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

2019 was a banner year for Kansas. The Sunflower State enjoyed a budget surplus, a low unemployment rate of just 3.2, and 19th place among CNBC America’s Top States for Business list. It’s all about economic growth here, and that’s good news for everyone—especially those in the human resources field.

It’s this type of positive environment that spurs the demand for human resources managers, specialists, and generalists who are called upon to manage and grow a dynamic workforce. The association is clear—a flourishing economy means plenty of exciting opportunities for those in the human resources field.

Salary statistics from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) and job projections from the Kansas Department of Labor reveal what’s in store for human resources managers, specialists, and assistants in Kansas:

Human Resources Management

  • Human Resources Managers The number of human resources managers in Kansas is projected to grow by 10.6 percent between 2016 and 2026 – that’s higher than the national projected growth rate of 9 percent for this profession.
  • Compensation and Benefits Managers Compensation and benefits managers in Kansas earn a median salary of $102,910 and a top (90th percentile) average salary of $158,270.
  • Training and Development Managers The median salary for training and development managers in Kansas is $96,050.

Human Resources Specialists and Assistants

  • Human Resources Specialists HR specialists in Kansas enjoy a median salary of $57,900. Those in the top 10% earn an average salary of $90,920.
  • Labor Relations Specialists The median salary for labor relation specialists in Kansas is $48,620.
  • Training and Development Specialists The number of training and development specialist in Kansas is projected to increase by 17.9 percent between 2016 and 2026, rising from 3,470 to 4,090.
  • Compensation, Benefits, and Job Analysis Specialists Compensation and benefits analysis specialists in Kansas earn a median salary of $59,660, just below the national median salary of $63,000 for these professionals.
  • Human Resources Assistants The median salary for HR assistants in Kansas is $38,470.
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The Right Education for a Human Resources Career in Kansas

The importance of education and professional certification for aspiring human resources professionals can be seen in the following job postings (Shown for illustrative purposes only): 

Human Resources Representative, YRC Freight – A bachelor’s degree in human resources, business administration, or related area; OR an equivalent combination of education and work experience is required.

Human Resources Generalist, Robbie Flexibles – A bachelor’s degree in human resources, business or a related field is desired.

Assistant Director of Human Resources, Barton Community College – A bachelor’s degree in human resource management is required, while a master’s degree is preferred.

Human Resources Advisor Job, Alliance Data – Candidates must have a minimum of a bachelor’s degree, with additional PHR / SPHR certification preferred.

Bachelor’s Degrees in Human Resources

Bachelor’s degrees related to human resources, in the form of a Bachelor of Science (BS), a Bachelor of Arts (BA), or a Bachelor of Business Administration (BBA) are often a minimum requirement for HR specialist and lower-to-mid-level management jobs.

Among the undergraduate degrees that top employers in Kansas look for include:

  • Bachelor of Arts in Management with a Human Resources Concentration
  • Bachelor of Arts in Human Resource Management
  • Bachelor of Business Administration in Human Resource Management
  • Bachelor of Science in Business Administration with a Human Resources Concentration.
  • Bachelor of Science in Human Resources

Students in bachelor’s programs develop relevant skills related to the human resources field. Just some of the topics covered in these courses include:

  • Global business
  • Business ethics
  • Business law
  • Adult development
  • Compensation and benefits
  • Microeconomics

Master’s Degrees in Human Resources

To prepare for careers in human resources management, consultancy, and for executive-level positions, many HR professionals enroll in master’s degree or specialized MBA programs in the field.

Admittance to these programs requires a minimum of an undergraduate degree, and some programs require a 3.0 undergraduate GPA, as well as high scores of the GMAT exam. Most programs don’t require specific undergraduate degrees, making the pursuit of a master’s degree a smart choice for career changers.

Examples of degrees sought by Kansas’s top HR employers include:

  • Master of Science (MS) in Human Resources Management
  • Master of Human Resources (MHR)
  • Master of Business Administration (MBA) with a Human Resources specialization
  • Master of Business Administration (MBA) in Organizational Behavior and Human Resource Management
  • Master of Arts (MA) in Organizational Management with a concentration in Human Resources
  • Master of Arts (MA) in Human Resource Management

The coursework in master’s degree programs give students advanced preparation on a variety of HR topics. Examples of courses found in these programs include:

  • Managerial accounting
  • Research Methods
  • Legal Issues and Human Resources
  • Information technology
  • Financial management
  • Performance Management

Professional Certification from National Human Resources Organizations

In addition to formal education, some human resources professionals choose to obtain certification from a national human resources organization. Examples of these organizations and their certification opportunities:

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)

An Exploration of Human Resources Careers with Kansas’s Top Employers

Although Kansas has a unique business environment where small-to-medium sized businesses thrive, larger companies in the state also require talented HR departments to ensure the recruitment and retention of talented employees.

The top employers in Kansas in September 2019, according to the BLS, include:

  • Spirit AeroSystems: 15,000 employees
  • Fort Riley: 12,500 employees
  • Sprint Corporation: 12,500 employees
  • Cessna Aircraft Corporation: 9,000 employees
  • University of Kansas, Center for Sports: 7,000 employees
  • University of Kansas Health System: 6,143 employees
  • Beechcraft Corporation: 6,000 employees

The daily work of human resources professionals varies based on factors such as company size and industry type. The following job descriptions give a detailed glimpse into the daily work of Kansas’s HR professionals (Shown for illustrative purposes only): 

Human Resources Manager, Leiszler Oil Co.  Job duties include the development and maintenance of store training programs and reference manuals, conducting exit interviews, and overseeing employee benefit programs.

Talent Acquisition Recruiter Job, Sprint  The recruiter will develop and implement recruiting programs through a variety of methods, including developing relationships with candidate pipeline sources such as universities, working with hiring managers to document requirements for open positions, and pre-screening candidates during the application process.

Human Resources Benefit Manager, KU Memorial Unions  The manager’s job duties include managing ACA practices and execution, working with the finance department on issues related to employee benefits, and ensuring the company is complying with relevant guidelines.

Kansas’s Human Resources Employers and Associations

Kansas’s human resources professional associations and staffing firms include:


Professional Associations

Staffing firms


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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 – 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 Kansas Department of Labor 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 September 2019.

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