Vermont has become a great state for nearly-guaranteed employment in 2019, sporting one of the lowest unemployment rates in the country, at 2.1 percent. At the same time, state payrolls have undergone a steady climb since 2015. With a minimum wage increase set to take effect on January 1, 2020, those numbers will continue to rise.
In even more good news, the Vermont Department of Labor indicates that the number of jobs in the field of human resources is growing.
Between 2016 and 2026, the Department expects both salaries and the number of jobs in several HR employment areas to grow substantially:
HR Management Roles
- Human Resources Managers: Median salary of $92,950
- Training and Development Managers: Media salary of $80,640
Non-managerial HR Roles
- Compensation, Benefits, and Job Analysis Specialists: 3 percent increase in the number of jobs
- Human Resources Specialists: 4 percent increase for an average of 110 openings per year
- Training and Development Specialists: 2 percent increase for an average of 70 openings per year
- Labor Relations Specialists: Median salary of $61,180
- Human Resources Assistants: Median salary of $38,260
Part of the reason the number of jobs for human resource professionals is growing is due to the low unemployment rate in Vermont. High levels of employment inherently point to high demand for human resource professionals, since they are the ones who recruit, interview, hire, train, and manage employees.
The largest employers in Vermont contribute significantly to the growth of the workforce, and in doing so, they also contribute to the demand for human resource professionals. Some of the biggest employers in Vermont include, but are not limited to:
- IBM – 5,300 employees
- Fletcher Allen Health Care – 4,835 employees
- University of Vermont – 3,777 employees
- Shaw’s – 1,300 employees
- Rutland Regional Medical Center – 1,217 employees
What Some of Vermont’s Top Employers Look for When Hiring and Promoting HR Professionals
Although each company will have specific requirements for human resource professionals, examples of job titles and their requirements show the type of qualifications that Vermont’s top employers search for in HR talent.
Human resource careers can be found under various job titles, such as human resources manager or coordinator, employee relations manager, labor relations manager, recruitment coordinator, employment service specialist, staffing specialist, and more (Shown for illustrative purposes only):
Vice President of Human Resources for Copley Hospital in Morrisville (near Stowe) – Preferred candidates for this position will have a bachelor’s degree in human resources (or a related field), at least ten years of human resource and business strategy experience, or a similar combination of education and experience (such as a master’s in human resources and eight years of experience). Preference will also be given to candidates who hold SHRM certification.
This position is responsible for advancing the effectiveness of the organizational culture through development and strategic initiatives.
Employee Relations Manager for Career Services in Essex Junction—To be hired in this role, you’ll need to hold a BS degree in human resources, business, or engineering (or another related field), with at least ten years of progressive human resource experience. Preference will go to job candidates who hold an MBA with a focus on human resources.
This position is responsible for coordinating all legal counsel, implementing human resource programs, developing policies, and working with global company resources to appropriately apply policies.
Assistant Director of HR in Employment and Diversity for Saint Michael’s College in Colchester – This sort of position typically requires a bachelor’s degree in business, human resources, or human resource management and five or more years of human resource experience. (An equivalent combination of experience and education, such as a master’s and three years, would be acceptable.) Preference will be given to candidates distinguished with a PHR or SHRM-CP certification.
This employee will ensure a dynamic and culturally competent corporate environment by managing hiring, employee relations, labor relations, and diversity in staff and faculty.
International Recruitment Specialist for Tetra Tech ARD in Burlington – Successful applicants should hold a bachelor’s degree in human resources, international relations, business management, or another related field. They should have at least two years of recruitment experience, and some experience, interest, or education in international development is preferred.
This position develops staffing structures and position descriptions for the company, which has over 13,000 worldwide employees in over 300 worldwide offices.
Human Resources Generalist for Visiting Nurse Association & Hospice of VT in Wilder – Candidates should hold a BA or BS in human resources, organizational management, business, or another related field, with three to five years of HR experience.
This professional will work on all human resources duties, including conducting recruitment selection, developing candidate pipelines, ensuring successful onboarding, improving manager and employee performance, preparing reports, complying with federal, state, and local employment law, and updating job knowledge.
