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Online management degree programs offer you a convenient way to step up to career in management.
The U.S. Department of labor in the 2008-2009 Occupational Outlook Handbook lists 28 different types of managers in several different occupational fields and settings. But what is a manager- and what do they do?
One definition reads “a person whose principal employment responsibilities consist of supervising or directing, or both supervising and directing, human or other resources, or a person employed in an executive capacity”.
There are many kinds of managers, but all managers plan, organize, direct and control. In short- they lead. Every field of human activity requires managers who are accountable for what happens under their guidance. Although we most often think of managers in terms of business, managers can be found in commerce and industry, sports, health care, entertainment, government, the military, social and service organizations, farming, and education.
Managers usually possess certain traits, qualities and skills that enable them to oversee the people and operations under their control. Among them are: good interpersonal skills, creativity, good analytical skills, good judgment and the ability to inspire others. Ask yourself which of these traits you possess.
Management is an extremely competitive arena. Top jobs are hotly pursued. Preparing yourself for a management position means becoming knowledgeable in whichever discipline you are developing expertise in, be it business or otherwise. Online management programs can help you do that.
Becoming a Manager
Enrolling in an online management degree program makes a lot of sense for the adult student wanting to break into or advance themselves in management. A carefully chosen online management program can deliver the learning experiences that will make you a more valuable employee or applicant.
There is no one clear route to manager. Each manager has a unique career path. Managers in certain occupational fields need little or no formal training. If no special skills are required except the ability to lead and direct, a manager can get by without a degree, but will have only limited opportunities for advancement.
Most managers have at least a bachelor’s degree and related job experience before attempting to land a mid-level management position. Many corporations and public sector organizations are asking their managers to have a master’s degree or higher.
Choosing an Online Management Degree Program
There are hundreds of online management degree programs. Getting an online degree in management can help you gain the skills and confidence you’ll need in a manager role.
Which degree should you go for? Much depends on your interest and the goals you have set for yourself. If you are in retail and desire a career in high finance, find out everything you can about finance. Take a lower level position and work hard. Watch what managers do and how they do it. Show some initiative. In the meantime enroll in an online bachelor’s or master’s degree program offering what you’re looking for.
The flexibility of an online management program will allow you to continue gaining on the job experience. By the time you are done with your degree you will have the knowledge and skills to apply for a management position that will provide more valuable experience. Most successful managers go through a series of jobs, learning and honing their skills as they go.
So, how will you choose an online management program? The first step is to clarify your professional and personal goals. Where do you want to be in 5 years, in 10 years? If you need more specific information on management careers, go to the Department of Labor site listed below. Next, search for accredited colleges that offer what you are looking for. Do a comparison of course offerings, costs and financial aid available. Costs vary and higher cost does not imply higher quality. Take a virtual tour of the college. Speak with the director of admissions and ask them what services are available for adult students. Do they offer online tutoring and 24 hour tech support?
Whether your online management program takes months or years, you will be taking positive steps toward your goals. Practice what you are learning online by applying it to your job. Find out what works and what doesn’t.
If you aren’t sure which degree or concentration is right for you, speak with a job coach or vocational counselor. After you narrow down your choices, make a selection using your best judgment, then go for it!
-Resources on Online College Degrees and Programs