According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the median worker in the United States earns about $45,500 per year, while those in managerial positions earn about 2.5 times that amount. According to projected growth rates from the BLS, growth for management positions at least matches, and usually exceeds, projected growth rates for other occupations. People filling computer systems management positions enjoy some of the highest salaries of all managers, and their jobs will continue to be in high demand for the foreseeable future. That's because all types of organizations of all different sizes need well-trained, competent managers who can positively impact the people around them.
Should I Get a Master's in Organizational Management?
The broad and dynamic landscape of businesses, nonprofit organizations, and government agencies thrives as long as competent, highly trained leaders and administrators are providing direction and support to those organizations. Leaders in these well-paid positions enjoy helping organizations pursue their missions, and a master's degree in organization management can prepare graduates to work effectively in these jobs. If you enjoy working with people to help them meet complex challenges in pursuit of worthy goals, a master's degree in organizational management might be for you.
This degree provides students with the knowledge and skills required to manage organizational culture and change. The degree coursework works to sharpen students' strategic thinking and innovation skills, and most schools offer concentrations or specializations that allow organizational management students to focus their training on a specific career field. Pursuing your degree either on-campus or online lets you capitalize on networking opportunities, along with exposure to a diverse group of peers and professors. These programs usually include guided internships or capstone projects, and all schools offer some type of job placement assistance.
You can earn your master's in organizational management either in the traditional on-campus setting or completely online. Working students often choose the online format since it is less disruptive to their current employment and family situations. On the other hand, many recent bachelor's graduates choose to pursue their master's degree on campus, before entering the work world. Both online and on-campus programs provide the same coursework, and both are effective in preparing their students for an exciting career in organizational management.
What Can I Do With a Master's in Organizational Management?
A master's in organizational management prepares graduates to thrive in a variety of managerial and administrative positions, both in business and nonprofit organizations. Leaders in these positions must demonstrate sound organizational knowledge and people skills, and a master's in organizational management equips graduates with the tools they need to become effective leaders. The career options described below are a few of the many opportunities available to graduates with a master's degree in organizational management.
- Human Resources Manager
Human resources managers typically oversee the recruiting, interviewing, and hiring of new staff. They communicate regularly with upper management to make sure they select the best employees for their company, and oversee much of the administrative support for those employees.
Median Annual Salary: $110,120*
- Administrative Services Manager
Administrative services managers oversee the planning and coordination of a company's supportive services. These managers make sure daily operational tasks such as facilities maintenance, record keeping, mail services, and office upkeep flow smoothly.
Median Annual Salary: $94,020*
- Training and Development Manager
Training and development managers focus on planning, directing and monitoring the professional development and improvement of an organization's staff members. Training and development managers help monitor company changes, including the adoption of new technology. These managers create programs to help employees develop the skills and knowledge they need to understand new policies and technology systems at their companies.
Median Annual Salary: $108,250*
- Computer and Information Systems Manager
Information Technology (IT) managers plan, coordinate, and direct their companies' computer infrastructure and activities. The expanding role of secure computer technology in all industries creates a growing need for IT managers. Their salaries are usually competitive.
Median Annual Salary: $139,220*
- Top Executive
Top executives oversee the development of policies and strategies that help organizations achieve their goals. These professionals plan, direct, and monitor company operations. The most successful top executive candidates have years of experience in a variety of capacities, plus extensive education.
Median Annual Salary: $104,700*
Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics
How to Choose a Master's in Organizational Management Program
In your quest to select the master's program that best fits your schedule and career goals, first consider how much time you are willing and able to devote to the program, and how soon you'd like to earn your degree. This determines whether you pursue your degree part time or full time. Given the variety of program options available, carefully review each prospective program's course requirements, and consider which specializations best align with your career goals. Some schools offer a variety of concentrations, while smaller schools may offer only the basic degree program.
You also need to carefully analyze each program's cost, though a program's overall cost doesn't necessarily reflect the price you'll have to pay. Some schools offer extensive financial aid options, which can cut down on student expenses.
Online programs usually offer more flexible course schedules, but still require some type of practicum or internship, which students can usually fulfill locally. Online programs allow students to maintain their jobs while they attend school. They are also generally more affordable than on-campus programs.
Programmatic Accreditation for Master's in Organizational Management Programs
Prospective master's in organizational management students must pay careful attention to their potential schools' accreditation status. Accreditation serves as authentication of a program's integrity and quality. Ideally, your university should have regional accreditation from one of the six regional accreditation agencies approved by the U.S. Department of Education and the Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA). Proper accreditation creates more opportunities for students to further their education and secure jobs after graduation.
Master's in Organizational Management Program Admissions
The application process for an online master's in organizational management program is similar to that of a traditional on-campus program. You should start your application process early to give you plenty of time to gather the required materials by deadline and choose your prospective schools. Apply for nine or 10 interesting programs, and do not let cost intimidate you, since schools with higher tuition prices often offer financial aid. Submit most of your applications to schools that are reasonably likely to accept you, but apply to some competitive programs, as well. Consider this advice from a seasoned admissions officer.
- Bachelor's Degree: For all practical purposes, you must have earned a bachelor's degree for admission to a master's in organizational management program. Some select schools will waive that requirement for someone who has plenty of exemplary experience in the field.
- Professional Experience: Some of the more competitive schools require students to have one to three years of professional experience in order to attend. However, most schools will admit students without professional experience.
- Minimum GPA: The higher your undergraduate GPA, the more school options you'll have available. Competitive schools usually require at least a 3.0 GPA. Others may require only a 2.5.
- Application: Even under the best of circumstances, you will find that applying to graduate school takes more time and planning than applying to an undergraduate program. CommonApp expedites the application process for many undergraduate programs, only a small percentage of graduate schools use the service.
