No, you don't have to have a degree to work in the field of Human Resources, but the lack of a degree will limit you to the lowest level, less knowledge-based functions in the HR office. When HR Assistants come to work with a Bachelor's degree for $30,000, why would a forward thinking office hire an employee without a degree?
That said, there are some jobs as HR Administrators or as Payroll Specialists that may not require a degree. You will also not expect to advance very far in your HR career in these roles without a degree.
Increasingly, however, HR professionals have both Bachelor's degrees and Master's degrees. Since HR is a highly competitive field, the more education you have, in appropriate subjects, the better your chance for excellent job prospects and a successful career. Another trend I am seeing is HR Directors with a Ph.D. and/or a Juris Doctor (J.D.), legal degree.
Many longer term HR professionals argue that a degree is unnecessary, that they built a successful career up to and including positions as Vice President, without a degree. But, this is not the trend for jobs in HR. An HR professional, who wants to participate in the strategic leadership of a business, needs a degree.
More About Human Resources Management
- Human Resources Management OneStop: HR Site Overview
- Human Resources Management Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
- Book Reviews for Human Resources Management
More About Careers in Human Resource Management
- So, You Think You Want a Career in Human Resource Management?
- Beginning a Career in Human Resource Management
- Mid-career Change and Mid-career Development in Human Resource Management
- Later Career Change and Later Career Development in Human Resource Management
- Career Success in Human Resource Management