HR professional talking to pregnant employee

Career Outlook: Human Resources

An essential role in every company, human resource professionals oil the cogs of workplace operations. They keep their companies running smoothly and ensure a positive workplace environment. 

The Role of an HR Professional

The life of an HR professional is rarely monotonous. Often trained in all human resource disciplines, HR professionals typically handle every aspect of employee relations, including recruitment, compensation, benefits, training and the administration of human resource policies, procedures and programs, as well as ensuring that these functions comply with federal, state and local regulations. While HR professionals may perform a variety of duties in the department, there is opportunity to follow specialized paths within the field. For example, an HR “generalist” might manage all areas of human resources, but a “recruitment specialist” would focus on finding, screening and interviewing applicants for job openings. Other specialties include compensation and benefits manager, training and development specialists and employee assistance plan managers who focus on work-life balance and employee safety and wellness.

Industry Stats


  • 2020 Median Pay: $79,590 annual 
  • Projected growth in CA: 10.4% 
  • Avg. annual openings in CA: 8,920


  • 2021 Median Pay: $62,290 annual 
  • Typical entry-level education: bachelor’s degree 
  • Number of jobs in 2021: 782,800 
  • Job outlook 2019-2029: 8% (faster than average)

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics, Projections Central

Jobs in Demand

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the industries that hire the most HR specialists include finance, insurance, education, healthcare and government. These industries typically look for prospective hires who are familiar with labor legislation, HR-related laws and regulations, applicant tracking and payroll systems, handling confidential information and recruitment processes. Compelling candidates usually have strong interpersonal, communication, organizational and problem-solving skills. 

The career outlook for HR specialists is promising, as they will be needed to handle increasingly complex employment laws and healthcare coverage options. Most job growth is projected to be in the professional, scientific, and technical services industry. There are also opportunities for career growth in the HR field; with experience, HR specialists can eventually promote into HR manager roles, with a median annual pay of $116,720, according to BLS

As an HR professional, a membership in the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) and the HR Certification Institute (HRCI) can help you expand your professional network and increase your value in the industry through courses and certification programs intended to enhance your skills. Recognized HR certifications include the SHRM Certified Professional (SHRM-CP), the SHRM Senior Certified Professional (SHRM-SCP), the HRCI’s Professional in Human Resources (PHR) and the Senior Professional in Human Resources (SPHR), with key differences being the amount of relevant work experience and level of training.

Getting Started

Earning a certificate in HR management is a valuable way to develop credibility. Designed for early career professionals and career changers, our Human Resource Management Certificate Program gives you foundational skills to manage the complex responsibilities that are central to a successful organizational culture. You’ll learn job-ready skills to succeed as an HR specialist, including familiarity with employment law, ethics, labor relations, performance management, compensation and benefits retention, talent development and recruitment. Courses are taught by experienced HR experts and include realistic assignments that offer hands-on practice in key areas of HR management.

Need help getting started?

Reach out to enrollment coach Kristy Craig for one-on-one help answering your questions and finding the right courses to fit your schedule and goals.

Schedule an appointment today.

HR Certificate Program Details

  • 4 online classes
  • Complete in as little as 6 months
  • Receive credit for SPHR and PHR re-certification through HRCI
  • Included on the Eligible Training Provider List (ETPL), as approved by Yolo County

Learn more about the Human Resource Management Certificate Program or view HR courses now open for enrollment.

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