Organizational Leadership Degrees: Bachelor, Associate & Online Info

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Associate and bachelor's degrees in organizational leadership can lead to careers in management. Get the truth about the requirements, courses and online options, and find out what you can do with your degree.
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Organizational Leadership Associate and Bachelor's: Degrees at a Glance

Earning a degree in organizational leadership can prepare you for a variety of positions that involve overseeing business operations or managing employees. For example, you might become a production supervisor, human resources manager or office manager. A degree program in organizational leadership should provide you with an understanding of how to apply leadership skills to many practical situations, and it can prepare you for management roles in several industries, ranging from foodservice to healthcare.

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, employment of administrative services managers in general is expected to grow by 15% from 2010-2020, which is about as fast as average. Employment for human resources managers is expected to grow about 13% during that time.

Associate Bachelor's
Who is this degree for? Individuals who want lower-level management jobs, or who already have technical skills and want to move up in their fields Individuals who want to advance more quickly to higher-level management jobs
Common Career Paths (with approximate mean annual salary) - Administrative services manager ($87,000)*
- Executive administrative assistant ($48,000)*
- Human resources manager ($109,000)*
- First-line production supervisor ($57,000)*
- Sales manager ($117,000)*
Time to Completion About two years 15 months to four years
Common Graduation Requirements - General education courses
- Core courses
- Technical courses
- Core courses
- Possible portfolio or resume
Prerequisites - High school diploma or GED - High school diploma or GED
- Some schools require you to have professional work experience
- Some schools require you to have at least 60 transferable credits from a postsecondary institution
Online Availability Sometimes Yes

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (May 2011 figures).

Associate in Organizational Leadership

You should be able to find Associate of Science (A.S.) and Associate of Applied Science (AAS) degree programs in organizational leadership or organizational management through universities and community colleges. These programs are designed both for working professionals who want to increase their leadership and management skills, and for prospective undergraduate students with no professional experience. They should teach you the basic principles of leadership and staff management while also supplying you with an understanding of basic business principles.

In these programs, you might be able to select certain elective courses based on your individual career objectives. For example, if you are interested in human resources, you could take electives in training methods and labor issues.

Pros and Cons

Pros

  • Many of these programs allow you to take industry or job-related courses.
  • You can often transfer to a 4-year degree program upon graduation.
  • You can develop the communication, leadership and planning skills necessary to working in a management or supervisory role.

Cons

  • Many higher-level and higher-paying positions will require you to have a bachelor's degree.
  • You might still need professional experience to obtain some positions.
  • For some positions, you might be up against job candidates who have more specialized training in fields such as healthcare or law.

Courses and Requirements

These associate degree programs require you to complete general education courses in addition to core business and management courses. You might also be required to complete electives or technical skills classes. These courses can help prepare you for managerial responsibilities in the work place, and can also prepare you to enter into a bachelor's degree program. Some common courses you might take include:

  • Applied leadership
  • Organizational behavior
  • Employee training methods
  • Human resources
  • Communication
  • Computer applications
  • Business leadership
  • Project management

Online Degree Options

Associate degree programs that focus specifically on organizational leadership and supervision are sometimes offered online through accredited colleges. You should also be able to find associate degree programs in business or business administration offered online. Similar to organizational leadership programs, these business programs often provide courses in leadership, human resources management and business math. They can often prepare you for the same types of lower-level management careers.

Getting Ahead with This Degree

Organizational management is a very broad field, and these programs often cover the basics of leadership, management and business. However, you may be more likely to find positions if you focus your studies and learn the skills related to a certain industry. According to the BLS, job options should be stronger if you specialize in performing certain functions. You might take electives to specialize in industrial production or healthcare so that you can go into those fields already armed with necessary job skills.

