According to the Idaho Department of Labor, the total number of jobs across all industries is projected to grow by 15 percent in the ten-year period leading up to 2022. The professional and business services sector is expected to be a significant part of that growth, with the Department of Labor predicting a slightly better growth rate of 16% for the sector during the same ten-year period. As more jobs are created in the state, particularly high-skilled jobs in the business service sector, a premium is placed on the human resources professionals needed to recruit, train and manage the growing workforce.
As of 2015, there were 1,540 human resources specialists and 560 human resources managers in Idaho whose contributions to growing the state’s workforce is a major factor in helping the achieve new economic goals. With a statewide unemployment rate of just 3.9% as of 2015, the lowest it’s been since the 2009 recession, Idaho’s new economic focus will be to increase wages and Gross Domestic Product per capita.
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.
Idaho’s biggest companies utilize substantial HR departments to handle a number of workplace and labor-related issues. Idaho’s five top employers include:
- Micron Technology Inc Boise – 8,000 employees
- US Air Force Base Mountain Home – 5,231 employees
- Mountain Home Afb Mountain Home – 5,000 employees
- Boise State University Boise – 4,834 employees
- Military Dept Boise – 3,500 employees
The Right Degree for a Career in Human Resources
Most human resources employers in the state require job candidates to 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.
Bachelors 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.
Among the degrees employers typically expect from job candidates for HR specialist and lower-to-mid-level HR management positions 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 for bachelor’s degree programs in human resources gives students knowledge on a wide range of human resources topics. Typical courses in these programs 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 grad 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 high 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 topics covered in courses found in master’s degree programs related to human resources 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:
- Society of Human Resource Management (SHRM)
- SHRM-CP (certified professional)
- SHRM-SCP (senior certified professional)
- Recognition Professionals International (RPI)
- Structuring Recognition Systems for Success – CRP I
- Strategic Planning & Measurement – CRP II*
- Recognition Management & Maintenance – CRP III*
- Applying Recognition Systems – CRP IV*
- HR Certification Institute (HRCI)
- Professional in Human Resources (PHR)
- Senior Professional in Human Resources (SPHR)
- Global Professional in Human Resources (GPHR)
- Human Resource Management Professional (HRMP)
- Human Resource Business Professional (HRBP)
- California Certification for PHR and SPHR certified professionals
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 (from a survey of job vacancies taken in May 2015, 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 sector, give insight into common job descriptions for Idaho’s HR professionals (from a survey of job vacancies taken in May 2015, 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. 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