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2 yrs

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Program Benefits

  • PHR/SPHR Certification Preparation
  • SHRM-Aligned Curriculum
  • Digital Badging and Graduate Certificates Available

The average human resource salary for someone with a graduate degree is 33 percent higher than that of someone with an undergraduate degree. If you’re considering the human resource career path, the outlook for advancing your career is quite favorable. Human resources is essential to the function of most organizations. What’s more, large and mid-size companies seek to hire candidates with a wide range of experience and expertise. This makes earning an advanced degree a worthy investment if you are looking to move ahead in your career and earn a higher salary.

The projected job growth rate for human resource managers between 2014-2024 is 9 percent, which is higher than the national average of 7 percent. This high rate of job growth is attributed to employers’ need to hire people who hold human resource degrees “to ensure compliance with ever-changing regulations on employment, occupational health and safety, and retirement.”

The Earning Potential in Human Resources

According to the U.S. Department of Labor Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), as of May 2015, the median national annual human resource manager salary was $104,440. However, earning potential varies widely based on level of education and work experience. For example, the BLS reported median national annual human resource salaries in 2016-2017 as follows:

  • $58,350 for human resource specialists
  • $104,440 for human resource managers
  • $111,430 for compensation and benefits managers
  • $183,590 for the top 10 percent of human resource managers

In 2011, a study from the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) reported that senior executives earn approximately twice as much ($273,000) as HR senior managers ($136,910) and over five times as much as entry-level HR associates ($50,120). However, SHRM’s study also revealed that it pays to specialize, stating that “pay levels for skilled experts in non-management, advisory-level jobs often equal or exceed pay for first-level leadership positions. In critical job functions, often companies will pay advisory-level employees at market rates close to or above supervisor and manager-level positions.” The highest paying career specialties include labor relations and organizational development, according to HR Magazine.

The earning potential for employees with a master’s in human resources is also higher. As of 2011, the median annual salary was $73,150 for a human resources employee with a graduate degree compared to $55,000 for someone who only had a bachelor’s degree.

Pursuing a Human Resources Graduate Degree

If you’re thinking about getting an online master’s in human resources, take a look at the program offered through Saint Mary’s University of Minnesota. Not only is the curriculum aligned with SHRM, but it also helps you prepare for PHR Professional in Human Resources® (PHR®) certification and SPHR® Senior Professional in Human Resources® (SPHR®) certification.

The online Master’s in Human Resources Management at Saint Mary’s enables you to develop leadership skills and management expertise in budgeting, communication, strategy, and ethics. You’ll be taught by practicing professionals who bring knowledge and skills from their own experience into the classroom.

To learn more about the online Master’s in Human Resources Management at Saint Mary’s, call 877-308-9954 or click here to request more information.


1. “Occupational outlook handbook: Human resources managers.” (accessed August 17, 2016).

2. Locsin, A. “How much does someone with a degree in HR make?” (accessed August 17, 2016).

3. Culpepper and Associates, Inc. “HR compensation: It pays to specialize.” (accessed August 17, 2016).

4. “Human resources salary and job outlook.” (accessed August 17, 2016).