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Earn an Online Associates Degree in Organizational Leadership

Earning an online associates degree in organizational leadership means exploring the ins and outs of leading a team. Courses may include the basics of organizational leadership, project management, business principles, and more.

Fun Fact

The practice of organizational leadership and management came about because of the Industrial Revolution. Before then, the concept of management didn’t really exist. (Exceptions were the church and the military.)

Online Associates Degree in Organizational Leadership

Online Organizational Leadership Associate Degrees: What You Should Know

Let's connect the dots on a few topics of interest.

What Is a Degree in Organizational Leadership?

An organizational leadership associate degree program is a type of business program. There may be many kinds of business degree programs worth considering. But, organizational leadership deals with the science (or some may call it an art!) of leadership.

While earning an online associates degree in organizational leadership, you may study skill areas like managing organizational change or communicating clearly with employees. You may also learn how to help people work better together in a team, or how to resolve conflicts at work.

Types of Online Organizational Leadership Associate Degrees You May Encounter

Not all online associates degree in organizational leadership programs go by the same name! Here are a few kinds you might find as you search for the program that’s perfect for you!

  • A.S. in Organizational Leadership
  • Associate of Science in Organizational Leadership
  • Associates Degree in Human Resources and Organizational Leadership
  • Associate of Applied Science in Organizational Management
  • AAS in Organizational Management
  • Associate of Applied Science in Leadership Development

There may not be any hard and fast rules about the differences among these program types. But, each may have a different philosophy and set of learning goals. For example, earning an Associate of Applied Science (AAS) degree may be intended as a step toward career preparation. On the other hand, earning an Associate of Science (AS) degree may be intended as a step toward pursuing a bachelors degree. Spend some time checking out each program’s overview, course offerings, and learning outcomes to see if it sounds like a fit!

Admission Requirements for Pursuing an Organizational Leadership Associates Degree Online

Before applying to an online associates degree in organizational leadership program, find out their requirements for admissions.

For instance, you generally must have a high school diploma or a GED, while some have no entry exam requirements. Some requirements may vary by school or program. For example, some colleges may require a minimum GPA, while others do not.

Here are some other common requirements for admission to an online associate’s degree program:

  • High school or GED transcripts
  • ACT or SAT scores (not every college requires test scores)
  • Application

Graduation Requirements for Earning an Online Associates Degree in Organizational Leadership

To earn your associates degree, you must complete a sequence of courses and earn a set number of credits. For example, an organizational leadership associates degree program may require you to earn 60 credits. That's roughly twenty courses. (Keep in mind that the number of required courses and credits may vary depending on your school.)

Of course, many of your classes will tie into organizational leadership. But, you may also need to take general education subjects, like English and college math. Here are some examples of subjects you might explore.

Courses in Your Organizational Leadership Major

  • Business Organization and Management
  • Human Relations in Business
  • Project Management
  • Behavioral Science
  • Workplace Safety
  • Technology Strategy
  • Supply Chain Management

General Education Courses

  • Speech and Communication
  • American History
  • Intro to Psychology
  • Mathematics
  • Social Science

Besides completing all required coursework, you may have to earn a minimum GPA in order to graduate. For example, some colleges may require you to have an overall GPA of at least 2.0 (a grade of ‘C’) to earn your associates degree. Keep in mind that this may vary by school and degree program.

How Long Does It Take to Earn an Online Associates Degree in Organizational Leadership?

Some programs may take as little as 18 months to earn an online associates degree in organizational leadership. In other cases, a student may earn an associates degree in about two years, or longer.

Sometimes, it simply depends on your learning pace. Some factors are:

  • How many courses you take per semester. To earn a 60-credit associates degree in two years, you’d have to take five classes per semester (Spring and Fall). Of course, not every student has the ability to take on that course load.
  • Course sequences and prerequisites. Some courses build on each other in a certain order. For example, you might have to take Introduction to Human Resources Management before you can study Employment Law! Careful planning may help you avoid delays.
  • The flexibility of the degree. Some online organizational leadership associate degree programs may offer learning paths that are perfect for working students. Examples include self-paced courses, where students learn at their own speed. So, you might be able to study at a pace that’s faster or slower than average! Some programs even offer accelerated courses, which are shorter than one semester long. These options may help students fit classes into their busy schedules.
  • Transfer credits. If you earned some college credits previously, you may be able to transfer some or all of them. That may shorten the time it takes to earn your associates degree in organizational leadership. Be aware that each program may have a different policy when it comes to accepting transfer credits.

What Might I Learn in an Online Associates Degree in Organizational Leadership Program?

Leading a business, organization, or team may require you to wear many hats. In your organizational leadership associate’s degree program, you may explore areas ranging from finance to marketing. You may study the changing business landscape, and learn how to help a team of employees adapt to what’s new. You may even study manufacturing and supply chain management.

A big part of organizational leadership tends to be human resources, or HR. You may study human resources management topics like interviewing techniques, hiring practices, employee benefits, disciplinary practices, and more. You may also study employment law, which includes topics like employee rights, workplace harassment, compensation law, and diversity.

