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

The businesses that fuel Florida’s economic engines – whether in local tourism or high finance – are only as effective as the professionals that make up their HR departments. Across all industries and sectors – from tourism and hospitality to state and federal government – Florida’s human capital is organized and managed by the HR professionals that recruit, place and train the state’s skilled workforce.

In order to attract and support top HR talent, companies with operations in Florida offer some of the highest average salaries and best employment opportunities in the nation.

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Featured Programs:

Capella University offers100% online DBA, PhD, MS, and BS degrees in Human Resources Management

Benedictine University offers an Online Bachelor of Arts in Management in Human Resources Management

University of Scranton's offers an Online Master of Science in Human Resources Program

Saint Joseph's University offers an MS in Strategic Human Resource Management Program

Florida’s HR professionals enjoy a number of unique distinctions (US Department of Labor, 2015):

  • Administrative Services Managers – Florida’s HR managers in administrative services enjoy the fourth-highest average salary in the nation for their professional classification
  • Human Resources Specialists – Florida is home to the fourth-highest number of human resources specialists in the nation (training/development, compensation/benefits, and labor relations)

In addition to being nationally competitive in these categories, HR professionals can also expect strong job growth in the coming years. The State of Florida Department of Economic Opportunity has made the following job growth projections for the ten-year period leading up to 2022:

  • Human Resources Managers – 18 percent job growth through 2022
  • Training and Development Managers – 17 percent job growth through 2022
  • Administrative Services Managers – 16 percent job growth through 2022
  • Compensation and Benefits Managers – 10 percent job growth through 2022

A 2015 article in Newsmax identified the following companies as being Florida’s largest employers. With the largest and most influential HR departments in the state, these corporations are also responsible for driving much of the demand for highly skilled HR professionals in Florida:

  • Walt Disney Parks and Resorts – employs 45,000 in Florida
  • Universal City Development Partners – employs 16,000 in Florida
  • American Airlines – employs over 11,000 in Florida
  • ZeroChaos – employs 4,800 in Florida
  • American Express – employs 4,700 in Florida

A Closer Look at HR Careers with Some of Florida’s Top Employers

Human resources professionals in Florida are found working in state and federal government agencies as well as in private enterprises of all kinds:

  • Private sector (non farm) jobs – 9.31 million
  • Public sector jobs – 1.16 million, which can be divided into the additional categories of:
    • State government – 203,259
    • Local government – 728,886
    • Federal government, civilian – 132,244
    • Federal government, military – 98,336

The US Department of Commerce reported that in 2013 Florida’s total workforce was 10.56 million strong. Of this workforce, 7.95 million were wage and salary employees recruited, trained and managed by HR professionals.

The job descriptions that follow were taken from a survey of job vacancies performed in May 2015 and are shown for illustrative purposes only:

Private Sector HR Careers

HR Business Partner Director with Disney Cruise Lines in Celebration – This professional is responsible for using a high degree of talent while providing a consultative approach to the delivery of HR services in Disney’s global work environment. This includes influencing leadership and decision-making processes, as well as assessing emerging organization, business, and personnel trends.

HR Specialist with American Airlines in Miami – This professional is responsible for managing daily HR activities, including answering employee questions about HR policies and procedures, investigating claims of harassment and discrimination, making recommendations to legally accommodate employees, and creating HR reports to present to management.

Employee Relations Manager with American Express in Fort Lauderdale – This professional is responsible for championing the employee experience. This professional must deliver employee relations support and counsel, develop proactive solutions to personnel problems, handle sensitive employee investigations, provide guidance to HR business partners and management, and administer a broad range of HR programs.

Public Sector HR Careers

Personnel Management Analyst with the State of Florida – This professional is responsible for important HR activities that include payroll administration, personnel training and administrative support. Other duties include knowledge of and adherence to employment law, leave of absence requests, employee relations counseling, and compliance with recruitment guidelines.

Human Resources Analyst with the City of Jacksonville – This professional will design, implement, and maintain important HR programs. Examples of job duties include coordinating personnel reductions, developing and revising job specifications, conducting job audits, creating employee training programs, auditing HR records and reports, developing collective bargaining agreements, and analyzing HR data.

Human Resources Assistant (GS-07) with the Air National Guard at Camp Blanding – This professional is responsible for important HR administrative work. Duties can include working with supervisors to advise about personnel eligibility requirements for training courses, completing personnel actions such as discharges or promotions, and preparing payroll for uniform allowances.

Earning the Right Credentials for a Career in Human Resources

Education is one of the most important investments prospective HR professionals can make. A bachelor’s degree in human resources is often a minimum requirement for most generalist, specialist and lower-level management jobs, while leadership positions in upper-level management are typically reserved for those with a master’s degree or specialized MBA in human resource management.

