There has been a lot of criticism about college recently, in part due to the sky-rocketing costs of tuition. However, something even more worrisome than this is the thought that a student might spend all this money, along with four, five, maybe even six years of his or her life, only to graduate and not be able to find gainful employment. Others who are less cynical about higher education insist that if you want to get a high-paying job, you need to be a STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, or Math) major in college.

The truth is, there are quite a few jobs which only necessitate a bachelor’s degree where the median pay is over $100,000, and those jobs do not require you to be an engineer. In this section of Beyond 171 Answers, I will highlight some jobs that I believe may be of interest to students and parents.

Today we are discussing Human Resource managers. Human resource managers usually need a bachelor’s degree. They often get a degree in human resources, but there are so many other degrees that are also viable paths. Some of those other degrees include: business management, finance, education, or information technology. A focus on industrial psychology is another path some HR managers take. The compensation is around $110,000 a year, though that varies from state to state.

It takes some work experience before one is promoted to HR manager. This experience often comes from working as an HR specialist and getting a good grasp on areas like compensation and benefits, payroll, government laws, employee personnel policies, and management.

According to the Bureau of Labor and Statistics, the following skill set is what HR Managers need to get hired and excel:

  • Decision-making skills. Human resources managers must be able to balance the strengths and weaknesses of different options and decide the best course of action. Many of their decisions have a significant impact on operations or workers, such as deciding whether to hire an employee.
  • Interpersonal skills. Human resources managers need strong interpersonal skills because they interact regularly with people. They often collaborate on teams and must develop positive working relationships with their colleagues.
  • Leadership skills. Human resources managers must be able to direct a staff and oversee the operations of their department. They must coordinate work activities and ensure that workers in the department complete their duties and fulfill their responsibilities.
  • Organizational skills. Organizational skills are essential for human resources managers, who must be able to prioritize tasks and manage several projects at once.
  • Speaking skills. Human resources managers rely on strong speaking skills to give presentations and direct their staff. They must clearly communicate information and instructions to their staff and other employees.

The Occupational Outlook Handbook has a great description of what an HR Manager actually does:

Human resources managers often coordinate the work of a team of specialists. Human resources managers plan, direct, and coordinate the administrative functions of an organization. They oversee the recruiting, interviewing, and hiring of new staff; consult with top executives on strategic planning; and serve as a link between an organization’s management and its employees.


Human resources managers typically do the following:

  • Plan and coordinate an organization’s workforce to best use employees’ talents
  • Link an organization’s management with its employees
  • Plan and oversee employee benefit programs
  • Serve as consultants with other managers advising them on human resources issues,    such as equal employment opportunities and sexual harassment
  • Coordinate and supervise the work of specialists and support staff
  • Oversee an organization’s recruitment, interview, selection, and hiring processes