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

After a decade-long recovery from one of the worst recessions in history, Michigan is finally over the hump and enjoying strong job gains and low unemployment rates. In fact, as of August 2019, the unemployment rate here was just 4.2 percent, and economists at the University of Michigan predict that the state will regain about 80 percent of the jobs it’s lost since 2000 within the next year.

This healthy economic environment means plenty of opportunities in a variety of sectors and industries, including the human resources field. As companies rebuild and grow their workforces, they must also bring HR professionals on board who can manage and serve growing numbers of employees. This means outstanding opportunities for everyone from entry-level HR assistants to master’s prepared senior-level HR executives.

Salary statistics from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) and job projections from the Michigan Department of Technology, Management & Budget reveal the good news for HR professionals at all levels in Michigan:

Human Resources Management

  • Human Resources Managers The median salary for Michigan’s human resources managers is $103,390. The top 10% here earn an average salary of $181,840.
  • Compensation and Benefits Managers Michigan’s compensation and benefits managers earn a median salary of $118,200, which is just slightly below the national median salary of $119,120 for these professionals.
  • Training and Development Managers Training and development managers in Michigan earn a median salary of $106,250, which is about $5,000 less than the national median salary for this profession.

Human Resources Specialists and Assistants

  • Human Resources Specialists Human resources specialists in Michigan earn a median salary of $57,890, which is just slightly less than the national median salary of $60,350 for these professionals.
  • Labor Relations Specialists Michigan’s labor relations specialists earn a median salary of $68,010, which is about $5,000 more than the national median salary of $63,200 for these professionals.
  • Training and Development Specialists The number of training and development specialists in Michigan is projected to grow 12.4 percent between 2016 and 2026 – that’s higher than the national projected growth rate of 11.5 percent for this profession.
  • Compensation, Benefits, and Job Analysis Specialists Compensation, benefits, and job analysis specialists in Michigan earn a median salary of $58,940 and a top (90th percentile) salary of $94,420.
  • Human Resources Assistants HR assistants in Michigan earn a median salary of $37,080.

Michigan’s Top Employers for Human Resources Managers and Specialists

It’s no surprise that the bulk of human resources jobs in Michigan are found in companies that employ a large portion of the state’s workforce. In Michigan, that means human resources managers, coordinators, analysts, and specialists—those HR professionals responsible for senior-level oversight of human resources departments, retention efforts, recruitment efforts, and other supervisory tasks—are in high demand in Michigan’s major industries like its automotive, advanced manufacturing, healthcare, and information technology industries.

According to 2019 BLS numbers, the largest employers in Michigan include:

  • Dow Chemical Company: 88,000 employees
  • Michigan State University: 30,000 employees
  • General Motors: 17,096 employees
  • Delphi Thermal Systems: 11,000 employees
  • Beaumont Hospital: 8,018 employees

Job Requirements to Become a Human Resources Professional in Michigan

Jobs for human resources specialists and managers are found in the private and nonprofit sectors, as well as with state, local, and federal government agencies.

Job descriptions for HR positions advertised in Michigan reveal the responsibilities and employment requirements these careers involve (Shown for illustrative purposes only): 

Human Resources Coordinator, Riverview Health & Rehab Center, Detroit

This position requires completing a variety of human resources tasks, including processing payroll, administering employee benefits, assisting in the hiring of new employees, and ensuring compliance with company policies and procedures.

Candidates must possess a minimum of a bachelor’s degree at minimum in human resources or a related field, along with at least three years of related experience.

Human Resources Manager, TH Plastics, Inc., Battle Creek

This position requires playing a key role in the management and administration of all human resource functions in a facility with more than 300 employees.

Candidates must possess a bachelor’s degree at minimum in business with a human resource management concentration, along with at least 5 years of administration/management in human resources; PHR/SPHR certifications preferred.

Human Resource Operations & Services Leader, Amerisure Mutual Insurance, Farmington Hills

This position involves developing and implementing enterprise-wide human resources strategies and initiatives, building key relationships across the organization, and translating business needs into effective HR solutions.

Candidates must possess a bachelor’s degree, with a master’s degree strongly preferred, along with at least 10 years of progressive HR or related experience and at least 5 years of management experience.

Human Resources Consultant, Saint Joseph Mercy Hospital, Ann Arbor

This position involves planning, developing, and leading future initiatives that support the mission and core values of Saint Joseph Mercy Hospital.

Candidates for this position must possess a bachelor’s degree in human resources or the equivalent combination of education and experience as a human resources generalist; a master’s degree in human resources is preferred.

Human Resources Business Partner, Chrysler Group, Auburn Hills

This position requires collaborating with business leaders, assisting in the development and deployment of a talent management platform, and providing hands-on HR expertise to deliver value to resource planning, organization design, and retention strategies.

Candidates for this HR position must possess a bachelor’s degree, with a master’s degree in human resource management being the preferred qualification. A minimum of 8 years of experience in an HR business partner position is also required.

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Degree and Certification Options for Working in Human Resources Management

The majority of human resources jobs in Michigan, as detailed above, require at least a bachelor’s degree in business or human resources.

Bachelor Degrees in Human Resources

Bachelor degrees in human resources allow students to learn the many aspects of human resources management so they can serve in positions that help deliver, develop, and retain employees.

These programs, which may be designed as Bachelor of Arts (BA), Bachelor of Science (BS), or Bachelor of Business Administration (BBA) degrees, generally include coursework in areas such as:

  • Information Systems Management
  • Principles of Management
  • Compensation and Benefits
  • Leadership
  • Collective Bargaining
  • Training and Development

Master’s Degrees in Human Resource Management

Achieving a supervisory or leadership position in human resources often requires the completion of a master’s degree in human resources, which may be designed as a Master of Arts (MA), a Master of Science (MS), or a Master of Business Administration (MBA) in Human Resource management.

Most of these programs require applicants to possess some type of business and human resources education, whether as an undergraduate degree or through the completion of specific undergraduate classes. Admission into these programs also often depends on experience in human resources and a strong undergraduate GPA.

An MBA in human resource management provides a foundation in traditional business administration concepts, such as accounting, finance, leadership, marketing, economics, operations, and information technology. These programs provide in-depth study in the key areas of human resources, which include:

  • Recruitment
  • Hiring
  • Training
  • Compensation
  • Benefits
  • HRIS Systems

Typical coursework in an MBA in Human Resource Management includes:

  • Managerial accounting
  • Financial management
  • Information technology
  • Strategic management
  • Marketing strategies
  • Operations management
  • Quantitative analysis for decision making

Professional Certification Options in Human Resources

Although professional certification for human resources managers and other specialists is strictly voluntary, many HR professionals choose to achieve it because:

  • It demonstrates expertise
  • It builds credibility
  • It distinguishes HR professionals as industry leaders

The top certification designations for HR professionals include:

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)

Resources for Michigan’s Human Resources Professionals


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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 Michigan Department of Technology, Management & Budget 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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