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Is an MBA in Human Resources Worth It?

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Whether you know exactly where you're heading, or you're still planning your next steps, it all starts with a simple conversation. Let’s talk.

An MBA in human resources is a graduate-level degree that teaches both human resources and business administration concepts.

Is an MBA in Human Resources worth it? This type of degree is intended to help you prepare for mid- to high-level human resources positions and also gives you an opportunity to develop your understanding of how successful human resources departments play a role in the overall health of the business.

An HR professional and job candidate shaking hands in an office.

Learn about the skills you will develop in a program such as an MBA with a Specialization in Human Resources, and how those skills may help you further your career. We’ll also talk about the difference between an HR master’s and an MBA in Human Resources and more in the following sections:

Is an MBA in Human Resources Worth It?

There are plenty of ways that an MBA with a Specialization in Human Resources may help you develop personally and professionally, including:

Improvement of your HR skills

During your time in our MBA with a Specialization in Human Resources program, you'll have the chance to develop your understanding of planning and staffing, talent development and interpersonal skills such as corporate communication, along with employment law, strategic HR communication and more.

A well-rounded education

This specialized MBA gives you the opportunity to study both HR and business administration, allowing you to gain more insight into how the two disciplines intersect to enhance your skills and increase your efficacy.

Increased career opportunities

Earning this degree can give you career flexibility and open you up to consider job opportunities in both the HR and business fields.

Potential to help you stand out 

While job requirements vary greatly, having a graduate-level degree on your resume may help you stand out to potential employers who may want their applicants to hold higher-level degrees for certain positions.

Consider higher-level careers 

If you’re looking to advance your career, the managerial and leadership skills that you learn in an MBA program may help you pursue higher-level positions or may help you meet the minimum education requirements for a job as outlined by an employer.

Skills You Can Learn During a Human Resources MBA Program

During a human resources MBA program, like DeVry’s MBA with a Specialization in Human Resources, you'll have the opportunity to develop important skills in both the realms of both HR and business. Here are just some of the things you can learn:

  • Applied technology: 

    Learn how to use technology and analytical tools in the world of HR to help address company needs.

  • Collaboration abilities: 

    Find out how to work more effectively in a team environment to deliver results by harnessing the unique skills of each team member.

  • Performance measurements: 

    Learn how to create metrics to analyze employee and organization performance. Identify and make recommendations for improvement to company leadership.

  • Problem solving skills: 

    Improve your ability to navigate conflict and identify areas of your existing strategy that could be replaced or improved.

  • Strategic HR management: 

    Learn how to effectively manage staff in a way that improves company health and helps it achieve its goals.

  • Organizational understanding: 

    Explore HR functions such as change management, employment regulatory concerns and employee legal matters.

Human Resources Organizations & Associations

Your learning journey shouldn't end when you earn an MBA in Human Resources. As you progress and grow in your career, you'll likely need to develop new skills. You may even find that some of the industry standards or practices that you learned in school have changed over time.

Joining or following a human resources organization can help you stay up to date on the latest industry developments and help you stay in habit of lifelong learning.

Joining an HR association may also help you discover new job openings and build connections with other HR professionals. These types of connections have the potential to put you in a position to develop relationships with your peers that may come in handy if you’re ever looking for new position or need a professional endorsement.

Some HR organizations and associations to know about are:

Academy of Human Resources Development (AHRD)

This organization is designed to help members keep up to date with trends in the HR industry. It exists to promote the study of HR theories and practices and offers networking opportunities to members.

American Payroll Association (APA)

The APA is an HR association specifically geared toward those working in a company’s payroll department. They offer the Fundamental Payroll Certification (FPC) and the Certified Payroll Certification (CPC), as well as conferences and networking opportunities.

Association for Talent Development (ATD)

The ATD is geared toward HR professionals who are primarily concerned with talent acquisition and development. They provide members access to conferences, networking events and the latest information about talent development practices in the form of classes and webinars.

HR People + Strategy 

A close associate of the Society for Human Resources Management, HR People + Strategy is geared toward experienced HR professionals who have been in the industry for 10 or more years. They cover a broad range of topics, including talent development, HR strategy and leadership skill development. Members also gain exclusive access to conferences, research and recent discoveries in HR.

Society for Human Resources Management (SHRM)

SHRM offers a variety of useful benefits, include access to conferences, custom HR tools, an advisor service, an HR magazine subscription and more. It's also worth noting that DeVry's MBA with a Specialization in Human Resources Management program fully aligns with SHRM’s HR Curriculum Guidebook and Templates.

Should I Earn a Human Resources MBA or Master’s Degree?

Whether you should earn a master's in human resources or an MBA with a Specialization in Human Resources ultimately depends on your personal career goals.

