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Bachelors and Masters Programs for a Human Resources Management Career in South Dakota

South Dakota’s job market continues to gain ground even as an influx of job seekers has increased the state’s population by nearly nine percent as of 2015. As even more people come to work in the oil fields and in the businesses that serve this growing workforce, HR specialists are scrambling to fill workforce vacancies especially in the major metro areas of Sioux Falls and Rapid City.

According to a recent report from the Pew Research Center, manpower recruitment centers across the country have been called upon to find employees to fill job vacancies in response to South Dakota’s oil boom. Still, vital service sector industries working to meet the demands of a growing population are among those with the biggest staffing needs. In fact, according to South Dakota’s Department of Labor and Regulations, the most vigorous industry growth is expected to be in healthcare, construction, and the tech and science sectors. Private corporations aren’t the only ones vying for talent. Among South Dakota’s top employers are military installations including Ellsworth Airforce Base and the US Air National Guard.

With such an aggressive job market, human resource positions become a first-line requirement for any organization looking to build and develop a qualified workforce. Among the major employers in South Dakota are industry leaders in food, military, healthcare, and banking:

  • IDP Hog Market – 4,800 employees
  • Ellsworth Air Force Base – 4,500 employees
  • Rapid City Regional Hospital – 4,000 employees
  • Stanford USD medical Center – 4,000 employees
  • Citibank South Dakota – 3,200 employees
  • Ellsworth Airforce Base – 3,000 employees
  • John Morrell Food Group – 3,000 employees
  • Regional Health Physicians – 3,000 employees
  • VA medical Center- Fort Meade – 1,997 employees
  • Aver Saint Luke’s Hospital – 1,400 employees

Job Descriptions for HR Professions with Some of South Dakota’s Top Employers

South Dakota’s recent job growth suggests that major employers and governmental agencies will need to hire quality HR professionals capable of recruiting, screening, hiring, training, and manning their ever-growing labor force.

From HR recruiting and training specialists, to payroll and benefits administrators, to HR managers and directors, South Carolina’s top employers rely heavily on their internal HR department. The following job openings serve as an example of the types of jobs available and the required day-to day duties for each HR position (taken from job vacancy boards in May 2015 and shown for illustrative purposes only):

HR Generalist – Green Tree – Rapid City

  • Manage talent acquisition
  • Handle employee engagement and training
  • Implement staff development
  • Employ labor relations
  • Provide expertise in business knowledge to execute workforce strategies and methods in alignment with goals and best practices
  • Mentor and coach managers and supervisory staff regarding handling of sensitive workforce issues
  • Help resolve complex HR issues across departments

HR Manager II- Regal-Beloit – Aberdeen

  • Manage all HR functions for large union mfg. facility
  • Manage compliance, salaries, employee relations, recruiting and training
  • Act as team leader and collaborate across departments
  • Supervise subordinates

Human Resources Department Supervisor for Toys R Us – Rapid City

  • Work with other managers in staffing selection
  • Source and screen interview candidates
  • Schedule and employ regular recruiting in order to maintain each store’s staffing levels
  • On-boarding orientation for all new staff members
  • Ensure tax compliance for new hires
  • Assign and maintain company software access
  • HRIS System maintenance
  • Coordinate all store activities
  • Monitor employee compliance and satisfaction surveys

Earning the Right Degree for a Career in Human Resources

Even in a robust job market, companies are very selective when hiring qualified personnel to operate their HR departments. Employers typically look for candidates with a bachelor’s degree or a master’s degree, and often an added professional HR certification. Required education and credentials depend largely on a position’s level of management authority.

Bachelor’s Degree Options

Available through various institutions throughout the state as well as online, a BBA (Bachelor of Business Administration) or BS/BA in human resource management is foundational to most lower-to-mid-level HR management positions.

BA or BS with a major in Human Resource Management – These undergraduate degrees provide students with skills in areas fundamental to HR management. Programs typically cover 120 credits of coursework, including 36 in the major; 41 in general education; and 43 in electives. These programs will prepare the student with the following types of courses:

  • Human Resources Management
  • Accounting
  • Finance
  • Law
  • Ethics
  • Budgets
  • Employee Relations

Bachelor of Business Administration with an emphasis in HR Management – With credit requirements similar to those of a BS/BA program, the HR BBA focuses more on broad business manangement skills related to business information systems and budget development in the context of HR management.

The core classes are often divided into three primary subjects: business, office management and human resource.

BBA programs may include the following types of courses:

  • Algebra
  • Natural Science
  • Economics
  • Principals of Accounting
  • Business Finance
  • Statistics
  • Labor and Management Relations
  • HR Management
  • Managerial Finance

Master’s Degree Options

When a professional continues to the graduate level (MA, MS, MBA, or MPA) they will often choose a program in business administration with a concentration in HR manangement. Examples include:

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

One of the more popular options, the Master of Business Administration with a concentration in Human Resource Management (MBA) prepares HR professionals to work in a business leadership position within the corporate environment. These programs provide the higher level leaership skills expected of managers and directors.

Coursework often includes:

  • Management
  • Human Capital
  • HR Law
  • Business Law
  • Economics
  • Accounting
  • Statistics and research
  • Corporate Finance
  • marketing Techniques

Human Resources Professional Certification

Students recognize the advantages of voluntarily seeking additional HR certification:

Additional Resources for Current and Aspiring HR Professionals

Professional organizations, local chapters of certifying bodies, and HR staffing firms round out the resources available:

Professional Organizations

  • The Bureau of Human Resources
  • South Dakota Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM)- a resource and advocate for both employers and HR professionals.
  • The Weston Group– Provides tools and training for HR compliance — located in Sioux Falls, SD.

South Dakota HR Staffing Firms

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