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HR Manager Career Guide

How to Become a Human Resource Manager

Human resources (HR) departments serve as the backbone of a company’s workforce. They help maximize employee productivity, create benefits packages, and implement company-wide policies that improve operations. In charge of the day-to-day operations of the HR department, HR managers maintain responsibility for staffing, payroll, team building, and other duties.

One of many in-demand business careers, the role of an HR manager involves far more than hiring and firing. HR managers serve as advocates for a company’s workforce, equipping all employees with necessary resources while ensuring continued policy compliance.

If you have a passion for people and strong communication and employee management skills, a position as a human resource manager can serve as a rewarding career option.

Business professionals shake hands after a successful meeting.

What Is a Human Resource Manager?

Human resource managers oversee the daily operations of a company’s HR department. Whether they’re authorizing the creation of new company policies, recruiting new employees, or communicating with existing staff, HR managers work to improve the overall productivity of a company’s workforce.

You can typically qualify for a human resource manager position after obtaining a relevant undergraduate degree. An advanced degree may be needed, however, to qualify for management roles in some companies. In addition, many HR leadership positions — including the role of an HR manager — typically require at least a few years of experience in a human resources environment.

Where Do Human Resource Managers Work?

Human resources managers can work in a wide variety of locations, depending on their employer. As one of the main factors that collectively influence the nature of an HR job, location can dictate the duties of an HR manager on a day-to-day basis.

HR managers might work in one or more of the following locations:

  • Talent agencies
  • Small, medium, or large businesses
  • Nonprofit agencies
  • Government buildings
  • Schools

Human resource managers are also one of many HR positions available in the healthcare industry. Similar to HR careers in other industries, HR managers  — and general HR staff — working for a healthcare organization help hire and retain employees, settle conflicts, and enforce compliance

What Does a Human Resource Manager Do?

A human resource manager can fulfill a wide variety of responsibilities. You will depend on strong communication and employee management qualities to lead your HR department in policy creation, recruitment, benefits decisions, and more.

The exact responsibilities of a human resource manager include:

  • Creating and implementing procedures that improve a company’s output.
  • Ensuring continued compliance with any local, state, and federal policies.
  • Delegating tasks to appropriate HR department representatives.
  • Supervising the performance of all HR department staff.
  • Working with both HR staff members and current employees to determine the benefits most important to the workforce, and to create benefits packages to meet those needs.
  • Coordinating a company’s recruitment and hiring process.
  • Firing employees whenever necessary.
  • Implementing policies that allow for efficient conflict resolution procedures between employees.

These and other responsibilities define the daily life of an HR manager, as they work to coordinate the tasks, duties, and decisions that keep an HR department busy.

What Education Does a Human Resource Manager Need?

Before you can begin a career as a human resource manager, you’ll need to satisfy a few educational requirements. First, you’ll need to obtain a bachelor’s degree in human resource management, or a closely-related field. This program will directly contribute to your success in an HR management position, as you develop skills in workforce planning, compensation and benefits, economics, and project management.

A master's in management & leadership or MBA program can contribute to a similarly successful career path. You’ll learn skills in finance, operations, and account management, useful whether you’re pursuing a career in HR or virtually any corporate field. This advanced role will qualify you for the management element of an HR management position by giving you knowledge and experience in leadership and strategy. 

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 Human Resource Manager Need?

Human resource managers regularly use a variety of skills. Whether they’re communicating with team members, implementing policies, recruiting potential employees, or delegating tasks, HR managers work to equip a company’s workforce with the tools it needs to thrive.

HR managers regularly depend on the following skills:

  • Employee management: The ability to effectively manage a company’s workforce, equipping them with the tools they need to succeed.
  • Interpersonal communication: The ability to effectively correspond with fellow HR representatives, company employees, and executives.
  • Staffing: The ability to equip a company with the right employees, to facilitate teamwork and long-term success.
  • Budgeting: The ability to effectively manage a company’s finances.
  • Delegation: The ability to assign tasks to appropriate HR employees.
  • Scheduling: The ability to create HR employee schedules that accommodate each employee’s calendar.
  • Teamwork: The ability to effectively work alongside other HR employees and company staff.
  • Technological proficiency: The ability to use all necessary pieces of technology in a human resources environment, including any computers, tablets, phones, and online platforms.

These and other skills help HR managers to fulfill all aspects of an HR management role, while they delegate tasks to other HR employees.

How Much Does a Human Resource Manager Make?


The exact income of an HR manager can vary based on many factors, including your employer, employer’s location, years of experience, education, and active certifications. The average salary of a human resource manager is $68,644, with a range of roughly $48,000 to $95,000.

What Is the Projected Job Growth?


Human resource managers are expected to maintain a favorable job outlook in future years. From 2019 to 2029, employment for HR managers is expected to rise 6%. This growth rate is faster than the average across all occupations.

As new companies expand and existing companies continue to grow more complex, HR departments will be needed to keep workforces efficient and compliant. Human resource managers will be required to implement these policies, and coordinate HR department staff efforts.

Do I Need a Certification to Become an HR Manager?


In addition to the educational requirements for an HR manager position, you might also have to obtain one or more certifications. HR certifications help you build on the foundation your education provides, as you further improve your proficiency in specific areas.

HR certifications help further develop your HR skillset, and can improve your aptitude for hire in the eyes of an employer.

Interested in Becoming a HR Manager?

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