Call it human capital, talent management or human resources, the goal of HR is essentially the same: to make organizations better through people.

And it has come a long way in recent years.

According to Saint Leo's associate professor of human resource management, Dr. Adam Shoemaker, thanks to increased competition, globalization, technological advances and the need for organizations to be more strategic, human resources has evolved as well.

"There's a perception that HR folks sit in their offices and are called on only to put out fires. To handle a termination, a lawsuit, or perhaps an EEO or harassment case," he says.

"While HR professionals do handle those types of issues, they contribute much more to an organization both financially and strategically."

Shoemaker understands well the strategic value of human resource management. He spent 15 years in the corporate world working in the HR departments of large companies both as an employee and as a consultant, developing training programs and selection systems and conducting job and compensation analysis.

"Being a strategic HR professional, the impact you can have and the value you can bring to an organization are greater than ever before. And because executives at the highest levels recognize that fact, there's never been a better time to be in human resources."

If you're considering a career in HR, here are 10 things you need to know about Saint Leo's online human resource management (HRM) program.

1. The program emphasizes human resources as a strategic business function.

Recruiting, retaining and engaging top talent – the role of human resources – has become one of the biggest challenges for organizations and a top issue for C-level executives. Over the past two decades, HR has evolved from personnel offices that were strictly administrative in nature, to a strategic business function that brings value to the organization and can significantly impact the bottom line.

2. Courses focus on the HR skills and knowledge employers demand.

Saint Leo's human resource management program meets the education guidelines of the world's largest HR membership organization: the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM). This means you can be confident that you are learning the HR skills and gaining the knowledge of HR concepts and practices that employers are seeking and will be ready to hit the ground running in the workforce.

3. You will develop a solid business foundation.

Considered one of the most advanced business schools in the nation, Saint Leo's Donald R. Tapia School of Business has developed a Common Body of Knowledge (CBK) – core courses all business majors take. The CBK includes courses in accounting, economics, management, finance, and more. This broad exposure to general management concepts and functions will provide you with the perspective needed to become a valued strategic business partner.

4. Program exposes you to analytical tools and technologies.

HR professionals would agree that technology dominates the HR field today with a seemingly endless number of human resource management systems and recruiting and training tools. By exposing you to these technologies, Saint Leo's HRM program will prepare you to strategically select and implement the tools that will best solve the complex management problems your organization will face.

5. Program prepares you to earn respected industry certifications.

If you choose to do so, you will be prepared to sit for the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) Assurance of Learning Assessment. If you don't have HR experience, this assessment demonstrates to potential employers that you have the knowledge required to be a successful HR professional. If you're already working in HR, a degree can expedite your eligibility to sit for other valuable SHRM or Human Resource Certification Institute (HRCI) certifications.

6. Instructors have years of HR experience in a variety of settings.

Saint Leo HRM faculty have years of HR experience as managers in large and small corporations around the world and as HR consultants. They can provide a realistic perspective on today's HR challenges and help you connect the principles and practices you learn in your courses with daily business activities. They also maintain strong industry connections, a networking plus for students.

7. You will have opportunities to apply the skills you learn in class.

The online HR management degree curriculum integrates relevant case study and simulation learning activities giving you the opportunity to apply human resource management principles to real-life situations. You will make decisions about typical HR issues and simulate standard HR activities, making meaningful and practical connections between theoretical concepts and how they might actually play out in business.

8. Ethics is integrated into every course.

For human resource professionals, who handle sensitive issues and are privy to confidential information on a daily basis, strong business ethics is imperative. From salary negotiations and harassment complaints to employee terminations, the issues that human resource professionals demand ethical behavior and decision making. At Saint Leo, integrity is a core value and part of the core curriculum across all disciplines. And ethics is purposely integrated into every business course.

9. You will gain real-world experience.

It's no secret that the single, most-important credential for recent college grads to have on their resumes is an internship, and Saint Leo's HRM program includes a critical internship component. For HRM students who will be new to the field, an internship is a great way to hone real-world skills. And if you're working full-time in HR or another field, the internship's flexibility provides for a variety of ways to meet this program requirement.

10. Graduate HR management can take you to the next level.

If you are looking to strengthen or update your HR skills and knowledge and you already have a bachelor's degree, you may consider Saint Leo's MBA in Human Resource Management. This graduate degree enables you to explore concepts, processes and issues associated with specific HR functions, while providing you with a broad business background.

If you're interested in learning more about Saint Leo's undergraduate online human resource management degree, talk with one of our enrollment counselors at 888-875-8265. Want to find out more about the MBA in human resources? Call 800-707-8846.

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