As of May 2014, Southern Vermont was the fourth highest paying nonmetropolitan area in the nation for human resource managers, who earned a median annual salary of over $117,000, as shown by the U.S. Department of Labor.
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 2012 and 2022, the Department expects the number of jobs in these areas to grow substantially:
- Human Resource Mangers – 10 percent
- Training and Development Specialists – 12 percent
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.
As of February 2015, the unemployment rate in Vermont was down to 3.9 percent, putting it far below the national average.
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 – 5,400 employees
- Fletcher Allen Health Care – 5,000 employees
- Killington Grand Resort – 2,000 employees
- Jay Peak Resort – 1,500 employees
- Mt Snow Resort – 1,500 employees
- Okemo Mountain Resort – 1,500 employees
- Rutland Regl Physician Group – 1,400 employees
- Rutland Regional Medical Center – 1,325 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 requirements will illuminate the type of qualifications that Vermont’s top employers search for.
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.
These example job listings illustrate job requirements for human resource professionals in the state (job examples here are examples, not job offers):
Vice President of Human Resources for Copley Hospital in Morrisville (near Stowe) – applicants for positions such as these will be preferred if they 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 professional would be responsible for advancing the effectiveness of the organizational culture through development and strategic initiatives.
Employee Relations Manager for Career Services in Essex Junction—applicants to jobs such as these should 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 – applicants for positions similar to this should hold 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 the dynamic and culturally competent culture by managing employment, employee relations, labor relations, and diversity in staff and faculty.
International Recruitment Specialist for Tetra Tech ARD in Burlington – successful applicants for positions such as this will hold 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 professional would develop 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 – applicants to positions such as these 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 obtain 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 changes in 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)
Courses will follow 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 two institutions:
SHRM offers general certifications to show advanced experience and education, such as:
HRCI offers more distinctive certifications to show advanced education and experience, as well as different areas of concentration, such as:
- Professional in Human Resources
- Senior Professional in Human Resources
- Global Professional in Human Resources
- Human Resources Management Professional
- Human Resources Business Professional
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:
- Vermont Human Resource Association
- SHRM Vermont State Council
- PHRMA Affiliate of the Society for Human Resource Management
Major HR Employers
Staffing Firms in Vermont
- Adecco Staffing – Burlington
- Westaff – Burlington
- Technical Needs – Lebanon
- Kelly Services Inc. – South Burlington