Here are some experiences you may pursue while earning an associates in organizational leadership:

  • Prepare a master budget for a business
  • Use web tools to create presentations
  • Participate in a mock interview
  • Design an employee compensation structure for a business

Business Management vs Organizational Leadership Degree: What’s the Difference?

A business management/administration degree program may focus more on the analytical side of business. For example, students may study “hard skill” areas like accounting, economics, and operations strategy. On the other hand, an organizational leadership degree program may focus more on the human side of business. Students may study “soft skill” areas related to human resources, employee motivation, and even workplace psychology.

One explanation is that managers and leaders have some shared goals, but different approaches to getting the job done. For example, managers may use their communication skills to solve problems and assign tasks, whereas leaders communicate in order to inspire and motivate employees.

Keep in mind that these differences may vary from program to program. You may also see some crossover between business management and organizational leadership degree programs.

For example, the two programs may have courses in common, like:

  • Human resources management
  • Principles of management
  • Economics
  • Business law
  • And more

It’s a good idea to consider programs on a case-by-case basis. Check to see which one offers coursework that suits your interests and goals!

Online Organizational Leadership Associate Degrees vs. Organizational Leadership Bachelors Degrees

Simply put, earning a bachelors degree requires you to learn more! That means earning more course credits.

While earning an online associates degree in organizational leadership may require about 60 credits, earning a bachelors may require roughly twice that amount: 120 credits. A bachelors program may also involve additional coursework in topics like talent management, organizational development, and leading change.

Plus, there may be other requirements, like a capstone project or even an internship.

Choosing one educational path over another may depend on some personal factors. These include your prospective career path, financial considerations, and how much time you have for your educational goals. One potential path is to earn an online organizational leadership associates degree first, and then go on to pursue a bachelors degree later.

Online Organizational Leadership Associate Degrees vs. Campus

When studying organizational leadership at the associates level, you may be able to choose from a few formats.

These include online programs, traditional campus-based programs, and hybrid programs that blend the best of both worlds.

Online organizational leadership associate degree programs may feature live, interactive lectures, chances to work on projects and collaborate with other students, and even simulations to help you learn technical skills. For busy, working students, this may be a more flexible path than programs where you must attend classes on campus, at a set day and time.

Other benefits of online learning specific to those in the field of organizational leadership may be:

  • Technology skills – Online learning may be a great way to get more comfortable with technology that could potentially help you in the future. For example, knowing how to use video conferencing software may be important for sales managers [i], and general and operations managers may need to use email software and electronic communications.[ii]
  • Self-motivation – Earning an online associates degree in organizational leadership may require strengths like time management and self-directed learning. These same strengths may be helpful in a leadership career path. For example, self-assessment and the ability to plan and prioritize tasks may be important for retail sales supervisors [iii].
  • Communications – Pursuing your associates in organizational leadership online may require more proactive communicating. You’ll likely reach out to instructors and peers using online communications tools. This might be the perfect way to prepare for tasks like emailing your business contacts.

After Earning My Organizational Leadership Associates Degree Online, What Comes Next?

Some students may go on to pursue a bachelors degree after earning an online associates degree in organizational leadership. In this case, earning your associates may be the perfect foundation for further learning in your area of study.

There may also be a variety of business and leadership career paths worth exploring after earning your organizational leadership associates degree online. Here are some career paths that may call for an associates degree:

Industrial Production Managers [iv]

  • 15% earned an associates degree
  • Median salary (2016) was $97,140

First-line Supervisors of Retail Sales Workers [iii]

  • 15% earned an associates degree
  • Median salary (2016) was $39,040

First-line Supervisors of Non-Retail Sales Workers [i]

  • 27% earned an associates degree
  • Median salary (2016) was $73,150

Wind-Energy Project Managers [v]

  • 18% earned an associates degree
  • Median salary (2016) was $104,970

Some other professional areas that may be of interest include:

  • Customer service
  • Human resources
  • Training and development
  • Sales
  • Quality control
  • And more.

As you explore online organizational leadership associate degree programs that appeal to you, it’s a good idea to find out what career paths alumni have pursued.

Find Online Organizational Leadership Associate Degree Programs

It's time to find the online associates degree in organizational leadership program that’s perfect for you. That means exploring a variety of programs to see what they have to offer! 

Maybe you’re interested in earning your Associate of Applied Science in Organizational Management before launching a new career path. Maybe you’re hoping to pursue an AS in Organizational Leadership as a step toward further education.

Or, perhaps another path is more your style.

Check out our available sponsored program listings on the upper right of this page. If you see a program you like the looks of, click to find out more about what you may learn and experience. You’ll also be able to request information that can help you plan your next step!


[i] https://www.onetonline.org/link/summary/41-1012.00 [ii] https://www.onetonline.org/link/summary/11-1021.00 [iii] https://www.onetonline.org/link/summary/41-1011.00 [iv] https://www.onetonline.org/link/summary/11-3051.00 [v] https://www.onetonline.org/link/summary/11-9199.10

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