Best Online Master’s in Organizational Management Programs
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A master's in organizational management is a specialized business degree that focuses on organizational change, strategic leadership, and management skills. Organizational management professionals help organizations achieve goals, become more efficient, and increase their profitability.
Graduates can qualify for high-paying management and administrative positions. Some of these roles include training and development manager, industrial production manager, top executive, and postsecondary education administrator. The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projects that management occupations will grow 9%, or about as fast as average, between 2020 and 2030.
PayScale reports graduates with a master of business administration (MBA) in organizational management earned an average annual salary of $83,000 as of November 2021. However, wages can vary depending on occupation, industry, level of experience, and location.
Many top online schools offer master's in organizational management programs. Keep reading to learn what to expect from this degree program and what you can do after graduation.
What Can I Expect From an Online Master's in Organizational Management Program?
Organizational management programs prepare students to pursue management careers as training and development managers, top executives, human resource managers, and more.
Schools offer in-person, hybrid, and online master's programs in organizational management. Full-time learners usually take 12-24 months to complete a 30- to 36-credit online degree in organizational management. Part-time students typically take longer to graduate.
Organizational management master's programs attract students with excellent interpersonal, communication, and leadership skills. A typical curriculum explores organizational change and innovation, conflict resolution, ethics in leadership, and diversity and inclusion in organizations.
Some online master's in organizational management programs offer concentrations that let learners adapt their program of study to focus on specific career goals. Potential concentrations include strategic leadership, organizational communication, and applied leadership.
Graduate programs in organizational management may confer MA, MS, or MBA degrees. Regardless, these programs typically feature similar curricula. However, programs that offer MA or MS degrees usually focus more on theory, whereas MBA programs may cover general business skills.
MA and MS students sometimes complete a research thesis project. MBA programs typically require a capstone, internship, or practicum in lieu of a thesis. Graduates usually qualify for the same types of jobs, although some business-focused industries may prefer an MBA over an MA or MS.
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Popular Online Management Programs
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 Master's in Organizational Management Program?
Strategic Human Resource Management
This core class explores the role of human resource managers in hiring, recruiting, and training. Students learn to follow human resource-related state and federal rules and regulations.
Organizational Leadership Capstone
Taken during the last semester of a master's in organizational management program, the organizational leadership capstone allows students to apply their classroom knowledge to a final project based on a real-world problem.
The Dynamics of Teamwork
This class focuses on strategies that managers can use to encourage teamwork in the workplace. Topics may include socially conscious teamwork and potential obstacles.
Leading Organizational Change
Students in this course explore organizational change and leadership theories. Topics may include change agents, implementation, and changes that impact organizations. The class also looks at ways to deal with resistance to change.
This course covers effective communication in business settings. Learners explore conflict management techniques, oral and written communication, group presentations, and individual interactions.
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What Are Admission Requirements for an Online Master's in Organizational Management Program?
Admission requirements for an online master's in organizational management vary by school, but typically mirror the criteria for in-person programs.
Prospective students need a bachelor's degree to qualify for admission. Most schools accept applicants from diverse academic backgrounds. However, those with non-business undergraduate degrees may need to complete business prerequisites.
In addition to the requirements below, online master's in organizational management programs may ask applicants to participate in an admission interview.
Online master's in organizational management programs require a completed application. Undergraduate applicants can often take advantage of popular college application systems like the Common App that make it possible to apply to multiple programs at once. However, most graduate programs require students to apply directly to each school.
Many universities specify the Graduate Record Examinations (GRE) or Graduate Management Admission Test (GMAT) as an admission requirement for graduate school. Programs often do not specify minimum test scores, but rather use them to make admission decisions in consideration with the student's other application materials.
Letters of Recommendation
Master's in organizational management applicants may need 1-3 letters of recommendation. Students usually ask for letters from undergraduate professors who know them well and can speak to their academic strengths. Business schools also may accept letters from an applicant's manager or supervisor.
Resume and Work Experience
Applicants often must submit a resume and cover letter documenting their work experience and explaining their interest in the school. Some of the most competitive master's in organizational management programs may require relevant professional experience, but most do not.
Some master's in organizational management programs require an application essay. Grad school essays allow schools to get to know prospective students better and decide who is a good fit for the program. Read the essay prompt carefully so that you know what to focus on in your writing.
Applicants typically submit official transcripts from all previously attended colleges. Most master's in organizational management programs accept some transfer credit earned at an accredited institution. Many schools only accept a small amount of transfer credit toward graduate degrees. Contact your prospective program to find out about its transfer policies.
