Organizational Leadership Career Guide

The Master of Science in Organizational Leadership degree is gaining popularity in business circles, particularly with organizations looking for job candidates who can move quickly and confidently into a leadership role.

The MSOL also allows job seekers to target their areas of interest when looking for employment.

“The management skills that students learn in pursuing an organizational leadership degree transfer to all organizations and businesses, whether private, public or nonprofit,” according to an article in the Houston Chronicle. “This expertise is sought by consulting firms that contract out experts to organizations. Additionally, graduates may lead departments in public agencies or in private corporations, and move up to the executive level with additional experience.”

Among the fields open to MSOL degree holders are:

Human Resources

Human resource management, employee development, employee compensation, and employee recruitment all are areas that draw on the skills obtained while earning an MSOL.

Human resource management, communications, career development, and employee motivation are among the topics normally covered in the MSOL curriculum. Combined with management and leadership skills, these abilities can prove very attractive to recruiters looking to fill human resources positions. Studies in MSOL instill an understanding of organizational and employee needs in students, meaning MSOL degree holders have the skills to create a high-performance work environment.

Human resources specialists handle the duties of an HR department: recruiting, screening, interviewing and placing workers; employee relations, compensation and benefits; and training. Median annual pay for this position was $58,350 in May 2015, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, which forecasts job growth of 5%, about average for all occupations surveyed, between 2014-2024.

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, human resources managers earned a median annual salary of $104,440 in May 2015. The BLS forecasts job growth at 9% between 2014 and 2024, which is faster than the average for all occupations.

Training and Development

Skills acquired while earning an MSOL include those aimed at motivating and empowering employees. This ability to train and develop adult learners can lead to jobs such as training and development managers and specialists; project coordinators; lecturers and even motivational speakers.

An MSOL degree holder might find employment at a consulting firm or in-house at a corporation. MSOL graduates often find work in the training and development field as researchers.

According to the BLS, training and development managers earn a median annual salary of $102,640 per year. Growth for this job is forecast at 7%, which is as fast as average for all occupations.

Training and development specialists drew a median annual salary of $58,210 in May 2015, according to the BLS. Job growth was the same as for training and development managers, 7%.

The BLS classifies project coordinators along with other occupations as business operations specialists. In May 2015, this group of occupations had a median annual salary of $68,170.

According to, the average salary for a motivational speaker in the U.S. is $81,895.

Higher Education

Higher education is another area in which MSOL degree holders can excel. Colleges and universities need leaders with organizational skills to help devise and implement programs in their institution’s student services division, or to take on administrative roles. One such role is as a post-secondary education administrator, whose duties can include overseeing student services, academics and/or faculty research at a college or university.

According to the BLS, the median annual salary for a postsecondary education administrator in May 2015 was $88,580. The BLS forecasted job growth for this position at 9%, faster than average, between 2014-2024.

MSOL graduates are particularly suited to teaching courses in student development, leadership, English as a second language (ESL) or adult basic education. Current college and university staff could consider pursuing an MSOL to gather credentials and improve opportunities to move into positions as director, dean or provost.

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