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

If economist forecasts are correct, Mississippi may experience a better job growth rate in 2016 than they have in the past 15 years. This means much stronger job prospects in a number of the state’s key industries, which has spurred hiring for the human resources professionals responsible for recruiting, vetting, hiring and training new employees.

By extension, one of the best ways to determine where jobs in human resources can be found is to follow the state’s top growth industries.

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According to the Mississippi Development Authority, manufacturing is leading the pack among industries responsible for Mississippi’s 1.5 percent job growth rate projected between 2014 and 2016. Mississippi’s’ manufacturing sector added nearly 4,000 jobs to the state’s economy in 2014, followed by leisure/hospitality, educational/health services, and trade/transportation/utilities, each of which added at least 1,000 jobs.

Job growth projections for human resources professionals specifically are much stronger than the state’s overall job growth rate. According to the Mississippi Department of Employment Security, between 2010 and 2020, certain key HR occupational classifications will see strong job growth:

  • Human Resources Managers: 9.1 percent increase
  • Training and Development Managers: 10 percent increase

How to Become a Human Resources Professional through Education and Certification

Entry-level human resources jobs in Mississippi are typically achieved with a bachelor’s degree in business or human resources, while senior positions often require the completion of a master’s degree.

Bachelor’s Degrees for Mississippi Human Resources Professionals

A bachelor’s degree in human resources, which may be designed as a Bachelor of Arts (BA), a Bachelor of Science (BS), or a Bachelor of Business Administration (BBA), is designed to prepare students with the knowledge and skills required to oversee the strategic and interpersonal management of company employees.

In addition to allowing students to develop important skills in critical thinking and problem solving, bachelor’s degrees in human resources prepare students to acquire competencies in key HR activities, which include:

  • Staffing
  • Training and development
  • Performance management
  • Compensation and benefits
  • Legal compliance

Typical coursework in a bachelor’s degree in human resources includes:

  • Legal and ethical environment of business
  • Human resources development and management
  • Conflict management and negotiation
  • Training and staff development
  • Organizational development

Master’s Degrees for Mississippi Human Resources Professionals

Individuals working toward senior-level and managerial jobs in human resources, such as employee relations directors, compensation managers, staffing managers, and HR directors, among others, are best served by pursuing a graduate degree in human resources.

Master’s–level degree programs in human resources may be designed as a Master of Human Resources (MHR), Master of Arts (MA), a Master of Science (MS), or a Master of Business Administration (MBA).

Just a few of the options for master’s degrees in human resources include:

  • Master of Arts in Management with a concentration in Human Resources
  • Master of Arts in Human Resource Management
  • Master of Science in Human Resources
  • Master of Science in Organizational Leadership with a Human Resources specialization
  • Master of Business Administration (MBA) with a concentration in Human Resources Management
  • Executive MBA – Human Resources Management concentration

Many programs allow students to generalize their master’s degree in human resources or specialize it in a specific area, such as:

  • Staffing
  • Training and development
  • Performance management
  • Compensation and benefits
  • Legal compliance
  • Employment and labor law

Admission into a master’s degree program in human resources generally requires the completion of specific finance and business undergraduate courses, as well as a minimum undergraduate GPA and some type of experience in human resources or business.

Professional Certification for Mississippi Human Resources Professionals

Professional certification has become a popular pursuit among human resources professionals, particularly for those in management or supervisory positions.

Professional certification, although voluntary, allows human resources professionals to exhibit a commitment to the industry and to their profession. The two most widely recognized HR certifications 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

What Mississippi’s Top Employers Look for in a Human Resources Manager

Mississippi’s job market for human resources professionals is varied, as is evident from recent job descriptions that detail the responsibilities and requirements of these specialists (Examples are from a May 2015 survey of job postings and are show for illustrative purposes only.):

Human Resources Associate: University of Mississippi, Oxford

This position involves performing and coordinating various activities and functions that support the areas of training and employment. This professional assists with projects, maintains reports, and assists with education and training efforts.

Qualified candidates will possess a bachelor’s degree from a four-year university and at least six months of experience in human resources.

Human Resources Coordinator: ABM, Jackson

This position involves handling all HR-related functions, including payroll, benefits, administration of labor contracts, training, employee relations, and recruiting.

Qualified candidates will possess a bachelor’s degree in human resources or a related field.

Employee Relations Specialist: Nissan North America, Canton

This position involves partnering with employees and management to communicate various HR policies, procedures, laws, and standards. It would also involve conducting exit interviews, analyzing data and making recommendations to management for continuous improvement, responding to employee relation issues, and facilitating workforce training.

Candidates must possess a bachelor’s degree in HR or a business-related field, along with at least 3 to 5 years of human resources/employee relations experience.

Human Resources Manager: Georgia-Pacific, Hattiesburg

Responsibilities for this position include interpreting policies and practices, identifying HR compliance risks and developing gap closure plans to ensure compliance, and coaching employees on the culture of the company.

Candidates for this position must possess, at a minimum, a bachelor’s degree or higher and at least 2 years of HR generalist/manager experience. Preferred candidates will possess a bachelor’s degree or higher in human resources and HR experience in a manufacturing or industrial environment.

Top Employers for Human Resources Managers and Specialists in Mississippi

Jobs for professionals in human resources, such as compensation consultants, labor relations specialists, and human resources business analysts, are most plentiful among companies that employ large numbers of workers and among those anticipating growth.

Business Insider reported the following, top employers in Mississippi, as of April 2015:

  • University of Mississippi Medical Center, Jackson: This medical center is the largest employer in Mississippi, employing more than 9,500.
  • Nissan North America Inc., Canton: The Nissan’s Canton vehicle assembly plant employs a staff of 6,300.
  • Baptist Health Systems, Jackson: Baptist Health Systems has created jobs for more than 6,000 Mississippi residents.
  • North Mississippi Medical Center, Tupelo: The North Mississippi Medical Center employs more than 5,000 doctors, nurses, and other employees.
  • Beau Rivage Resort & Casino, Gulfport: The Beau Rivage Resort & Casino employs about 4,000 employees.
  • Mississippi State University, Starkville: Mississippi is the state’s largest public university, employing more than 4,000

Resources for Management Professionals in Human Resources

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