Best Online Organizational Leadership Programs of 2021

portrait of Liz Simmons
by Liz Simmons
Published on November 22, 2021

BestColleges.com is an advertising-supported site. Featured or trusted partner programs and all school search, finder, or match results are for schools that compensate us. This compensation does not influence our school rankings, resource guides, or other editorially-independent information published on this site.

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A bachelor's in organizational leadership prepares students for lucrative management-level careers helping organizations operate more successfully. Prospective students can look for stand-alone organizational leadership bachelor's programs or pursue a business degree with a concentration in organizational leadership.

Program length varies, but a typical organizational leadership bachelor's degree takes four years to complete. However, online students in accelerated programs can graduate faster. Some of the best online colleges offer bachelor's in organizational leadership degrees.

Program cost varies depending on many factors, including the type of school (public or private) and a student's residency status (in state or out of state). Tuition for an online bachelor's in organizational leadership ranges widely, but often costs $200-$500 per credit.

As of November 2021, PayScale reported that the average annual salary for professionals with a BS in organizational leadership was about $69,000. Potential earnings vary by position, level of experience, industry, and location.

Below, learn what to expect from an online bachelor's in organizational leadership program, including typical classes, admission criteria, and how to find the right program.

What Can I Expect From an Online Bachelor's in Organizational Leadership Program?

Colleges offer in-person and online bachelor's in organizational leadership programs. Learners may find pros and cons to both learning formats, and the right choice varies by individual. Distance education programs can provide greater flexibility and convenience and may allow students to work full time while earning their degree.

Organizational leadership professionals need strong communication, problem-solving, management, and strategic leadership skills. Excellent general business knowledge, interpersonal skills, and creativity can also lead to success.

A typical bachelor's in organizational leadership requires about 120 credits and takes around four years of full-time study to complete. Students may graduate more quickly from some accelerated online bachelor's programs, especially if they can transfer in previously earned college credits.

Most bachelor's in organizational leadership programs require general education, major, and elective credits. Typical core classes include organizational development and change, communication strategies for leaders, assessment in organizations, and social conflict and negotiation. Students may also need to complete a capstone, practicum, and/or internship.

Organizational leadership programs sometimes offer specializations that let students zoom in on a more narrow area of the field. Potential concentrations include human resources management, finance, and project management.

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Learn about start dates, transferring credits, availability of financial aid, and more by contacting the universities below.

What Courses Will I Take in an Online Bachelor's in Organizational Leadership Program?

Organization Development and Change

This core course helps students develop foundational knowledge related to designing, implementing, and analyzing interventions for developing organizations. Participants learn strategies for leading change in nonprofit and for-profit groups.

Communication Strategies for Leaders

Future leaders learn to use practical communication strategies in the workplace. The course covers tools and methods for solving communication problems.

Social Conflict and Negotiation

This core class examines the theories and practices of social conflict and negotiation in organizations. Learners find ways to minimize conflict and encourage productive interactions in the workplace.

Organizational Leadership Capstone

Taken in the final semester, this capstone course synthesizes the most important knowledge and skills covered in the program. Students apply classroom learning to real-world problems in organizational leadership.

Assessment in Organizations

Learners explore how to effectively use assessments in organizations. They learn to use tools to collect data and solve problems.

What Are Admission Requirements for an Online Bachelor's in Organizational Leadership Program?

Admission requirements for an online bachelor's in organizational leadership program vary by school. However, colleges often ask for a completed application, test scores, and letters of recommendation. Other common requests include an application essay and official transcripts. Some online programs may also ask for a writing sample or resume.

Application

Colleges require program applicants to complete an undergraduate application as part of the admissions process. Keep in mind that hundreds of public and private universities accept applications through Common App or the Coalition Application. Using either of these portals, students can apply to multiple colleges by filling out one general application.

Test Scores

Many four-year universities require ACT or SAT test scores. Schools use college entrance exams to try and assess applicants' academic skills. Some universities require minimum test scores to qualify for admission, while others use a more holistic approach and consider exam results with other application materials.

Letters of Recommendation

Universities may require 1-3 letters of recommendation. These documents should speak to the applicant's college readiness. High school students typically get their letters from school counselors or teachers.

