Best Online Organizational Leadership Degrees
For a business, non-profit, or government agency or department to run smoothly, it needs people at the helm who can set the proper tone for the organization. Majoring in organizational leadership at the postsecondary level gives students the education required to learn how to take manage a team, make ethical decisions, and communicate clearly and effectively. Graduates from an organizational leadership degree program can move on to such careers as marketing managers, human resources recruiters, or account managers.
Prospective students are encouraged to look for online organizational leadership degree programs offered by accredited institutions. Not only is accreditation an indication that a program is of excellent quality, but it is also a requirement for students who plan to apply for federal financial aid. The US Department of Education offers a current database of accredited schools and degree programs.
Most Popular Accredited Online Schools for Organizational Leadership Bachelor's Degrees
|Rank||School||Annual Tuition||Recommend Rate|
|# 1||Purdue University Global||$14,358||72% (480 reviews)|
|# 2||Arizona State University||$24,413||64% (112 reviews)|
|# 3||Southern New Hampshire University Online||$9,600||63% (443 reviews)|
|# 4||Grand Canyon University||$17,800||50% (537 reviews)|
|# 5||Liberty University||$11,700||58% (326 reviews)|
|# 6||Central Christian College of Kansas||$20,450||Add Review|
|# 7||Colorado State University Global||$8,400||55% (112 reviews)|
|# 8||The University of Arizona Global Campus||Not Provided||67% (685 reviews)|
|# 9||Regent University Online||$18,620||38% (24 reviews)|
|# 10||Capella University||$14,540||62% (671 reviews)|
|# 11||Walden University||Not Provided||51% (684 reviews)|
|# 12||Waldorf University||$8,700||100% (16 reviews)|
|# 13||Columbia Southern University||$6,600||78% (190 reviews)|
|# 14||Northcentral University||$18,095||48% (267 reviews)|
|# 15||South College||$17,025||100% (1 review)|
|# 16||Maryville University||$28,470||34% (44 reviews)|
|# 17||Spring Arbor University Online||$29,630||0% (2 reviews)|
|# 18||University of Arizona||$11,800||75% (4 reviews)|
|# 19||University of Virginia||$50,900||Add Review|
|# 20||Rasmussen University Online||Not Provided||44% (86 reviews)|
|# 21||Colorado Christian University||$33,434||42% (19 reviews)|
|# 22||Kansas Christian College||$7,270||100% (1 review)|
|# 23||Emporia State University||$20,714||67% (3 reviews)|
|# 24||Mount Vernon Nazarene University||$30,404||0% (2 reviews)|
|# 25||Saint Francis University||$38,170||Add Review|
What Is a Bachelor's Degree in Organizational Leadership?
Large organizations tend to have numerous departments and a multitude of working parts, yet they all need to work cohesively toward the same common goal. This often necessitates hiring qualified professionals who can help define and lead others toward a company's mission. Ultimately, that's where organizational leadership degrees come into play.
Not only do students in organizational leadership programs learn how individual thoughts impact the way people work, but they also learn to be an effective leader that inspires others to do their best as part of a team.
A bachelor's in business and organizational leadership is a four-year degree that can help you fill this important role within some of the largest companies across the world. An online degree in this field can prepare you to oversee and lead groups of individuals while implementing dynamic workplace strategies and overcoming various obstacles.
Is Organizational Leadership a Social Science?
Organizational leadership degrees have origins in the social sciences, and the curriculum created for these programs often reflects that. For example, organizational leadership degree programs typically include a social science research sequence that helps students understand the connections between individual workplace behaviors and how they affect organizational missions and goals.
That said, organizational leadership degrees come with a management aspect you won't find within the study of other social sciences, such as sociology, psychology, political science, and economics. Not only do students in organizational leadership programs learn how individual thoughts impact the way people work, but they also learn to be an effective leader that inspires others to do their best as part of a team.
What Is the Difference Between Business Administration and Organizational Leadership?
Where organizational leadership degrees teach students about the connections between human psychology, social sciences, and leadership, business administration degrees focus more on the inner workings of running a business.
For example, students who pursue a degree in business administration study topics like accounting, human resources, marketing, and project management. They also learn all about business challenges, such as supply chain management, and all while honing their critical thinking, decision-making, and communication skills.
That said, business administration degrees and organizational leadership degrees both prepare students to enter similar occupations upon graduation. For example, both degree programs have the potential to lead to the following careers:
- Administrative services manager
- Construction manager
- General and operations manager
- Industrial production manager
- Sales manager
- Social and community service manager
Can You Get an Organizational Leadership Degree Online?
You can absolutely pursue an organizational degree online, and that's true whether you want to earn a bachelor's in business and organizational leadership or a graduate degree in this field. Once you begin searching for degrees you can pursue virtually, you'll quickly find that many of the best colleges and universities throughout the U.S. offer fully online courses and degree programs you can pursue at home and around your schedule.
