Organizational Leadership PhDs: Career and Salary Facts

Learn about Ph.D. programs in organizational leadership, from what kind of classes you'll take to what kind of careers you'll be qualified for. Read on to learn about degree qualifications, dissertation requirements and online options. Schools offering Organizational Design & Development degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

Ph.D. in Organizational Leadership: Salary and Career Facts

A Ph.D. in Organizational Leadership is a degree program in which you research methods and principles of managing individuals and groups. Most programs have an interdisciplinary curriculum applicable to students seeking any type of corporate executive leadership role. Some universities offer an Ed.D. track which targets prospective educators and teachers.

After completing a Ph.D. in Organizational Leadership, you may want to apply your knowledge to your current job and become a human resources manager or a corporate trainer. Both of these careers assist employees in their work environment. Or, after spending years researching organizational leadership, you may want to become a professor and guide others through research methods and even continue your own research.

Take a look at the table for further career information relating to a Ph.D in Organizational Leadership.

Job TitleHuman Resources ManagerTraining and Development ManagerPostsecondary Teacher
Key ResponsibilitiesCoordinate between management and employees; recruit, hire, and interview potential workersCreate and implement training programs to achieve goals Instruct students; plan lessons; conduct research
Licensure RequirementsNot required, but can show credibilityNot required, but can show credibilityNot required with Ph.D
Job Growth (2014-2024)*9%7%13%
Median Salary (2015)*$104,440$102,640$72,470

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Do I Meet the Qualifications for Degree Program?

If you want to enter an organizational leadership doctoral program, you must hold a master's degree in any subject and meet grade point average requirements for your school of choice. Most programs require you to have some work experience, particularly experience in a management or leadership role. Some universities will require you to take a competency exam to ensure your ability to analyze statistics and use social science research methods.

Can I Work Full-Time While I'm Taking Classes?

Most students who enroll in this degree program are mid-career professionals seeking leadership roles in their businesses or organizations while working during the day. Many Ph.D. programs in organizational leadership are offered online or in a blended online and on-campus format to accommodate working students. If you plan to complete your Ph.D. online, you may be required to spend a week or two in residence once a year for concentrated courses. Weekend and evening programs are also available through some schools.

What Courses Will I Have to Take?

Classes included in a Ph.D. in Organizational Leadership program are mostly social science courses on organizational behavior, leadership methods, history of organizations, communication and leadership ethics. Several multi-semester courses in statistics and research methods are required so that you can prepare for your final research project or dissertation. It is likely that you will have to take about 60 credits of courses which will take approximately three years to complete. Your final courses will be dissertation-related courses.

Will I Have to Complete a Dissertation?

Yes, it is likely that you will have to complete a major research project or dissertation. Most programs expect you to publish scholarly research which contributes to the field of organizational leadership. You will present a formal dissertation proposal to your faculty adviser. You will have about 1-5 years to complete the dissertation following approval. When you finish your dissertation you might be required to defend it in front of a committee.

What Could I Expect to Earn?

Your salary is going to be dependent upon the career you choose. Human resources managers in the United States made a median salary between $43,109 and $90,515 in 2017 as reported by PayScale.com. The median salary for a college or university professor with a Ph.D. was reported to be $73,004 annually by the same source. The Bureau of Labor Statistics (www.bls.gov) stated in 2015 that training and development managers made an average of $111,680 annually. Whatever career you choose, your salary will depend on the industry and location of your job and your experience level.

What Are Some Related Alternative Careers?

Organizational leadership skills translate nicely to top executive positions for an organization. Top executives oversee the day-to-day operations, as well as develop long term goals and strategies for the organization. They also manage employees, appoint staff, and negotiate contracts.

For those looking to stay in the academic arena could consider a position as a postsecondary education administrator. They manage the student services and academics at a college, as well as research performed by faculty members. They keep the university running smoothly and can work in many different departments, such as admissions.

To continue researching, browse degree options below for course curriculum, prerequisites and financial aid information. Or, learn more about the subject by reading the related articles below:

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