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Tips on Pursuing Employment in Human Resources

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A reader recently asked: "I am interested in changing careers and getting into human resources [within the field of education]. I have a master's degree in Education with a concentration in Adult Education and Training. How do you get into this industry?"

If you have an interest in Human Resources, I have observed that most Education HR folks enter through one of two paths:

a) The most traditional, especially in small school districts, is to have served as an administrator at the building level. That usually means having been a principal or assistant principal in a school. This path is most useful because there has been some experience in dealing with recruitment, hiring, employee discipline and aspects of employment laws.

b) The second path is to have worked in Human Resources in the private sector. While there are specific considerations needed in the public sector, many aspects of employment law will be similar. And, if you are in the people business, problems associated with people aren't that much different.

The bottom line is you have to have experience. How can you get that experience if you have very little? Look for and apply for positions that are entry level. I have known quite a few HR administrators who worked their way up from those entry level positions, learning from each position in order to become an effective administrator. Once you have some experience, consider getting certified with a PHR or SPHR designation. Requirements and testing information can be found on-line. Good luck.

Jack Kronser
Director of Human Resources
Aurora Public Schools
Aurora, CO

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