A career in human resources management can be an excellent fit for those with strong interpersonal skills and a desire to help people in the workplace. For military personnel, securing a human resources-related assignment while serving in the armed forces can be a springboard to a human resources management career in the civilian workplace.

HR management generally requires individuals to be highly organized, ethical, and skilled at negotiation, conflict resolution and communication. Launching an HR management career requires the right combination of education and skills, along with personal attributes such as responsibility, patience, fairness, empathy and firmness. HR managers deal with employees during potentially stressful situations and must be able to perform their duties in a respectful and diplomatic manner.

Military HR Careers

Human resources specialists in the U.S. military share many of the same duties and daily tasks as their civilian counterparts. For example, in the U.S. Air Force, personnel specialists assist and advise airmen on developing their careers through training programs, and provide information on job specialties and promotions. Additional tasks can include:

  • Maintaining files and records
  • Scheduling and processing personnel for various actions
  • Advising personnel and dependents on military training and benefits

Other HR careers in the military include:

  • Personnel Manager – The personnel manager’s responsibilities include directing personnel to jobs and training assignments, and planning recruiting activities.
  • Human Resources Management Specialist – These specialists manage affirmative action plans and evaluation procedures, and design strategies to improve HR management.
  • Human Resources Specialist – HR specialists support the overall welfare of enlisted personnel, and help leadership keep servicemembers healthy and ready for combat.

Military HR Skills Transfer to the Civilian Workforce

Human resources jobs in the military require employees to deal with a wide variety of personnel, from officers and pilots to nurses and military police. Interacting with servicemembers with such a range of educational levels and job descriptions can help develop an individual’s interpersonal and communication skills, as well as their leadership abilities, all of which are valued in the civilian workforce.

These jobs also require objectivity and tact; HR employees must be able to put aside personal feelings and emotions when dealing with personnel issues.  

Education Required

Human resources managers usually need advanced educational qualifications and experience to compete for sought-after positions. Most employers require candidates to have at least a bachelor’s degree in human resources, business administration or a related field. Some high-level positions will require extensive experience or a Master’s in Business Administration or human resources.

It may also be possible to enter the profession with a combination of military experience and a general bachelor’s degree that includes additional human resources coursework. For example, a minor in HR administration can offer a solid foundation in HR principles, plus instruction in personnel law, conflict resolution and other specialized HR topics. It can also prepare graduates for examinations that award industry-recognized certifications, such as the Professional in Human Resources (PHR) and the Global Professional in Human Resources (GPHR).

Military personnel may find that an online degree program, which includes 24/7 access, allows them to advance their education while fulfilling their duties and deployments, regardless of where they are stationed around the globe.

Post-Military Human Resources Career Options

Many civilian employers welcome candidates whose resumes boast a combination of military experience, educational qualifications, and attributes such as self-confidence, negotiation and conflict resolution skills, and the ability to think strategically.

Such individuals may qualify for civilian HR career positions including:

Prospective students are encouraged to consult an Education Services Officer and conduct independent research as government rulings and regulations are subject to change.

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