How to Become a HR Generalist?

Are you thinking of becoming a HR Generalist or already started your career and planning the next step? Learn how to become a HR Generalist, what skills you need to succeed, how to advance your career and get promoted, and what levels of pay to expect at each step on your career path. Explore new HR Generalist job openings and options for career transitions into related roles.

Steps to Become a Hr Generalist

A human resources (HR) generalist manages the day-to-day operations of a company's human resources department. As part of the individual's responsibilities, this professional also oversees the administration of human resources policies, procedures, programs, and protocols. HR generalists assess staffing logistics, handle recruiting, and work in space planning and organizational techniques. In this article, we discuss the steps required to become an HR generalist.

Receive your Bachelor's Degree in a field such as human resources or business administration, among others.

Earning your Bachelor's Degree is the first step to becoming an HR generalist. A Bachelor's Degree in human resources, business administration, management, psychology, or another related field is a standard educational requirement for HR generalists.

You will explore the principles and practices related to business management, organizational psychology, and managerial studies during your coursework. Depending on your degree program requirements, you may need to complete an internship experience requirement, or you may need to execute a significant research project or presentation related to a topic in your field of study. Check with your university to confirm the requirements necessary for obtaining your degree.


Attend job training to gain HR insights necessary to this field.

After earning your Bachelor's Degree, you can attend some real-life job training to learn the procedures in a workplace environment. Seminars and conferences organized for HR generalists can help them understand their roles as HR leaders. Some of the topics you can learn in training or seminars include:

  • Laws specific to human resources.
  • The function that human resources plays in a business.
  • Ways to improve the image that employees have about human resources.
  • Challenges that those in human resources face and strategies helpful in overcoming them.

Take HR certification tests, such as Professional in Human Resources.

While this step isn't always necessary, some employers prefer employees who are certified. Taking the examinations for HR certification often requires real-life experiences. Some of the basic certifications for an HR generalist include:

  • Chartered Professional in Human Resources.
  • Professional in Human Resources.
  • Society of Human Resource Management Senior Certified Professional.
  • Senior Professional in Human Resources.

Consider an advanced education, such as a Master of Science in Human Resource Management.

Some who pursue a career as HR generalists choose to further their education and seek a Master's Degree. One such advanced degree is a Master of Science in Human Resource Management. This degree teaches advanced psychology, communication, and business skills. Some Master's Degree programs may require students to conduct a research study or participate in a real-world practicum experience.


Apply for a job.

Once you have reached a point where you have earned your education, received your certifications, and obtained some real-life HR experience, you're ready to apply for a job as an HR generalist. Specific skills can help you succeed as an HR generalist. Companies look for individuals who possess the following when selecting someone to join their human resources departments:

  • Organization: Working with records of new and current employees requires strong organizational skills.
  • Discretion: As an HR generalist, you'll have access to sensitive information such as salaries, contact details, and job performance.

An HR generalist also needs to possess strong decision-making skills, interpersonal skills, and communication skills in written and verbal formats.

HR Generalist Career Path

HR Generalist

2 - 4Years of Experience
$58K - $76K /yrAvg. Annual Salary
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46% advanced to

Senior HR Generalist

2 - 4Years of Experience
$70K - $91K /yrAvg. Annual Salary
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HR Generalist IV

5 - 7Years of Experience
$58K - $89K /yrAvg. Annual Salary
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Salary Trajectory

HR Generalist Career Path

Hr Generalist I
HR Generalist
Senior HR Generalist
Hr Generalist Manager
HR Generalist IV
Senior Manager of HR
Principal HR Generalist
Vice President of HR
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Related careers in the Human Resources Industry

Interested in other Human Resources careers? Below are occupations that have high affinity with HR Generalist skills. Discover some of the most common HR Generalist career transitions, along with skills overlap.

Hr Professional
25% skills overlap
16% transitioned to Hr Professional