Non-Profit Management Education and Training Requirements

Sep 17, 2019

Non-profit management degree programs generally cover financial management, volunteer recruitment, fundraising and managerial decision making. Continue reading for an overview of the possible majors as well as employment statistics and salary info related to some career options for graduates.

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Non-profit management degree programs offer bachelor's, master's, and Ph.D. degrees. Individuals with these types of degrees can serve in leadership roles in many different types of non-profit organizations. Job growth for some positions in non-profit management is anticipated to be at 10% and 13% between the years 2018 and 2028.

Essential Information

Non-profit organizations range from the large national organizations to small ones begun by individuals with a worthy cause. Requirements for non-profit management are as varied as the organizations themselves, and educational options include certificate and graduate programs in non-profit management, public administration, public health or communications.

Career Titles Social & Community Service Managers Postsecondary Teachers
Education Requirements Bachelor's or master's degree in non-profit management or related field Ph.D. degree in non-profit management
Projected Job Growth (2018-2028)* 13% 11%
Median Annual Salary (May 2018)* $65,320 $65,660

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Career Options

Graduates of non-profit management and related degree programs could pursue careers as social and community service managers. With a doctoral degree in non-profit management, they might also qualify to teach non-profit management studies at the university level.

Social & Community Service Managers

Social and community service managers supervise and coordinate the activities of community-based organizations. They develop fund raising proposals, create programs and oversee budgets. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reported that social and community service managers could see an employment growth of 13% between 2018 and 2028 ( The median annual salary was $65,660 as of May 2018.

Post-Secondary Teachers

A non-profit management post-secondary teacher instructs and assesses the progress of students who are attending colleges or universities. They create lesson plans in non-profit management, conduct research and publish original scholarly works. The BLS predicted that jobs for post-secondary teachers would expand by 11% from 2018 through 2028. In May of 2018, these professionals earned a median annual salary of $65,660, per the BLS.

Education Information

Specific organizations may have their own requirements for management positions; but in general, there are no education requirements for managing a non-profit organization. However, an undergraduate degree is a good start to a career in non-profit management. The concentration isn't important, but a major in communications or business may be most relevant. Students who enroll in certificate or graduate programs in non-profit management have an advantage when applying to jobs. These types of programs give individuals networking opportunities and practical skills for working in the field.

Certificate Programs

Certificate programs take up to a year to complete and involve mandatory classroom hours. Current and aspiring non-profit workers are welcome, and they learn valuable industry information. Class topics may be tailored to individual needs, and will provide students the opportunity to get further knowledge, update current skills or gain a specialization. Students learn the ins-and-outs of non-profit management, such as fundraising techniques, legal issues and human resources.

Master's Degree Programs

A number of universities offer master's degrees in non-profit management, and a bachelor's degree is required. Some schools include it as a specialization within a public administration concentration. These 2-year programs emphasize leadership skills and offer diverse topics, including board evaluations, strategic planning, budgeting and finance. Classes in non-profit organization laws and policies, market analysis, management principles, volunteer management and ethics are often required.

Doctoral Degree Programs

A doctorate in non-profit management is a good idea for individuals starting their own non-profit organization, wishing to hold upper-level positions at their current organization, or interested in teaching at a postsecondary level. These programs take 5-7 years to complete and are research-intensive. Students study social and business issues in relation to their cause, and topics such as diversity, advocacy and management. The culmination of a candidate's research is a dissertation.

Training Requirements

Training requirements will vary based on the organization, and some offer hands-on experience through seminars. Volunteering is a good way to get started, and this may be done while still in school. Apprenticeships for non-profit management are available and may be discovered online. In many non-profit businesses, working up the organizational ladder is the best way to train.

Career paths in non-profit management include work in social and community service organizations as well as teaching non-profit management at the postsecondary level. Managers at service organizations usually need a bachelor's or master's degree in communications or business, while college instructors often hold doctorates. These occupations are projected to experience growth of up to 11% in the coming years.

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