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Organizational development professionals identify areas within an organization where change is needed and work to efficiently implement those changes. Entrants into this field typically have a background in human resources (HR) or management. In fact, most online graduate certificate programs are directed toward HR professionals or managers who wish to expand their knowledge. As such, most of these programs mandate that students hold a bachelor's degree. The programs require only a few months of study and are usually offered entirely online.
Students may also explore organizational development as part of other degree programs. These include the following:
- Master of Arts in Organizational Management
- Bachelor of Science in Business Studies - Organizational Leadership
- Master of Business Administration in Strategic Management
Information and Requirements
Most certificate programs in organizational development are at the graduate level, making a bachelor's degree a requirement for enrollment. These programs typically entail 12-24 credit hours of coursework for completion, and many schools allow students to apply credits toward master's degree programs in organizational management.
The programs are generally delivered entirely online, which requires a computer with reliable Internet access. However, some schools use distance learning systems that require access to a DVD player or a land-line telephone.
Curricula vary between programs, but commonly mesh lessons in management with those in human relations. For example, students may take courses in subjects such as implementing and managing change; organizational leadership; and intra-office relationships. Class topics are listed below.
Applied Organizational Development
This course introduces students to the skills needed to facilitate and evaluate organization-wide change. Students learn when managerial intervention is most needed, as well as the process of planning and implementing change throughout an organization.
Students learn to assume a leadership role within the academic and career sectors of their lives. They also discuss how to develop organizational schemes to systemically prepare others for future leadership roles.
Managing an organizational shift requires an understanding of the dynamics within an organization and between departments. Class content addresses the psychology of intra-office relationships and potential issues that can arise.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), organizational development managers, or management analysts as they're also known, earned a median annual salary of $81,320 in May 2015 ('www.bls.gov'). Full-time positions in the field are often limited to companies or establishments large enough to experience regular change. Organizational development professionals may also use their knowledge to begin careers as reorganization consultants.
Online organizational development programs result in the awarding of a graduate certificate or are a concentration area within a related degree program. These programs prepare professionals to identify and analyze the efficiency and effectiveness of an organizational structure and then recommend and implement changes.