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

According to the US Department of Labor, Kentucky is home to 5,310 human resources specialists and 1,610 human resources managers, occupational classifications that are both expected to enjoy rapid job growth in the coming years. In fact, the Kentucky Education and Workforce Development Cabinet projects that in the ten-year period between 2012 and 2022:

  • The number of human resources specialist jobs in the state will increase by 15.06%
  • The number of human resources manager jobs in the state will increase by 14.4%

Another positive sign indicating job growth for human resources workers in Kentucky is the promising outlook for the state’s economy overall. The state expects to see more than 69,000 job openings annually through 2022, with all 22 of the state’s major occupational groups expected to add jobs.

As Kentucky’s major industries increase the size of their labor forces, an increased demand is created for skilled recruiters, hiring managers, training specialists, labor relations specialists, and other HR professionals.

Online master's in HR. Aligns with SHRM requirements - No GRE/GMAT required
Rasmussen College
Online Human Resources and Organizational Leadership Associate's/Bachelor's
Capella University
100% online DBA, PhD, MS, and BS degrees in Human Resources Management
Southern New Hampshire University
MS and BS in Human Resource Management
Benedictine University
Online Bachelor of Arts in Management in Human Resources Management
University of Scranton's
Online Master of Science in Human Resources Program
Saint Joseph's University
MS in Strategic Human Resource Management Program

Perhaps no other area in Kentucky is more fit for aspiring human resources specialists than the city of Elizabethtown. According to the US Department of Labor, there are currently more than 16 human resources specialist jobs for every 1,000 jobs in the city, giving Elizabethtown the distinction of having the highest concentration for this occupational classification of any metropolitan area in the country. HR specialists in Elizabethtown earn an average salary of $66,370, well above the national average for this occupation.

Getting the Right Degree for a Career in Human Resources

According to the Kentucky and Education Workforce Development Cabinet, occupations that require a master’s degree are expected to grow by nearly 20 percent between 2012 and 2022, while 10,539 job openings for occupations requiring a bachelor’s degree will be added every year during that same period. This aligns with job growth projections for HR managers and specialists, which are typically expected to hold a bachelor’s degree in a relevant major at minimum.

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 program with a management focus typically cover:

  • Staffing
  • Training and development
  • Compensation and rewards
  • Global human resource management
  • Career management
  • Benefits
  • Corporate governance
  • Conflict management
  • Diversity

BBA and BSBA in Human Resource Management

Degrees in business or business administration with a concentration in human resource 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
  • Marketing
  • 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

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 national human resources organizations that offer their own certification programs for HR professionals with a qualifying level of education. Two of the best-recognized organizations and the certification options they offer include:

  • Society of Human Resource Management (SHRM)
    • SHRM-CP (certified professional)
    • SHRM-SCP (senior certified professional)
  • 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

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 (from a survey of job vacancies taken in May 2015, shown for illustrative purposes only):

HR Generalist, MedSynergiesJob 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 AidJob 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:


Professional Associations

Staffing Companies

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