The growth in demand for human resources professionals in Maryland is largely driven by substantial job growth with the state’s top employers: The Social Security Administration and the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services – both headquartered in Woodlawn.
Thanks to the implementation of the Affordable Care Act, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services has initiated a major hiring spree that began in 2015. Additionally, according to leading economists, an aging baby boomer population in the U.S. is expected to protect the Social Security Administration from job cuts, and indeed increase the number of employees the Administration hires. The Social Security Administration currently employs more than 10,000 workers in Baltimore County, making it the fifth largest employer in the region. Job growth among a state’s major employers always places a premium on the services that HR specialists and managers provide.
Whether working for federal, state, or local agencies or in private industry, human resources professionals are responsible for managing job recruitment, overseeing employee benefits and wellness programs, fostering a positive work environment, as well as positive employee-employer work relations.
Maryland’s Top Employers of Human Resources Professionals
The Maryland Department of Labor reports employment totals for key human resources professions (2014):
- Compensation and Benefits Managers: 320
- Human Resources Managers: 1,920
- Training and Development Managers: 800
Jobs in human resources can be found at virtually any company, although larger companies often have human resources teams and more organized efforts for overseeing employee benefits, assistance, and support.
In addition to the major presence of federal government agencies in Maryland, the Maryland Department of Human Resources shows that the state’s economic profile includes many other types of business, many of which provide services and goods to the federal government.
The high concentration of military installations and civilian agencies also generate a significant number of jobs, highlighting the need for human resources professionals to oversee the employees of these agencies, organizations, and businesses.
Maryland’s top employers make a strong contribution to the creation of human resources jobs in the state:
- Giant Food, Inc., Landover: 27,000 employees
- Johns Hopkins Medical Institutions, Baltimore: 22,000 employees
- MedStar Health, Columbia: 22,000 employees
- Black & Decker Corporation, Towson: 22,000 employees
- Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore: 15,759 employees
- Verizon, Baltimore: 14,000 employees
- Northrop Grumman Corporation: 11,000 employees
Job Requirements for Human Resources Professionals in Maryland
A sample of job descriptions from recent postings highlight the opportunities available to qualified human resources professionals, and the requirements that often accompany these positions (2015):
Human Resources Assistant/Facilities Coordinator, Maryland Insurance Administration:
- Responsible for assisting the human resources division by performing a variety of personnel and administrative tasks, including coordinating and scheduling interviews, and administering approved writing exercises for interview candidates
- Requires a bachelor’s degree from an accredited college or university along with at least one year of experience in administrative or professional work
Human Service Administrator, Maryland Department of Human Resources, Health Care Reform:
- Responsible for delivering technical assistance directly to district offices as needed and monitoring corrective actions so as to ensure operational improvement
- Requires a bachelor’s degree from an accredited college or university and at least seven years of experience in administrative, professional, or technical work
HR Manager, Elizabeth Cooney Care Network (nursing and healthcare services company):
- Responsible for providing assistance, advice, and follow-up on company policies, procedures and documentation and for overseeing the full cycle of recruitment
- Requires a bachelor’s degree in human resources or business management and at least five years of experience in a healthcare setting
HR Generalist, John Hopkins Medicine, Bloomberg School of Public Health:
- Responsible for providing human resources support and consultation in a range of areas, including performance management, employee relations, employee development, and risk development
- Requires a bachelor’s degree in human resources, business administration, or a related field, along with three years of progressive work experience in professional human resources; a master’s degree and PHR certification is preferred
Human Resources Professionals, National Security Agency, Fort George G. Meade:
- HR Generalist: Responsible for assisting employees with leave, benefits, retirement, policy interpretation, resignation, and other HR-related matters; requires an associate’s degree and at least two years of experience or a bachelor’s degree and no experience; a degree in HR is preferred
- HR Program Manager: Responsible for assisting managers and employees as a consultant for performance management, awards and promotions, staffing, and policy interpretation and guidance; requires an associate’s degree and at least two years of experience or a bachelor’s degree and no experience; a degree in HR is preferred
- HR Technical Specialist: Responsible for HR administration by processing and monitoring personnel actions; requires an associate degree, with an HR degree preferred
How to Become a Human Resources Professional: Degrees and Certification
Although some entry-level positions require only an associate’s degree or related administrative experience, most managerial and senior-level positions require bachelor’s and often master’s degrees.
Individuals pursuing bachelor’s degrees for jobs in human resources most often choose to complete their undergraduate degree in human resources, although degrees in business management and business administration are also often chosen.
Bachelor’s Degrees in Human Resources
A bachelor’s degree in human resources (which may be designed as a Bachelor of Science, a Bachelor of Arts, or a Bachelor of Business Administration) is designed to help students learn how to select, develop, and retain employees that complement the culture of the business or organization.
Students in a human resources bachelor’s degree program are taught to successfully execute key functions; understand the essential candidate analysis techniques; understand compensation models and training skills; and more. Typical coursework in this type of program includes general educational requirements, a business core, and human resources coursework, such as:
- Human resources management
- Training and development
- Compensation and benefits
- Employee and labor relations
Master’s Degrees in Human Resources
Students who want to pursue senior-level positions in human resources often choose to pursue a graduate degree or add a graduate certificate onto their existing master’s degree.
While graduate programs will often admit students with a bachelor’s degree in a variety of majors, they may also require certain prerequisite courses in management and human resources to be completed.
Jobs requiring graduate degrees in human resources often include:
- Compensation consultant
- Benefits consultant
- HR analyst
- Labor relations representative
- HR director
Human resources master’s degrees may be designed as Master of Arts (MA), Master of Science (MS), and Master of Business Administration (MBA) degrees. These programs may be offered as traditional on-campus programs, online programs, or blended programs.
Similar types of graduate programs in human resources include:
- Master of Labor Relations and Human Resources
- Master of Science in Organizational Management with a concentration in Human Resources
- Master of Science in Human Resources and Organizational Management
- Master of Human Resource Management
- Master of Professional Studies in Human Resource Management
- Master of Human Resources
A number of human resources master’s degrees also allow students to focus their course of study in specific areas, such as:
- Staffing, training, and development
- Employment and labor law
- Labor and collective bargaining
- Benefits and compensation
Core coursework in a master’s degree in human resources often includes:
- Managing for effective and ethical organizational behavior
- Recruitment and selection
- Personnel psychology
- Advanced training and development in organizations
- Strategic management of human resources
Professional Certification in Human Resources
Professional certification among human resources professionals is commonplace, as it allows these professionals to display a commitment to continued education, to advances in the industry, and to their profession.
The most widely recognized human resources professional certifications include (both credentials are examination-based):
- 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
Resources for Maryland’s Human Resources Professionals
- Maryland Society of Human Resource Management State Council
- Human Resources Association of South Maryland
- Maryland Association of Human Resources Officers
- Maryland Healthcare Human Resources Association
- Maryland Department of Human Resources