What Can I Do With an Online Master's in Organizational Management Degree?
Earning a master's in organizational management gives students the skills to pursue careers in the growing management field. The BLS projects a 9% job growth rate for management occupations between 2020 and 2030.
PayScale reports that graduates with an MS in organizational management earned an average annual salary of $78,000 as of October 2021. Organizational management professionals can earn significantly more than this depending on occupation, industry, location, and level of experience.
Graduates with a master's in organizational management can go into diverse fields like education, manufacturing, computers and information technology, and management. Other potential industries include healthcare, government, and retail.
See where an online master's in organizational management degree can take you. Learn more about organizational management careers.
Training and Development Managers
Training and development managers oversee training and educational development programs for employees of an organization. Typical duties include developing training budgets, creating training programs, assessing training needs, and analyzing training programs.
Training and development managers need at least a bachelor's, but some employers require a master's degree.
Median Annual Salary (May 2020): $115,640
Human Resources Managers
Human resources (HR) managers recruit, hire, and interview prospective employees for an organization. They oversee the administrative aspects of an organization. Common tasks include planning employee benefit programs, advising managers on human resources issues, and managing support staff.
HR managers need at least a bachelor's degree, but some positions require a master's.
Median Annual Salary (May 2020): $121,220
Top executives help their organizations strategize and carry out goals. Types of top executives include chief executive officers, general and operations managers, and school superintendents. Typical duties vary by the size of the organization, but may include negotiating contracts, analyzing performance indicators, and carrying out day-to-day management activities.
Median Annual Salary (May 2020): $107,680
Postsecondary Education Administrators
Postsecondary education administrators direct academics, student services, and faculty research at universities. Job duties vary by school size and department. Postsecondary education administrators work in admissions, registrar's offices, and student affairs.
A bachelor's is sufficient for some positions, but college administrators usually need a master's degree.
Median Annual Salary (May 2020): $97,500
Industrial Production Managers
Industrial production managers oversee day-to-day work at manufacturing plants. They hire workers, keep production on budget and on schedule, enforce safety procedures, and write reports. They need leadership, problem-solving, and interpersonal skills.
Industrial production managers need at least a bachelor's degree, but some employers require a master's degree.
Median Annual Salary (May 2020): $108,790
Organizational Management Not For You? Check Out These Related Careers.
Graduates of organizational management master's programs can keep up with industry trends and changes by continuing their education. Some people pursue a Ph.D. or other doctoral degrees in organizational management or organizational leadership.
Another way to continue learning about the field is to pursue a professional certification relevant to your industry and occupation. For example, a human resources manager can earn certifications from professional groups like Human Resources Certification Institute and the Society for Human Resource Management.
How Do I Choose an Online Master's in Organizational Management Program?
Costs for an organizational management degree vary depending on program format (online or in person), school type (public or private), and residency class (in state or out of state). Make sure to consider the true cost of a program by factoring in tuition and fees, books and supplies, and living expenses.
Organizational management students can choose a program format that best fits their needs and personal preferences. Depending on the school, learners can choose from part-time, full-time, and accelerated options. Distance students should consider if they prefer synchronous or asynchronous coursework.
Location is another important factor to consider when choosing a school. Do you prefer an online or on-campus program? Even students who enroll in an online master's in organizational management should consider location. Some online degrees include some on-campus requirements or offer in-person resources.
Post-secondary schools demonstrate they offer a high-quality education by becoming accredited by an independent accrediting agency. Attending a regionally accredited college makes it easier to get financial aid and transfer credit to other schools.
Some master's in organizational management programs hold special accreditation from the Accreditation Council for Business Schools and Programs.
Master's in organizational management programs typically offer student support that can enhance the academic experience. Look for schools that offer mentorship services, internship programs, and IT support. Some distance education programs offer special services specifically for online learners.
Best Accredited Online Master's in Organizational Management Programs
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Frequently Asked Questions About Master's in Organizational Management Programs
Is a master's in organizational management worth it?
Earning a master's in organizational management can pay off, but only you can decide if you should go to graduate school. Completing a master's degree requires a major investment of time, money, and hard work.
The BLS reports that management occupations earned a median annual wage of $109,760 as of May 2020. This significantly exceeds the overall median annual salary of $41,950. Of all major occupational groups, management positions are among the highest earning.
Consider how much a degree costs and weigh that with your potential earnings after graduation. Earning a graduate degree also offers intangible benefits like a sense of personal accomplishment and the chance to develop meaningful relationships.