What are the differences between a master’s degree in human resources and an MBA with a specialization in HR? The basic difference can be summed up this way: While they are both graduate degrees, a master’s degree in HR will tend to be limited exclusively to HR-related concepts. An MBA with HR specialization, on the other hand, will have a broader academic focus. It can prepare you with skills that can offer you greater flexibility to pursue business management roles that include varied responsibilities that include HR, or those outside of HR.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, companies will typically require Human Resources Managers to hold a bachelor’s degree, although some companies may prefer job seekers to hold a master’s degree in human resources, labor relations or business administration. Candidates holding degrees of this nature may have completed coursework that is centered around collective bargaining, compensation, employment law and other human resources-specific topics.   

The online MBA with a Specialization in Human Resources from DeVry University’s Keller School of Management may help you consider an expanded list of career opportunities by giving you a broader understanding of business and the role HR plays within today’s business ecosystem. DeVry’s MBA with a Specialization in Human Resources offers coursework in management theory and practices, collaboration, problem solving, business communication, technology, human resources leadership, strategic HR management and performance measurement.

A Range of Technical and People Skills is Required

Skills and competencies for human resources management cover a broad range of technical, business and interpersonal skills, making this one of the more appealing professions for people who are interested in working with people, and justifying the need for a well-rounded business management education. recently compiled a list of skills, competencies and qualifications of effective HR professionals. Here are 5 from their rundown:

  • Interpersonal skills: 

    HR officers interact with employees, strive to make a positive first impression on prospective new hires and act as an employee advocate. In any of these roles, strong social skills are important.

  • Event organizing: 

    Employee engagement campaigns often involve events like training, health fairs, blood drives, recruitment fairs and company retreats. A well-rounded business education and some project management experience are indispensable tools for HR managers.

  • Conflict resolution: 

    The HR department often mediates arguments between teammates, providing neutral ground for parties to work through issues. Effective HR managers stay alert and have the emotional maturity and communication skills to de-escalate tension and keep the parties working toward a solution.

  • Analytical capabilities: 

    The ability to collect and analyze data enables HR managers to strike a balance between staffing needs and budgets and measure the health of their organizations.

  • Recruiting: 

    Effective HR professionals know how to write compelling job postings and attract and screen qualified candidates. Talented recruiters understand best practices in hiring and know how to evaluate candidates on multiple levels, such as technical prowess, attitude and culture fit.

In an effort to answer the question, is an MBA in Human Resources worth it, one can say that earning a Master of Business Administration could help you stand out to employers over other job candidates with more limited education.

Our MBA with a Specialization in Human Resources can help give you a deeper understanding of business practices, immersing you in planning, staffing, rewarding and developing talent, and allowing you to hone presentation and corporate-level communication skills that are essential in the HR field.  

Core classes include:

  • Financial Accounting: Managerial Use and Analysis

  • Business Economics

  • Corporate Finance

  • Leadership and Organizational Behavior

  • Innovation Through Technology

  • Strategic Marketing

If your goals include attaining a mid-to-senior-level human resources management position, our MBA with a Specialization in Human Resources can help prepare you to pursue roles such as:

  • Human Resources Manager

  • Sr. Human Resources Consultant

  • Manager, HR Operations

  • Vice President, Human Resources

  • Director of Employee Experience & Communications

  • Employee Relations Manager

Keep in mind that the requirements for these jobs may vary depending on the company you’re applying to. Job titles and requirements are not standardized across the wider business industry, so while you may meet the application requirements to be a marketing manager at one company, it doesn’t mean that you will meet those requirements at every company.

It’s also important to remember that no single program can be right for everyone, but the well-rounded nature of our MBA with a Specialization in Human Resources can equip you with the tools and knowledge to pursue roles outside of human resources as well, such as those combining HR and operations, marketing or communications.

Professional HR Certification

In addition to earning an MBA, obtaining a professional HR certification is a good way to supplement your technical HR knowledge and position yourself to pursue career advancement. SHRM offers two industry certifications for human resources professionals:*  

  • SHRM CP Certification: 

    Intended for individuals who perform general HR-related duties or currently enrolled students and those pursuing a career in human resource management.

  • SHRM SCP Certification: 

    For individuals having a work history of at least 3 years performing strategic-level HR duties or those who have held the SHRM-CP credential for 3 years and are transitioning to a strategic-level role.

How to Apply to Our MBA with a Specialization in Human Resources Program?

To apply to our MBA with a Specialization in Human Resources program, take a moment to review the admissions requirements, then fill out our enrollment form. At that point one of our Enrollment Advisors will reach out to help you complete the process.

Related Pages

*Credits and degrees earned from Keller do not automatically qualify the holder to participate in professional licensing exams required to practice certain professions. Persons interested in practicing a regulated profession must contact the appropriate state regulatory agency for their field of interest.

1 year
5 months
Average 8 credits per semester
1 year
5 months
Average 8 credits per semester