’s degree AND have 6-7 years of HR experience

OR

  • Hold a bachelor’s degree AND have 4-5 years of HR experience

OR

  • Hold a graduate degree AND have 3-4 years of HR experience

Human Resources Certification Institute

HRCI offers the following certifications:

  • PHR: The professional in human resources certification reveals mastery of HR operations and best practices. To qualify, an applicant must have 1-4 years of HR experience in HR Operations.
  • SPHR: The senior professional in human resources certification reveals the professional as a recognized leader. To qualify, applicants must have 4-7 years of experience focused on HR Strategy Development.
  • GPHR: The global professional in human resources certification reveals that the professional is an expert in transnational HR development. To qualify, applicants must have 2-4 years of experience focused on global HR.
  • HRMP: The human resource management professional is for all HR leaders, despite differences in geographical locations. To qualify, applicants must have 4-7 years of experience in HR strategy development and knowledge of employment law.

North Carolina’s HR Resources and Employers

State government HR departments, professional associations and staffing firms in North Carolina include.

Professional Organizations in North Carolina

Major Human Resources Departments in North Carolina

North Carolina Human Resources Staffing Firms

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