Benefits of Earning a Five-Year Master’s Degree in Human Resources
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Benefits of Earning a Five-Year Master’s Degree in Human Resources

Human resources is both a rapidly expanding field and one that has changed in recent years. It has become a popular career for college graduates, with more than 136,000 people working as human resource managers.

Getting to the top levels in HR typically requires earning a master’s degree. At that level, expertise is needed in areas such as compensation and benefits planning, the local, state and federal laws that govern human resources, and the latest developments in technology that are being used in HR.

Human Resources Leadership

At many companies, HR managers have become “human resource partners,” working with executives and department heads on employee recruitment and retainment strategies. They are involved earlier in the process, working hand-in-hand with company leaders.

With the changes and growth in human resources, a five-year master’s degree program can prove the perfect choice for those who know they eventually want leadership positions in HR.

How a Five-Year Program Works

By entering a five-year program, college students set a goal of earning both a bachelor’s degree and master’s degree in one program.

Some programs also offer options on how you want to enter the human resources field. For example, New England College offers students the opportunity to earn either a Master of Science in Human Resource Management or an MBA with a concentration on human resource management.

Students earn either degree as part of the five-year program. Called a “3+2” program, the undergraduate degree is earned in three years and the master’s degree in the next two. At NEC, this means a student can complete a bachelor’s degree and an MS in Human Resource Management with 148 credits rather than the 156 needed to pursue each individually.

For the bachelor’s degree followed by the MBA, students earn both degrees with 148 credits rather than the 160 needed to pursue both individually.

The primary benefit is to earn both degrees faster. It’s a smart choice for those who know from the outset of entering a degree program that they want a master’s degree and eventually a position as an HR manager.

Job Growth in Human Resources Management

The other major benefit of a five-year, two-degree program is that it gets graduates into the growing human resource profession faster and with the expertise they need to succeed.

The federal government projects a 9% increase in the number of human resource manager jobs across the nation by 2026. The median annual salary for those positions in 2017 was $110,120, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS).

Across most of New England, the salaries for an HR manager position are very good. According to the BLS, the mean annual salary for human resource managers in the six New England states in 2017 were:

  • Rhode Island – $156,790
  • Connecticut – $136,120
  • Massachusetts – $134,970
  • New Hampshire – $116,240
  • Vermont – $108,360
  • Maine – $102,490

Both Connecticut and Massachusetts are among the top states for human resource manager job concentration. Boston ranks among the top five metro areas in the nation for employment of human resources managers.

Wherever you decide to enter the workforce, entering the “3+2” program can you there faster, and equipped with the knowledge to succeed in the field.