Randy, M.S., SHRM-CP

Author of HR Career Advice.com

Masters Degree, HR, May 2014

​Certification, HR, May 2015


In the next section, we explore career strategies on how to work in HR. What are the 8 secret steps to finding a job in HR? What's the difference between an HR Generalist and HR Specialist? What are the best job boards to find an HR job? Read on!

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Claremont Graduate University, founded in 1925, is the oldest all-graduate institution in the United States, with many notable alumni in different fields all over the world. This is considered the best graduate program for HR in Southern California. Why? Because it has over 14 exclusive courses in HR, including a whole semester in HRIS and Performance Management. Also, the courses are taught by actual working HR Professionals with over 10 years of experience. The typical classroom size is 15 people meant for a great learning environment for future HR professionals. 

University Profile:

Masters Degree

UCLA's HR Certificate is A comprehensive program with over 10 separate courses in each HR specialty. Each course is taught by experienced HR professionals, many of them still working in the field while teaching. Other schools have just one professor teach all HR in 3 months. Not at UCLA. Here, they dive in with the details of each HR function from recruiting to benefits to training, you will get your money worth. Although you can take this all online, it is recommended to do the in class option to get the full learning experience.

Cal State Fullerton Mihaylo College of Business and Economics is the largest accredited business school on the West Coast, nationally recognized for accreditation in both its business and accounting programs. Its HR Management concentration consists of 18 units in the Core HR Functions including Staffing, Compensation, and Training. This is a great foundation to learn the "nuts and bolts" of HR.

University Profile: Bachelors Degree

HR Certificates

(Non-Degree Programs)

  • Ph.D. in HR and Organizational Behavior (UCLA)

  • Ph.D. in Organization and Management (UC Irvine)

  • Ph.D. in Industrial/Organizational Psychology (Claremont Graduate University)

  • Ph.D. in Organizational Behavior (Claremont Graduate University)

Doctorate Degrees in HR

Master Degrees in HR

  • MBA in HR Management (Loyola Marymount University)

  • MBA in HR Management (Cal Poly Pomona)

  • MS in HR Management (Brandman University, Chapman University System)

  • MA in Organizational Leadership (Brandman University, Chapman University System)

  • MA in HR and Organizational Development (Azusa Pacific University) 

  • MS in HR Design (Claremont Graduate University) 

  • MA in Organization Behavior and Evaluation (Claremont Graduate University) 

  • MA in Positive Organizational Psychology and Evaluation (Claremont Graduate University)

  • MS in Organization Development (Pepperdine University)

Bachelor Degrees in HR

  • BA in Business Administration with concentration in Management and an emphasis in HR Management (Cal State Fullerton)

  • BS in Business Administration with a concentration in Management and Human Resources (Cal Poly Pomona)

  • BBA in Human Resources (Loyola Marymount University)

  • BS in Sociology (many schools) BS in Psychology (many schools)

Whether you're starting on your Bachelor's degree or pursuing further education, be careful what major you select. It's going to be on your resume for the rest of your life. This is important because many employers look for a college degree related to the field you're applying for. I've seen it on many job postings: "Bachelor's degree in Human Resources preferred." I changed my major several times before selecting HR. Choose your degree program carefully. Below are a list of HR degrees, certificates, and schools in Southern California.

How to

Learn HR

  • Certificate in HR Management (Cal State Fullerton: University Extended Education)

  • Certificate in HR Management (UC Irvine: Extension)

  • Certificate in HR Management (Loyola Marymount University: LMU Extension)

  • Certificate: Online Advanced HR Management Certificate (Loyola Marymount University: LMU Extension - Online)

  • Certificate in HR Management (UCLA: Extension)

  • Certificate in Strategic HR Management (Cornell University: eCornell - Online)

  • Certificate in HR Management (Cal State Long Beach: Extension)

  • Certificate in HR Management (Cal State Dominguez Hills: Extension)

  • Certificate in HR Management (Cal State San Bernardino)

  • Certificate in HR Management (UC Riverside: Extension)

University Profile:

HR Certificate

The UC Irvine PhD in Organization Management offers broad exposure to theory and research on organizational behavior and theory. Organizational behavior includes topics such as cross-cultural management, power and influence, negotiation process, team and interpersonal processes, innovation, trust, organizational commitment, incentives, and leadership. The entire program could take up to 4 to 6 years complete, however it could be significant competitive advantage in your career.

University Profile:

PhD Degree

As you have now learned there are so many ways to get an HR education: Bachelors, Masters, PhD, or a Certificate.

However, just because the degree is attainable, doesn't mean it is right for you. My recommendation is to see where your long term career goals are and determine which degree pathway is best for you.

After you receive your Bachelors, it is recommended to get 2-3 years of solid experience in HR before you get your Masters. This will ensure that you are absolutely sure you want to pursue and that you gain real world experience that you can leverage to learn even more.

Now that you have an overview of how to gain HR knowledge, the next step is how to translate that into landing an HR job of your dreams. Click here to continue! Click here to receive personalized HR Career Advice to help you succeed.

HR Certificates are a great way to build up your resume without a large financial and time commitment. Most certificates can be completed in 3 months to 1 year depending on the rigor of the course program. Also, certificates are an attractive entry point for "transitioning" professionals - those who are teachers, administrative professionals, or accountants who want to transition to HR. This is because HR certificates typically do not have any admissions criteria - almost everyone can get the certificate! However, it is recommended to research each certificate program carefully.

A PhD in HR is recommended for those HR Practitioners interested in researching specific issues in HR. It is very common for those with a PhD in HR to leave the corporate world and move into teaching positions at higher level institutions of learning. Keep in mind that some PhDs are only offered full time and require you to resign from your job in order to pursue this degree. It is important to do your research before applying.

A Masters degree will demonstrate to your employer that you are dedicated to your career in HR. This very different from a Bachelors degree because you no longer take classes that are unrelated to your major. The classes you take here will likely be 90-100% HR related. Consider the financial impact on your life as many masters can easy cost up to $90,000 after interest.

A Bachelors degree is the foundation for your success. Choose your major wisely as it well help you launch your career.

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I really hoped you enjoyed reading HR Career Advice.com. My goal is to help you succeed in the field of HR. Yes, its hard to begin, but trust me, after spending 5 years practicing HR, I can tell you its one of the most rewarding fields I have been in. You not only "help people" but you help people succeed to their highest potential and become better contributors and performers to the organization as whole. Together, lets motivate employees, one at a time!

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