Earning an online organizational leadership degree helps you develop the skills you'll need to become an effective leader in virtually every professional field. Whether you're interested in business management, government positions, high-level corporate positions, or you want to build the foundation to pursue an advanced degree, a bachelor's degree in organizational management helps you prepare for both the public and private sectors. Professional positions that require and value this degree are expanding in number, along with your earning potential. And the numbers indicate that they will continue to do so: according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, human resource management positions are expected to grow by 9% by 2024, for example.

What are the best organizational leadership programs of 2020? Here are our top 10:

Rank School Location
1 Arizona State University Scottsdale, AZ
2 University of Charleston Charleston, WV
3 University of Iowa Iowa City, IA
4 Lewis University Romeoville, IL
5 Union University Jackson, TN
6 Southeastern University Lakeland, FL
7 University of La Verne La Verne, CA
8 California Baptist University Riverside, CA
9 Buena Vista University Storm Lake, IA
10 John Brown University Siloam Springs, AR

Choosing a Program

Earning an online bachelor's degree in organizational leadership exposes you to a great number useful skills applicable to businesses, non-profits, and other organizations of every size. By studying basic and advanced principles of management and leadership in the professional area, you will learn how to be a positive and motivating presence in virtually any leadership or management scenario.

Specific concentrations vary, but most organizational leadership degree programs offer specializations in human resource management, marketing and advertising, and organizational management and development. Some online programs feature more narrow specializations than others, and program structure reflects those parameters. Conversely, many online programs offer a wide range of courses to help you understand the contemporary marketplace and provide the interpersonal skills and business expertise to be an effective leader in those arenas. Whether you find yourself in a specialized track or a program that concentrates on broader concepts, these programs provide students with the opportunity to tailor their online degree to fit their career goals and academic interests.

2020 Best Accredited Online Bachelor's in Organizational Leadership Programs

Rank School Location Cost Graduation Rate Description Toggle

Arizona State University

Scottsdale, AZ Cost: $$$$$ Graduation Rate: 48%

ASU's bachelor's in organizational leadership program uses an accelerated curriculum where all courses last 7.5 weeks. Major courses include resource allocation in organizations, social progress in organizations, and organizational ethics. Students leave the program with refined communication and research skills.

Almost 90% of ASU alumni enroll in another academic program or receive at least one job offer within three months of graduation day. Career advisors help students find work by providing them with a mentor network, international job opportunities, and a resume dropbox that learners can use to receive feedback from a writing expert.

First-year applicants must hold a high school diploma and submit ACT scores. ASU uses a GPA cutoff for transfer credit. All online students pay the same per-credit tuition, regardless of residency.


University of Charleston

Charleston, WV Cost: $$$$$ Graduation Rate: 47%

UC's online bachelor's degree in organizational leadership features a cohort learning model that mixes synchronous and asynchronous learning. The 48-credit major curriculum includes required courses in leadership, ethics, and the learning organization. The program — which serves as a degree completion pathway — also offers a hybrid learning option for students who live in and around Charleston, West Virginia.

UC provides students with resources like individualized coaching sessions and networking dinners. Virtual tools help students perfect their resumes and develop interview skills.

This program accepts up to 90 transfer credits, and degree-seekers must complete most of their general education courses before applying to this organizational leadership program. Faculty deliver courses over seven-week sessions.


University of Iowa

Iowa City, IA Cost: $$$$$ Graduation Rate: 73%

UI offers an online bachelor's in liberal studies with a concentration in organizational studies. The degree completion program includes significant academic flexibility, and students can select from electives like operations management, sport business practices, and the foundations of event management.

The school's career center offers useful job-hunting resources, including Handshake software, career communities, and advising sessions, which help 95% of students achieve a successful outcome shortly after graduation. Online students can also access resume templates and internship opportunities.

Prospective students should have an associate degree or at least 24 transferable credits. UI uses a 2.0 undergraduate GPA cutoff.


Lewis University

Romeoville, IL Cost: $$$$$ Graduation Rate: 64%

Students seeking an accelerated curriculum can pursue Lewis' online bachelor's degree in organizational leadership. The program uses synchronous courses with meeting times in the evenings. Throughout the program, students hone critical thinking and conflict management skills. Lewis also offers an online BA/MA dual degree in organizational leadership.

