This question is so important for people who want to work in the field of Human Resources that I thought I'd post the question and its answer here. A reader, who is working on a two year degree, which according to her college, would assure her of an HR job upon graduation, has received different information from her HR contacts working in the field. I burst her bubble further. Agree or disagree with me? I'd love to hear your thoughts.
Reader Question: "I am currently working toward my associate's degree in Human Resources. I have spoken to a few people who work in human resources and they tell me that without a bachelor's degree, I have no chance of getting hired in the HR department.
The college I'm attending, assured me that I would be able to obtain employment with an associate's degree. I'm a little confused as to who I should believe. I wasn't planning on going for my bachelor's degree when I finish with my associate's. Now I don't know what I should do. Anyone out there who could help me?"
Answer: Here's the bad news. You don't identify, but I suspect you may be attending a community college. What people who want professional careers should do at the community college level is to take all of their basics such as English, Math, Social Studies, etc.
Most accredited colleges will not even accept two year business credits in HR from a community college or like college. They want you to get the basics there and then attend the four year college for the actual degree credits. If it's a non-accredited, non-community college program, I don't even know where to start.
I can't speak for the rest of the world, but in my world, a two-year degree will not qualify you for a job in HR. The person might get a job in recordskeeping and administration. In this work world, a posted job for an HR Administrator (beginning HR job), that requires a Bachelors degree and two years of experience, pays $30,000, if you're lucky, attracts 100+ qualified applicants.
Many of these applicants have the degree plus experience, internships, and more, so I would never consider an applicant with a two year degree. And, this is my experience posting jobs.
The worst part of it is the nightmare you will have transferring the credits. A substantial four year college will not accept them and so you will be forced to turn to an adult-friendly, generally less respected institution that gives "life credit" and sometimes college credit for your courses. These degrees are less respected by employers who are familiar with the major colleges in their region - and their strengths and weaknesses.
It is probably going too far to say you will never get a job in HR, because I don't know you or your other credentials, your work experience, your circumstances, and so forth. But, it is getting much harder these days to get into HR without a degree.
Especially if you want to eventually sit at the executive table, many of your fellow execs will have degrees. Competition for HR jobs is fierce and many applicants have degrees. In this day and age of applicant tracking systems and keyword finding HRIS systems, getting invited for an interview is difficult.
I don't hire anyone into a beginning position in HR these days with less than a Bachelors degree. I'll bet a lot of employers are just like me.
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Poll: Does an HR leader need a degree?
- Absolutely. I wouldn't hire one without a degree.
- Most likely. Only degreed candidates have the background and skill set necessary for today's HR leader.
- Probably. There are too many candidates that have degrees to settle for one without a degree.
- It depends. Some HR leaders have experience that trumps the need for a degree.
- No. An HR leader does not need a degree.
- Absolutely not. An HR leader never needs a degree.
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