Florida residents have many options when it comes to choosing schools that offer undergraduate and graduate degree programs in human resources and human resource management (HRM). In addition to multiple campus locations throughout the state, these schools also offer flexible online programs designed to accommodate the schedules of working professionals.

Bachelor’s Degree in Human Resources

A four-year degree in human resources or HRM will often start with general undergraduate requirements, followed by core courses specific to key HR functions:

  • Speech
  • Economics
  • Business mathematics
  • Business writing
  • Introduction to human resources
  • HR and diversity management
  • Personnel compensation and benefits
  • Human resources information systems
  • Union relations management
  • Staff recruitment, training, and development

A bachelor’s degree in human resources or human resource management will fulfill the education requirements for jobs such as those shown here (from a survey of job vacancies taken in May 2015 and shown here for illustrative purposes only):

  • HR Business Partner Director with Disney Cruise Lines in Celebration – Applicants for this position must have the equivalent of a bachelor’s degree in human resources or a related field
  • HR Specialist with American Airlines in Miami – Candidates for this position must have a relevant bachelor’s degree or equivalent experience and training
  • Personnel Management Analyst with the State of Florida – Candidates for this position must have a bachelor’s degree in human resources, employment law, business administration, public administration, or a closely related field
  • Human Resources Analyst with the City of Jacksonville – Candidates can qualify for this position with a combination of education, training, and work experience in the field of human resources

Masters Degree in Human Resources – MBA in Human Resource Management

HR managers, specialists and lower-level managers pursue master’s degrees and specialized MBAs in human resource management as a way to achieve career advancement.

When considering a graduate program, enrolling students will find admission requirements often include:

  • Undergraduate degree – this may also include the required completion of certain HR and business-related prerequisite courses
  • Letters of recommendation
  • Minimum GPA and testing scores
  • Completion of the GRE or GMAT

When choosing a master’s program in HR, Florida-based professionals have several options:

  • Masters certificate in HR – these one-year certificate programs result in an advanced understanding of HR academic principles
  • MBA in Human Resource Management – this degree prepares students to be leaders in business, specifically in the field of HR
  • General masters degree (MA or MS in human resources) that prepares students for a wide variety of upper-level HR careers
  • A specialized master’s program in HR that focuses on a particular area, such as:
    • HR Management
    • International HR
    • Employment laws and collective bargaining
    • Labor Relations

All HR and HRM master’s programs share some common elements, such as courses that cover these subjects:

  • Critical thinking in management and human resources
  • Conflict management and labor issues
  • Metrics for HR management
  • Employee wellness management models
  • Performance and talent acquisition/management
  • Reward systems management
  • Advanced staffing organization
  • Closely-managed HR systems
  • HR planning and strategy
  • HR in the global marketplace

A master’s degree in HR or HRM will fulfill the education requirements for any of the following positions (from a survey of job vacancies taken in May 2015 and shown here for illustrative purposes only):

  • HR Business Partner Director with Disney Cruise Lines in Celebration – Candidates for this position should have a master’s degree in a field related to human resources
  • Employee Relations Manager with American Express in Fort Lauderdale – Applicants are expected to have a master’s degree
  • Human Resources Assistant (GS-07) with the Air National Guard at Camp Blanding – Candidates for this position can qualify by completing at least one year of graduate-level study or with exceptional academic performance while earning an undergraduate degree
  • Human Resources Business Partner with DISH Network in Fort Lauderdale – Candidates for this position are expected to have a master’s degree
  • Human Resources Manager with Bookit.com in Panama City Beach – Applicants are expected to have a master’s degree

Professional HR Certification

Professional certification is often a preferred qualification, and can also fulfill the minimum requirements for some HR jobs. Some of the most respected certifying agencies are:

  • International Public Management Association for Human Resources (IPMA-HR), sponsor of the IPMA-CP certification. Eligibility is conferred through one of these routes:
    • Eight years of HR experience which includes at least one year in the public sector
    • An associates degree and six years of HR experience which includes at least one year in the public sector
    • A bachelors degree and four years of HR experience which includes at least one year in the public sector
    • A masters degree or higher with two years of HR experience which includes at least one year in the public sector

  • Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM), sponsor of the Certified Professional (SHRM-CP) credential. Eligibility is conferred through one of these routes:
    • 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

Examples of some employers that prefer or require professional HR certification include:

  • HR Business Partner Director with Disney Cruise Lines in Celebration
  • HR Specialist with American Airlines in Miami
  • Personnel Management Analyst with the State of Florida
  • Human Resources Business Partner with DISH Network in Fort Lauderdale
  • Human Resources Manager with Bookit.com in Panama City Beach

Resources for Tomorrow’s HR Professionals

Prospective human resources professionals can learn more about what it takes to develop a successful career in HR through the following local resources:

Professional HR Associations

Major HR Departments in the Public and Private Sectors

Professional HR Staffing Agencies

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