Organizational Leadership Careers: Job Duties, Requirements & Salary Info

Learn about the education and preparation needed to pursue a career in organizational leadership. Get a quick view of the requirements as well as details about degree programs, job duties and training to find out if this is the career path for you.

In the business world, personnel in leadership roles are often referred to as top executives. However, the term top executive is fairly vague and can include a number of positions, including chief executive officers (CEOs), general and operations managers, and educational administrators such as superintendents or university presidents.

Essential Information

Leaders of an organization have the skills needed to progress a company while managing employees at the same time. Many schools have developed degree programs or special training to provide students with the skills, knowledge and tools to manage a business effectively. Course topics can include ethics, economics, management techniques and general business concepts.

Required Education Bachelor's degree
Other Requirements Leadership training; 5+ years work experience
Projected Job Growth (2014-2024) 6%* (top executives)
Median Salary (2015) $102,690* (top executives)

*Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Organizational Leadership in Business

Job Duties of an Executive

An executive level position is a potential career choice for those majoring in organizational leadership. According to the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics, (BLS), top executives collaborate with others to create effective programs that boost productivity. Executive positions in business usually focus on leading employees based on company need. For instance, a company suffering from bad communication might require executives to create new programs and lead employees in exercises that promote teamwork.

Executives that work for companies with branch locations around the world utilize leadership training to facilitate ethical business practices with coworkers from different cultures. Additionally, in such a fast-paced global economy, many executives use technology to improve communications with clients and coworkers overseas. Some executives even lead training seminars virtually through online software.


While a degree focusing in organizational leadership can prove valuable, it is not required to become a top-level executive. Most firms require at least a bachelor's degree and prefer candidates who majored in fields like business management, liberal studies, economics, or other career specific fields, according to the BLS. Obtaining a graduate degree, such as a Master's in Business Administration, (MBA), may be a requirement for more competitive and prestigious business firms.

Most executives participate in leadership training seminars throughout their careers, and many executives tend to teach workshops during seminars and conventions. Prior to employment, attending accredited leadership conventions can help individuals network to find a job while at the same time learning the newest trends for executive level leadership.

Gaining experience in lower management or assistant executive positions works as a traditional method of climbing the corporate ladder. Obtaining different levels of certification can also count towards years of experience. The BLS notes that those who become a certified manager go through specific training that provides them with the most up-to-date information about leadership and management. For those who do choose to obtain a degree specifically in organizational leadership, many employers will count this leadership intensive degree towards years of required experience.

Salary Info

Since executives can be viewed as chief executives or executive managers, salary ranges vary. According to the BLS, chief executives in 2015 earned a median salary of $175,110. During that same year, general and operations managers made $97,730 as their median annual salary.

Records show that in 2015, the BLS stated that chief executives involved in taxi and limousine services earned the largest annual mean salary of $253,570. Insurance and employee benefit funds were reported to pay the most to management-level executives during 2015, according to the BLS, with a mean annual salary of $197,180.

Organizational Leadership in Education

Job Duties of a School Administrator

Within the academic industry, school administrators are said to be some of the most influential leaders in education. School administrators have different titles based on the location they work at. For instance, a school administrator working at K-12 schools is sometimes referred to as the principal. In smaller institutions and departments, some school administrators are merely called director. Within colleges and universities, those in the position of provost or department chair are also school administrators.

Regardless of exact title, school administrators share a common goal of improving the education environment for students of all levels. Supervising over various committees, school administrators help create key education programs, train faculty and staff, communicate with students and the community, evaluate current procedures, and implement new protocols. Some school administrators have to pay close attention to the business side of education, such as state and federal funding, budgetary issues, and contract negotiations for faculty and staff.


Almost all academic institutions prefer school administrators to have a graduate degree along with extensive experience. According to the BLS, most institutions require at least a master's degree in fields like education administration. Taking coursework in organizational leadership generally isn't required for school administrators, but might provide individuals with specific training involving new leadership techniques. Colleges and universities generally prefer school administrator applicants to have doctoral degrees, usually an Ed.D. in education. Experience requirements for school administrators vary by position, such as principals generally being required to have taught for at least three to five years prior to working as an administrator.

For school administrators dealing with K-12 students, each state requires different levels of certification and licensing. To be a principal, for instance, some districts require certification as a school administrator. Many states require school administrators to be credentialed, which means they have spent additional years training in specific education coursework and have passed a lengthy exam. School administrators who obtain a credential in one state may have to obtain a different credential in another to meet each state's standards.

Salary Info

As a whole, the BLS reported that in 2015 school administrators in elementary and secondary schools earned an annual median salary of $90,410. Many school administrators receive a generous benefits package on top of their salary. While elementary and secondary schools employ the highest number of these administrators, those employed by colleges, universities, and professional schools earned the most money in 2015, per the BLS, with a mean salary of $101,610.

At the postsecondary level, school administrators in general earned a median annual salary of $88,580 in 2015, per BLS records. Those working in physicians' offices, however, earned a mean salary of $147,650 a year.

Executive positions - especially higher level positions such as CEOs - are highly desirable. Applicants will continue to face extremely strong competition and will need to exhibit their knowledge and leadership skills through several years of experience in order to contend for these positions. Educational administrators, on the other hand, have a fairly good employment outlook, and competition is not nearly as intense.

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