Is Human Resources the Best Business Area to Get Into With a Degree in Organizational Leadership?

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A career managing a company’s human resources – its workers – is one career path with a master’s in organizational leadership, one of the highest-paying master’s degrees out there. HR management is a personally fulfilling area of business that allows you to nurture relationships and bring out the best in workers while still having the potential to earn six figures. Your coursework in an organizational leadership program will likely cover some aspects of the human resources area of business, but its breadth and versatility also allow you to keep open career options outside of HR.

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Leading in a Human Resources Capacity

If you use your master’s in organizational leadership to land a job in HR, there’s a good chance that you will wind up in a role like human resources manager. HR managers are in charge of a company’s human resources operations, which include recruiting workers, training employees and handling personnel conflicts. Human resources managers at higher levels may perform more administrative work, supervising HR specialists and lower-level managers who handle more of the hands-on job duties. In smaller companies, a human resources manager might have little in the way of support staff and may field a lot of the direct HR responsibilities themselves. For human resources managers as a whole, the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reported a median annual salary of $121,220.

Looking at the field of human resources more broadly, you aren’t limited to a job as an HR manager. Training and development of the workforce are also part of human resources. If you’d like to specialize in helping employees grow their skills and reach their full potential, you might make a great corporate trainer – and an organizational leadership master’s degree program can help you get there. Corporate trainers and other types of training and development specialists devise, develop and carry out employee training initiatives in the form of written manuals, courses, presentations, online modules and more, according to the BLS.

There are leadership responsibilities inherent in a trainer role, since you’re leading training programs and motivating and inspiring workers, but this position is not, itself, a manager role. That’s one of the reasons the median salary for this role is $62,700, rather than a wage in the six-figure range that represents the median earning potential for management occupations.

If you’re eager to move up into a supervisory role within training, consider going for a training and development manager position. In this position, as in a human resources manager role, you would focus more on administration and the supervision of trainers than on the hands-on work of creating and implementing training programs. The median annual salary for the training and development manager occupation is $115,640, the BLS reported.

Managers in HR might hold job titles like human resources operations manager, employee relations manager and even the senior-level title of human resources director, according to O*NET.

Human Resources Coursework in Organizational Leadership Programs

In a typical master’s in organizational leadership program, you might take classes that focus on the theories and practical strategies of managing people. Classes in organizational behavior, leading organizational change, conflict management and negotiation may also fit into the curriculum. It’s not uncommon for an organizational leadership master’s degree program to offer one or even several HR-focused classes as required or elective courses. Aside from a course in the foundations of human resources management, you might encounter coursework in human resources in administration, human resources information systems and human resources in a global context.

If you choose a master’s in organizational leadership with a human resources concentration, you will have the opportunity to delve a little deeper into the HR aspects of organizational leadership. Some of the specialized classes you might take could cover topics like labor relations, training and development, collective bargaining and strategic human resource management.

Although the human aspects of an organization are important in this field, an organizational leadership degree is different from a master’s in human resources because it looks at leadership strategies and organizational challenges beyond HR.

Organizational Leadership Options Outside of Human Resources

Human resources is one of the major areas of business you might get into with a master’s in organizational leadership, but it’s far from your only career option. Studying organizational leadership prepares you for a wide array of leadership roles in all kinds of organizations.

You might not work in a business at all, instead opting to use your organizational leadership skills to direct a charity, religious organization, government entity or school. With this degree and a military background, you might advance to a high-level leadership role in the Armed Forces. If you’re inclined to craft the laws and regulations that shape your community, or even the nation, then you might use the skills you learn while studying organizational leadership to get into politics.

In the corporate world, the right combination of experience, technical skills and a master’s in organizational leadership degree could open doors to all kinds of management opportunities, including chief executive officer (CEO).

Additional Resources

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