Is a Leadership Degree for You?
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Businesses and organizations would not be able to thrive without people who can lead teams, make difficult decisions and encourage change. Many of these individuals learn and practice their leadership abilities through a leadership degree program. Leadership bachelor's degrees vary according to the focus of your chosen field. These degrees are most closely associated with careers as a manager, administrator or executive. However, leadership degrees are general and should be combined with a specialization or further education to maximize career options. Specialized areas of study include law, recreational leadership, organizational leadership, business leadership, liberal studies, leadership development, labor relations, communications and education. Students interested in pursuing a leadership bachelor's degree must be people oriented and have a desire to work closely with others. Critical thinking and precision are important, as is the ability to think on one's feet.
Advice for Earning Your Leadership Degree Online
Classes for online leadership degrees are conducted in a similar manner to those for traditional leadership ones. Online students take the same classes and fulfill the same requirements as students enrolled in brick-and-mortar programs. However, online students must be self-motivated and able to work independently, as they will not have the structure of face-to-face instruction. Because leadership plays such an essential role in the professional world, individuals with bachelor's degrees in this field are often regarded highly by employers. Many who have earned their bachelor's degree in leadership choose to continue their education. Some pursue an MBA while others earn a master's or doctoral degree in marketing. Whether you plan on pursuing a graduate degree or not, the most essential step in choosing any college or university program is researching the institution's accreditation. Accreditation ensures that the institution meets strict standards of quality education.
Students pursuing a bachelor's degree in leadership will complete courses specifically designed to develop the skills required to guide a business or organization. These classes include fundamentals of human communication, interpersonal and group communication, persuasion, argumentation, intercultural communication, organizational behavior, ethical decision making, logic and finance. Students should also expect to take courses that help them put their knowledge into practice. Many leadership degree programs involve a leadership practicum or internship, which give students firsthand experience in running a business or organization.
Common Career Paths
As a graduate of a leadership program, you will have the freedom to choose the type of environment in which you would like to work. Leaders can find positions in government, large corporations, small businesses or through self-employment. A bachelor's degree in leadership can prepare you for a variety of management-related positions within an organization or business. Common careers include (but are not limited to):
- Human Resources Manager
Human resources managers assist businesses that are looking to bring in, keep and motivate qualified employees. Human resource managers perform administrative functions, such as answering questions workers have regarding their benefits, recruiting, holding job interviews for all prospective candidates and choosing which individuals to hire. They also discuss strategic planning with executives and help businesses develop and implement new policies. They conduct training and look to increase employee satisfaction. The efforts put forth by HR managers can increase morale and productivity, improve results and performance, and reduce job turnover. Employment of human resources specialists is expected to increase 21 percent between 2010 and 2020, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Their median annual salary was $52,690 in May 2010.
- Education Administrator
Education administrators handle the daily activities of their school or institution. They direct all of the educational programs of businesses, museums, correctional institutions and community service organizations. They implement educational standards, pursue administrative goals, and create the policies and procedures that are required to reach them. They oversee teachers, counselors, members of the athletic department and other employees. Administrators create academic programs, observe students' progress, motivate and instruct teachers, and run career counseling sessions. They also put together budgets and interact with both parents and students. Employment of elementary, middle and high school principals is projected to expand 10 percent between 2010 and 2020, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Their median annual salary was $86,970 in 2010.
- Administrative Services Manager
Administrative services managers are in charge of keeping a business running smoothly. They accomplish this by planning, running and managing a wide range of services, such as space allocation and maintenance. An administrative services manager oversees multiple operations, dealing with various departments such as mail, distribution, records management, recycling, security, transportation services and telecommunications. Administrative service managers handle contracts, government regulations and insurance requirements and safety, so therefore they must be highly responsible. In some instances, they may also be expected to monitor technology usage and energy consumption. Further job duties depend upon the size of the company and the amount of authority they have.
Employment of administrative services managers is forecast to rise 15 percent between 2010 and 2020, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Their median annual salary was $77,890 in 2010.