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What is Organizational Leadership?

Organizational leadership is a popular business sub-field, making it a great major area of study for individuals interested in working for, and leading, companies and organizations in various industries. Graduates typically develop a wide variety of knowledge and skills that can be applied in many different settings. This makes them highly versatile professionals who often qualify for high-paying management careers.

Organizational leaders work in many different capacities and may have a wide variety of responsibilities. Businesses of all types often seek to hire professionals in this field, making it possible to find related jobs in almost every industry. As a result, those interested in management professions should carefully review job postings to ensure they fully understand potential employer expectations.

While specifics vary, organizational leadership professionals are typically hired by companies and organizations to help improve operations. These professionals often help ensure various business goals are met, as well as determining how even small decisions will impact overall efficiency, productivity, and staff morale. They may also be expected to supervise others, which typically entails promoting productive workspaces and verifying that tasks are completed correctly. Additionally, it’s common for organizational leaders to ensure staff members feel supported by their employers.

Notably, professionals in this field must possess in communication, problem-solving, strategy, creative thinking, and management. Organizational leaders also tend to benefit from extensive knowledge in business.

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Online Organizational Leadership Education in Massachusetts

According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), employment for management occupations is projected to grow 8% from 2021 to 2031. This is faster than the average for all professions and will result in an increase of about 883,900 new jobs over the decade. This includes the replacement of workers who retire or change career fields, approximately 1.1 million management openings are expected each year.

It's important to realize that management graduates may also qualify to apply for employment in other business and finance professions. Growth for these occupations is comparable, with an expected 7% increase from 2021 to 2031. This will result in an additional 980,200 applicable job openings each year.

Notably, prospects vary by occupation. Some professions are expected to perform much better than others. Projected growth for industrial production managers, for example, is only 2%. On the other hand, job availability for computer and information systems managers is expected to increase by 16%. Medical and health services managers are projected to do even better, with an anticipated growth rate of 28% over the next decade. This is much faster than average for all occupations.

Professional and business services is the largest industry in Massachusetts, accounting for $102.4 billion in revenue each year. As a result, it’s likely that organizational leadership professionals will be able to find employment opportunities in the state. This may be especially true as companies and organizations in other top sectors also seek out and hire professionals with strong management skills. Opportunities may be found in real estate, education, healthcare, finance, manufacturing, information, wholesale, entertainment, retail, and construction.

Based on data provided by the US Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), 351,440 management professionals were employed in Massachusetts as of May 2022. The annual mean wage for these jobs was $152,970, which is significantly above the state’s annual mean wage of $76,600 for all occupations in the state. Massachusetts also employed 261,370 business and financial operations professionals with an annual mean wage of $96,830.

As a major area of study, management or administration is a fairly common option. Many colleges and universities offer an organizational leadership program and other related business topics. As a result, prospective students should have little difficulty finding opportunities to pursue higher education of this kind. However, institutional location can significantly impact employment opportunities after graduation. While it’s possible to enroll in online degree programs offered throughout the nation, individuals who plan to seek employment in Massachusetts may want to give preference to institutions located in the state. These schools tend to provide the most geographically relevant education, which is particularly important when applying for local jobs.

Students interested in earning a master's degree or completing any other organizational leadership program will find plenty of options across the state that teach management skills of all kinds. These options include Western New England University, Springfield College, Harvard University, New England College, and more.

The majority of employers seeking organizational leadership professionals in Massachusetts expect candidates to possess some amount of higher education. While it is possible to find entry-level jobs with limited academic experience, individuals with more advanced degrees are likely to have the best prospects.

Many colleges and universities offer leadership programs at the associate, bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral levels. Bachelor’s degrees are generally considered the standard for entry to most management, business, and finance occupations, although those seeking supervisory roles are likely to need master’s and doctoral degrees.

Online Associate Degree in Leadership (AS)

Associate degrees in organizational leadership generally consist of 60 credit hours of coursework that take full-time learners approximately two years to complete. As undergraduate programs, they incorporate both general liberal arts and major-specific classes. While curriculums vary, students can typically expect to receive instruction in human resource management, employment law, organizational development, and business communications.

It’s important to realize that most companies and organizations prefer to hire professionals with more education and/or experience. While this type of degree can lead to entry-level employment as account managers, community relations managers, training directors, diversity specialists, and executive assistant positions, opportunities are likely to be limited. Specifically, you are likely to have to find work with for profit rather than non-profit entities. As a result, associate degrees in organizational leadership are typically better used as a means of preparing for access to entry-level roles and further learning.

