Navigating the Human Resources Path: Insights on Associate’s Degrees and HR Certification

Thank you for another question spoken. This one’s a good one. Associate’s degree in applied science for human resources. I never heard about this, but let’s talk about associate degrees and can they work for you and getting a career in human resources. So for some contacts, my name’s Jess and I’m an HR professional with over 20 years in the industry. I can’t believe it’s been 20 years. I help HR leaders with their professional and personal development, specifically in human resources, I focus a lot in HR certification prep and recertification. So let’s talk about associate’s degrees and are they gonna help you get a job in human resource?

This without looking at your program, I’m just gonna assume that maybe you have some basic employment law and some different things. I would encourage you to take a look at the information because in HR, we really need like communications, incredibly important. You know, basic math is important. I am doing calculations for salary, for turnover, those sort of things. Presentation, like whether it’s written or in person communication or video communication is important, but specifically business acumen. So if this human resources program has a lot of business stuff, I would be specifically interested in that.

I do also like employment law information, kind of just the overview of those things. I don’t know with an associate script degree if they’re going to put all those things together for you, but I do think having an associate’s degree with a business acumen background is incredibly important, and then you can get your HR certification. So you can satisfy those things.

One thing that I really think HR leaders are missing is that business document piece. I don’t think you necessarily have to have a degree in human resources to work in human resources, but you need to have an understanding of that business acumen, that leadership management side of things. It’s gonna be incredibly helpful for you be able to interact, lead, motivate, and just deal with people and understand the business case for those things as far as things that you need in human resources or to be able to do human resources, you don’t have to have a degree per se. You don’t even have to have an HR certification.

However, I do think it’s incredibly important to have an understanding of basic human resources topics, terms and employment law and compliance, so that you can pull from that knowledge as you gain experience, which is why I think an associate’s degree with a business acumen, a side of things is important, plus HR certification, because then I understand the basics of FMLA. I understand how to do an employee investigation. I understand at a foundational level what these things mean. And then hopefully I’m able to get work experience in an HR department or with an HR team where I can learn to be exposed to all of these things.

It’s really funny that you ask this question because I happened upon HR. Molly’s TikTok and I’m gonna attack her in this because she is vehemently against HR certification and degree programs. I definitely think that you can get the experience and that can work for you. But the long tail experience is incredibly long. And I can’t imagine walking into an HR role and not having that knowledge base to be able to pull from, which is why I think that some exposure to employment law and information doesn’t have to be a specific HR degree, but that business acumen piece plus HR certification. So you have a baseline to work with.

Because my first three years in HR, before I got my HR certification, I was just like a spy lunch. I was watching every webinar. I was reading every HR book I was doing and attending everything that I could so I could get that basic knowledge base and then started studying for my HR certification and I passed and that I felt like I had foundational information that I still use even today. So thank you, smoking, for your question.

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