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

From Arizona’s thriving financial sector, to major defense contractors and healthcare providers, HR specialists and managers are vital to recruiting, vetting, training and managing a growing workforce in any enterprise.

Statistics from the US Department of Labor and the Arizona Department of Administration’s Office of Employment and Population Statistics show the number of jobs in these fields is projected to grow in the decade leading up to 2022:

  • Training and Development Managers – The number of jobs for training and development managers is expected to grow statewide by 20 percent through 2022.
  • Human Resources Specialists – Of all rural areas in the nation, Southeast Arizona has one of the highest concentrations of these professionals and also offers one of the highest average salaries for this job classification. The number of jobs for HR specialists is projected to grow statewide by 17 percent through 2022.
  • Training and Development Specialists – Of all non-metro areas in the nation, Southeast Arizona has the highest concentration of training and development specialists, while also offering the fourth-highest average annual salary for this job classification. The number of jobs for training and development specialists is projected to grow nationally by 16 percent through 2022.

As Arizona’s most recent unemployment rate of 6.2 percent continues to fall, a 2014 Gallup poll ranked the state in the top-10 on its Job Creation Index. Improving employment numbers translate to more opportunities for HR professionals, who are responsible for adequately filling the new jobs of tomorrow while simultaneously fostering employee development.

In 2014, the Arizona Republic identified some of the state’s top employers as:

  • Banner Health – 30,021 employees
  • Wells Fargo – 15,323 employees
  • Intel Corporation – 11,200 employees
  • Bank of America – 10,500 employees
  • JP Morgan Chase – 10,500 employees
  • Honeywell International – 10,000 employees
  • American Airlines – 10,000 employees
  • Raytheon – 9,800 employees
  • Apollo Group – 9,417 employees

Exploring HR Careers in Arizona’s Public and Private Sectors

From government services to private enterprises, Arizona’s human resource professionals play a vital role in the state’s economic development. Each company or government agency will have its own HR qualifications and unique job descriptions (From a survey of job listings taken in May 2015 and shown for illustrative purposes only).

Private Sector

The following are examples of HR job duties for positions with the state’s largest private-sector employers:

  • HR Consultant with Banner Health in Tuscon – This position primarily involves managing HR programs and implementing new initiatives. The incumbent will serve as a bridge between facility managers and employees, working with subjects like employee relations, career counseling, staff retention, training, development, legal compliance issues, and employee benefits.
  • Recruiter 3 with Wells Fargo in Phoenix – this professional will assume a multitude of responsibilities that include developing innovative recruiting strategies, diversifying the workforce, aggregating data, staying current with HR industry trends, and developing employee training programs that adhere to all applicable laws and regulations.
  • Senior Compensation Consultant with Intel Corporation in Phoenix – this upper-level HR professional will be responsible for the administration, design, and implementation of employee benefits and compensation plans. Incumbents will work with subjects like stock options, job audits, incentive bonus plans, employee recognition, and labor auditing.

State Government

The federal government as well as Arizona’s state and local governments all rely on skilled HR professionals just as much as the private sector. Some examples of government human resources job descriptions in Arizona include:

  • Personnel Analyst 3 with the Arizona Department of Veterans’ Services in Phoenix – This professional will work in the five main areas of recruitment, retention, compensation, job classification, and employee relations. The incumbent will also serve as the grievance coordinator while providing technical or training assistance.
  • Human Resources Officer with the City of Phoenix – This position involves the supervision of subordinates, working with safety issues, as well as training and employee development. The incumbent will also work with department management on topics such as labor relations, job classification and compensation schedules, employee planning, and affirmative action.

