Studies & Degrees in Labor Relations
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A student of labor relations is one who spends time thinking about the issues that affect the relationship between management and employees. This field includes dispute management and conflict resolution, a topic of great historical importance given the employee-management relationship. Courses in labor relations include labor law and contracts, economics, managerial studies and organizational theory, negotiation, policy studies, and various related fields. Perhaps the most exciting part about studying labor relations is the prospect of devoting a career to finding win-win solutions to seemingly intractable problems. Labor relations experts help to make entire economies run more smoothly,
- Fair-mindedness. Experience or training as a mediator is a plus
- Interest in labor and industry
- Desire to make a difference in your community
- Knowledge of the history of unions and labor relations in the industrial world
While labor relations is a field of study in itself, many people who are interested in these topics choose other majors and specialize in labor relations. For example, it is entirely possible and practical to complete a degree in economics or sociology and concentrate on labor related issues. This would carry most of the same educational and career benefits, along with an added breadth and flexibility. Labor relations, however, would be a more focused degree, so mid-career students and those attending two-year colleges might be better off choosing this option.
Labor relations is, of course, a fairly specialized field, so the career options available after completing a degree in labor relations are somewhat limited. Possibilities include labor relations consultant, arbiter/mediator, and government employee. Another possibility, an excellent choice for those who can afford the time and money, is to major in labor relations and then go to law school, enabling a career as a lawyer with a background in labor issues.