Be sure to ask for letters of recommendation far ahead of deadlines, and give your letter-writers all of the information they need to write an excellent recommendation.

Essays

Some colleges require application essays, which allow applicants to demonstrate their writing, analytical, and critical thinking skills. These essays give admissions counselors the chance to get to know prospective students better and understand what makes them unique. A typical application essay asks the writer to answer a question in just a few hundred words.

Official Transcripts

Most universities require official transcripts from high school and/or all previously attended postsecondary schools. This may be especially important for applicants transferring from community college who want credit for previous college work. Most bachelor's in organizational leadership programs accept some transfer credit earned at regionally accredited institutions.

What Can I Do With an Online Bachelor's in Organizational Leadership Degree?

Organizational leadership is a subdiscipline of business — the most popular college major. A bachelor's in organizational leadership can prepare students for high-paying management careers in various growing fields. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the median annual salary for management occupations was $109,760 as of May 2020.

The BLS projects a 9% job growth rate (about as fast as average) for management occupations between 2020 and 2030. The agency attributes this growth to the creation of new organizations and the growth of existing ones.

Because it is a versatile business degree, nearly any type of organization can benefit from hiring skilled organizational leadership professionals. Potential fields for graduates who earn an online bachelor's in organizational leadership include general business, human resources management, sales, and industrial production.

Career Paths

Training and Development Managers

Training and development managers oversee training and development programs for employees at an organization. Typical job tasks include developing budgets, managing staff, creating programs, and assessing the effectiveness of training and development programs. Training and development managers work with instructional designers, instructors, and program developers.

Median Annual Salary (May 2020): $115,640

Management Analysts

Management analysts, sometimes called management consultants, assess organizations and find ways to improve their profitability and efficiency. They need at least a bachelor's degree, but some employers prefer applicants with an MBA. Earning a certified management consultant credential from the Institute of Management Consultants can also expand career opportunities.

Median Annual Salary (May 2020): $87,660

Sales Managers

Sales managers oversee sales activities and teams. Common job tasks include creating budgets, investigating sales statistics, developing training workshops for sales staff, and projecting sales. Sales managers usually need 1-5 years of sales experience and a bachelor's degree. Strong communication, leadership, customer service, and analytical skills can also contribute to success.

Median Annual Salary (May 2020): $132,290

Human Resources Managers

Human resources managers work in every industry, overseeing the administrative activities of their organizations. They plan and coordinate employee benefit programs, advise managers on human resources issues, and mediate employee disputes. Human resources managers also take charge of the recruitment, interviewing, and hiring process for their organizations.

Median Annual Salary (May 2020): $121,220

Industrial Production Managers

Industrial production managers oversee daily activities at manufacturing plants. They hire and train employees, solve production problems, improve production processes, and ensure that workers follow safety rules.

Some companies may prefer industrial production managers with a graduate degree in business or industrial production. Earning a professional certification from the Association for Supply Chain Management can improve career prospects in this role.

Median Annual Salary (May 2020): $108,790

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Continuing Education

Organizational leadership professionals can expand their salary and career opportunities by continuing their education beyond a bachelor's degree. The versatility of this degree makes it suitable preparation for graduate programs in business, management, and related disciplines.

Some bachelor's degree-holders go on to pursue an advanced degree or certificate in organizational leadership. Others opt to earn an MBA or focus on another subdiscipline of business. The specific type of higher education a student should consider pursuing varies depending on their career goals and work experience.

Organizational leadership professionals can also continue learning about the field by earning professional certifications that demonstrate skills and knowledge to prospective employers.

How Do I Choose an Online Bachelor's in Organizational Leadership Program?

Cost

The program cost for a bachelor's in organizational leadership varies. Factors that can impact price include program format (online or on campus), school type (public or private), and a student's residency status (in state or out of state). Attending an online program at a public institution where you can pay in-state tuition is often the most affordable option.

Program Format

Consider the pros and cons of different types of bachelor's in organizational leadership programs. Some schools offer traditional four-year degrees, while others provide accelerated programs. Students can also choose a part-time or full-time program. Schools with online bachelor's in organizational leadership programs may have synchronous or asynchronous options, each of which have their own benefits.

