• Find A Program

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

Alabama’s human resources professionals help recruit and vet the right talent for the right jobs, whether to fill positions in the most essential government agencies or for the most influential private companies. Since Alabama enjoys one of the lowest unemployment rates in the region, HR specialists and managers in the state may work with a smaller candidate pool than what is found in neighboring states. Although this can make it more of a challenge to find qualified workers, it is a challenge that HR professionals readily welcome.

The Alabama Department of Labor projects that the number of human resources jobs will increase considerably between 2012 and 2022. Additionally, figures from the US Department of Labor released in 2015 show that Alabama’s HR managers and training specialists rank nationally in terms of salary expectations:

  • Training and Development Specialists – Statewide job growth projections of 17 percent through 2022; Decatur offers the fourth-highest average annual salary for these professionals of all cities in the nation
  • Human Resources Managers – Statewide job growth projections of 13 percent through 2022
  • Administrative Services Managers – Statewide job growth projections of 10 percent through 2022; Tuscaloosa offers the second-highest average salary of all cities in the nation for these professionals

Strong growth figures for Alabama’s human resources professionals can be used as a benchmark for the state’s overall job growth – more growth usually means more HR professionals to manage the new workforce. By year’s end in 2014, the state had experienced its strongest period of employment growth in about a decade, adding 30,000 new jobs according to the Alabama Department of Labor. US Department of Labor figures show that by 2015 Alabama’s unemployment rate had dropped below six percent.

As the state as a whole continues to make strides in improving employment prospects, by extension, a greater demand is created for more human resources professionals. Representing the top employers of skilled workers in the state, the HR professionals within these organizations contribute greatly to strengthening Alabama’s workforce:

  • US government facility Redstone Arsenal – Employs approximately 25,373
  • University of Alabama at Birmingham, including its hospital – Employs approximately 23,000
  • Maxwell Air Force Base – Employs approximately 12,280
  • State of Alabama – Employs approximately 9,500
  • Mobile County Public School System – Employs approximately 8,100
  • Regions Financial Corporation – Employs approximately 6,000
  • AT&T – Employs approximately 5,943


Exploring Careers in Human Resources

Every company or government agency will have its own unique requirements and demands for its human resources professionals. Broadly speaking, HR careers in Alabama can be broken down into three main categories:

Human Resources Positions with the Federal Government

Federal jobs in human resources, for everything from the Department of Defense to the Department of Commerce, are listed on the website USAJOBS. The federal government classifies its positions according to its General Schedule (GS), a 15-level scale that indicates the minimum amount of education and experience required for all federal positions. Take the following examples:

  • Human resources assistant (National Guard) with the Department of the Army – GS-06
  • Human resources specialist (employee benefits) with the Department of the Army – GS-07
  • Human resources specialist (recruitment and placement/compensation) with the Department of the Army – GS-09

The corresponding GS level indicates the following specific qualification requirements:

  • GS-06 – Requires a four-year bachelor’s degree and at least nine months of experience or education that involves general office work
  • GS-07 – Requires at least one year of master’s-level education or a bachelor’s degree with superior academic achievement, plus at least one year of specialized experience in human resources
  • GS-09 – Requires at least a master’s degree and two years of specialized work experience in human resources

Human Resources Positions with State and Local Governments

State and local governments, as well as affiliated institutions like state university systems, each have their own human resources requirements:

Human Resources County Director I with the State of Alabama – The state operates many county-level programs throughout Alabama, with this particular example being for the administration and direction of a county-level public welfare program. The minimum educational requirement for this position is a master’s degree in Social Work.

Human Resources Personnel with Mobile County Public Schools – This and all classified administrative positions with this agency require that applicants have at least a bachelor’s degree.

Human Resources Officer with Mobile County – Candidates for this position are expected to have a master’s degree in a relevant field, and must have a bachelor’s degree in Public Administration, Human Resources Administration, or Business Administration.

Personnel Generalist with the HR Department of the University of Alabama at Birmingham – This professional will be the HR contact for a subdivision or large department of the UAB, and duties would include selecting applicants during the employment process as well as managing more than two full-time employees. Applicants must have a bachelor’s degree in Human Resources, Business, or a related field.

