Frequently Asked Questions About Human Resources
Behind any successful business is a team of talented and hardworking people. Human resources training can enable you to play a crucial role in helping businesses attract and keep the skilled personnel they need to thrive and grow.
Interested in learning more? Here are answers to some of the most common questions about the HR field:
What Is Human Resources?
Here's a basic human resources definition: the people who work within an organization. So a human resources department handles all issues related to the hiring, training, and administration of employees. HR staff deal with everything from recruitment and development to benefits and labour relations. Because the field is so diverse, it's common for HR professionals to specialize in a particular area, such as payroll, training, or job analysis.
A typical human resources job description might call for you to:
- Identify the organization's staffing needs
- Screen applicants and initiate background and reference checks
- Prepare job offers
- Consult with management about personnel policies and procedures
- Create staff handbooks
- Provide employee orientation and arrange for training
- Coordinate compensation and benefits plans
- Resolve employee concerns regarding pay, benefits, or pensions
- Mediate workplace disputes
- Implement incentive or recognition programs
- Provide information on employee rights
- Manage the termination process when employees leave the organization
What's a Typical Human Resources Salary?
Salaries in the HR field vary from about $31,000 to around $144,000, depending on your level of education and responsibility. Have a look at the median earnings for the following human resources occupations. (Salaries are extrapolated from hourly wage data and are based on full-time work; all figures are rounded to the nearest thousand.)1
- Human resources managers—$94K
- Human resources specialists (non-managers)—$75K
- Recruitment officers—$57K
- Personnel clerks—$46K
Your salary potential can also depend on what part of Canada you live in. For example, human resources specialists in Alberta earn a median salary of about $84,930, which is considerably higher than the national median. And HR managers in Alberta have median earnings of roughly $105,000, which is also substantially higher than the Canada-wide median.1
What Training Is Required?
Most HR positions require post-secondary training. You can opt to pursue a human resources certificate, diploma, or degree at a college, university, or vocational school. Programs generally include instruction in:
- Recruitment and selection practices
- Retention strategies
- Labour and employment legislation
- Occupational health and safety
- Compensation and benefits management
- Conflict resolution
- Organizational behaviour
Certificate programs can generally be completed in less than a year. In many cases, you can enter a certificate program right after high school, but specialized certificate programs are also available for people who already have a diploma or degree.
HR diplomas typically take two years to complete. A human resources degree can take three to four years.
Are Certifications Available?
Yes. Human resources certifications are widely available across Canada. They are voluntary, but some companies look for candidates who have them. Two of the most common options are the CPHR and the CHRP designations.
The Chartered Professional in Human Resources (CPHR) designation is recognized throughout the country, except in Ontario (see below). To become a CPHR, you must be a member of your provincial or territorial HR association, meet educational requirements, have a certain amount of work experience in the field, and pass an exam. Each province and territory sets its own specific requirements, so be sure to research the details in your area. To maintain your CPHR, you must complete at least 20 hours of professional development each year.
Ontario has its own HR designations, offered in three tiers:
- The Certified Human Resources Professional (CHRP) is the entry-level credential and is intended for people working as HR assistants, clerks, or coordinators. To obtain it, you must successfully complete courses in nine different areas (or have a certain amount of professional experience), pass a knowledge exam and an employment law exam, and complete a short online career preparation program.
- The Certified Human Resources Leader (CHRL) is for more experienced workers such as HR managers. Requirements are similar to the CHRP, but the CHRL requires a degree and three years of professional HR experience. Your degree does not have to be in human resources, but you will still have to meet the nine-area coursework requirement.
- The Certified Human Resources Executive (CHRE) is meant for those at the highest level of the profession. To qualify, you must have at least 10 years of experience in the HR field and substantial experience at a senior level. You must then complete an online assessment and submit a written application.
Maintaining any of the three designations requires completing 66.67 hours of professional development over a three-year period.
Learn to Manage Every Company's Most Important Resource
Human resources training can help launch you toward a satisfying career that involves building talented and productive teams for businesses of all sizes. The programs listed above are ready to help you begin. Or put your postal code into the school finder below to generate a list of convenient training options close to where you live!
1 Government of Canada, Job Bank, website last visited on November 27, 2019.