Location

Do you want to go to school online or on campus? Even students who choose an online bachelor's in organizational leadership program should think about school location. For example, some online programs still require some on-campus meetings. Distance learners who live near campus can also access in-person support services like career resources, the library, and tutoring.

Accreditation

Any bachelor's in organizational leadership program you consider should be at a regionally accredited college. To receive accreditation, schools undergo a rigorous third-party evaluation to verify that they meet certain academic standards. Attending a regionally accredited institution can make it easier to get financial aid, transfer credit to another college, and qualify for graduate school.

Student Support

Student services include a variety of resources and support to help learners succeed. Look for career services, advising or mentorship programs, and tutoring centers. Some schools offer internship programs that give learners career preparation and the chance to make professional connections. Distance learners make sure their target school offers online student services.

2021 Best Accredited Online Bachelor's in Organizational Leadership Programs

Rankings compiled by the the BestColleges Ranking Team

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Southeastern University true View School Profile Lakeland, FL

Based in Lakeland, Florida, Southeastern University offers an online bachelor's in organizational leadership. To earn this bachelor of science degree, students must complete 37 credits of core coursework and classes like principled leadership, leading organizational change, and great leaders through history. As a Christian institution, SEU requires that students complete 10 credits of spiritual formation classes and 12 credits focused on Christian responsibility.

SEU undergraduate applicants must hold a high school diploma or GRE certificate and submit official academic transcripts. Additionally, prospective learners must write a personal essay and submit a Christian character reference letter.

Program Snapshot

  • Program URL: Visit Program
  • Cost per Credit: $390 per credit
  • Program Length: 4 years
  • Total Credits Required to Graduate: 120 credits
  • Degree Completion Program: No
  • Instruction style: Asynchronous
  • Format: Online
  • School Status: Private
  • School Accreditation: Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges
University of La Verne true View School Profile La Verne, CA

La Verne offers a bachelor's in organizational management designed to enhance a student's organizational and managerial skills. Students can complete the degree online, on campus, or via a hybrid model. Whether on campus or through asynchronous coursework, degree-seekers complete core classes, including foundations of business ethics, oral communication in organizations, and leadership in organizations. Students can transfer up to 88 credits into the program.

First-year applicants must hold a high school or GED diploma and document successful completion of coursework in various academic disciplines. Transfer students must provide official transcripts with a minimum GPA of 2.7.

Program Snapshot

  • Program URL: Visit Program
  • Cost per Credit: $645 per credit
  • Program Length: 4 years
  • Total Credits Required to Graduate: 120 credits
  • Degree Completion Program: Yes
  • Instruction style: Asynchronous
  • Format: Online, on campus, or hybrid
  • School Status: Private
  • School Accreditation: Western Association of Schools and Colleges Senior Colleges and University Commission
Union University true View School Profile Jackson, TN

Located in Jackson, Tennessee, Union University offers adult students a flexible online bachelor's in organizational leadership that learners can complete in just 18 months. In addition to core classes, Union University provides four distinct academic concentrations: organizational management, project management, health management, and church leadership. As a Christian institution, Union University emphasizes religion in its programs.

Online students can expect to complete classes such as quality management in organizations, ethical leadership, and leadership principles and practices. Applicants must be 22 years old, have at least 60 transferable credits, and document two years of related professional experience.

Program Snapshot

  • Program URL: Visit Program
  • Cost per Credit: $455 per credit hour
  • Program Length: As few as 18 months
  • Total Credits Required to Graduate: 120 credits
  • Degree Completion Program: Yes
  • Instruction style: Asynchronous
  • Format: Online
  • School Status: Private
  • School Accreditation: Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges
University of Charleston true View School Profile Charleston, WV

The University of Charleston is a West Virginia-based private institution that offers working professionals an online bachelor's in organizational leadership. Utilizing a mix of online meetings, individual assignments, and group projects, this degree program teaches students to tackle real-world issues. Courses cover topics such as professional development, issues in management, and collaborative leadership.

Applicants to this online bachelor's in organizational management program must enroll with at least 40 transferable credits and have two years of professional experience.