- Transcripts: You must include an official copy of your transcripts in each application so that admissions personnel can verify your GPA and analyze both course type and rigor for the classes you've completed. Simply contact your prior school's office of the registrar to request your transcripts. Some schools give the first couple of transcripts free, but most will charge a small fee ($7 to $10) per transcript.
- Letters of Recommendation: Each school has its own recommendation letter requirements, so become familiar with the rules for each of your prospective institutions. Admissions counsellors generally do not accept letters of recommendation from family or close friends.
- Test Scores: Most graduate schools require decent scores on the GRE or GMAT to verify that you're likely to succeed in graduate school. Each school has their preferred score range; check with their admissions office for more detail.
- Application Fee: Most schools charge an application fee of $50 to $75. Some schools waive the fee entirely, while highly competitive schools may charge $175 or more.
What Else Can I Expect From a Master's in Organizational Management Program?
Consistent with the growing and diverse demand for competent organizational managers and leaders, programs for a master's in organizational management vary widely between schools, as do their concentration options.
|Project Management||Distinct from management of the ongoing operations of an organization, project management involves every step of the planning, implementation, and evaluation processes for a specific project. Demand for this skill increases as globalization and distant, virtual collaboration becomes more popular.||Every industry needs project managers. The job title and fundamental skill set remains similar across industries. Certified Project Management Professionals tend to earn about 20% more than those without the certification.|
|Human Resources Management||This concentration, needed in all industries, helps students develop understanding and competence in recruiting, motivating, equipping, and retaining productive employees. Topics also include employee policies, pay, and benefits.||HR jobs can include recruitment and placement manager, benefits manager, labor relations specialist, and training and development manager.|
|Non-profit Management||Despite management similarities to for-profit businesses, nonprofit organizations present unique challenges for leaders and managers. This concentration focuses on the ethical, behavioral, and financial aspects of nonprofit organizations.||This concentration equips leaders to effectively serve in all levels of nonprofit management in community, educational, and religious organizations.|
|Public Health Management||Public health management functions as a type of nonprofit management occupation given the primary focus on health and safety rather than revenue. The field involves a heavy emphasis on public policy, as it establishes priorities and criteria for public health management.||Graduates can find public health management jobs throughout local, state, and federal health agencies. Large industries and some nonprofit organizations, including hospitals and clinics, also need public health managers.|
|Public Administration||Public administration involves the analysis and implementation of government policy at all levels. Concentrations focus on public policy and government, public financial management, and public sector ethics.||All levels of government agencies need competent public administration leaders and managers. This includes law enforcement, local government administration, urban planning, and utilities management.|
Courses in a Master's in Organizational Management Program
While some schools offer a master's in organizational management, others offer similar degrees in organizational leadership or public administration. These degrees usually include the option to choose a specialization, as well. Course offerings vary widely in pursuit of these unique degree and specialty emphases. However, the following courses are common for most programs:
- Foundations of Organizational Management
Students typically take this course as part of their core requirements. Focusing on the big picture of organizational viability, the course guides students through topics such as vision and planning, project management, financial planning, information technology, logistics, and human resources, while touching on topics such as ethics and social responsibility.
- Human Resource Management
This course covers the essential components of caring for employees while also guiding and supporting their pursuit of the organization's vision and goals. Students explore the legal, social, and economic factors involved in managing a productive climate. This course also addresses the practices of hiring, training, and termination.
- Strategies in Organizational Leadership
This course pushes students to critically synthesize and build on the concepts of business, management, and leadership to address challenging situations. Students and their professors discuss, often through online dialogue, how to address specific challenges with a big-picture perspective.
- Communication and Leadership Ethics
Rapidly developing communication technologies and organizational structures seem to make communication easier, at least for the sake of information transfer. Students explore the ethics involved in communicating in an organizational community.
- Leading Organizational Change
Organizations succeed to the degree that they effectively forecast, monitor, and adapt to the ongoing shifts in society and key target groups. This class addresses the innate human desire for stability while helping students explore ways to move an organization by moving its people.
How Long Does It Take to Get a Master's in Organizational Management?
As you pursue your organizational management master's degree, particularly in an online format, you'll find some flexibility in how long it takes to complete the degree. Program design impacts how quickly you'll be able to complete the program. Some schools structure their master's in organizational management as a 30-credit program, while others may require up to 39 credits. Choosing a concentration (or multiple concentrations) could add on more credit requirements.
Some schools structure their courses according to a semester schedule, while others deliver classes in six-week terms. Some schools require students to progress through the program with a cohort of peers. In a cohort model, you'll enjoy deeper networking opportunities, but give up some flexibility regarding program pacing. Most schools design their programs so full-time students can complete them in 18 to 24 months, but some programs are shorter. Part-time students usually take longer to complete their programs. Extending your program over extra terms may also cost more, since some fees are paid each term.
How Much Is a Master's in Organizational Management?
Tuition and other degree-related expenses vary by institution. A master's in organizational management can cost anything between $13,000 and $55,000 for tuition alone, which can range from $400 to $1,800 per credit. Many schools also charge higher tuition for out-of-state students, and some do so even if those students complete their program online. Books and fees incur additional expenses. Highly competitive prestigious universities are generally the most expensive, but you can find quality programs at lower costs, as long as the schools hold the proper institutional and programmatic accreditation.
Residential programs generally cost more than online programs, due to expenses related to travel, housing, and on-campus fees (such as technology and student activity fees). Online programs exclude these expenses, and offer more schedule flexibility. Because a master's degree boosts your earning potential over a bachelor's or associate degree, you should consider the cost of your education an investment in your future.
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.
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.
Award-winning author, speaker, and leadership expert Mark Sanborn maintains a blog offering insight and information for anyone aspiring to improve their leadership skills.
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.