How to Become a

Human Resources (HR) Manager or Director

The complete career guide to be a Human Resources (HR) Manager or Director: salary, job growth, employers, best schools, and education you may need to get started.

Why We Love It

  • $121,630
    Potential Avg. Salary
  • 6.5%
    Job Growth Rate
  • Growing Demand
    Job Outlook
  • Don't Take Work Home
    Career Attribute

Human resources managers and directors oversee the overall functions of a human resources (HR) department. They manage staff, develop employee training programs, and work with company executives and leadership to ensure a productive, happy workplace that meets employment regulations.

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What is a Human Resources (HR) Manager or Director?

The following job responsibilities are common for individuals in HR manager or director roles:

  • Manage, train, and supervise a team of human resources specialists
  • Oversee the administration of payroll and benefits
  • Create and conduct employee and leadership training programs
  • Work with company executives and leaders to establish a productive, cost-effective workforce that meets all federal, state, local, and industry laws and regulations
  • Oversee the administration of employee hiring, orienting, and termination

A Day in the Life

Human resources (HR) managers and directors oversee sections of HR departments or overall HR departments. They usually directly or indirectly manage multiple HR specialists and generalists, and oversee all department tasks and initiatives. A company’s HR department acts as a liaison between the company, its managers, and its employees: the department is responsible for hiring, dispute resolution, ensuring adherence to laws and regulations, and administration of payroll and company benefits.

Because human resources managers and directors are in leadership roles, they typically perform higher-level tasks than HR generalists and specialists. They oversee day-to-day HR tasks to ensure work is being conducted correctly and effectively, and they serve as escalation points when issues arise that require management intervention. Additionally, HR managers and directors may be responsible for creating overall orientation and training materials, creating course syllabi, and overseeing training courses.

Human resources managers and directors also oversee all company hiring and termination. They educate managers on what circumstances warrant termination or layoffs and ensure all processes adhere to regulations to avoid wrongful termination suits. Additionally, they may consult with other department managers, directors, and leaders when major staffing changes are needed. Human resources managers and directors are often involved when departments grow rapidly or conduct layoffs.

Typical Work Schedule

The working schedule for most human resources managers typically follows the standard full-time working hours of about 40 hours per week. However, some human resources managers work longer hours with more than 40 hours per week especially if working for larger companies and corporations. Longer working hours are usually related to the hiring season, training workshops, or participation in employment fairs or other external events. Human resources managers work is typically office-based. However, some human resource managers especially those working for large organizations that have multiple offices nationwide, need to visit other branches, attend professional meetings, or supervise recruiting of new employees.

Projected Job Growth

Although many HR programs and online platforms are currently, the need for human professionals to run the tasks related to HR is still undoubtful. Human resources management require personal interaction with the upper management and employees during different tasks. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor statistics, the employment of human resources managers is expected to increase by at least 6 % from 2019 to 2029 which is faster than the average expected growth for other jobs. The high growth of the demand for this job makes it a good choice for fresh graduates who trying to start their career. However, this demand is certainly affected by the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic that affected the world economy. If you intend to pursue a career in human resources, you should keep in mind to continue learning about new training and development methods, HR systems and update to governing laws. This is essential to remain competitive in the job market particularly when you are seeking higher level positions.

Human Resources Manager and Director Specializations

  • HR managers oversee a staff of one many HR generalists, specialists, and/or recruiters.
  • HR directors oversee a staff of one or many HR managers.
  • Labor relations directors handle contract negotiation and disputes between employees and companies, particularly in labor union environments.
  • Payroll managers oversee the administration of company payroll systems and processes.

Career Progression

  • Early Career: HR Generalist, Human Resources Specialist, Recruiter
  • Mid-Career: HR Manager, Payroll Manager
  • Late Career: Human Resources Director, Labor Relations Director

Typical Employers

Human resources managers can essentially work in any company that have large number of employees enough to have a dedicated HR department. They can also work in specialized HR companies that offer outsourcing services to other companies in various. Such companies include famous names as HRinMotion, LLC, Purple Ink, Gainor Staffing and Entech Staffing Solutions among others. This companies are a better choice for fresh graduates who are joining the market because they provide more extensive and diverse experience compared to other companies.

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How To Become a Human Resources (HR) Manager or Director

At a minimum, aspiring human resources managers and directors will need a bachelor’s degree in human resources administration, business administration, finance, or a related field. A bachelor’s degree is commonly required to gain employment as a HR specialist, generalist, or recruiter, and aspiring HR managers and directors will need several years of experience working in an HR department before qualifying for promotions into manager and director roles.

Additionally, many employers—especially large corporations—are increasingly requiring individuals in management and director roles to hold master’s degrees. For this reason, it’s increasingly common for aspiring HR managers and directors to complete graduate degree programs after earning a master’s degree. Master of business administration (MBA) degrees are popular choices as they offer thorough educations in business topics needed to manage and lead employees and run business programs.

However, a master’s degree is not necessarily a requirement for HR manager and director positions, and many individuals move up the ladder simply by doing their job effectively and forming positive working relationships with company leaders. With in-depth knowledge and a propensity to lead, HR specialists and generalists with many years of experience will be good candidates for promotion with new leadership roles become available.

Human Resources (HR) Manager or Director Salary Data

We’ve provided you the following to learn more about this career. The salary and growth data on this page comes from recently published Bureau of Labor Statistics data while the recommendations and editorial content are based on our research.

National Anual Salary

Low Range




High Range


National Hourly Wage

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High Range


How do Human Resources (HR) Manager or Director salaries stack up to other jobs across the country? Based on the latest jobs data nationwide, Human Resources (HR) Manager or Director's can make an average annual salary of $121,630, or $58 per hour. On the lower end, they can make $82,210 or $40 per hour, perhaps when just starting out or based on the state you live in.

Salary Rankings And Facts

  • #27 Nationally for All Careers

  • Above Average Salary Nationally

Programs and Degrees

Here are the most common degrees for becoming a Human Resources (HR) Manager or Director. a is usually recommended and specifically a degree or coursework that prepares you for the particular field, see below.

Highest Education Among Human Resources (HR) Manager or Directors

  • 3.8%   Doctorate
  • 19%   Masters
  • 44.9%   Bachelors
  • 7.6%   Associates
  • 19.7%   College
  • 4.9%   High School
  • 0%   Less than High School

Job Growth Projections and Forecast

2014 Total Jobs


2024 Est. Jobs


Job Growth Rate


Est. New Jobs


How does Human Resources (HR) Manager or Director job growth stack up to other jobs across the country? By 2024, there will be a change of 1,100 jobs for a total of 18,000 people employed in the career nationwide. This is a 6.5% change in growth over the next ten years, giving the career a growth rate nationwide of Above Average.

Growth Rankings And Facts

  • #345 Nationally for All Careers

  • Above Avg. Growth Nationally

What Companies Employ The Most Human Resources (HR) Manager or Directors

Industry Current Jobs New Jobs Needed % Increase
Management of companies and enterprises 3,800 200 0%
Local government, excluding education and hospitals 1,100 100 0%
General medical and surgical hospitals; private 700 --- ---

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