Program Snapshot

  • Program URL: Visit Program
  • Cost per Credit: $380 per credit
  • Program Length: 4 years or less
  • Total Credits Required to Graduate: 120 credits
  • Degree Completion Program: Yes
  • Instruction style: Synchronous
  • Format: Online and hybrid
  • School Status: Private
  • School Accreditation: Higher Learning Commission
Arizona State University-Skysong true View School Profile Scottsdale, AZ

Among ASU's large roster of online degrees is a bachelor's in organizational leadership. This online program hones the skills of future leaders and focuses on essential subjects like strategic planning, conflict management, and critical thinking. Major requirements include classes like assessment in organizations, assessment of leadership effectiveness, and foundations of project management.

Prospective students must have a high school or GED diploma and complete an online application. Applicants must also submit SAT or ACT scores and provide ASU with official academic transcripts.

Program Snapshot

  • Program URL: Visit Program
  • Cost per Credit: $608 per credit
  • Program Length: 4 years
  • Total Credits Required to Graduate: 120 credits
  • Degree Completion Program: Yes
  • Instruction style: Asynchronous
  • Format: Online
  • School Status: Public
  • School Accreditation: Higher Learning Commission
Missouri Baptist University View School Profile Saint Louis, MO

Based in St. Louis, MBU offers an online bachelor's degree completion program in organizational leadership. Throughout 13 classes, students gain widely applicable leadership skills. Core requirements include courses like business ethics, production and operations management, and management concepts and practices. Learners can transfer up to 96 credits from other institutions.

In addition to completing the online application, MBU hopefuls must submit official college transcripts from all previously attended colleges and universities. Prospective students should have a cumulative GPA of at least 2.0.

Program Snapshot

  • Program URL: Visit Program
  • Cost per Credit: $463 per credit
  • Program Length: 1-4 years
  • Total Credits Required to Graduate: 120 credits
  • Degree Completion Program: Yes
  • Format: Online
  • School Status: Private
  • School Accreditation: Higher Learning Commission
University of Iowa View School Profile Iowa City, IA

The University of Iowa offers a 100% online bachelor of liberal studies with an organizational studies track. In this program, students can master the essential management skills employed in business environments.

In addition to 12 credits of foundational coursework, degree-seekers must also complete 18 credits of upper-level classes. Upper-level courses include introduction to grant writing, introductory financial management, and the politics of international economics.

Prospective learners must submit an online application and academic transcripts. Applicants must have a minimum cumulative GPA of 2.0.

Program Snapshot

  • Program URL: Visit Program
  • Cost per Credit: $349 per credit
  • Program Length: 4 years
  • Total Credits Required to Graduate: 120 credits
  • Degree Completion Program: Yes
  • Format: Online
  • School Status: Public
  • School Accreditation: Higher Learning Commission
Bay Path University View School Profile Longmeadow, MA

Based in Longmeadow, Massachusetts, Bay Path offers an online bachelor's degree in leadership and organizational studies. This degree program, created with working adult learners in mind, helps students hone their critical thinking and communication skills while empowering them with the tools necessary to lead organizational change. Online learners with ample transfer credits can complete this organizational leadership program in just 12 months.

Prospective students must submit an online application, supply their official transcripts, and complete an admission interview. Bay Path's application is free.

Program Snapshot

  • Program URL: Visit Program
  • Cost per Credit: $410 per credit; $350 per credit (military members)
  • Program Length: As few as 12 months
  • Total Credits Required to Graduate: 120 credits
  • Degree Completion Program: Yes
  • Instruction style: Asynchronous
  • Format: Online
  • School Status: Private
  • School Accreditation: New England Commission of Higher Education
Saint Francis University View School Profile Loretto, PA

Pennsylvania-based SFU offers a bachelor of science in organizational leadership that students can complete online, on campus, or as a hybrid option. Students can transfer up to 98 credits into the program, which is meant to be flexible. Geared toward adult learners, students in the program learn what it takes to become effective leaders.

This major requires students to complete a 54-credit business core. These key courses include principles of management, organizational behavior, and writing and communicating in business. Applicants must submit official transcripts from all previous institutions with a minimum GPA of 2.0. Adult learners do not need to submit standardized test scores.

