human resources manager job requirements

How to Become a Human Resources (HR) Manager

If you’re looking for a leadership role that will give you influence, human resource management could be the right fit. HR professionals have the potential to make the difference between an organization meeting its goals or missing the mark.

Human resource managers, also known as HR managers, are core to every type of business. They provide the blood that beats through all other departments, by ensuring employees are satisfied and effective in their roles. Sales teams, marketing, finance, product development, and even executive operations collaborate with HR managers to recruit, train, and retain workers.

HR departments exist in all industries, including business, non-profit, and government environments. So, how can you become an HR manager and make an impact? What skills will you use in HR management, and how can you develop them ahead of launching your career? This article will help you decide if becoming an HR manager is right for you.

How Do HR Managers Help Lead an Organization?

All sectors that make up the workforce are evolving in today’s competitive market by offering new products, services, and outreach modalities. External influences such as cultural shifts increasingly impact an organization’s focus of attention, communication tone, and even policies and hiring decisions. Health and well-being, diversity, equity, and inclusion are all trends that HR departments have been considering this year, which will continue to influence their policy developments going forward. Add to this stew of considerations an organization’s business goals, and clearly, leaders have much to consider when charting an overarching strategic plan.

Human resource managers fulfill an exciting role in this dynamic business environment. They handle an organization’s most precious resource: its people. HR managers orchestrate the staffing and talent acquisition needs of an organization and manage and administer employee benefits and payroll. Their role is at the apex of organizational strategy, performance evaluation, and budget distribution. The HR manager job encompasses:

  • Leveraging employee talent in each department of an organization.
  • Connecting upper leadership’s business goals to the people tasked with carrying out the work.
  • Interviewing, selecting, hiring, and onboarding new employees.
  • Evaluating employee performance and providing constructive feedback.
  • Creating and supporting professional development efforts and activities.
  • Handling disputes, termination, and off-boarding.
  • Managing human resource department roles and responsibilities, including jobs that focus on training, benefits distribution, recruiting, career succession, and more!

Becoming a human resource manager is a fantastic way to reach your leadership goals, while also benefiting from a high quality of life. HR managers make on average $126,230 annually, with the potential to make more in professional, scientific, and technical services, or enterprise and company management. HR managers typically work during regular business hours, about 40 hours a week, allowing you to balance your other responsibilities and interests.

An Overview of How to Become an HR Manager

The Bureau of Labor Statistics explains that to become a human resources manager, candidates must have a bachelor’s degree and work experience at minimum. However, a master’s degree is recommended for upper-level positions, and required in many organizations today. A master’s degree can be earned in a related area of study, such as business administration, organizational leadership, or human resources.


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For those without a master’s degree, the pathway to becoming an HR manager typically requires years of experience. Many managers start out as specialists in HR or labor relationships, and climb their way up the career ladder. However, those with a master’s degree may be preferred for management positions, particularly those who have demonstrated skills in directing employees, handling conflict, and leading others.

Earning a Master of Science in Organizational Leadership (MSOL) is a great option for aspiring HR managers. This degree can position you to enter the human resources field as a manager or director, without serving time in a more entry-level position as described above. A great MSOL program will provide you with coursework to develop your skillsets in employee development, conflict response, and organizational leadership.

An MSOL degree offers useful, practical lessons through a curriculum including these classes:

Advanced courses like these will give you the confidence and language skills that are required of a manager in the human resources department of any organization or business.

7 Steps to Become an HR Manager

The essential skill that HR managers must exercise in their role is people management, which is not specific to a single topical or technical area. HR management is one of the most flexible managerial tracks in terms of transferable skills from diverse industries. The possibilities for working in HR are wide-open! To become a human resources manager, a common pathway looks like this:

  • Earn a bachelor’s degree. Many concentrations are an excellent background for a career in HR, but some recommended fields are business administration, communications, and psychology.
  • Gain work experience. HR managers may begin as specialists, generalists, or associates, which offers them hands-on learning opportunities, and helps them prepare for a managerial role.
  • Jump to the top with a master’s degree. A degree such as a master’s degree in Organizational Leadership offers training in the theory and practice of management. You can apply at any time with a 3.0 GPA or higher, along with two letters of recommendation, and a personal statement of intent describing your career ambitions.
  • Study hard and graduate in as few as 20 months while studying online or in a hybrid format, and part-time, putting you in total control of your priorities.
  • Use Goodwin University’s Career Services for your whole life! Get help with writing your resume and cover letter, and applying to jobs.
  • Apply for professional, nationally recognized certifications such as the SHRM-CP and SHRM-SCP that will give you a competitive advantage against other HR job applicants.
  • Enjoy a lifetime in a career you love!

Getting started on your HR manager journey can begin with a simple call to Goodwin University, at 800-889-3282. You can also learn more about us online, or schedule your tour right away!