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Chief Human Resources Officer Career

How to Become a Chief Human Resources Officer

From recruitment to payroll, the human resources (HR) department of any company fulfills many roles. HR professionals implement policies to ensure compliance with all labor laws, hire new employees, settle on employee benefits packages, and handle workplace conflicts. In a leadership role, the chief human resources officer (CHRO) maintains executive responsibility for many of these duties, helping the company to achieve long-term success.

HR management positions currently rank as one of the most in-demand business jobs on the market, for good reason. They provide a rewarding opportunity for anyone with strong communication and organization skills. If you have a passion for employee management and business operations, the role of a chief human resources officer offers a fulfilling career option.

Office manager taking paperwork

What Is a CHRO?

A chief human resources officer oversees HR operations, as they help companies achieve compliance, run payroll, hire and train employees, and solve problems. Depending on the size of a company’s HR department, you might delegate tasks to other human resource officers or handle the majority of these tasks yourself.

Aspiring chief human resource officers will need to complete a relevant undergraduate degree program. Some may also need to obtain a master’s degree in administration or management. Qualified applicants typically have a few years of experience in an HR department.

What Does a CHRO Do?

An employer’s location, industry, and other factors can affect the specific job duties of a CHRO. However, the key duties of a CHRO always include a focus on equipping a company’s workforce to achieve the best possible results.

The exact responsibilities of a CHRO may include:

  • Ensuring continued compliance with any local, state, and federal laws and guidelines.
  • Delegating tasks as necessary to other HR staff members.
  • Creating department performance reports and providing them to HR managers or HR directors.
  • Hiring new staff members who complement a company’s existing workforce.
  • Firing employees whenever necessary.
  • Training employees in any new systems or processes.
  • Keeping records of a company’s operations.
  • Running employee payroll.
  • Creating employee benefits packages.
  • Mitigating conflicts between employees, or between employees and corporate executives.

These and other responsibilities keep a chief human resources officer busy as they work to keep a company's employees motivated and well-equipped.

What Education Does a CHRO Need?

Before you can begin a career as a CHRO, you’ll need to satisfy a few educational requirements. Chief human resources officers typically need to obtain a bachelor’s degree in human resource management. This helps to fully equip students for jobs in the HR field. You’ll learn indispensable skills in employment law, technology, project management, and workforce planning that will shape your career as a CHRO.

In order to obtain an advanced, executive job title, you’ll need an advanced degree. An MBA can help to improve your chances of getting a job as a CHRO. It will give you the additional leadership skills necessary to manage an HR department for a whole company, as well as a good understanding of the fundamentals of business.

In a similar vein, a Master of Science in Management and Leadership prepares you to take a leading role in HR. You’ll learn how to help employees optimize their engagement with an organization’s goals and with each other daily. Once you have an MSML degree under your belt, you’ll know how to turn HR’s human-capital-focused tasks into wins for the entire organization.   

Human Resource Management – B.S. Business Administration

A SHRM-recognized online business degree program:...

A SHRM-recognized online business degree program:...

A SHRM-recognized online business degree program:

  • Time: 70% of graduates finish within 35 months.
  • Tuition and fees: $3,720 per 6-month term.

Sample careers and jobs this business degree will prepare you for:

  • Human resource specialist
  • Director of talent acquisition
  • Recruiting manager
  • Organizational learning specialist
  • Vice president of HR

Earn your B.S. in Human Resources and help build strong organizations.

Master of Business Administration

The flexible MBA program you need, focused on business...

The flexible MBA program you need, focused on...

The flexible MBA program you need, focused on business management, strategy, and leading teams:

  • Time: Graduates can finish in 12 months.
  • Tuition and fees: $4,675 per 6-month term.

Sample careers and jobs this business degree will prepare you for:

  • President and CEO
  • Vice president
  • Executive director
  • Chief strategic officer

Our competency-based model gives you an innovative learning experience you won't find anywhere else—and our MBA grads tell us they loved accelerating their program to see a faster ROI.

Management and Leadership – M.S.

An online master's degree focused on change management,...

An online master's degree focused on change...

An online master's degree focused on change management, innovation, and leading teams:

  • Time: Graduates can finish in 12 months.
  • Tuition and fees: $4,675 per 6-month term.

Sample careers and jobs this business degree will prepare you for:

  • President
  • Vice president
  • Director of operations
  • Executive director

Develop a comprehensive suite of leadership skills and your confidence to navigate changing business structures.

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What Skills Does a CHRO Need?

Each day, chief human resources officers put a variety of skills to use. Whether you’re communicating with employees or implementing compliance policies, you’ll depend on the skills you learned in your undergraduate classes.

  • Employee management: The ability to effectively manage a company’s employees, including their workplace roles, benefits, and opportunities for advancement.
  • Interpersonal communication: The ability to effectively correspond with all members of the HR department, in addition to company employees and executives.
  • Financial management: The ability to effectively manage financial assets, investing in opportunities that yield sufficient returns.
  • Compliance: The ability to audit a company’s policies to identify and remedy any legal issues in their operations.
  • Staffing: The ability to recruit, hire, and fire employees to create a coordinated workforce.
  • Public speaking: The ability to address groups of people, typically new hires or existing employees, with confidence.
  • Instruction: The ability to teach employees about any new procedures or updates to existing policies.
  • Technological proficiency: The ability to use all necessary pieces of technology, including any computers, tablets, phones, or online platforms.

These and other skills help CHROs to advocate for a company’s workforce, driving companies toward success.

How Much Does a CHRO Make?


The exact income of a chief human resources officer may vary, based on factors that include their employer, employer’s location, years of experience, and education. In general, the salary of a CHRO averages $151,277 per year, with a range of roughly $93,000 to $234,000.

What Is the Projected Job Growth?


Chief human resources officers can expect to enjoy a favorable job outlook over the next decade. From 2019 to 2019, employment for HR management positions is expected to grow 6%. This growth rate is higher than the average across all occupations.

Where Does a CHRO Work?


A chief human resources officer can work in a variety of locations, depending on the nature of their employment. A CHRO commonly works in an office setting with other HR employees, helping to satisfy a company’s employee-related needs.

CHROs work for:

-Independent HR providers

-Private companies

-Nonprofit entities

-Healthcare organizations

-Government organizations

-Educational institutions


Interested in Becoming a CHRO?

Learn more about degree programs that can prepare you for this exciting career.

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