Approximately 94% of recent Lewis graduates found a job or started a master's program within 12 months of earning their degree. Students can explore job opportunities and graduate programs on the school's career services website. This website also teaches students how to create an effective elevator pitch.

First-year applicants must submit ACT or SAT scores. Adult learners have unique application requirements, including a personal statement. Financial aid options include tuition payment plans.


Union University

Jackson, TN Cost: $$$$$ Graduation Rate: 71%

Union University's bachelor's in organizational leadership program targets working professionals who already hold an associate degree. The asynchronous online curriculum includes courses like the art of communication, organization theory, and quality management. The degree does not require an internship or capstone experience.

Nearly all of the university's alumni start a master's program or a career within 180 of graduation. The university helps degree-seekers develop a career-success plan that emphasizes professional and spiritual development — the school is affiliated with the Tennessee Baptist Convention.

The program accepts new degree-seekers in the spring and fall. The university uses a single application for all institutional financial assistance programs.


Southeastern University

Lakeland, FL Cost: $$$$$ Graduation Rate: 42%

SEU's online bachelor's degree in organizational leadership uses a 37-credit leadership core curriculum with courses like leadership and human diversity, leading organizational change, and great leaders through history. Additional requirements include a leadership portfolio that consists of a student's best work alongside a personal reflection.

SEU provides students with access to the COMPASS program. Through COMPASS, students can speak with career ambassadors and advisors, attend resume workshops, and complete life-mapping assessments that reveal potential career paths.

Applicants must speak with an enrollment counselor to determine admission requirements. Online degree-seekers pay technology and general students fees. Although distance learners do not qualify for institutional aid, they can still apply for federal and private financial aid opportunities.


University of La Verne

La Verne, CA Cost: $$$$$ Graduation Rate: 69%

Based in Southern California, La Verne designed its bachelor's in organizational management program for working adults who want to enroll in asynchronous courses. The curriculum features required classes in management of change and conflict, training and development, and compensation and benefits. All degree-seekers must complete at least 40 credits at La Verne.

The university provides all learners with a career readiness guide. This interactive guide helps degree-seekers master transferable skills, such as those related to communication, collaboration, and leadership.

Prospective students must have a high school diploma. Applicants must also submit a recommendation letter and a personal statement. Transfer students can bring in up to 88 eligible credits.


California Baptist University

Riverside, CA Cost: $$$$$ Graduation Rate: 55%

CBU's online bachelor's degree in organizational leadership may be a good choice for prospective students who want a Christ-centered educational experience. Participants complete 42 major-related credits, including required coursework in project and team management, interpersonal communication, and rhetoric and persuasion.

CBU's career center helps students create a four-year roadmap, which serves as an essential tool for academic and career success. The center also offers virtual resources, such as videos that cover how to create an effective LinkedIn profile and perform a strategic job search.

The program prefers applicants who have at least 24 transferable college credits, and individuals should have a minimum 2.0 GPA. CBU does not award institutional aid to online students.


Buena Vista University

Storm Lake, IA Cost: $$$$$ Graduation Rate: 54%

Prospective students with work experience may be interested in BVU's bachelor's in organizational leadership program. The university offers this degree entirely online and through a hybrid format, and students can specialize in human services or leadership business. Both tracks include required courses in interviewing, business law, and the principles of marketing.

BVU's Beaver Tracks online portal connects degree-seekers and alumni with job opportunities and resources. Students can take multiple academic and career interest inventories through this portal.

After submitting their initial application, applicants must provide transcripts or GED scores. Online students save over 50% on tuition compared to on-campus students. Iowa residents may qualify for state financial aid programs.


John Brown University

Siloam Springs, AR Cost: $$$$$ Graduation Rate: 66%

JBU's online bachelor's degree in organizational leadership emphasizes ethical leadership and ways to apply Christian principles in the workplace. The 51-credit major curriculum includes coursework in strategic management, finance for managers, and the foundations of leadership. Through 34 elective credits, the program allows degree-seekers to complete a minor or custom specialization.

JBU's career advisors offer students a seven-step plan that involves taking self-assessments, searching for jobs, and creating a career portfolio. On Handshake, students can also receive resume critiques and access an application toolbox.

High school graduates and applicants with a GED certificate can apply, provided they submit ACT or SAT scores. JBU does not require recommendation letters.

