Human Resource (HR) Degree in Tennessee


Tennessee’s pro-business climate has been drawing companies to invest in the state. So much so that the financial publication, Business Facilities, named Tennessee the “State of the Year” for 2014. As a result, employment levels are growing rapidly in Tennessee, with the state’s Department of Labor and Workforce Development expecting more than 3.1 million new jobs to be created in the state by 2022. 

As companies move into the state or expand their existing operations, they need HR professionals to help them attract and retain top talent.  The need for HR professionals is so acute that Tennessee designated a number of HR jobs as having a “bright outlook statewide:”

  • Human resources specialists
  • Compensation benefits and job analysis specialists
  • Training and development specialists
  • Payroll and timekeeping clerks
  • Human resources assistants expect payroll and timekeeping

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HR Degrees Available Through Private Universities and State Schools in Tennessee

Business professionals seeking human resources training to take advantage of the growing need for HR professionals in Tennessee will find an array of options available through both campus based and online programs:

Bachelor’s Degrees in Human Resources - Designed for those preparing to become HR recruiters, managers and labor relations specialists, among others:

Bachelor of Science in Management Excellence with emphasis in HR Management—Athens  (Hybrid onsite and online)

  • Evening classes
  • Students complete their degrees in about 15 months

Bachelor of Science in Management Excellence with emphasis in HR Management—Knoxville  (Hybrid onsite and online)

  • Evening classes
  • Students complete their degrees in about 15 months

Bachelor of Business Administration Major in Management with a concentration in HR Management—Johnson City

  • At least 120 credit hours required
  • Will recognize 61 credits from an associate’s degree

Bachelor of Science in Business Administration:  HR Management—Chattanooga

  • 120 credit hour program
  • At least half of the business credit hours for the degree must be earned at this university

Bachelor of Science in Business Administration:  HR Management Major Collateral Option—Knoxville

  • 120 credit hour program
  • Collateral options are available in entrepreneurship, information management, international business, and marketing

Master’s Degrees in Human Resources - Designed for those preparing to become HR managers or training and development managers, among others:

Master of HR—Nashville

  • Does not require an undergrad HR degree or work experience
  • 30 credit hour program

Master of Professional Studies:  HR Leadership—Cookeville (Online)

  • Does not require an undergrad HR degree
  • 33 credit hour program
  • Students who are employed full time are limited to two online courses a semester

Master of Professional Studies with concentration in HR leadership—Nashville (Online)

  • Does not require an undergrad HR degree
  • 33 credit hour program
  • Requires a Professional Project to earn the degree

MBA with a Concentration in Human Resource Management – Designed for those preparing to become HR Directors or VPs:

MBA-HR Management concentration—McKenzie

  • Does not require an undergrad HR degree
  • 36 credit hour program
  • Program takes about 23 months for completion

The Largest Employers of HR Professionals in Tennessee

Tennessee landed a number of high-profile manufacturing facilities in 2014 including a $600 million expansion by Volkswagen in Chattanooga and an $80.5 million investment by SL Tennessee in the eastern part of the state.  In addition, Bridgestone Americas announced a new $232 million office tower.  These developments are largely responsible for driving employment growth in the state, and by extension, driving demand for the HR professionals that recruit, hire and train top talent.

The US Department of Labor provides the largest employers of HR professionals in Tennessee as of 2014 along with their total number of employees:

  • Vanderbilt University (Nashville) - 22,000
  • Vanderbilt University Medical Center (Nashville) - 15,000
  • Eastman Chemical Company - Corporate HQ and manufacturing (Kingsport) - 8,000
  • Nissan North America Inc. - Manufacturing (Smyma) - 6,500
  • Gaylord Opryland Resort (Nashville) - 6,001
  • GM Spring Hill Plant - Manufacturing (Spring Hill) - 5,776
  • M Model, Inc. - Transcription services (Franklin) - 5,300
  • Carlisle Transportation Products - Corporate HQ (Franklin) - 5,000
  • Gulfstream Aircraft Company (Brentwood) - 5,000
  • Jackson-Madison County General (Jackson) - 5,000

HR Professional Salary Ranges in Tennessee

The US Bureau of Labor Statistics provides the salaries for a number of HR positions in Tennessee as of 2014.  The values shown here range from the starting salaries (bottom 10% average) to top salaries (top 10% average):

  • Human Resource Managers: $44,840 - $138,370
  • Training and Development Managers: $35,750 - $135,000
  • Human Resources Specialists: $29,680 - $84,130
  • Labor Relations Specialists: $17,000 - $88,540
  • Compensation, Benefits and Job Analysis Specialists: $33,680 - $80,710
  • Training and Development Specialists: $28,420 - $88,450
  • Payroll and Timekeeping Clerks: $24,190 - $54,330
  • Human Resources Assistants, Except Payroll and Timekeeping: $22,890 - $49,680

Job Growth Projections for HR Positions in Tennessee

The Tennessee Department of Labor and Workforce Development predicts that there will be a substantial increase in the number of jobs in the professional and business services industry between 2012 and 2022.  This agency predicts that 27.5% of the 393,600 new jobs expected to become available during this time frame will be in professional and business services.  

The Tennessee Department of Labor and Workforce projects the following level of growth in HR positions between 2012 and 2022:

  • Human Resource Managers: 10%
  • Training and Development Managers: 10%                                               
  • Human Resources Specialists: 10%
  • Compensation, Benefits and Job Analysis Specialists: 10%
  • Training and Development Specialists: 10%           
  • Payroll and Timekeeping Clerks: 10%

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