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Is It Education or Experience That Makes the HR Professional? Here's What You Said

A man is working at a desk in an office.

We asked—and you answered.

In the September issue of HR Magazine, we posed the question "Is Earning an Undergraduate Degree in HR the Best Way to Prepare for an HR Career?" On SHRM's Facebook page, more than 40 of you responded, with comments varying from a simple "yes" or "no" to longer explanations of what you've experienced in your HR career.

In the magazine feature, LeAnn Brown, SHRM-SCP, took the "yes" side. She is an associate professor of human resource management and chair of the Department of Management at Fort Hays State University in Hays, Kan. Heather Carlino, a 2017 graduate of Indiana University of Pennsylvania, argued the counterpoint view. Carlino is a former undergraduate SHRM chapter president and an HR business partner associate at Lockheed Martin Rotary and Mission Systems in Orlando, Fla.

Brown stipulated that HR practitioners need a solid foundation of classroom learning—particularly curriculum endorsed by SHRM—to start their HR careers. Carlino, however, said, "In today's business climate, on-the-job experience trumps whatever field you study."

She had plenty of supporters on the Facebook post:

Others didn't see the issue as an "either/or" situation:

A reply from someone on the job hunt now shows how much employers want that real-world HR experience:

On the "yes" side, one commenter said it's not enough to get the degree—you have to keep learning throughout your career:

For some commenters, getting an undergraduate HR degree was just the beginning of the educational requirement.

With more than 100 SHRM Facebook page followers "liking" this post, we can tell it's a topic you're interested in. Tell us more—about this topic or any other—on Facebook, Twitter (with the hashtag #myHRcareer), LinkedIn or our members-only platform, SHRM Connect.


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