HR Mavericks

Eddy’s HR Mavericks Encyclopedia

HR Education

Business professionals are constantly looking for new ways to learn and grow through courses, certification, training or other forms of learning. It is important to understand different ways to further one’s learning in a given field. Read this article to understand how HR professionals can increase their education.

What Is HR Education?

HR education refers to the learning of the different aspects of HR. These include labor relations, employment law, ethics, compensation and benefits, payroll, professional development and training, recruiting, workforce planning and managing HR information systems.

Why Is HR Education Important?

With the many different aspects of HR, it can be difficult to stay on top of all of them, or be as informed as you need to be when working in HR. You won’t know everything, but depending on the size of your company, you might be expected to know a lot as employees come to you for anything HR related. Here are some reasons why HR education is important and how it can assist you when employees come to you for help.
  • Continuous learning. HR is ever changing. There are constantly new employment laws, changes in hiring practices and job market trends that affect the way HR operates. It can be difficult to keep track of all these changes or to know how to respond to them. Continuous learning helps HR professionals understand these changes and help them stay ahead of them.
  • Gaining HR expertise. Many people without HR knowledge rely on Google searches to answer their questions or gain HR knowledge through their own experiences at work. While these are ways to learn aspects of HR, they are not the most efficient or best practice for becoming an HR expert. Seeking and gaining HR education helps HR professionals become experts in the various aspects of HR. By obtaining education, HR professionals become the experts on HR topics, which helps them become HR experts themselves.
  • Networking. Pursuing further HR education is also a great opportunity to network with other HR professionals. Many of the methods for gaining HR education, such as more schooling, certification or joining HR communities, provide opportunities to meet and network with other HR professionals. This networking can be helpful, both for learning from other HR professionals and helping further your career.

Types of HR Education

There are many ways to gain HR education. Some are more traditional, such as classes or degrees, while others are through continuing education or in less formal settings to learn from others. Here are a few ways you can obtain further HR education.

College Degree

While a college degree is not required to pursue a career in HR, it is a great opportunity to improve not only your HR skills, but your business acumen as well. For an undergraduate degree, there are many HR programs to choose from. Typically these are offered through a college’s business school. Most programs have a business management degree with an emphasis in human resource management. This degree teaches the basics of HR, such as labor relations, employment law, ethics, compensation and benefits, payroll, professional development and training, recruiting, workforce planning and managing HR information systems. You can further your HR knowledge and expertise by getting a master’s degree in human resource management. This degree is solely focused on HR to help you become more of an expert. Another type of education HR professionals might pursue is a master’s in business administration. This focuses less on HR knowledge, but teaches business acumen and other skills that are beneficial for HR professionals to be successful in their career.


One of the common ways HR professionals gain HR education is through certifications offered by certified institutions such as SHRM or HRCI. Both of these institutions offer various certifications depending on how much experience the person has. These certifications test employees on their HR knowledge. The more advanced certification, the more knowledge that is required. Some of these HR certifications include SHRM-CP (Society for Human Resource Management Certified Professional) and SHRM-SCP (Society for Human Resource Management Senior Certified Professional), PHR (Professional in Human Resources), SPHR (Senior Professional in Human Resources), or APHR (Associate Professional in Human Resources). After receiving the certification, renewing it requires continued education every few years to stay up-to-date on HR trends and continue to gain more HR knowledge.

HR Communities

An informal way to obtain HR education is by joining an HR Community. Some of the most common are SHRM, HRCI, or HR Mavericks. SHRM has an annual member cost, while HR Mavericks does not. Joining these HR communities provides the opportunity to gain HR education through provided webinars and articles, as well as a place to ask questions and learn from other HR professionals. This education isn’t as structured, as these communities are mostly a place to find answers without a set outline of what you will learn. Regardless, these are a great place to learn from and connect with HR professionals who might be struggling with the same issues you are.

How Companies Benefit from HR Education

HR education is important for most HR professionals, but it is also important for companies. Some companies may not understand how they can benefit from HR education, whether it’s hiring someone with HR education or investing in their employees to gain HR education. Here are a few reasons why HR education is beneficial for companies.

Employee Career Development

Employees want to work for a company where they feel they're being invested in and have opportunities to progress in their career. According to a study by LinkedIn in 2018, 94% of employees are more likely to stay at a job if they are offered pathways for career development. Companies that provide HR education opportunities to employees show them that employee career development is important. This helps improve the company’s retention rate and leads to happier employees.

Greater HR Commitment

Having a degree or HR certification doesn’t mean an employee will remain in the field indefinitely, but they typically have more buy-in and commitment to the field. When someone puts in time to gain an education in HR through degrees and certifications, it shows they want to stay in the field for the long-haul. This means you are hiring someone who is passionate about HR and less likely to leave their HR role to pursue a position with another company.

Attracting Top Talent

Companies always want the best talent. That talent can come in many forms: skills, experience, knowledge or culture fit. Hiring someone with greater HR education means they have more experience and knowledge than someone without that HR education. This doesn’t guarantee they are the right fit for the job, but it does show the company that they have extensive HR experience and knowledge.

Which HR Education Path Is Best for You?

With the many different ways to obtain HR education, there is no one right way to gain it. In reality, regardless of which type of HR education you pursue, the more you obtain, the better. Here are some steps to consider when deciding which HR education to obtain.

Step 1: Determine Your Career Goals

Before pursuing any HR education, determine what your career goals are and how HR education is going to help you. If your long term goal is to become a VP of HR or HR director, getting a masters in human resource management or business administration is the HR education you’ll want to pursue. If you just need help answering some HR questions in your current role but don’t plan to pursue an HR career, joining an HR community might be the way to go.

Step 2: Determine How Much Time and Money You Want to Commit

Another important thing to consider when furthering your HR education is how much money and time you are willing to commit. Pursuing a degree will cost the most time and money, but might be the most useful for your career. Obtaining a certification is not as much of a time commitment, but still costs money and some time to prep and take the certification test.

Step 3: Determine the Best Way for You to Learn

Each type of HR education offers different ways to learn. If you work better in a committed, specific length of time, pursuing a degree might be the best way to go. If you want to have a resource you can constantly rely on without a time constraint, joining an HR community might be a better option. If you want to test your HR knowledge and be expected to continue to learn more about HR throughout your career, a certification might be the best fit. These are all things to consider when deciding which HR education to pursue.
Tanner Pierce, PHR

Tanner Pierce, PHR

Tanner has over 4 years of HR professional experience in various fields of HR. He has experience in hiring, recruiting, employment law, unemployment, onboarding, outboarding, and training to name a few. Most of his experience comes from working in the Professional Employer and Staffing Industries. He has a passion for putting people in the best position to succeed and really tries to understand the different backgrounds people come from.
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Frequently asked questions
Other Related Terms
Agile HR
Employee Experience
Fractional HR
Global HR
HR Budget
HR Career Advice
HR Effectiveness
HR Ethics
Human Capital Management (HCM)
Human Resource Management (HRM)
Human Resources (Intro to HR)
Outsourcing HR
People Operations
Strategic HR
Talent Management
Workforce Management
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