Top Degrees for Management Careers

Degrees for Management Careers

See how these hot degrees could help boost your management potential.

By Tony Moton    

Want to be management material? Consider going back to school to up your education.

"Going to school shows employers that you are willing to take a risk on yourself and have the desire to move up in today's marketplace," says Dani Babb, a career counselor and online professor.

Are you ready to step up to a management position? We've spotlighted five degree programs that could help as you begin your ascent to a senior-level position.

Degree #1 - Master's in Business Administration (MBA)

An MBA program could be the right fit for you if you're looking to hone your skills. MBA programs generally work to help students build management skills through course assignments and projects, says Babb, an on-site faculty adviser at CalSouthern's School of Business.

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"The MBA preps students to run a company," Babb says. "Whether online or on-ground, you develop communications skills and the confidence to show you have what companies need to make them better."

To get into an MBA program, you generally are required to already have a bachelor's degree, according to the U.S. Department of Labor. MBA programs normally take two years to complete, and you'll likely take courses in finance, marketing, accounting, and management.

Potential Career Paths: Sales Manager, Public Relations Manager, Advertising Manager, Marketing Manager, Top Executive

Degree #2 - Master's in Human Resource Management (HRM)

A master's degree program in human resource management (HRM) is well worth consideration if you already have experience in the field and desire a senior management position.

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The Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM), the field's leading trade organization, reports that the program can help prepare managers to handle job responsibilities that will grow in complexity beyond administrative services.

"A graduate degree can supplement existing HR knowledge while providing a solid foundation in the more strategic aspects of human capital management," states the SHRM web site.

Coursework in a master's program focuses on helping you understand how business decisions are made and how the HR manager can affect an organization's bottom line. From a career-standpoint, the HR graduate degree is capable of opening doors to careers in global markets as well, SHRM says.

Potential Career Paths: Human Resources Director, Vice President of Human Resources, Director of Industrial Relations, Human Resources Consultant

Degree #3 - Bachelor's in IT & Information Systems

Would you like to use your computer expertise to transition to a leadership position? With a bachelor's degree in the field of information technology (IT), you could greatly improve your chances of moving into a management, Babb says.

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"A lot of IT professionals don't have degrees, but they have experience," Babb says. "If you have a bachelor's degree in IT, you have more of an advantage to move into management than bachelor's degrees in other fields."

At the bachelor's level, one option is management information systems (MIS), which could potentially help one prepare to pursue supervisory positions. Courses generally taken include management, finance, marketing, database management, and systems design. "The degree helps you go on the fast track from dealing with users on the help desk as a computer-support specialist, to administration, and then to management," Babb says.

Potential Career Paths: Computer and Information Systems Manager, Chief Technology Officer, Computer Network Administrator

Degree #4 - Master's in Health Care Administration

If you have experience in the health care field and want the responsibility of managing a facility or department, a master's in health care administration is considered necessary, according to the Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Management Education (CAHME).

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CAHME, one of the organizations responsible for granting accreditation to master's degrees programs in health care management, reports the degree is "recognized as the essential first step toward" an executive or managerial career in most organizations.

"It has been one of the fastest growing master's in the past five years," Babb says, "primarily because the complexity of health care has grown so much."

In master's programs, students are generally instructed on how to plan, direct, and coordinate health care services in doctor's offices, hospitals, and other types of facilities. Courses might include hospital organization and management, marketing, accounting, law and ethics, and health information systems, according to the U.S. Department of Labor.

Potential Career Paths: Medical and Health Services Manager, Clinical Manager, Nursing Home Administrator

Degree #5 - Bachelor's in Business Administration

If you're looking to enter the world of management - or thinking you might one day want to get your MBA - this degree could be considered the ideal stepping stone.

Find the Right Business Administration Program for You.

Whereas an MBA enables you to specialize in certain areas, the bachelor's degree gives you a broad, all-around introduction to the field with courses such operations management, accounting, economics, and business policy and strategy.

"That brings value to organizations," says Babb, who also works as a business consultant for entrepreneurs.

Skills honed in the degree program include team leadership and team building, according to Babb. "It's a great degree if you want to be in a position of authority and have more control of your career options," Babb says.

Potential Career Paths: Financial Manager, Personal Financial Adviser, Accountant, Financial Analyst

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