How Can a Person Transition Into HR in a Mid Level Career Change?

With Years of Experience, a Masters Degree, and Market Ready Skills

You can transition to a mid-level HR career using this information.
••• Kamon Supasawat / Getty Images

A reader asked the following question about how to transition into a Human Resources career, not into an entry-level job, but into a mid-career HR position that respects her experience and degrees.

Gayle said: "For the past 10 years or so I have been employed as a Paralegal specializing in Family Law Litigation. I have a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science and a Masters of Arts in Public Administration; with a public leadership emphasis.

"For a couple of years, I have investigated transitioning into HR. My goal is not to relinquish my experience, but to transfer those skills, education, and experience. Specifically, I would like to focus on Employee Relations. I do have management experience, within a law firm.

"Also, I currently work with in-house counsel for a bank. I have seen a number of internal positions as an Employee Relations Consultant available. I would like to secure one of those positions. In doing so, have considered securing an HR Certificate; along with the formal PHR.

"Do you think utilizing the local community college is the best option? Also, I would like to, at a minimum, retain my current salary. What is a reasonable salary request? Please provide any additional information you believe useful. I thank you in advance for your assistance."

You Can Transition to a Mid-Level Career in HR But Consider These Issues

The following recommendations apply to anyone who is thinking of transitioning into a mid-level career in HR. You can find jobs in HR management.

The diverse personal questions that are sent to TheBalanceCareers are challenging to answer in that the answers depend completely on:

  • where you live and want to work,
  • the size of the company you want to work for,
  • who you know (your contacts and network),
  • the requirements (degrees, certificates, experience) for jobs in your local area, and
  • what your market competition looks like where you live.

Even the question about whether a PHR would help you depends on what is commonly expected where you live or if your goal is large companies which are prone to liking certifications more than smaller companies. Certificates are also seen more favorably in large cities especially on the coasts.

The PHR can't hurt, plus in studying for it, you will gain knowledge that you need to successfully work a mid-level career position in the field of HR.

But, there is no guarantee that it will help with employment above entry level. If your goal is Employee Relations, however, you may be headed on the right path to prepare for a role in a larger company.

Attend an Appropriate Educational Program to Help You Transition to a Mid-Level Career in HR

You've asked also about attending a local community college. If you seek an HR certificate, in preference, check out a nearby Masters program in HR to see if a certificate is offered. You may also be able to take the equivalent coursework there or in an undergrad program.

Further, contact the HR Certification Institute or the Society for Human Resource Management. They or related organizations offer both certifications and training to prepare for certification testing all over the country.

Your truly best source for answers to the questions that you are asking is to talk with local resources who work in HR. In doing so, you also build a network that may one day employ you, or refer you for jobs, too. Information interviews have proven helpful for many people who are making a career transition.

They help you to learn what is needed in terms of credentials, experience, and degrees or certificates in your local community to transition to a mid-level career change into HR. They are also helpful in building an HR network that may hire you or help you.

A reliable source for salary information that is on target for most of the country is Payscale.com Many of the sites online are way off, depending on the area of the country in which you live.

Here are transition stories that may give you ideas about how others made the transition, too.

More Related to Career Change

Disclaimer: Please note that the information provided, while authoritative, is not guaranteed for accuracy and legality. The site is read by a world-wide audience and ​employment laws and regulations vary from state to state and country to country. Please seek legal assistance, or assistance from State, Federal, or International governmental resources, to make certain your legal interpretation and decisions are correct for your location. This information is for guidance, ideas, and assistance.