According to the Kentucky Cabinet for Economic Growth, Kentucky is in the midst of a workforce development revolution. Just some of the initiatives introduced to the Bluegrass State in recent years include the elimination of hundreds of administrative regulations, improved workforce training programs, and one of the lowest costs of doing business in the nation. As a result, major companies have invested in Kentucky. For example, Toyota made a $1.3 billion investment here that resulted in the preservation of nearly 8,000 jobs, while Amazon Prime Air’s investment of $1.5 billion resulted in 2,700 new jobs.
This sort of pro-business climate translates into exciting opportunities for Kentucky’s human resources managers, specialists, and assistants, all of whom are responsible for managing a growing, dynamic workforce.
According to salary statistics from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) and job projections from the Kentucky Center for Statistics, there’s plenty for HR professionals in Kentucky to look forward to:
Human Resources Management
- Human Resources Managers – Human resources managers in Kentucky earn a median salary of $88,090 and a top (90th percentile) salary of $148,500.
- Compensation and Benefits Managers – Kentucky’s compensation and benefits managers earn a median salary of $93,340 and a top (90th percentile) salary of $150,570.
- Training and Development Managers – The number of training and development managers in Kentucky is projected to increase by 9.3 percent between 2016 and 2026.
Human Resources Specialists and Assistants
- Human Resources Specialists – Human resources specialists in Kentucky earn a median salary of $54,570.
- Labor Relations Specialists – Kentucky’s labor relations specialists earn a median salary of 57,870 and a top (90th percentile) salary of $97,120.
- Training and Development Specialists – The number of training and development specialists in Kentucky is projected to increase by 12.3 percent between 2016 and 2026, rising from 3,250 to 3,650.
- Compensation, Benefits, and Job Analysis Specialists – The number of compensation, benefits, and job analysis specialists in Kentucky is projected to increase by 8.3 percent between 2016 and 2026, which is in line with the national projected growth rate of 8.4 percent for these professionals.
- Human Resources Assistants – HR assistants in Kentucky earn a median salary of $42,790, which is higher than the national median salary of $40,390 for these professionals.
Getting the Right Degree for a Career in Human Resources
Earning a bachelor’s degree in human resources or human resource management is appropriate for most generalist, specialist, and lower-level management positions, while leadership positions in upper-level management and executive roles typically require a master’s degree of specialized MBA with a concentration in human resource management.
Bachelor’s Degrees in Human Resources and Human Resource Management (HRM)
Examples of bachelor’s degrees related to human resources include:
- Bachelor of Arts (BA) in Management with a Human Resources Specialization
- Bachelor of Arts (BA) in Human Resource Management
- Bachelor of Science (BS) in Human Resources
- Bachelor of Science (BS) in Human Resources Development
- Bachelor of Business Administration (BBA) in Human Resource Management
- Bachelor of Science in Business Administration (BSBA) with a Human Resources concentration
A general outline of the different components of HR programs, HRM (human resource management) programs, and business administration programs with a concentration in HR is shown here:
BS/BA in Human Resources
General undergraduate degrees in human resources are ideal for those looking to become HR generalists and specialists. These programs introduce students to the key aspects of human resources work:
- Workforce planning and development
- Compensation and benefits
- Employee training
- Employee health and safety
- Human resource management
- Labor law
BS/BA in Human Resource Management (HRM)
HR undergraduate programs with a management focus typically cover:
- Training and development
- Compensation and rewards
- Global human resource management
- Career management
- Corporate governance
- Conflict management
BBA and BSBA in Human Resource Management
Degrees in business or business administration with a concentration in human resources management include a business-centered education, along with specific HR courses:
- Business Communications and Critical Thinking
- Management Theory and Practice
- Principles of Accounting
- Business Research
- Finance for Business
- Quantitative Analysis for Businesses
- Fundamentals of HR management
- Change management
- Total compensation
- Employee development
- Human resource risk management
- Contract negotiation
- Employee compensation
- Training development
- Organizational theory and behavior
- Managerial accounting
- Employment law
Master’s Degrees in Human Resources and HRM
Master’s degrees are commonly pursued by those seeking managerial, supervisory, and executive-level jobs in human resources. Most programs require specific undergraduate business courses for admission, although specific undergraduate degree programs are not required.
Examples of master’s degrees in human resources, HRM, and specialized MBAs with a human resource management focus include:
- Master of Business Administration (MBA) with a Human Resources Management Concentration
- 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 Science (MS) in Human Resources Management
- Master of Human Resources (MHR)
A list of common courses found a number of different types of graduate programs include:
MA/MS in Human Resources (general)
- Law, Ethics, and Politics in Human Relations
- Change Leadership
- Human Resource Information Systems
- Human Resources Global Contexts
- Business Foundations
- Corporate Communication
- Business Research
MA/MS/MBA in Human Resource Management (HRM)
- Strategic Management
- Economics, Mathematics, and Statistics for Business
- Business Law
- Information Technology
- Business Finances
- Managerial Accounting
- Responsible Corporate Leadership
- Strategic HR Management
Professional Certification in Human Resources
There are several well-respected human resources organizations that offer their own certification programs for HR professionals with a qualifying level of education:
- 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)
A Closer Look at HR Career Opportunities in Kentucky
Human resources professionals in Kentucky are vital to the operation of key industries within the private sector, as well as state and municipal government agencies.
Job descriptions from job vacancy announcements help show what some of Kentucky’s top employers expect from HR generalists, managers, and executives (Shown for illustrative purposes only):
HR Generalist, MedSynergies – Job duties include:
- Serving as a resource on payroll, staffing, and benefits
- Working directly with employees on human resources-related matters on a daily basis
- Overseeing compliance and management development training
Talent Acquisition Business Partner, Seven Counties Services – Job duties include:
- Developing and implementing recruiting strategies to attract talented employees
- Ensuring compliance of hiring process activities
- Presenting and negotiating job offers
Human Resources District Manager, Rite Aid – Job duties include:
- Ensure HR plans are in sync with business objectives
- Develop ways to enhance the work environment
- Serve as the leader for a variety of projects and human resources initiatives
Resources and Professional Associations for Kentucky’s HR Professionals
Kentucky is home to state departments, professional associations, and staffing firms dedicated to human resources:
- Kentucky Society for Human Resource Management
- KYIPMA-HR | Kentucky Chapter
- KPHRA | Kentucky Public Human Resources Association
- Society for Human Resource Management – Louisville
- Bluegrass Society for Human Resource Management
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_ky.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 Kentucky Center for Statistics 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 salary and job growth data accessed in September 2019.