Graduates tend to possess strong academic foundations that make them perfect candidates for bachelor’s degrees. Those with associate degrees can also transfer previously earned credits towards their new programs. Most colleges and universities accept up to 60 or 90 undergraduate credit hours from other accredited institutions. This can be the difference between starting as a freshmen and entering as a junior with only two years of education remaining.

Online Bachelor's Degree in Leadership (BS)

Bachelor’s degrees in organizational leadership generally consist of 120 credit hours of coursework that take full-time learners approximately four years to complete. As undergraduate programs, they incorporate both general liberal arts and major-specific classes. While curriculums vary, students can typically expect to receive instruction in organizational development, communication strategies for leaders, assessment in organizations, social conflict, and negotiation. You'll need to be prepared to deal with the constant change of the business world whether you work for non-profit or for profit companies.

Additionally, those enrolled should anticipate completing capstone projects and/or participating in internships with nearby businesses and organizations. It may also be possible to select concentrations in related sub-fields at this level.

Some options commonly available include:

  • Human Resource Management
  • Finance
  • Marketing
  • Operations Management and Supervision
  • International Business

This type of degree is ideal for individuals seeking employment as training and development managers, management analysts, sales managers, human resource managers, and industrial production managers. Graduates may also qualify for a wide variety of jobs across other industries.

According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, bachelor’s degrees are typically the minimum education requirement for management, business, and financial occupations. Still, many graduates choose to continue their education by enrolling in graduate school. Those interested in earning master’s degrees should be prepared to meet minimum grade point average (GPA) and Graduate Record Examinations (GRE) score requirements set by gaining institutions.

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Online Master's Degree in Leadership (MS)

A master’s degree in organizational leadership generally ranges from 30 to 36 credit hours of coursework that take full-time learners approximately two to three years to complete. You can earn a Master of Science or Master of Arts in this field and work for non-profit or for profit organizations. Curriculums at this level no longer incorporate general liberal arts topics, though some programs require applicants to have completed specific undergraduate classes as prerequisites prior to admission. This ensures all graduates possess the necessary knowledge and skills to thrive at a more advanced academic level.

Required coursework varies by institution, but those enrolled can typically expect to study topics in leadership theory, organizational behavior, organizational change, human resource management, and marketing. You'll also likely learn about organizational sustainability, digital media and marketing, and diversity and conflict in the workplace. Additionally, many colleges and universities expect graduate students to complete capstone projects and/or participate in internships.

Depending on the program, those earning a master's degree in organizational leadership may be able to select a concentration. This allows students to direct their studies and can help them prepare for work in specific information technology sub-fields.

Some commonly offered areas of specialization include:

  • Global Business
  • Human Resources Management
  • Healthcare Management
  • Nonprofit Management
  • Leadership Coaching
  • Social Entrepreneurship

A master's degree in organizational leadership is ideal for those who plan to pursue leadership and management positions in both the public and private sectors. Graduates qualify for employment as business executives, management consultants, school principals, human resources managers, training and development managers, and administrative services managers. While opportunities vary, individuals who possess master’s degrees tend to be highly sought-after by companies and organization in most industries. As a result, graduates often have more employment opportunities and earn higher wages than those with less education.

Online PhD Degree in Leadership (PhD)

A PhD or doctorate degree in organizational leadership generally consists of between 60 and 120 credit hours that take full-time students four to seven years to complete and will require you to earn a master's degree first. As terminal degrees, they are known for being particularly academically intensive and offering access to expert faculty. Curriculum specific vary, but the majority of programs incorporate the study of various topics related to organizational design, education law, finance, strategic management of nonprofit organizations, collaborative leadership and partnership, and leadership theory and practice.

While students can expect to spend the first couple years receiving traditional classroom instruction, independent study and research typically take priority as the programs progress. These degrees typically culminate with the defense of a written dissertation before a board of professors.

This type of degree is ideal for those seeking the knowledge and skills necessary to secure the most prestigious careers in leadership and business. Graduates often qualify for employment as professors, training and development managers, postsecondary educators, top executives, organizational development consultants, and organizational developmental directors.