Alternative Degree Options

While an associate's degree program in operational leadership may be a good choice for someone with current work experience who is looking to advance into leadership roles, other options might be better suited to students looking to advance academically. Enrolling in an associate's degree program in business administration might be more appealing to students who are interested in earning employment with an associate's degree, but who also want to go on to study at the bachelor's degree level. Additionally, these programs might be more commonly available online.

Bachelor's in Organizational Leadership

A Bachelor of Science (B.S.) in Organizational Leadership should provide you with practical managerial, interpersonal and communication skills while also providing you with an understanding of basic business operations. These programs are often designed for working adults who are looking to advance in their professions, and can sometimes be completed in online or accelerated formats. Some programs allow or require you to choose a concentration in a relevant field, such as industrial engineering technology, business or accounting.

Pros and Cons

Pros

  • Earning a bachelor's degree can prepare you for higher-paying management positions.
  • You might have the opportunity to gain hands-on experience through internships.
  • This degree can prepare you for management roles in several fields, including healthcare, industrial production, law and non-profit administration.

Cons

  • Some bachelor's degree programs in this field will only admit you if you already have work experience or postsecondary credits.
  • You will likely face stronger competition for higher-level management positions.
  • You will probably be required to take general education and humanities courses that will have little to do with your chosen profession.

Courses and Requirements

In addition to general education and concentration courses, you will likely be required to complete core courses in leadership and administration. The coursework is designed to educate you both in the fundamentals of business, but also in leadership and management techniques. These programs commonly enhance your working knowledge of how an organization can function efficiently. Some of these might include:

  • Policy and organization
  • Applied leadership
  • Management
  • Team development
  • Organizational behavior
  • Business ethics

Online Degree Options

Many universities offer online bachelor's degree programs in organizational leadership that are designed primarily for adult students who also work full-time jobs. Some schools will require you to obtain particular software or meet other technical requirements in order to take the classes online. Online programs can be useful to you if you have a full personal or professional schedule, but you may not be able to participate in hands-on experiences if you complete an online program.

Getting Ahead with This Degree

In addition to having a degree, you will likely need to have work experience in order to obtain a management position in human resources or administrative services, according to the BLS. Completing internships while enrolled in your undergraduate degree program can give you a head start. Additionally, you might consider earning voluntary certification from organizations such as the Society for Human Resource Management.

Alternative Degree Options

If you're interested in studying a particular area of the business field, you might consider earning a degree in business administration instead of organization and leadership. Through a business administration degree program, you might choose a major in an area such as finance, accounting, marketing or international business, which can better prepare you for management positions in one of these particular areas. Additionally, the field of management information systems might be preferable to you if you're interested in management positions within the information technology field. Coursework in these programs can include database management and system analysis in addition to finance and marketing.

According to the BLS, computer and information systems managers typically need a bachelor's degree in a related field, such as management information systems, and are expected to see an 18% growth in employment from 2010-2020. As of May 2011, the BLS reported that these professionals earned a median annual salary of about $126,000.

Popular Schools

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    Bachelor's
      • BA in Business Administration/Human Resource Management
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      • B.S. - Business Management: Human Resource Development Concentration
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Featured Schools

Purdue University Global

  • BSBA in Human Resources
  • Bachelor of Business Admin
  • BSBA - Investment

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Full Sail University

  • B.S. - Music Business

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Florida Tech

  • BA in Human Resources Management
  • Human Resources Management Minor with any Bachelor's
  • BA in Business Administration/Management

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Regent University

  • Bachelor of Science in Business - HR Management
  • B.S. in Human Resource Management
  • Bachelor of Science in Business

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Grand Canyon University

  • Bachelor of Science in Business for Secondary Education

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Trident University

  • Human Resources Management (BSHRM)
  • Business Administration (BSBA)

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New England College

  • BA in Business Administration/Human Resource Management
  • BA in Business Administration/Management
  • BA in Business Administration

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Herzing University

  • B.S. - Business Management: Human Resource Development Concentration
  • B.S. - Business Management With No Concentration

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