Choosing the Right Degree for a Career in Human Resources
Vermont’s top employers look to hire and retain human resource professionals at the top of their field, who hold master’s degrees and professional human resource certifications. However, most human resource professionals begin their career by obtaining a bachelor’s degree.
Because they may enter the field with degrees in industrial relations, business management, organizational psychology, human resources, adult learning and human resource development, and more, it is vital that students learn the differences between the degrees and choose the most appropriate degree for their career goals.
Some bachelor’s degrees are offered online, and most master’s degrees in human resources have online options, so working professionals are able to earn degrees around their busy schedules.
Choosing the Right Bachelor’s Degree in Human Resources
BA and BS degrees directly related to human resources include, but are not limited to:
- BA or BS in Human Resource Management
- BA or BS in Management in Human Resources
- BA or BS in Business Administration in Human Resources
- BA or BS in Business in Human Resources
Although each university’s program is uniquely different, a few general elements of emphasis will be seen across schools.
For instance, a BA or BS in human resource management will include courses both on human resource topics and on management topics, such as:
- Compensation and employee benefits
- Development and training
- Employment law
- Management theory
- Management systems
- Strategic management
On the other hand, a degree in business administration in human resources will include courses on topics such as:
- Employee compensation
- Development and training
- Accounting and finance
- Marketing management
- Business economics
Achieving a bachelor’s degree prepares students to be competitive applicants in the workforce, applying for jobs with titles such as:
- Employee Relations Specialist
- Recruitment Specialist
- HR Generalist
Advancing to a Master’s Degree in Human Resources
Obtaining a master’s degree is one way to gain an edge in the field, showing employers an expansive understanding of human resource concepts. Many of these programs are designed to work around the schedules of human resource professionals who are already working in health care, education, businesses, the government, and more.
To be admitted to programs such as these, human resource professionals should meet the following minimum qualification criteria:
- Hold a bachelor’s degree
- Hold a 3.0 in undergraduate courses
- State clear professional goals
- Submit strong letters of recommendations from academic or professional experience
The most successful human resource professionals generally obtain degrees such as:
- MA in Human Resources
- MA in Human Resource Management (HRM)
- MA in Business Administration in Human Resources (MBA in HR)
- MA in Management in Human Resources (MAM in HR)
Classes will follow the same undergraduate emphasis courses, such as those in business and human resources; however, they will delve more deeply into the subjects than undergraduate courses did.
Most master’s programs are comprised of 30-45 credits, including specific human resource courses and specialized courses in management, business, or development.
For instance, some schools in Vermont offer specialized master’s degrees, such as an MA in Adult Learning and Human Resource Development. In programs such as these, courses would be specifically tailored toward development, include topics such as:
- Foundations of adult lifelong learning
- Philosophy, process, and practice of scholarship
- Adult learning
- Facilitating adult learning
- Human development in organizational systems
- Small groups and adult learning
- Consulting with human systems
With a master’s degree, human resource professionals are more prepared to attain advanced job opportunities, including filling job titles such as:
- HR Vice President
- HR Chancellor
- Assistant Director/Director of HR
Professional Human Resource Certification
Becoming certified gives distinction to human resource professionals with advanced experience, education, and shows their heightened level of excellence on a global scale. Certification can be achieved through these institutions:
- 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)
- Certified Professional (IPMA-CP)
- Senior Certified Professional (IPMA-SCP)
Human Resources Associations, Employers, and Staffing Firms in Vermont
As a helpful resource, HR associations, employers, and staffing firms include, but are not limited to:
Major HR Employers
Staffing Firms in Vermont
- Adecco Staffing– Burlington
- Westaff– Burlington
- Technical Needs– Lebanon
- Kelly Services Inc.– South Burlington
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.
Job growth projections sourced from the Vermont Department of Labor and published in the U.S. Department of Labor-funded Long Term Occupational Projections (2016-2026) database – https://projectionscentral.com/Projections/LongTerm. Employment conditions in your area may vary.
All salary and job growth data accessed in October 2019.