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

Human resource specialists in the West Central Utah area receive an annual average salary of $68,980 per year, making West Central Utah the forth-highest paying nonmetropolitan area in the entire nation for human resource specialists as of 2014, according to the U.S. Department of Labor.

Accordingly, the Utah Department of Workforce Services demonstrates that between 2012 and 2022:

  • The number of human resource specialist jobs is expected to grow by 23 percent, having one of the strongest employment outlooks of all jobs in Utah
  • The number of human resource manager jobs is expected to grow by 28 percent, far surpassing the overall growth of HR manager jobs in the nation at 13 percent
  • The number of human resource assistant jobs is expected to grow by 7 percent, surpassing the negative growth nation-wide

It’s no surprise that human resource professionals find opportunities in Utah’s bustling economy, since, as of March 2015, Utah had one of the lowest unemployment rates in the nation at just 3.4 percent.

Utah’s economic strength has been so impressive, in fact, that in 2012, Forbes ranked Utah as number one on the “Best States for Business” report, outranking both Virginia and North Dakota.

This strong workforce inherently reflects the need for top-notch human resource professionals, since they are the professionals responsible for recruiting, interviewing, hiring, developing, and training new employees in the workforce.

Utah’s top employers contribute to the staggering economic growth and increasing demand for human resource professionals. Some of Utah’s largest employers include, but are not limited to:

  • Intermountain Health Care – 20,000+ employees
  • University of Utah – 15,000-19,000 employees
  • Hill Air Force Base – 10,000-14,999 employees
  • Granite School District – 7,000-9,000 employees
  • Utah State University – 5,000-6,900 employees
  • ATK Thiokol Propulsion – 4,000-4,999 employees
  • Zion First National Bank – 3,000-3,999 employees

What Utah’s Top Employers Look for When Hiring and Promoting HR Professionals

Although each business will have specific requirements for human resource professionals, job requirements from Utah’s top employers, including the federal government, state and local government, and private businesses, illuminate general qualification requirements for human resource professionals throughout the state.

Standards for Job Applicants in Federal Government Human Resource Careers

Hill Air Force Base is one of the largest employers in Utah, and human resource jobs at this base and other federal locations can be found through USA Jobs.

To illustrate the qualifications necessary for human resource professionals looking to apply to federal government jobs, examples of job listings and job requirements are listed here (for illustrative purposes only, and does not constitute a job offer):

Human Resource Specialist (Employee Benefits) for Department of the Army in Draper – applicants for GS-11 jobs such as these should hold a master’s degree and one year of specialized experience as a human resource specialist, or a PhD and no previous specialized experience.

Human Resource Specialist (Military) for Department of the Army in Draper – Applicants for this GS-09 position should hold either a bachelor’s degree in human resource management or human resources plus twenty-four months of specialized experience, or they should hold a master’s degree in human resources (or a related field).

Qualification Standards for State and Local Human Resource Careers

As one of the largest employers in the state, with over 20,000 employees, the State of Utah is a major contributor to the need for human resource professionals in the state. Human resource professionals may submit a job interest card, which will notify them of any job openings in the field of human resources.

The job and job requirements listed here shed light on what qualifications state and local employers are looking for in human resource professionals (taken from survey of job vacancies in May 2015, and do not constitute a job offer):

Employee Relations/EEO Consultant for Salt Lake County – professionals who wish to apply to positions such as these should hold a bachelor’s degree in human resources, human resource management, or another related field, with at least two years of human resource experience. Advanced education may be substituted for fewer years of experience.

Professionals in this position would be responsible for interpreting and relaying all policies on discrimination, retaliation, and harassment, as well as providing consulting on management, standards of conduct, and other human resource matters.

Human Resource Careers in the Private Sector

Job titles and requirements in the private sector help to show what Utah’s top employers are looking for in human resource professionals. For illustrative purposes, some jobs are listed:

HR Specialist and Recruiting Manager for Kelly Services in Ogden – applicants to jobs similar to this should hold a bachelor’s degree in human resources (or a related field) and have at least two years of work experience in the field in order to effectively manage compensation, benefits, training, organizational development, and staffing.

