According to the Idaho Department of Labor, Idaho is enjoying an unprecedentedly low unemployment rate, a growing labor force, and exceptional gains in employment and jobs. Between November 2017 and November 2018, the labor force in Idaho increased by more than 12,000 people, while employment increased by 14,900, or 1.4 percent. To top it off, as of August 2019, the unemployment rate in the Gem State was just 2.9 percent.
As more jobs are created in the state, particularly high-skilled jobs in the business services sector, a premium is placed on the human resources professionals needed to recruit, train, and manage the growing workforce.
In addition to the human resources managers, specialists, and generalists in Idaho’s thriving public sector, the Idaho Division of Human Resources and its subsidiaries in cities throughout the state employ HR professionals whose job it is to qualify, train and manage benefits for state and municipal government employees.
The following salary data from the US Bureau of Labor Statistics and job projections from the Idaho Department of Labor reveal the positive job trends for human resources managers, specialists, and assistants in Idaho:
Human Resources Management
- Human Resources Managers – The number of human resources managers in Idaho is projected to increase 15.4 percent between 2016 and 2026, rising from 780 jobs to 900 jobs during this time.
- Compensation and Benefits Managers – Compensation and benefits managers in Idaho earn a median salary of $79,170.
- Training and Development Managers – The median salary for training and development managers in Idaho is $78,640. The top 10% earn an average salary of $108,100 here.
Human Resources Specialists and Assistants
- Human Resources Specialists – HR specialists in Idaho earn a median salary of $54,720, which is just slightly below the national median of $60,350.
- Labor Relations Specialists – The median salary for Idaho’s labor relations specialists is $56,830.
- Training and Development Specialists – The number of training and development specialists in Idaho is projected to increase 18.6 percent between 2016 and 2026 – much higher than the national projected increase of 11.5 percent for this profession during this time.
- Compensation, Benefits, and Job Analysis Specialists – The number of compensation, benefits, and job analysis specialists in Idaho is projected to increase 14.8 percent between 2016 and 2026, which is much higher than the national projected increase of 8.4 percent for this profession.
- Human Resources Assistants – Idaho’s human resources assistants earn a median salary of $39,010, which is in line with the national median salary of $40,390 for these professionals.
Idaho’s biggest companies utilize substantial HR departments to handle a number of workplace and labor-related issues. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), Idaho’s top employers in 2019 included:
- Luke’s Regional Medical Center – 8,863 employees
- Micron Technology Inc. – 8,000 employees
- S. Air Force Base – 5,231 employees
- Boise State University – 4,834 employees
- Battelle Energy Alliance – 3,000 employees
- Alphonsus Health System – 3,000 employees
- University of Idaho – 3,000 employees
The Right Degree for a Career in Human Resources
Most human resources employers in the state require job candidates that possess a bachelor’s or master’s degree in a field related to human resources. In addition, some of these employers prefer that candidates possess certification from a national HR professional certifying body.
Bachelor’s Degrees in Human Resources
A bachelor’s degree in human resources, including the Bachelor of Science (BS), the Bachelor of Arts (BA), and the Bachelor of Business Administration (BBA), is often a minimum requisite for human resources employers in Idaho.
Typical degrees pursued by aspiring HR specialists and lower-to-mid-level HR management professionals include:
- Bachelor of Science (BS) in Human Resources
- Bachelor of Science (BS) in Business Administration with a Human Resources concentration
- Bachelor of Arts (BA) in Management with a Human Resources Specialization
- Bachelor of Arts (BA) in Human Resource Management
- Bachelor of Business Administration (BBA) in Human Resource Management
Coursework in these programs includes a range of human resources topics. Typical courses include:
- Leadership and Management
- Organizational Behavior
- Global Business
- Principles of Microeconomics
- Workforce Planning: Recruitment and Selection
- Compensation and Benefits
- Business Law
Master’s Degrees in Human Resources
Most human resources graduate programs accept students with undergraduate degrees in any number of related majors. However, specific undergraduate courses in areas like business law and management are often required. Many competitive programs require students to possess a 3.0 GPA or above in their undergraduate studies, as well as competitive scores on the GMAT exam.