What can I do with a master's in organizational management?
A master's in organizational management can prepare graduates to apply for diverse management and administrative positions. The types of jobs organizational management professionals can qualify for depends on their academic and professional backgrounds.
Graduates may become industrial production managers, human resources managers, or training and development managers. Others may pursue paths as medical and health services managers, sales managers, and top executives.
Organizational management master's degree-holders can also continue their education. Many schools offer doctoral programs in organizational management or related fields.
Are organizational management graduates in demand?
Organizational management graduates are in demand in many industries. Nearly any organization can benefit from a skilled organizational management professional.
The BLS projects a 9% growth rate (about as fast as average) for management occupations between 2020 and 2030. The demand for organizational management graduates may vary depending on what specific career you pursue.
For example, the BLS projects faster than average job growth for computer and information systems managers between 2020 and 2030, but slower than average growth for industrial production managers during the same period.
How much money can I make with a master's in organizational management?
Organizational management graduates can qualify for many different types of jobs across industries. Because of this, the typical salary for a graduate with a master's in organizational management varies significantly by occupation. Other factors that can impact earnings include level of experience, location, and industry.
That said, many potential careers for organizational management professionals pay higher than average salaries. According to the BLS, the median annual salary across occupations was $41,950 as of May 2020. Professionals with management occupations earned a median annual salary of $109,760 during the same period, making it the best-paid of all major occupational groups.
What are the highest-paying jobs with a master's in organizational management?
The highest-paying jobs with a master's in organizational management include computer and information systems managers who earned a median annual salary of $151,150 in May 2020, according to the BLS. Architectural and engineering managers earned a median yearly wage of $149,530, and advertising, promotions, and marketing managers made $141,490 per year.
Other lucrative careers for graduates with an organizational management master's degree include sales managers, who earned a median annual salary of $132,290 in May 2020, according to the BLS. Financial managers made $134,180, and human resources managers earned $121,220.
Some of these positions may require additional education, certifications, or professional experience.
Certifications and Licenses a Master's in Organizational Management Prepares For
Certified Manager (CM)
This credential from the Institute of Certified Professional Managers helps verify to employers and clients that you are competent in management and leadership. Your degree meets the educational prerequisite, but you'll also need some work experience. The certification process requires applicants to pass three assessment exams.
Project Management Professional (PMP)
Administered by the Project Management Institute, PMP certification improves your earning potential by up to 20% over project managers who do not hold PMP certification. In addition to your degree, you'll also need 4,500 hours of experience leading and directing projects, and a passing score on the certification exam.
Project Management Institute - Scheduling Professional (PMI-SP)
The Project Management Institute also provides certification for those working as scheduling professionals. With projects and teams becoming more global and virtual, the value of a PMI-SP distinction opens doors for professionals focusing on complex scheduling matters. The certification requires 3,500 hours of scheduling experience and a passing exam score.
Society of Human Resources Management Certified Professional (SHRM-CP)
The Society for Human Resource Management administers this certification as well as the senior level certification. With your master's in organizational management, you can apply to take the certification exam as soon as you begin work in human resources management. The senior level certification requires three years experience in human resources work.
Professional in Human Resources - International (PHRi)
Along with this certification, the HR Certification Institute administers six other certifications for human resources professionals. In addition to your master's degree in organizational management (or some type of organizational behavior management master's degree), you need at least one year of work as a human resources professional. The certification also requires you to pass a 145-question exam.
Resources for Organizational Management Graduate Students
Google Scholar enables you use Google to search for scholarly literature in the fields of management, human resources, leadership, and more. Keep in mind that Google Scholar indexes articles and abstracts, rather than entire journals and periodicals.
In association with the Project Management Institute, this website brings together a community of practitioners covering topics related to all aspects of project management. Students can sign up for their basic membership for free.
Harvard Business Review
The Harvard Business Review continues to represent the gold standard for scholarly articles related to business and management. You can register on the site and receive up to six free articles each month.
Mark Sanborn's Leadership Blog
Award-winning author, speaker, and leadership expert Mark Sanborn maintains a blog offering insight and information for anyone aspiring to improve their leadership skills.
SHRM Annual Conference
Students interested in a human resources management career should consider attending an annual conference from the Society of Human Resources Management. This is the largest conference of human resource managers, and provides strategic educational and networking opportunities.
Professional Organizations in Organizational Management
Master's in organizational management students and graduates have plenty of professional development support available to them from professional organizations. Some employers even seek out candidates who are involved in professional associations.