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Why HR Professionals Need Continued Education

An HR Professional’s Work Never Ends

Whether we’re at the beginning of a successful career or have an impressive resume, our efforts to stay on top of updated laws, changing technology, and ever-shifting industry standards must continue.

Our field is a dynamic one and requires a dedication to continued education. On-the-job learning is certainly important, but formal education in any form gives us an ever-increasing set of tools to succeed.

We aren’t alone—just about any career that requires a degree or certification will require continued education at some point. In addition to simply helping us do our jobs better, staying on top of the latest trends in HR benefits our careers in a variety of ways.


Increased Chances of Promotion
Many employers see continued education efforts as a great reason to offer promotions. When you invest time and money in our efforts to improve yourself and your craft, it draws attention from your higher-ups.

This is especially true for those of you who entered into a company at entry level and aspire to a position that requires an advanced degree or further certification. Continued education could be what tips the scales in your favor when management is looking for someone to fill a high-level position.

HR professionals looking for jobs are seen similarly. A hiring manager will view continued education favorably; when you commit to further your skills in a formal setting, you show that you’re able to take on more responsibilities and have specialized knowledge that will help you do our jobs better.


Increased Chances of Raise
It’s not always possible to get a promotion. Whether there are no positions available or it’s not possible to move any higher than your current status, a promotion just might not be in the cards. A pay bump, however, is a reasonable ask whether you keep your current job or seek a different role.

Research shows that those who have earned a college degree earn twice as much (or more) than someone who doesn’t and that every kind of continued education increases income potential by thousands of dollars per year. Master’s degrees, professional degrees, doctoral degrees, etc. all increase your chances of earning a higher wage.

Many HR professionals are hesitant to invest in themselves before actually receiving a raise, but any worries can be addressed with employers ahead of time. It’s not uncommon for companies to have incentive programs that detail what your potential payout is after completing further education.


Easier Career Transition
If you aren’t working your dream job yet, continued education might be your ticket to a smooth career transition. A lot of professions require you to have a certain license or degree before you can even apply, and HR is no exception.

For example, if you want to move from a generalist HR job to a technical human resources information systems (HRIS) position, you’ll need specialized knowledge and practical experience. If you don’t have the technical skills required to succeed in the position, your chances are slim to none of moving into that niche.

The extra work is worth it. Doing a little more now so that you can do what you truly love for the rest of your career pays off in more ways than one. Even if you’re not currently ready to make the jump to a new career in HR, learning new skills now will guarantee your preparedness when the time comes.


Improved Job Performance
Knowledge is power. The principles you learn during your continued education efforts will become solidified skills as you make practical use of new concepts and ideas. You’ll do your job better because you’ll be more equipped to handle the challenges that come your way. When you learn more about your field, that knowledge will help you make your field better.

Learning new ways to improve your performance affects more than just your own job. Careers in HR are heavily service based. How well you do your duties trickles down to the company that you’ve been hired to support. As you find ways to increase your effectiveness and efficiency, you’ll enable your peers and supervisors to improve their job performance, too.


What Does Continued Education Look Like for HR Professionals?
Depending on your state and employer, you could be required to pursue certain continued education paths, or you could be free to choose for yourself. Continued education can come in many different forms, so it’s best to let your career goals or other requirements dictate your choices.

Common HR certifications like HR Certification Institute (HRCI) and SHRM Specialty Credentials must be updated every few years. HRCI certification gives you a career advantage. It gives HR professionals a chance to earn higher education, review ethical standards, score high on an exam, and reaffirm their commitment to professional development. SHRM Specialty Credentials allow you to earn specialized knowledge and demonstrate targeted competence to prove professional development.

Continued education could be as simple as subscribing to HR-specific newsletters or other publications, joining local chapters of HR groups, reading recently released HR books, or continually checking federal government and state labor department websites.

If you’re interested in earning an advanced degree, you’ll need to dedicate more time and resources than simply renewing a certification, but the benefits will reflect your efforts.


Know Your Field
Arguably the most important reason to take part in continued education is to stay familiar with the field you’re in; not doing so could cost you your career. As HR professionals, our work depends on a correct knowledge of employment law, proper management of sensitive issues, and creativity when it comes to contributing to a company’s bottom line.

Continued education allows you to perform the basic functions of your job and more. Your journey to becoming an HR expert is never ending. Don’t delay any longer!

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