That said, you'll want to make sure you choose from schools that have met rigorous academic standards. It's also wise to choose an accredited online degree program for your education — and for more reasons than one. Choosing to enroll in a program at one of these accredited schools helps ensure that you will have access to high quality instruction; it will also help you meet the eligibility requirements to apply for financial aid or transfer college credit to another institution in the future.
In the meantime, online degrees from accredited institutions are fully respected by major industries and organizations, so they can help you secure the type of management positions you are most interested in.
Some online organizational leadership programs that are offered as part of a business degree receive programmatic accreditation from agencies, such as the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB) or the Accreditation Council for Business Schools and Programs (ACBSP). Both AACSB and ACBSP are recognized by the Council for Higher Learning Accreditation. The accreditation of individual degree programs or schools can be verified by checking a database provided by CHEA or the U.S. Department of Education.
Common Courses for an Organizational Leadership Major
Organizational leadership degrees help students refine their leadership skills while learning the basics of business and management. As a result, courses tend to focus on helping individuals grow their confidence as well as their conflict resolution and problem-solving skills.
With this in mind, here are some of the most common courses you'll find within an organizational leadership curriculum:
Degrees in organizational leadership require students to understand the basics of accounting and financial management. Topics covered in this course include accounting principles, such as accounts receivable, accounting cycle, cash, inventory transactions, long-term assets and liabilities, and more. Students will also be introduced to budgeting basics and cash flow management for major organizations.
Today's companies and organizations are more diverse than ever, which is good news for everyone. This course introduces students to the key aspects of leading a diverse team, as well as how conceptions linked to categories of gender, race, sexuality, class, ethnicity, and disability can impact the workplace. Students who complete this training will gain a better understanding of the people and the world around them.
Leadership degrees also require students to become effective communicators, whether they are speaking with groups or interacting via email or social media. This course teaches students how to target their messages to individuals and groups in a clear and concise way. This course will also introduce students to the many communication styles they should actively avoid, as well as styles that can alienate peers and subordinates while creating a toxic work environment.
Organizational leadership students also need to understand the basic principles of marketing and how they apply in the modern workforce. This course covers marketing strategies for digital and print media as well as how leadership helps build brands.
Students also need to study organizational theory, or the nature of organizations and how they run. This course examines various aspects of leadership in a workplace setting, along with how they are intertwined with communications and production on a wider scale. Students generally walk away from this course with an understanding of how most companies operate using a series of interworking parts.
What Can I Do With an Organizational Leadership Degree?
Students who major in organizational leadership focus on positive interactions and strategies for allowing the strengths of each individual on a team to be put to good use. Here are three types of leadership studied in the field of organizational leadership today:
Types of Organizational Leadership
Authoritarian Leadership: Authoritarian leadership works by providing clear instruction for what the members of a team need to accomplish. In this form of leadership, leaders are differentiated from the subordinates, and labor is distributed directly by the leader. One benefit of authoritarian leadership is that it requires less time to set plans into action, as leaders can easily delegate the tasks that need to be completed. Having said that, authoritarian leadership reduces the incentive for followers to innovate new ideas, reducing the possibility for better forms of operations to arise.
Participative Leadership: As the name suggests, participative leadership allows individuals to have an equal say in how tasks should be performed. A common example of participative leadership is the idea of a democracy. A democracy is where members of a group equally share the responsibility for making decisions. This has been shown to be the most effective form of leadership since each person’s needs have a better chance of being met. There are detriments to this system too, including the time and resources taken to discuss options and collect votes or feedback.
Delegative Leadership: Delegative leadership involves the handing down of responsibilities. For example, a company president may not have time to recruit and train new employees, so he or she could pass that responsibility to a departmental manager. That manager may not have time to write up and send out the job descriptions, so they might delegate that task to an administrative assistant. This style of leadership can be challenging if roles and responsibilities are not clearly defined and there is a lack of accountability.
Careers in Organizational Leadership
An advanced degree in organizational leadership prepares students for management roles in a variety of fields. All large companies and organizations require the services of multiple managers for different departments. Here are a few careers that are available to graduates of organizational leadership degree programs:
Earning an organizational leadership degree is an excellent way to begin a career as a management analyst. These company leaders gather information about problems that need to be solved within an organization, and they research various mitigation strategies and solutions that can help put these issues to rest. Management analysts also research financial data and company operations in order to craft business strategies that can help streamline procedures for maximum efficiency. This career is also in high demand, with an expected increase of new job openings that's well above the national average.
