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.

Salary statistics from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) and projected job growth rates from the Arizona Department of Administration Office of Employment and Population Statistics paint a positive picture for HR professionals in Arizona:

Human Resources Management

  • Human Resources Managers Jobs for human resources managers are projected to rise 19.9 percent between 2016 and 2026 – much higher than the national projected growth rate of 9 percent for these professionals.
  • Compensation and Benefits Managers Arizona’s compensation and benefits manager jobs are projected to increase by 17.2 percent between 2016 and 2026 – that’s more than triple the projected national growth rate of 5.1 percent for these professionals.
  • Training and Development Managers A job growth rate of 22.1 percent between 2016 and 2026 and a median salary of $89,520 speak to the strength of the training and development management profession in Arizona.

Human Resources Specialists and Assistants

  • Human Resources Specialists Among all HR careers in Arizona, human resources specialists come out ahead, with a total of 10,750 jobs in 2016. Plus, jobs are expected to grow by 18.1 percent between 2016 and 2026 – that’s more than double the national projected growth rate of 7.1 percent for these professionals.
  • Labor Relations Specialists Labor relations specialists in Arizona earn a median annual salary of $74,480 – about $11,000 more than the national median salary for these professionals.
  • Training and Development Specialists The job growth rate among Arizona’s training and development specialists is a truly impressive 21.8 percent between 2016 and 2026 – about double the national projected growth rate of 11.5 percent for these professionals.
  • Compensation, Benefits, and Job Analysis Specialists The projected job growth rate of 21.5 percent for Arizona compensation, benefits, and job analysis specialists between 2016 and 2026 is more than twice the national projected growth rate of 8.4 percent for these HR pros.
  • Human Resources Assistants The annual median salary for human resources assistants in Arizona was $39,100, as of May 2018, which is in line with the national median salary of $40,390.

Arizona’s unemployment rate was just 4.9 percent in August 2019 – nearly half of what it was a decade earlier in August 2009.

Improving employment numbers translate to more opportunities for HR professionals, who are responsible for filling the jobs of tomorrow while fostering employee development for recently onboarded and existing employees.

The BLS identifies some of the state’s top employers, as of 2019:

  • Arizona State University – Approximately 80,000 employees
  • Casino Arizona – Approximately 15,000 employees
  • University of Arizona – Approximately 14,466 employees
  • Raytheon Missile Systems – Approximately 13,000 employees
  • Mesa Public Schools – Approximately 10,000 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 qualifications and unique job descriptions for the HR professionals they hire.

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 Tucson – This position primarily involves managing HR programs and implementing new initiatives. They 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 to include stock options, job audits, incentive bonus plans, employee recognition, and labor auditing.

State Government

The federal government and 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 jobs 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. They 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. They 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.
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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 a master’s-level education is often necessary to open up promotional doors and advanced employment opportunities.

Bachelor’s Degree in Human Resources

A bachelor’s degree in human resources will provide students with an important foundation on which to build a career.

Programs will typically include two years of undergraduate courses with prerequisites such as macroeconomics, microeconomics, 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 as a:

  • 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:

  • HR Consultant with Banner Health in Tucson – 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:

Society of Human Resource Management (SHRM)

  • SHRM-CP (certified professional)
  • SHRM-SCP (senior certified professional)

HR Certification Institute (HRCI)

  • Associate Professional in Human Resources (aPHR)
  • Associate Professional in Human Resources – International (aPHRi)
  • Professional in Human Resources (PHR)
  • Professional in Human Resources – International (PHRi)
  • Senior Professional in Human Resources (SPHR)
  • Senior Professional in Human Resources – International (SPHRi)
  • Global Professional in Human Resources (GPHR)

International Public Management Association for Human Resources (IPMA-HR)

  • Certified Professional (IPMA-CP)
  • Senior Certified Professional (IPMA-SCP)

Some examples of employers that prefer or require a professional HR certification include:

  • HR Consultant with Banner Health in Tucson – 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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Salary and employment data compiled by the United States Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Statistics in May of 2018 for human resources managers, specialists, and assistants – The BLS salary data shown here represents median – 90th percentile salary ranges for the state and its MSAs (Metropolitan Statistical Areas) and includes workers at all levels of education and experience. This data does not represent starting salaries. 

 Job growth projections sourced from the Arizona Department of Administration’s Office of Employment and Population Statistics and published in the U.S. Department of Labor-funded Long Term Occupational Projections (2016-2026) database – Employment conditions in your area may vary.

All salary and job growth data accessed in October 2019.

Examples of HR positions were taken from a survey of job listings in the state at the time of this writing and are shown for illustrative purposes only. These examples do not represent job offers or positions that are currently available.


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