Private Sector Human Resources Positions

The private sector probably has the greatest diversity of qualifications for human resources professionals, who may also be known by titles like talent acquisition professional:

Human Resources Generalist with Regions Financial Corporation – This professional will provide HR support for an area or division within Regions. Duties would include those related to recruitment, manager consultations, training, report writing, and internal investigations. Minimum education requirements include having at least a bachelor’s degree, and applicants with a PHR Certification are preferred.

Senior Benefits Analyst with AT&T – This professional works with pension benefits providers to manage retirement packages for AT&T employees. Applicants will need to be competent in duties that include project administration, HR policies and procedures, and teamwork.

HR Staffing Firms – Companies like Long’s Human Resource Services in Mobile and Lyons HR in multiple cities throughout the state contract with Alabama companies to provide human resources services that include screening, hiring, employee management, and talent recruiting.

Qualifying for a Career in Human Resources

Most human resources employers in Alabama will require or prefer a bachelor’s or master’s degree in Human Resources or a closely related major. Programs of this sort are typically available online to accommodate the schedules of busy professionals:

Bachelor’s Degree in Human Resources

This four-year degree program will develop a solid foundation in the field of human resources for any professional who wants to be competitive from the get go. As part of the curriculum, students will study topics like:

  • Organizational communications
  • Compensation and benefits
  • Leadership
  • Intercultural management
  • Employment law
  • Collective bargaining
  • International human resources management
  • Business policy and strategy

A bachelor’s degree in Human Resources will qualify candidates for jobs such as the ones shown in these examples:

  • Human Resources Assistant with federal government agencies like the Department of the Army
  • Human Resources Personnel with Mobile County Public Schools
  • Personnel Generalist with the HR Department of the University of Alabama at Birmingham
  • Human Resources Officer with Mobile County
  • Human Resources Generalist with Regions Financial Corporation
  • Corporate Human Resources Manager with Hospice Partners of American in Birmingham

Master’s Degrees and Graduate Certificates in Human Resources

Having a master’s degree or graduate certificate in Human Resources should be considered for professionals who want to make a powerful impact in their field and advance to the highest echelons that their talent will allow.

Prospective students will first need to qualify for an HR master’s program, which will involve meeting entry qualifications. Each graduate program has its own set of entry requirements, with some common standards including:

  • Minimum scores on the GRE or GMAT exams
  • Completion of a bachelor’s degree
  • Minimum cumulative GPA
  • Minimum GPA for courses related to human resources management
  • Letters of recommendation
  • Essay or statement of purpose on a candidate’s goals in the field of human resources

While graduate programs will often admit students who have a bachelor’s degree in any field, they may also require certain prerequisite courses in management and human resources. These ensure that graduate students have a common foundational education in this field.

Graduate programs are usually offered in one or two-year packages, and will cover the study of topics like:

  • Legal, ethical, and political dimensions of business
  • Strategic staffing
  • Management application of information technology
  • Advanced international human resources
  • Human resources for mergers, acquisitions, and other organizations changes
  • Business economics and managerial finances

A master’s degree in Human Resources is either preferred or required for jobs such as the ones shown in these examples:

  • Human Resources Specialist with federal government agencies like the Department of the Army
  • Director of Human Resources with Lhoist North America in Calera
  • Associate Director, MCI Operations and Finance with the Mitchell Cancer Institute
  • Senior Human Resource Leader with Bush Hog in Selma
  • Recruiter Specialist 3 with PDS Tech in Huntsville

Professional Certifications

In some rare instances, employers look for HR job candidates that hold professional certification as it relates to human resources. There are several significant national certification organizations in the field of human resources, which each have their own requirements for eligibility. Employers may specify a preference for particular certifications:


    • Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM), which offers the Certified Professional (SHRM-CP) credential for candidates who have passed an exam and qualified in one of the following ways:
      • Four years of work experience in human resources
      • Some college education in an HR field plus three years of related work experience
      • Bachelor’s degree in an HR field plus one year of related work experience
      • Master’s degree in an HR field plus current related employment



Local HR Resources and Employers

Prospective HR professionals can find resources throughout Alabama that relate to employment and professional development. Useful links include:

Professional Organizations

Major HR Departments in Alabama

Alabama HR Staffing Firms

Back to Top