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Athabasca University

How to Become a Human Resources Professional

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To become a Human Resources Professional, a degree, diploma or certificate in a field related to human resources management or a related field such as business management, commerce, industrial/labour relations, labour studies or a related social science i.e. psychology, sociology etc., is required. Some employers prefer to hire those who have a degree and consider the Certified Human Resources Professional (CHRP) designation to be an asset. Effective January 1, 2011, CHRP Certification will have an undergraduate university degree requirement nationally.

Athabasca University offers these programs help you to prepare for a career in Human Resources:

We also have a variety of programs that might be acceptable by an employer in meeting a 'university degree requirement' for a job in an HR department; for example, our three year (90 credits) or four year (120 credits) Bachelor of Arts either in Labour Studies, Psychology, Sociology, or others in the area of social science, a four year Bachelor of Commerce degree (120 credits) and a three year (90 credits) Bachelor of Management degree. For a complete list of our programs, please see:

Many prospective students ask:

What is the difference between the Bachelor of Management: Human Resource Management (Bachelor of Management: HRM) and the Bachelor of Human Resources and Labour Relations (BHRLR)?

  • The Bachelor of Management: HRM Major is a four year degree whereas the BHRLR is a three year degree. If a student wishes to pursue graduate studies, a four year degree may be a better choice since it is an entrance requirement for some institutions. It is the student's responsibility to research other universities entrance requirements.
  • Students may enrol in the Bachelor of Management three-Year Degree, complete the requirements for this degree and convert to the four year degree with the Major in Human Resource Management.
  • The Bachelor of Management is a School of Business degree focused on a broad spectrum of management courses; the HRM major has a core requirement of five HRM courses in addition to the general degree requirements and electives, whereas the BHRLR degree is focused directly on HRLR subjects; the degree has a core requirement of nine HRLR courses in addition to electives and is administered from the Centre for Interdisciplinary Studies. Basically, the Bachelor of Management: HRM is more focused on management courses, whereas the BHRLR has more courses in the Human Resources and Labour Relations area.
  • The Bachelor of Management HRM Major has specific business courses that need to be completed whereas the BHRLR does not require specific business courses; however students may select business courses as their electives.
  • Transfer credit to both post diploma programs is the same.

*NOTE: Information in this tip sheet is general in nature. Admission requirements to the various graduate programs differ from university to university. It is your responsibility to ensure that the courses or degree you take at AU will be accepted at the university you wish to attend.

Next Steps

1. Research career information on Human Resources Professional.

The following links contain useful information on duties, working conditions, skills, education, salary, employment prospects and opportunities plus a whole lot more:

2. Contact the Canadian Council of Human Resources Associations for registration requirements.

Contact your provincial member association of Canadian Council of Human Resources Associations (CCHRA) regarding CHRP designation. It may vary from province to province.

3. Contact an AU Counsellor

A counsellor can provide you with more information on this particular career path and make sure the program you choose meets your goals. You can contact a counsellor by email, book a telephone appointment by calling 1-800-788-9041 ext. 6723 or use the online appointment form.

4. Become an AU Student

Once you completed these steps, you are ready to become an AU Student.

5. Contact an AU student advisor.

An advisor can help you select courses and develop a program plan for studies at Athabasca University. (For courses or programs at another institution, you must contact that institution directly for further assistance.) For the Bachelor of Commerce, or Bachelor of Management programs, you need to consult a School of Business Advisor by calling 1-888-449-8813 or e-mail at . For all other programs, please contact a General Advisor at or call 1-800-788-9041.


Alberta Learning Information Services (2014). Alberta Occupational Profiles: Human Resources Professional. Retrieved May 28, 2014 from

National Occupational Classification (2014). 0112 Human Resources Managers. Retrieved May 28, 2014 from

National Occupational Classification (2014). 1121 Human Resources Professionals. Retrieved May 28, 2014 from

Updated August 06 2015 by Student & Academic Services

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