Newswise — Entry-level jobs in human resource management are expected to grow at a rate of 7.1% between 2016 and 2026, according to the 2016 Occupational Outlook Handbook provided by the U.S. Government’s Bureau of Labor Statistics.

In response, the University of Illinois at Chicago’s College of Business Administration is launching a new undergraduate degree, a Bachelor of Science in Human Resource Management.

The program will appeal to students with interests in managing the people side of an organization and will prepare students for a diverse set of human resources positions.

“The competitiveness of today’s global marketplace and the increasingly complex nature of human resources practices have resulted in HR professionals needing a higher level of knowledge and competencies, even for entry-level positions,” said Donald Kluemper, associate professor of managerial studies and a former director of human resources.

UIC’s comprehensive human resource management curriculum includes courses covering recruitment and selection, training and development, compensation and benefits, job analysis and job design, performance management, employment law, global human resource management and managing a diverse workforce.

“By offering students a stand-alone degree program, UIC graduates will be equipped with the credentials most in demand by employers,” said Kluemper, who is also co-director of the UIC Business Institute for Leadership Excellence and Development, also known as iLEAD.

A distinguishing feature of the degree program is its focused curriculum, which is in alignment with the suggested guides and templates of the Society for Human Resource Management, or SHRM, the world’s largest association for human resource professionals.

“These standards cover the content knowledge and competencies necessary for qualified students to apply for certification as a SHRM-Certified Professional during their final year at UIC, greatly increasing their competitiveness in the job market,” Kluemper said.

In 2017, SHRM conducted a survey of recruiters, human resources managers and human resources directors that showed 70% of employers prefer to hire graduates with a bachelor’s degree in human resource management.

The UIC Bachelor of Science in Human Resource Management was developed with input from the association, HR practitioners, and UIC Business faculty, students and career services staff.

“Employment opportunities for those with a bachelor’s degree in HR are plentiful, and with additional years of experience, graduates can move into management-level positions,” Kluemper said.

Students can apply now to enroll and/or transfer to the new degree. Classes begin in fall 2019.