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Masters in Leadership

This degree option comes in several variations depending upon the university. A general Masters in Leadership degree includes the study of collaborative leadership, team building, oversight for change management implementation, leadership in a dynamic or changing environment, and several other areas of study that are devoted to leadership skills as applied in the many business environments that exist today. One of the elements that face businesses of any size is activity in diverse cultures or multiple nations, so global leadership is one of the mandatory areas of study for this degree. Along with the leadership of multinational personnel teams comes the responsibility for understanding both cultural and financial elements associated with successful administration of a multicultural workforce.

Some universities offer a Masters in Leadership which has a more acute focus on the human resources and team oversight approach, generally called the Masters in Organizational Leadership. Regardless of the title, the curriculum for this degree will extend beyond the development of personal dynamics to the use of other communications devices and platforms. Some programs offer courses in communication through the new media; some include courses in social and community organization leadership for those who are interested in an advocacy role.

The Leadership Masters Degree program will also provide ample concentration on the values and ethics associated with decision making. Putting leadership into a social context is part of leadership theory, just as multicultural skills are necessary to guidance for a multinational organization, whether it is corporate or non-profit. The Masters in Leadership has been recognized as a valid and necessary degree by traditional universities because it provides a perspective on business and organizational leadership not found in graduate business programs. The application of best business practices is an important trait to some employers. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median salary for a Training and Development Manager is $83,000; for an Organizational Development Specialist the median pay is $69,500.

Additional Graduate Leadership Resources

Duquesne University Master of Leadership degree is a thirty six credit hour program that requires two years to complete. It is offered on the campuses in Pittsburgh and other locations as well as entirely online. There are several specialization areas for the degree including Business Ethics, Global Leadership, Information Technology, Community Leadership, Liberal Studies, Sports Leadership, and Professional Administration.

Gonzaga University offers the Master of Organizational Leadership degree, first developed in 1986, at the campus in Spokane or as an online option. The program follows a fifteen week semester schedule on campus, and an eight week class module program for the online degree. It is a thirty six credit hour program, with eighteen credits devoted to the core courses. One of the electives is "Renaissance Leadership for the 21st Century," taught during a two week study abroad experience in Florence, Italy.

Georgetown University has an Executive Masters in Leadership degree offered to professionals with a minimum of eight years' experience in the workplace. The average work experience for students in the program is fifteen years. There is a great deal of activity packed into the twelve month program including three residencies, one of which takes place abroad.

St. Mary's College in Northern California has a Master of Leadership degree for working professionals that has a flexible format incorporating online classes, meetings in the Bay Area, and a schedule that allows completion in nineteen months. Each online class module begins and ends with a weekend Executive Meeting that includes faculty, local business and public leaders, and students.

Marquette University has a Master of Leadership Studies degree that has an interdisciplinary design, featuring several areas of specialization. The degree can be focused on any one of these areas: Criminal Justice Administration, Dispute Resolution, Engineering (Mechanical or Electrical), Health Care Administration, Public Service, Nonprofit Leadership, and Sports Leadership.

Professional Leadership Associations

International Leadership Association was founded at the University of Maryland as a global network for individuals who teach, practice, or are studying leadership. It was created in 1999 and over the ensuing decade has developed a membership that includes academics, practitioners, consultants, private industry, public leaders, not-for-profit organizations, and students.

International Coaching Federation is an organization for professional coaches who work with executives to develop leadership and management skills. The organization has grown over the last fifteen years to include 18,000 members who work with individuals and groups on the art and science of leadership. There are research files and educational resources available to members via the ICF website.

Association of Leadership Educators began as a concept discussed at a regional educational conference held in Charlotte, NC in 1987. The organization has expanded beyond its original reach to include educators in leadership of all types, and has developed a national reach with participants and members from across the country. The Association provides numerous benefits for members and publishes the Journal of Leadership Education.

Center for Association Leadership is a national organization of over 22,000 association executives and professionals in affiliated industries, representing over 11,000 associations. The Center has an extensive education program for its members that is available through seminars and online. There are also several publications produced by the Center and an annual convention for members and associates.

Architectural & Engineering Business Leaders was established in 1975 by a broad collection of professionals that included accounting, architectural, construction management, development, engineering, environmental, laboratory, legal, planning, public relations, management consulting, research and surveying firms. The goal was to develop management standards within the industry and its professions that would lead to comprehensive leadership roles. Today it has become an organization of leaders in all of those professional fields.

Leadership Accreditation and Credentials

University Accreditation is the important credibility factor for a Master in Leadership degree, as there is no programmatic accrediting organization for degrees in this field. Your school should be accredited by one of the six regional organizations recognized by the U.S. Department of Education and the Council on Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA) as responsible for review and accreditation for public and private universities granting baccalaureate, graduate and doctoral degrees.

Certified Leadership Consultant is a available through the International Board of Standards - Graduate Board of Management as a credential for trained leadership consultants with an accredited degree and three or more years' business experience, who are willing to meet the continuing education requirements.

Certified Business and Executive Coach (CBEC) credential is offered by the International Coaching Federation to applicants who hold a graduate degree in the field and who meet certain business experience requirements. Participation in one of their coach training programs is mandatory.

Certified Association Executive is a credential program developed by the Center for Association Leadership for association leaders and executives who meet the experience and educational requirements and who pass the exam associated with the credential. Continuing education and credential renewal must be completed every three years.

Six Sigma Certification is perhaps the best known leadership training program leading to certification at several levels, designated by belts in the same fashion as karate masters. Six Sigma certification is a valuable addition to the resume, on top of a Masters in Leadership.

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