HR Career and Education Guide by State

State Guide to Your HR Education & Career

The field of human resources offers a broad range of possibilities for employment. Although these careers may look very different in their day-to-day responsibilities, they are very similar in their common practices, goals and what they mean to the organization. Finding a place where you fit is easy in the world of HR.

The outlook for human resources professionals is bright. There are job opportunities growing in all types of industries, as HR grows in importance to oversee, develop and maintain employees in all functions.

According to the HR Certification Institute (HRCI), the unemployment rate for HR professionals is even lower than the national average (4.5 percent), and BLS data projects job growth for this field at a rate of nine percent from 2014 to 2024 – faster than the average of all occupations. Approximately 50,000 HR hires are made per year, thanks to a booming economy.


If you are in a state with large corporations, you have an even better chance of landing a HR role, since job volume is high in these bigger markets. Competition for more specialized roles may still be steep, but you can set yourself apart with the right education and certification

Tops Jobs in Human Resources

There are many roles you can hold as a HR professional. Some of the top jobs include recruiting, employee development, and benefits administration. Human resources jobs start at entry level with generalists and move on to specialists and then the more specific roles in various industries such as government and healthcare.

Some of the highest-paying HR jobs include:

Labor Relations Specialist
Human Resources Consultant
Compensation and Benefits Manager
Human Resources Manager
Human Resources Director
Chief HR Officer
Chief People Officer

Best Cities for HR Professionals

Here’s a list of the top earning cities for HR specialists, according to U.S. News:If you are just starting out in HR, you are not likely to get right into the Chief People Officer role, but everyone starts somewhere. As an HR specialist, you can expect a median salary of $59,020, but there are some cities where you can earn even more.

San Luis Obispo, California $98,020
Trenton, New Jersey $96,940
Decatur, Alabama $94,280
Framingham, Massachusetts $89,590
Norwich, Connecticut $87,040

Best Paying States for HR Specialists

District of Columbia $76,970
Rhode Island $75,730
New Jersey $74,990
Massachusetts $74,660
Connecticut $72,370

HR professionals themselves voted for the best sectors for their jobs. Consulting won the popular opinion, but most professionals recommend starting an HR career in an organization with a lot of structure so you can learn the ropes and perform well in whatever role you eventually choose.