Federal Government

Federal HR careers are classified according to its General Schedule (GS), a 15-level scale that delineates education and experience requirements for all positions. Some examples include:

  • Human Resources Assistant (GS-07) with the Arizona National Guard in Phoenix – This professional will provide clerical assistance and technical support regarding personnel matters. Other duties include new employee processing and orientation as well as the coordination of vacancy announcements.
  • Human Resources Specialist (GS-09) with the Indian Health Service in Chinle – This upper-level professional will develop a qualified team of employees through recruitment, application processing, conducting interviews, and strategic job advertising. Duties will also include generating job assessments, referral lists, and vacancy announcements.

Earning the Right Degree for a Career in HR Management and Key Specialty Areas

Prospective human resources professionals should not underestimate the importance of an education in this field, nor should those looking to move from a generalist or specialist position into HR management. A bachelor’s degree is often a requirement for entry-level HR positions, while master’s-level education is often necessary to open up promotional doors and advanced employment opportunities.

Bachelor’s Degree in Human Resources

Arizona’s colleges and universities offer several options – including online – for students who are interested in enrolling in a four-year HR degree program. A bachelor’s degree in Human Resources will provide students with an important foundation from which they can launch a career.

Programs will typically include two years of undergraduate courses with prerequisites such as macro economics, micro economics, communication, and speech. Upper-level courses will cover topics that include:

  • Social contexts for employee performance
  • Employment law
  • Employee training and development
  • HR management and staffing
  • Employee compensation and benefits
  • Crisis communication

A bachelor’s degree in HR will qualify applicants for jobs such as these:

  • HR Consultant
  • Recruiter
  • Personnel Analyst
  • Human Resources Officer

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

Having a master’s degree in Human Resources Management or an MBA with a related concentration is essential for many advanced HR management positions.

While each graduate school will have its own admission standards, typical requirements can include:

  • An undergraduate degree in a field related to Human Resources or Business Administration
  • Completion of prerequisite courses in the HR or Business fields
  • Minimum scores on exams like the GRE or GMAT
  • Letters of recommendation
  • Essays
  • Minimum cumulative GPA, and minimum core-course GPA

Once students are admitted to a graduate-level HR program or HR MBA concentration they can expect to take classes that cover subjects like:

  • Leadership and team psychology
  • Professional management communication
  • Employee benefits and compensation
  • HR and management technology
  • Advanced organizational theory
  • White collar crime and other legal issues
  • Personnel training and development
  • Management theory and trends
  • Social entrepreneurship

A master’s degree in human resources management will fulfill the educational requirements for positions like these (From a survey of job listings taken in May 2015 and shown for illustrative purposes only):

  • HR Consultant with Banner Health in Tuscon – Candidates for this position should have additional education related to human resources above a bachelor’s degree.
  • Senior Compensation Consultant with Intel Corporation in Phoenix – Candidates can qualify for this position by having a master’s degree in a field that is related to human resources or business with at least four years of pertinent work experience.
  • Human Resources Assistant with the Arizona National Guard in Phoenix – Candidates can qualify for this position with at least one year of master’s-level education in a relevant major.

Master’s programs also often offer online options for degree completion.

Professional HR Certifications

Some employers may also specify a preference or requirement for professional HR certifications, such as these:

  • Certified Professional (SHRM-CP) credential – sponsored by the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM), candidates can qualify for this 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
    • Bachelors degree in an HR field plus one year of related work experience
    • Masters degree in an HR field plus current related employment

Some examples of employers that prefer or require a professional HR certification include From a survey of job listings taken in May 2015 and shown for illustrative purposes only):

  • HR Consultant with Banner Health in Tuscon – Candidates for this position are preferred to have a credential issued by IHR
  • Human Resources Specialist/Administrative Support with Sinfonia HealthCare in Phoenix – Candidates are preferred to have a certification from an organization such as SHRM
  • Human Resources Generalist with Total Transit in Glendale – Candidates for this position are preferred to have a certification issued by PHR or SHRM

Professional Resources and Employers in Arizona

Prospective and existing HR professionals can find additional information through these resources:

Professional HR Associations

Major HR Departments in Arizona

Human Resources Staffing Agencies

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