Bachelors and Masters Programs for a Human Resources Management Career in New Jersey

In 2019, the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) recognized New Jersey’s human resource managers as the top earners in the nation within their job classification, bringing home an average salary of around $169,040 a year.

The DOL also reported that of all metropolitan areas in the nation, the New York-Newark metropolitan division is number one in terms of having the highest number of HR managers and specialists.

Industry-specific job growth has always served as a key indicator for where you’ll find the most demand for human resources professionals. The State of New Jersey Department of Labor and Workforce Development reported that between 2016 and 2026, some 352,730 new jobs are expected to become available in the state, an 8.2 percent increase that puts the state a full percentage point above the national growth rate.

As New Jersey-based companies continue to hire new talent, human resource professionals are on the front lines to recruit, train, and manage the growing workforce. The state Department of Labor and Workforce Development expects to see these job trends for HR personnel in New Jersey between 2016 and 2026:

HR Management Roles

  • Compensation and Benefits Managers:8 percent increase in the number of jobs to keep pace with growing demand
  • Human Resources Managers:1 percent increase for an average of 350 openings per year
  • Training and Development Managers:3 percent increase for an average of 120 openings per year

Non-managerial HR Roles

  • Compensation, Benefits, and Job Analysis Specialists: 5 percent increase for an average of 190 openings per year
  • Human Resources Specialists3 percent increase for an average of 1,800 openings per year
  • Training and Development Specialists3 percent increase for an average of 730 openings per year
  • Labor Relations Specialists: 6 percent increase for an average of 610 openings per year
  • Human Resources Assistants: An average of 590 openings per year

The companies that have contributed most to job creation in New Jersey recently include:

  • Wakefern Foods – 36,000 employees
  • Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey – 28,700
  • Barnabas Health – 18,000
  • WalMart – 17,900
  • Verizon – 15,800
  • UPS – 14,800
  • Johnson & Johnson – 13,500
  • United Airlines – 13,400
  • Bank of America – 12,000

What New Jersey’s Top Employers Look for When Hiring and Promoting HR Staff

Jobs in human resources can be highly specialized, and include such titles as:

  • Training Coordinator or Supervisor
  • Talent Acquisition Consultant
  • Employee Relations Consultant
  • Recruiting or Hiring Coordinator
  • Human Resources Senior Manager
  • Human Resources Analyst

Job descriptions and related requirements reveal what some of New Jersey’s top employers are looking for in job applicants (shown for illustrative purposes only):

Training Supervisor with Nestlé in Freehold – Candidates looking to qualify for this sort of positions should hold a BA or BS in human resources, training and development, organizational development, or a related field. They should also acquire at least three years of experience in training and development.

This professional will oversee training systems and project management, including developing custom training solutions and managing training needs, design, and documentation.

Senior Manager, Human Resources for Johnson & Johnson in Raritan – While candidates looking to qualify for a job such as this would be required to have a bachelor’s degree in human resource management, industrial/organizational psychology, business, or another related field, a master’s degree is preferred. Along with this, the candidate should have at least five years of experience in human resources.

A professional in this position will focus on strategic and operational HR partnership with both internal and external partners, taking innovative global approaches to development and management.

Senior Manager, Human Resources (Corporate HR) for Johnson & Johnson in New Brunswick – For this position, a master’s degree in human resources, organizational development, organizational behavior, industrial organizational psychology, labor relations, or an MBA is required, with at least five years of professional human resources experience.

This roll involves partnering with Corporate HR specialist groups to support varying teams throughout the organization.

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Choosing the Right Degree for a Career in Human Resources

Employers in New Jersey are increasingly looking to hire job candidates with bachelor’s and master’s degrees, as reported by the New Jersey Department of Labor. High-paying positions increasingly require higher education as a baseline for applicants, and promotions are similarly contingent on degree levels.

Because of this, finding and choosing the right degree, along with acquiring a distinctive human resource certification, can play a vital role in preparing to enter the workforce.

Obtaining a Bachelor’s Degree

Top employers typically search for job candidates for specialist and lower-level managerial positions that have obtained a bachelor’s degree in human resources, industrial or organizational psychology, businesses, or another related field. There are multiple degree options designed specifically for those looking for a degree in human resources:

  • Bachelor of Science or Arts in Human Resources
  • Bachelor of Science or Arts in Human Resource Management
  • Bachelor of Science in Business – Human Resource Management
  • Bachelor of Business Administration in Human Resources

A general outline of the different components of each program is shown here:

Bachelor of Science or Arts in Human Resources

BS and BA degrees in human resources are well suited for those looking to become generalists and specialists in human resources. These programs introduce students to various aspects of all HR duties:

  • Workforce planning and development
  • Compensation and benefits
  • Employee training
  • Employee health and safety
  • Human resource management
  • Labor law

Bachelor of Science or Arts in Human Resource Management

This degree focuses on the management aspects of human resources, including:

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

Bachelor of Science in Business – Human Resource Management

This degree is a standard baccalaureate business degree with an additional concentration in human resources. Students will get the benefit of obtaining a full business education, along with specified HR courses. It will include such courses as:

  • 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

Bachelor of Business Administration in Human Resources

This degree focuses more on the managerial/administrative aspects of business, rather than accounting and finance, and merges business administration with HR duties. It will generally include such courses as:

  • Contract negotiation
  • Employee compensation
  • Training development
  • Organizational theory and behavior
  • Managerial accounting
  • Employment law

Obtaining a bachelor’s degree prepares graduates for generalist positions, as well as specialist roles in the areas of:

  • Training Supervisor
  • Recruiter
  • HR Coordinator

Advancing to a Master’s Degree

A master’s degree or specialized MBA with an HRM concentration is appropriate for those seeking promotion to such positions as HR manager, director, supervisor, partner, and analyst.

A master’s degree in industrial organizations, labor relations, organizational development, or business is also a common pathway into HR management positions.

Graduate degrees that focus specifically on human resources include, but are not limited to:

  • MA or MS in Human Resources
  • MA or MS in Human Resources Development
  • MA or MS in Human Resource Management
  • MA in Management (MAM) in Human Resources
  • Master of Business Administration (MBA) in Human Resources

Along with this, some master’s programs allow for specializations, such as human resources with an industrial relations or change leadership focus.

A list of common courses found in a number of different types of graduate programs include:

Master of Science/Arts in Human Resource Management

  • Law, Ethics, and Politics in Human Relations
  • Change Leadership
  • Human Resource Information Systems
  • Human Resources Global Contexts
  • Business Foundations
  • Corporate Communication
  • Business Research

Master of Business Administration with a Concentration in HRM

  • Economics, Mathematics, and Statistics for Business
  • Business Law
  • Business Finances
  • Managerial Accounting
  • Strategic Management
  • Information Technology
  • Responsible Corporate Leadership
  • Strategic HR Management

Human Resources Certifications

Human resources certifications, which can be attained through the HR Certification Institute (HRCI), the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM), or the International Public Management Association for Human Resources (IPMA-HR) will also give you an edge in the field when it comes to advancement. Becoming certified is a standard way of proving professional excellence, reflecting positively on both employees and employers.

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 New Jersey’s HR Professionals

Staffing firms specialize in a core area of HR expertise—recruiting great employees. Along with this, HR associations are networking assets that give HR professionals access to new developments in the field, professional development and training, and connections with other HR professionals.

Some of the top staffing firms and HR associations in New Jersey are:

Staffing Firms

HR Associations


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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 New Jersey Department of Labor and Workforce Development 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 October 2019.

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