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Director of Human Resources

Education and Training: Advanced degree preferred
Average Salary: $86,500
Job Outlook: Excellent

The director of human resources typically oversees the personnel issues for corporations, businesses, educational institutions, and other large-scale employers. Historically, human resources departments have handled employee benefits matters, recruiting, interviewing, and hiring. However, the job has changed over the years. The director of human resources will still oversee the staff and policy decisions in those areas, but is also increasingly directly involved with strategic planning for organizations.

As director of human resources, a person is typically charged with other secondary tasks like morale, productivity, job turnover, training, and development opportunities. The human resources director will also oversee a number of specialists and generalists, who tend to the day-to-day functions of the department. In larger operations, the director may oversee specific departments that specialize in certain areas of human resources.

Education and Training Requirements

A bachelor’s degree is usually the minimum educational requirement to become a director of human resources. In high school, students are encouraged to take business, math, and other classes that will help them prepare for college. In college, students are encouraged to take courses in personnel administration, human resources, or labor relations, if available. Students are also encouraged to major in human resources management if available. It is highly recommended that people secure a master’s degree in human resources, labor relations, or a human resources concentration as part of a master’s in business administration program if they wish to someday become the director of human resources.

There are a number of advanced certifications in the human resources field. Securing these certifications will make job candidates more marketable. The International Foundation of Employee Benefit Plans awards the Certified Employee Benefits (CEBS) certificate in three areas of specialization: group benefit, retirement, and compensation. The American Society for Training and Development Certification Institute offers an advanced certification and professional development training programs. Other certificates are administered by the Society for Human Resource Management and the WorldatWork Society of Certified Professionals, among others.

Getting the Job

The director of human resources is typically a position that is awarded to someone with years of experience in the human resources field. Often, people will begin their careers as entry-level human resources professionals and move into a number of positions with increasingly more responsibilities. Companies like to hire people for the director of human resources position that has either worked in a number of jobs at that company or someone with a lot of experience. It helps to specialize in certain areas of the field. Internships are recommended to get a start.

Job Prospects, Employment Outlook and Career Development

The director of human resources position is expected to grow faster than the national average. A number of factors will contribute to explosive growth. This includes legislation, court decisions, and other regulatory influences that will create a demand for people who can run the human resources departments for employers. Also, with rising healthcare costs, there will be a need for more specialists to help control costs and administer the program. Some negative factors affecting the field include more computerized systems to streamline the human resources process, corporate downsizing, restructuring, and other economic factors influencing businesses.

Directors of human resources are eligible to move up to vice president positions along with other top management jobs.

Working Conditions and Environment

A director of human resources most likely works in a nice office setting. The standard 40-hour work week is the norm, but as a director, this employee can be called on to work extra hours during certain times or during emergencies. The director of human resources can be a stressful position. As head of a department, this person is responsible for a number of employees. Also, the director of human resources may also be directly involved in labor negotiations, mediation, and labor relations that can become contentious.

Salary and Benefits

The median salary for a director of human resources is $86,500, with a typical salary range of between $64,930 to $113,480. The highest earners earn more than $150,000. Directors of human resources receive a typical benefits package including time off and insurance.

Where to Go for More Information

International Foundation of Employee Benefit Plans
18700 W Bluemound Rd.
Brookfield, WI 53045
(888) 334-3327

Society for Human Resource Management
1800 Duke St.
Alexandria, Virginia 22314
(800) 283-SHRM

WorldatWork Society of Certified Professionals
1100 13th St. NW
Washington D.C., DC 20005
‎(480) 922-2020

Additional topics

Job Descriptions and Careers, Career and Job Opportunities, Career Search, and Career Choices and ProfilesHuman Resources