Become a Leadership Professional in Massachusetts

A degree in organizational leadership can lead to a wide variety of different employment opportunities. As a result, it’s important to spend some time considering which profession(s) you prefer. Identifying your ultimate career goals early can be extremely helpful. Not only will you be able to research the occupation’s standard hiring expectations, but you will be able to clearly establish the steps needed to achieve a successful career. You will also know which elective courses, minor areas of study, extracurricular activities, and/or internships will serve you best when applying for jobs in the future.

While earning a relevant degree will prepare you to apply for many organizational leadership positions in Massachusetts, there are additional ways to help prepare yourself for a successful career in the field. With so many people competing for the same jobs, finding ways stand out among other candidates is vital. One of the best ways to achieve this is by obtaining one or more relevant certifications. Not only do these credentials demonstrate an overall dedication to the profession, but they also highlight specialized knowledge and skills.

While there are many certifications to choose from, the Project Management Professional (PMP) credential is particularly popular among organizational leadership professionals. Overseen by the Project Management Institute (PMI), this certification demonstrates the ability to successfully manage projects of varying types and sizes. To obtain the PMP credential, project managers must meet various requirements and then pass a 180-question examination.

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It's also common for organizational leaders to join professional organizations and associations relevant to the field. Becoming a member of a prominent body is often very beneficial. While every membership is different, most offer discounts for developmental opportunities, access to related academic journals, invitations to networking events, and much more.

There are many options available, but three of the most popular groups for professionals include:

  • Institute of Management Consultants (IMC)
  • Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM)
  • National Association of Sales Professionals (NASP)

Potential Careers for Organizational Leadership Graduates

  • Business Consultant
    Business consultants are hired by companies and organizations to improve overall business efficiency and address various issues. Frequently brought in to provide assistance and expertise during the start-up process, they teach employees how to utilize various techniques and software to optimize productivity. They may also offer their services to help address specific problem areas. According to PayScale, business consultants make an average base salary of $77,610 per year.
  • Chief Executive Officer (CEO)
    CEOs are responsible for overseeing the operations of entire companies and organizations. Duties vary, but they make the majority of business decisions and are often responsible for supervising the performance of other high-ranking individuals, as well as formulating and enforcing various strategic plans for staff. CEOs must be capable of providing good leadership, guidance, and management. According to PayScale, chief executive officers make an average base salary of $156,359 per year.
  • Community Organizer
    Community organizers are employed to coordinate and manage group members in order to achieve various desirable outcomes as directed. This often entails creating and promoting targeted public awareness campaigns, as well as procuring resource access for employees and securing support from leadership. As a result, these professionals must be capable of giving dynamic presentations on pertinent topics. They may also be expected to recruit, screen, and train new team members. According to PayScale, community organizers make an average base salary of $54,328 per year.
  • Executive Director
    Executive directors are hired by companies and organizations to increase cost and time efficiency. This generally entails designing, developing, and implementing various strategic plans for success. They may also be tasked with overseeing a variety of day-to-day activities. According to PayScale, executive directors make an average base salary of $81,473 per year.
  • Healthcare Administrator
    Healthcare administrators can work in hospitals, nursing homes, correctional facilities, and primary-care medical practices. They are primarily responsible for overseeing the performance of nurses and nursing assistants, coordinating staff training, conducting performance reviews for subordinates, and ensuring that their assigned area maintains proper accreditation. According to PayScale, healthcare administrators make an average base salary of $74,452 per year.
  • Training and Development Manager
    Training and development managers provide recommendations for various training and professional development opportunities meant to enhance employee performance. They aim to improve overall internal effectiveness. This can mean conducting one-on-one meetings with workers, leading and/or organizing relevant workshops, and/or facilitating team-building exercises. According to PayScale, training and develop managers make an average base salary of $79,040 per year.
  • Business Management Analyst
    Management analysts conduct organizational studies and evaluations for companies and organizations. This generally entails conducting work simplification and measurement studies. They are also likely to design various systems and procedures, as well as teaching other employees how to use new forms or procedures. In some cases, they are expected to prepare manuals to help increase efficiency and effectiveness in the future. According to PayScale, management analysts make an average base salary of $69,019 per year.
  • Public Relations (PR) Manager
    PR managers are hired to maintain or improve public perception. Using a wide variety of industry tactics, they may also boost awareness about the products and/or services offered by their employers. They often spend a lot of time formulating and executing promotional campaigns and programs and measuring the success of the campaigns administered. They may also be expected to oversee related social media platforms, train internal staff members, and coordinate efforts with different departments to ensure content accuracy. According to PayScale, public relations managers make an average base salary of $73,278 per year.

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