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Five Growing Human Resources Specialties

Five Growing Human Resources Specialties

Five Growing Human Resources Specialties

Depending on the company, a human resources job can encompass everything from recruiting to training to compensation, or it can focus on a single human resources specialty. A small organization may have just one human resources generalist or human resources manager. In large corporations, human resources management duties are divided among several areas, including employment and placement; compensation and benefits; recruitment; labor relations; and training and development.

Many universities offer bachelor’s and master’s degrees in human resources management and an increasing number provide degrees in human resources niches. However, many human resources jobs in the future may be filled by professionals with degrees and experience in other fields, such as finance and technology, writes human resources strategist John Sullivan on the human resources industry Web site

Although the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) doesn’t separate each human resources specialty, it does project overall employment in all human resources job categories to grow by 22 percent between 2008 and 2018 -- much faster than most occupations.

Below are some of the most in-demand specialist human resources jobs.

Compensation and Benefits Managers

These HR workers develop, implement and administer a company’s rewards and benefits policies, including salaries, bonuses, pensions, life insurance and sometimes medical insurance packages.

A bachelor’s degree in human resources management is a typical requirement. A master’s degree in management or human resources is helpful, as is at least five years of experience in the field or in a related area. Those who specialize in this area are paid well: Salaries can range from $40,251 to $98,221, according to mid-June 2011 data from PayScale.

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Training and Development Specialists

These HR specialists conduct and supervise training and development programs for employees. This specialty is splintering into even more specialized human resources jobs, such as organizational development consultant and training and development manager. In general, a training and development specialist will work with training managers and employee supervisors to develop performance improvement measures, conduct orientation sessions, and arrange on-the-job training to help employees maintain and improve their job skills.

A bachelor’s degree, often in business administration or business management, is required. An MBA and more than five years of HR-related experience may also be needed. Salaries range from $36,147 to $75,422, according to PayScale.

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Employment, Recruitment and Placement Specialists

Also called recruiters, these specialists recruit and place workers. They may travel to job fairs and college campuses to find promising job applicants. They may also screen, interview and test applicants, and may check references and extend job offers.

Bachelor's degrees in psychology or business management are often expected in this field. Earnings for these human resources specialists range from $29,690 to $69,575, according to PayScale.

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Human Resources Information System (HRIS) Analysts

Professionals in this area coordinate, communicate and implement changes to the HR information systems. A BA or BS degree in information systems or a related field is usually required. According to PayScale, HRIS analysts can earn $40,681 to $85,069, depending on the company and their level of experience. They can also move up to positions as HRIS managers ($47,609 to $117,210), human resources managers ($38,808 to $85,882) or senior business analysts ($54,743 to $99,457).

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Employee Assistance Plan Managers

Sometimes called employee welfare managers, manager of work and family programs or work-life managers, these HR professionals oversee programs to enhance employee safety and wellness and improve work-life balance. They may manage occupational safety and health standards and practices, health and physical fitness plans, medical examinations, flextime programs, food service and recreational activities, childcare and elder-care programs, and counseling services.

A bachelor’s degree, and usually a master’s, in human resources management is required, plus at least five years of HR experience. These are some of the highest-paid human resources managerial specialist jobs, with a median salary of $101,298, according to

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Learn more about human resources careers.

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