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

Depending on the faculty's specialities and the resources available through the college or university, every online program in organizational leadership has its own strengths and characteristics. When choosing a program, it can be helpful to learn about the faculty members with whom you will be studying and to explore what kinds resources are available to online students.


Courses that institutions require students to complete to earn their bachelor's degree in organizational leadership vary between programs. Foundational skills in management and leadership are taught throughout all online programs in addition to courses that highlight that particular school's specialties. Below you'll find a sample set of required major-specific courses that one might encounter in an online program.

Business Organization and Management: These types of courses prepare students for the various challenges that arise for those in leadership roles in a business setting. Methods for planning, organization, and social responsibility are frequently explored. These courses are particularly helpful for those seeking careers in human resources management, labor relation specialists, or small business management.

Corporate Culture and Organizational Learning: For those pursuing a career at larger corporations, these courses are helpful in learning the organizational structure, cultural dynamics, and interpersonal relationships that often exist in this sector of the field. While jobs in the corporate arena may differ greatly from one another, these courses can help you understand the kinds of values and learning systems often fostered and practiced at the corporate level.

Technology in Advertising and Public Relations: Most management and leadership professionals work frequently with continuously evolving technologies. If you are seeking a career with heavy advertising or public relations components, these kinds of courses will teach you useful and advanced techniques associated with computers, multimedia recording, editing, and presentation.


There are a few common factors that frequently affect the duration of a student's enrollment in an online program. Firstly, the time it takes to complete your degree depends on if you can commit to being a full-time or part-time student and how many credit hours you can handle per semester. Secondly, each program has its own way of pacing courses throughout the year, which determines the frequency and duration of their course offerings. Some online organizational leadership degree programs are taught with more traditional group or cohort learning formats, in which you must move through a course syllabus at a pace determined by the instructor of the whole group of students in the online class. Other programs allow students to complete course material and submit assignments on their own schedule within a predetermined timeframe. The individual pace structure is a good option for self-motivated students and those with unpredictable or irregular schedules outside of schoolwork. The more traditional, cohort-style learning is a good fit if you prefer to move through your coursework at the same pace as other students and if you can adhere to a flexible but more clearly defined schedule. Depending on the chosen program, and whether you have transferable course credits, you can expect to spend 18 months to four years completing a bachelor's degree in organizational leadership.

Accreditation for Online Bachelor's in Organizational Leadership Programs

Accreditation review is a quality assurance process that determines whether or not academic institutions meet certain standards set by the larger academic community. While most colleges and universities that offer these degrees are accredited, it's important to know what kind of accreditation the institution has obtained. A vast majority of schools are either regionally or nationally accredited -- yet these accreditation processes are not the same.

College and universities are determined to be regionally accredited by six different associations, depending on the school's geographical location. Nationally accredited schools are not limited to or organized by regional geography. National accreditation are most commonly determined by three agencies recognized by the Council for Higher Education Accreditation. However, regional accreditation is often considered to hold the highest prestige and is the most widely recognized type of accreditation. While regionally accredited schools usually administer highly respected programs and privilege academics and research over vocation-driven programs, they often cost more and require additional liberal arts coursework than nationally accredited programs. Nationally accredited programs are often less expensive and offer more practical, career-minded curriculums. Credit hours earned at nationally accredited schools, however, can be difficult to transfer to other programs and might not be applicable toward some types of career licensure after graduation.

The Department of Education (ED) is part of the federal government established to promote student achievement and prepare students for responsible and positive action in the U.S. and around the globe. The ED establishes policies on federal financial aid, collects and evaluates data on educational institutions, and ensures equal access to education for individuals in the U.S. The Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA) promotes academic quality through accreditation reviews and assesses the quality of education at higher education institutions. Both of these institutions are important to upholding academic integrity and a high standard of education in the United States. As a prospective or returning student in the higher education system, you are offered a kind of educational protection and quality assurance by these groups. To find a list of all accredited schools, please visit websites for the ED or CHEA.

Employment Outlook for Bachelor's in Organizational Leadership Graduates


After you earn your bachelor's degree, you'll hold a notable advantage in most managerial and leadership career paths. While a wide variety of career paths exist to choose from with a bachelor's degree in hand, multiple sources report positive trends for entry-level positions for recent graduates in this field. The national median pay for entry-level professionals working as organizational development managers, according to PayScale, was $74,354 as of May 2017. Over the past three years, earning potential has also increased for graduates with degrees in organizational leadership and shows continued signs of promise. The table below displays the salary and bonus pay ranges for recent graduates in the field who secured a professional position shortly after completing the degree.