Benefits Generalist for Savage Companies in Midvale – applicants to positions like this should hold a BA or BS in business administration, organizational behavior, human resources, human resource management, or a related field, and have from three to five years of benefits administration experience.

HR Business Analyst for Intermountain Healthcare in Murray – professionals seeking positions such as this will benefit from obtaining a bachelor’s degree in business management, human resources, finance, IT, or public administration. Further, applicants would benefit from having specified HR experience, such as that in benefits, employment, recruiting, or talent management.

Finding the Right Degree for a Career in Human Resource

Utah’s top employers are looking for human resource professionals at the top of their field—meaning, professionals with academic distinction, such as a master’s degree or human resources certification.

Most human resources programs offer some, if not all, courses online, making them more conducive to the schedule of working professionals.

Obtaining a Bachelor’s Degree in Human Resources

Students looking to achieve a bachelor’s degree to enter the field of human resources have a wide range of degrees to choose from, including business management, human resource management, finance, public administration, and more.

Although many degrees are applicable to the field, bachelor’s degrees designed specifically for careers in human resources include, but are not limited to:

  • Bachelors in human resources (BA or BS)
  • Bachelors in human resource management (BA or BS in HRM)
  • Bachelor’s in business administration in human resources (BBA in human resources)

Obtaining a degree in a wide-ranging field, such as human resources, will prepare students to function as a human resources generalist, where they are capable of managing all facets of human resources. HR generalists generally work for smaller companies, who employ one person to manage all functions.

However, obtaining a degree in a more specific field will prepare professionals to function in more specified roles, such as recruiter, labor relations specialist, benefits generalist, and more.

All bachelor’s programs in human resources will include courses on the core human resource functions:

  • Recruiting
  • Employee law
  • Compensation and benefits
  • Labor relations
  • Training and development

Bachelor’s programs in business administration with a specialization in human resources will include additional business-centered coursework:

  • Accounting
  • Statistical techniques
  • Business skills and environment
  • Human resource management in a market economy
  • Operations management
  • Organizational behavior
  • Business policy
  • Employment law
  • HR training and development
  • Staffing organizations
  • Employee benefits and compensation administration
  • Negotiation and conflict management

With a bachelor’s degree in human resources, students will be prepared to enter the field in varying job titles, such as:

  • HR Generalist
  • Recruiter
  • Benefits Coordinator
  • Compensation Analyst

Advancing to a Master’s Degree in Human Resources

Advancing to a master’s degree shows employers that human resource professionals are dedicated to excellence in the field. Master’s degrees specifically related to human resources include, but are not limited to:

  • Master’s of business administration in human resources (MBA)
  • Master’s of management in human resources (MAM)
  • Master’s of arts in human resources (MA)

Master’s in human resources degrees will focus on generating an in-depth understanding of human resource duties, such as:

  • Compensation, benefits, and performance
  • Employee recruitment and selection
  • Career development
  • Labor relations
  • Employment law

Master’s of management degrees will specialize in courses such as:

  • Diversity management
  • Legal environment
  • Career development and management
  • Strategic management for the MAM
  • Foundation of management theory
  • Management information systems

Master’s in business administration degrees will specialize in business-related courses, such as:

  • Accounting and finance: managerial use and analysis
  • Applied managerial statistics
  • Leadership and organizational behavior
  • Marketing management
  • Managerial finance
  • Business economics

Human resource professionals with master’s degrees are distinguished as experts in the field, and they are often prepared to enter roles such as human resources manager, director, and business partner.

Professional Human Resource Certification

Certification is an important way to obtain distinction in the field of human resources.

HR professionals may achieve the SHRM-SCP or SHRM-CP certification from the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM), which offers general distinction to advanced HR professionals.

Students also have the option of obtaining more specialized certifications, such as the PHR, SPHR, GPHR, or HRMP, given by the Human Resources Certification Institute (HRCI).

HR Resources, Staffing Firms, and Associations

Human resources associations are opportunities for human resource professionals to network within their area, learn about new trends in the field, and find professional development opportunities.

A few resources for HR associations, major HR employers, and staffing firms in Utah include:

Utah HR Associations

Utah Employers

Staffing Firms in Utah

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