Program Snapshot

  • Program URL: Visit Program
  • Cost per Credit: $485 per credit
  • Program Length: As few as 12 months
  • Total Credits Required to Graduate: 128 credits
  • Degree Completion Program: Yes
  • Instruction style: Asynchronous
  • Format: Online and hybrid
  • School Status: Private
  • School Accreditation: Middle States Commission on Higher Education
Saint Louis University View School Profile Saint Louis, MO

Saint Louis University offers an online bachelor's in organizational leadership and technology through its school for professional studies. This program is intended to fit the needs of working adult students whose academic pursuits were cut short. Online adult students tackle major requirements that cover foundations of effective leadership, organizational behavior, and global leadership.

Prospective learners must have at least three years of work experience and hold a high school diploma or GED certificate. Transfer applicants must have a cumulative GPA of at least 2.5 and submit official academic transcripts from their most recently attended college or university.

Program Snapshot

  • Program URL: Visit Program
  • Cost per Credit: $650 per credit; $295 per credit (active military members)
  • Program Length: 4 years
  • Total Credits Required to Graduate: 120 credits
  • Degree Completion Program: Yes
  • Instruction style: Asynchronous
  • Format: Online
  • School Status: Private
  • School Accreditation: Higher Learning Commission

Frequently Asked Questions About Bachelor's in Organizational Leadership Programs

Is a bachelor's in organizational leadership worth it? true

A bachelor's in organizational leadership can help graduates qualify for lucrative careers in management. However, it requires time, money, and hard work. Determine the projected return on investment (ROI) of your bachelor's in organizational leadership by comparing your expected salary after graduation with the cost of earning your degree.

To calculate the true cost of an online degree, consider tuition, living and travel expenses, and the price of books and supplies. Attending a less expensive college and taking a higher-paying job after graduation improves your ROI.

Earning a bachelor's in organizational leadership also offers less tangible benefits like access to networking opportunities and career services. Each person needs to decide for themselves if earning a degree is worth it to them.

What can I do with a bachelor's in organizational leadership? true

Potential occupations for graduates who earn a bachelor's in organizational leadership include human resources manager, training and development manager, management analyst, and sales manager. Other possibilities include industrial production manager, project manager, marketing manager, and nonprofit administrator.

The examples above are just a sampling of potential jobs, and not all organizational leadership graduates will qualify for all of these positions. Other factors that may impact what you can do with your bachelor's degree include your level of experience, industry, specialization, and location.

An undergraduate program in organizational leadership also prepares students to earn a graduate degree in business or a related field.

Are organizational leadership majors in demand? true

The BLS projects 9% growth, which is about as fast as average, for management jobs between 2020 and 2030. This would represent the creation of more than 900,000 new jobs.

Some management careers are projected to grow faster or slower than others. For example, the BLS projects 32% growth for medical and health services managers but just 5% growth for industrial production managers.

How much money can I make with a bachelor's in organizational leadership?

Graduates with a bachelor's in organizational leadership can earn excellent salaries. However, typical wages vary significantly due to factors like a worker's occupation, industry, level of experience, and location.

PayScale reports that people with an organizational leadership BS made an average annual salary of $69,000, as of November 2021. Graduates who gain some work experience may qualify for management jobs across many industries. According to the BLS, these workers earned a median annual salary of $109,760, as of May 2020.

What are the highest-paying jobs I can get with a bachelor's in organizational leadership?

Earning a bachelor's in organizational leadership can help students qualify for jobs that earn significantly more than the median annual salary in the U.S. In fact, the BLS reports that management positions make the highest wages of any major occupational group.

Some of the highest-paying jobs for workers with a bachelor's in organizational leadership degree include sales manager (median salary of $132,290), human resources manager ($121,220), and training and development managers ($115,640).

Other top-earning careers open to graduates with this degree include top executive ($107,680), industrial production manager ($108,790), and medical and health services manager ($104,280).

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BestColleges.com is an advertising-supported site. Featured or trusted partner programs and all school search, finder, or match results are for schools that compensate us. This compensation does not influence our school rankings, resource guides, or other editorially-independent information published on this site.

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