Year After Graduation Salary Range Bonus Range
2013-2014 $30,000 - $65,000 $750 - $6,000
2014-2015 $26,000 - $70,000 $2,500 - $15,000
2015-2016 $30,000 - $99,000 $500 - $19,000

Source: 2016 Business Outcomes, Kansas University, management and leadership major


Graduates with an online bachelor's degree in organizational leadership candidates for many positions in the public and private sectors. The table below displays the overall median salary for each public and private sector position, as well the median salary over time. With your bachelor's degree in hand, coupled with only a few years of experience, your annual income increases by $4,000 to $9,000.

Job Title Overall Median Salary Median Salary for Entry-Level Employees (0-5 years) Median Salary for Mid-Career Employees (5-10 years) Median Salary for Late-Career Employees (20 years)
Organization Development Manager $87,565 $76,000 $87,000 $97,000
Organizational Development Consultant $80,869 $69,000 $86,000 $99,000
Human Resources Manager $64,093 $53,000 $65,000 $70,000
Office Manager $44,716 $36,000 $41,000 $43,000
Organizational Development Director $114,980 $91,000 $98,000 $127,000


After earning your widely applicable organizational leadership degree, you'll enter a trajectory that accentuates your strengths as a collaborative and thoughtful leader. Professionals with this degree often find rewarding careers in the public, private, and nonprofit sectors. From marketing managers and nonprofit administrators, to human resources managers to policy planners, graduates with an organizational leadership degree find themselves suited for a number of careers. Successful professionals in these roles demonstrate strong organizational, resource management, and public speaking skills.

Human Resources Manager

Human resources managers ensure that employees' talents are utilized, both for the benefit of the organization and the employee. They oversee the recruitment, interview, selection, and hiring process, and handle staffing issues and mediating disputes in the workplace.

Median Annual Salary - $106,910
Projected Growth Rate - 9%

Labor Relations Specialist

These individuals lead meeting between managers and their employees, draft proposals and regulations for organizations, and advise management on worker grievances and disciplinary procedures. Labor relations specialists also serve as a liaison between labor union representatives and a company's management.

Median Annual Salary - $62,310
Projected Growth Rate - -8%

Training and Development Managers

Training and development managers ensure that employee training aligns with an organization's strategic goals. They ensure that all training methods, materials, and technology are up to date. Overtime, they also evaluate the effectiveness of the training programs and work to improve any weak components.

Median Annual Salary - $105,830
Projected Growth Rate - 7%

Human Resources Specialist

These specialists help with the employee hiring processes at companies by conducting interviews, contacting references, performing background checks, and informing applicants about job duties, benefits, and working conditions. They also keep employment records and process paperwork as needed.

Median Annual Salary - $59,180
Projected Growth Rate - 5%

Public Relations Specialist

Public relations specialists write and prepare content for the media and public consumption. They help create and maintain their organization's image, brand, and public identity through organized public relations efforts, social media, and advertising.

Median Annual Salary - $58,020
Projected Growth Rate - 6%


As a working professional, it's important that you stay in contact with other individuals working in your field. Furthermore, you must stay current with popular trends, new technology, and other advancements in the field as you progress. One of the best ways to keep in touch with the latest developments is through active participation in professional organizations and conferences. These groups provide extensive resources to help expand and maintain your business relationships. They also provide online and in-person forums or conferences that can be valuable tools for staying current in the field.

Financing Your Online Bachelor's in Organizational Leadership Program

Students pursuing an online bachelor's degree in organizational leadership have several options to finance their education. Depending on the school and program, you may be able to apply for internal grants or scholarships offered through the school itself. These scholarships or grants will be merit-based or need-based assistance. Some colleges, universities, and private organizations reserve scholarships for minority and underrepresented students, veterans, active military personnel and their spouses. You may also apply for federal aid by completing the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA).


Approximately two-thirds of today's college students rely on loans to fund their education, but there are plenty of overlooked financing options you can use to reduce your overall student debt.


Completing the FAFSA is a crucial first step for any student with financial needs. Our FAFSA guide features a step-by-step rundown on the process and answers to several frequently asked questions.


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