Master’s degree programs in human resources prepare students for some of the field’s most complex issues related to strategic management, leadership development, and business law. Master’s degrees and specialized MBAs with a concentration in HR management are appropriate for advancing into upper-level management and executive-level HR positions.
Examples of master’s degree options for HR management professionals include:
- Master of Arts (MA) in Organizational Management with a concentration in Human Resources
- Master of Arts (MA) in Human Resource Management
- Master of Arts (MA) in Management with a Human Resources concentration
- Master of Business Administration (MBA) with a Human Resources specialization
- Master of Business Administration (MBA) in Organizational Behavior and Human Resource Management
- Master of Science (MS) in Human Resources Management
- Master of Human Resources (MHR)
- Master of Business Administration (MBA) with a specialization in Human Resources
- Master of Science (MS) in Organizational Leadership with a specialization in Human Resource Management
Just a few of the HR topics covered in master’s degree programs include:
- Human resources management strategies
- Ethical decisions in business
- Managerial accounting
- Financial management
- Information technology
- Strategic management
- Research methods
- Marketing strategies
- Operations management
- Quantitative analysis for decision making
- Leadership development
Professional Certification in Human Resources
Some employers specify certification in addition to a minimum level of education. A few examples of highly regarded national HR and business leader certification options include:
- 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)
- Certified Professional (IPMA-CP)
- Senior Certified Professional (IPMA-SCP)
What Idaho’s Top Employers Look for When Hiring and Promoting HR Professionals
The importance of a relevant degree from an accredited university, as well as the added value of voluntary certification, is clear when looking at job postings for HR professionals throughout the state.
Candidates who have both a master’s degree related to human resources and voluntary certification are particularly valued in Idaho’s HR job market (Shown for illustrative purposes only):
- Senior Human Resource Specialist, Idaho Division of Human Resources – Bachelor’s or master’s degree in HR administration or closely related field; Professional in Human Resources (PHR) or Senior Professional in Human Resources (SPHR) certification preferred.
- Senior Training and Organizational Development Specialist, Kootenai Health – Bachelor’s degree in business, social behavioral science, or a related field required. Advanced degree preferred.
- Human Resources Consultant, AmeriBen – Education requirements include a BA degree in human resources or a related field and SPHR or equivalent certification.
- HR Generalist, SYSCO – Education requirements include a bachelor’s degree with major or emphasis in human resources, business administration, or a closely related field. Additionally, Human Resource Certification Institute (HRCI) Professional Human Resources (PHR) or Senior Professional Human Resources (SPHR) certification is preferred. Systems Applications and Products (SAP) experience is also preferred.
- Human Resources Manager, Glanbia Foods -Bachelor’s degree in human resource management or a related field is required, with additional PHR or SPHR certification preferred.
Human resources careers in Idaho involve a variety of workplace skills. Human resources managers typically oversee large groups of employees, while human resources specialists and generalists play key roles in specific HR functions like training, labor relations, and benefits management.
The following job postings, from both the state and private sectors, provide insight into common job requirements for Idaho’s HR professionals (Shown for illustrative purposes only):
- Training Specialist, Idaho Division of Human Resources – Job duties include developing and overseeing online courses, evaluating course curriculum, and mentoring instructors who may need training.
- Human Resources Manager, Sodexo – The manager will oversee employee files, work with on-site managers to ensure compliance with Sodexo human resource policy and procedures and oversee employee relations.
Resources for Idaho’s HR Professionals
Human resources professionals in Idaho are employed through the state and through private companies. The following is a list of employers in each of these sectors within the state.
- Idaho Division of Human Resources
- Office of Human Resources | Idaho State University
- Human Resources – Ada County
- Human Resources | Valley County
Private Staffing Firms
- Integrated Personnel, Inc.
- Express Employment Professionals
- Trillium Staffing
- American Staffing Inc
- IES Custom Staffing Idaho Falls
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.
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 – https://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes_id.htm#11-9111. The BLS salary data shown here represents median – 90th percentile salary ranges for the state and includes workers at all levels of education and experience. This data does not represent starting salaries.
Job growth projections sourced from the Idaho Department of Labor and published in the U.S. Department of Labor-funded Long Term Occupational Projections (2016-2026) database – https://projectionscentral.com/Projections/LongTerm. Employment conditions in your area may vary.
All job growth data accessed in September 2019.