Human Resources Managers
The coursework required during an organizational leadership program teaches students about conflict resolution, negotiation, and hiring the best employees, so graduates will be in a prime position to work in the human resources field at any level.Most positions in human resource management require a bachelor's degree in a field like organizational leadership or human resources, yet applicants also need several years of experience as well. Either way, median annual wages for human resources managers are excellent across the board, with job growth expected to be higher than the national average for all occupations.
If you've always imagined yourself making important decisions for a large corporation from the comfort of your massive office, you probably have a top executive position in mind. Years of experience are often required, along with an advanced degree like a master's in organizational leadership. Competition for these roles is stiff, so a well-rounded work and educational background, along with proven interpersonal and negotiation skills, are beneficial.While job growth is expected to be average for top executives through 2030, pay for this career is exceptional.
Computer and Information Systems Managers
With the overwhelming majority of large businesses and corporations utilizing the latest technology, a computer and information systems manager is vital. A highly technological background is needed, along with an advanced degree in business or organizational leadership. Many organizational leadership degree programs offer specialties in information systems, gearing students for this occupation. Students who pursue this career path will also likely be rewarded financially, and job growth is expected to be higher than average for this field, with the addition of 52,700 new jobs during this decade.
Financial managers have an important job, as they must oversee budgets, taxes, general accounting procedures, payroll, and the other employees that work in their department. This role generally requires a CPA certificate as well as an advanced degree. Organizational leadership master's degrees often offer concentrations in finance management, making it a great fit for those looking to climb the ranks in their finance department or score a new career in another setting. That said, financial managers typically need a bachelor's degree and at least five years of workplace experience to move into this role. However, the number of openings in this role are expected to surge, adding 118,200 new positions from 2020 to 2030.
Is a Bachelor's Degree in Organizational Leadership Worth It?
A bachelor's degree in organizational leadership can definitely be worth it, but you should think over the potential pros and cons before you choose this field of study. Also take some time to compare the other online degrees, and how they might help you reach your career goals.
Here are some potential advantages and disadvantages that come with leadership degrees:
Many careers in leadership pay considerably higher-than-average wages, including jobs in management roles. If you want to earn more than most in your chosen career, organizational leadership degrees can help make it happen.
Organizational leadership degrees apply to a wide range of industries. Since leadership skills translate to many different business environments, you can move positions and try new industries until you find the right fit.
Many leadership positions only require a four-year degree. While you can earn a master's degree in organizational leadership, many jobs in this field only require a bachelor's degree. This means you can spend more time working and earning money and fewer years in school.
Not everyone enjoys being in a leadership position. While you may think you want a leadership role, many prefer to do their work on the sidelines. While management positions offer higher pay, they can come with more responsibilities and a lot more stress.
Many management roles do not require a leadership degree. Also, it's important to note that you can climb the corporate ladder without a degree in leadership. In some cases, a bachelor's degree in a more specialized field could be even better for your career.
Learning leadership skills online can be a challenge. While virtual learning can be incredibly convenient and rewarding, it can be difficult to hone leadership skills when you're not in a physical classroom or interacting in person with your peers.
Next Steps: Planning Your Future
While a bachelor's degree in organizational leadership can help you qualify for any number of rewarding career opportunities, you'll also find master's degree programs in this field of study. You can even find online MBA in organizational leadership degrees, which combine the study of leadership and business administration in a single graduate program.
That said, the best online master's in organizational leadership won't necessarily lead to a different set of career paths than a four-year degree will. In fact, both undergraduate and graduate degrees in organizational leadership open the door to similar job opportunities.
However, a master's degree in organizational leadership does show an even higher level of education and devotion to leadership as a career path. Graduate degrees also look good on a resume, and they can make applicants stand out when competing against their peers for management positions.
How Much Can You Make With a Master's in Organizational Leadership?
A graduate degree in organizational leadership positions you to earn a higher salary than you might otherwise earn with a bachelor's degree in the same role. As an example, management analysts earned a median annual salary of $93,000 as of May 2021, yet figures from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) show that the top 10% of earners brought in an average salary of $163,760 that year.
The same applies for computer and information systems managers, who earned a median annual salary of $159,010, as of May 2021. According to BLS data, the top 25% of managers in this field earned an average salary of $198,750 that year.
Do You Need a Degree To Be a Leader?
You do not need a leadership degree to become a leader in your organization, yet pursuing this specialized degree never hurts. The fact is, many of the highest paying positions in the corporate world require a bachelor's degree at minimum, and having additional leadership training as part of your studies can position you for the best job opportunities available.
Even so, it never hurts to compare other online courses and degrees to see how they may help you reach your career goals. You should also make sure you have a plan in place to pay for college — with or without the help of financial aid and scholarships. If you need to borrow money for school, you should take the time to understand the impacts of student loan debt and the strategies you can use to pay it off as well.
Whether you decide to pursue a degree in leadership, business administration, or an entirely different field of study, doing this research upfront can help you make sure your decision is an informed one.
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