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What Can I Do With a Degree in Leadership? 

In the workforce, most jobs involve completing tasks and meeting performance metrics that have been outlined for you by someone else. However, a few positions at the top are filled by people who set those goals, inspire others to reach them, and steer their company toward success.

If you’re drawn to the latter role, you may enjoy a leadership position. 

Leaders have the unique ability to look at the big picture, develop strategies to create positive change, and motivate others to collaborate with their vision. Not only do strong leaders support an organization, but they also set an example for all staff to follow. If you possess some of these leadership characteristics already (or if these are qualities you’d like to cultivate), earning a degree in leadership could help you sharpen your skills and round out your abilities. 

So, what can you do once you earn a degree in leadership? Below, we’ll review some of the best leadership careers you can pursue in the future. 

8 High-Paying Careers in Leadership

Here are eight lucrative careers that a management and leadership degree may help prepare you for:

#1 Top C-Suite Executive

If you’re drawn to the challenge of shaping a company’s strategy, you may want to become a C-suite executive. C-suite executives hold the highest corporate positions within their companies. They only report to other executives, the board of directors, and stakeholders. Professionals in this position must have strong organizational skills and be effective leaders within their team.

Here are a few different C-suite executive positions you may be interested in exploring: 

  • Chief Executive Officer (CEO)
  • Chief Operations Officer (COO)
  • Chief Financial Officer (CFO)
  • Chief Technology Officer (CTO)
  • Chief Compliance Officer (CCO)
  • Chief Data Officer (CDO)
  • Chief Information Officer (CIO)
  • Chief Marketing Officer (CMO)

While an organizational leadership degree won’t secure you one of these highly coveted positions all on its own, it can certainly help you develop the necessary skill set. C-suite executives have an immense amount of responsibility. In turn, job opportunities that call for executive leadership usually come with generous salaries.

#2 Director of Operations

Do you love solving problems? If so, a career as a director of operations may be the perfect fit for you after honing your skills in a leadership program. This dynamic role involves the following tasks:

  • Developing operational strategies
  • Creating operational policies and procedures
  • Organizing training programs to enact these policies
  • Listening to employees and fine-tuning operational policies accordingly
  • Collaborating with various departments, vendors, and business partners
  • Monitoring key operational performance metrics 
  • Managing budgets for operations, projects, and investments
  • Delegating tasks to various departments

These responsibilities require an ambitious individual who can assess a company’s daily operations, identify areas of improvement, and solve them strategically through effective collaboration and delegation. By optimizing systems, directors of operations can help companies enhance their overall productivity and performance. 

Directors of operations enjoy a very stimulating career. However, they also have to be willing to work long hours and think on their feet. For their hard work, directors of operations can earn a great living. A senior leader or an operations manager with advanced leadership studies may qualify for this career opportunity. 

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#3 Human Resources Manager

The human resources (HR) department is an essential part of any company. The overarching goal of HR is to make sure that employees are treated properly and supported. As an HR manager, you’ll have a hand in the following tasks:

  • Managing employee relations
  • Implementing organizational policies
  • Guiding the company’s culture in a positive direction
  • Ensuring staffing needs are met
  • Managing remediation, termination, and compensation
  • Supporting employees as the organization evolves
  • Developing incentive programs
  • Ensuring the company stays in compliance with the latest labor laws

HR managers need exceptional leadership skills to accomplish these tasks. They have to protect their company from legal action and smooth over any interpersonal conflict that arises in the workplace. Most importantly, they must come up with effective ways to motivate others to join in their vision for a healthy, comfortable company culture.  HR managers fill an irreplaceable role within their companies. 

#4 Elementary, Middle, or High School Principal

If you prefer the idea of working in a school setting, an educational leadership degree could set you up for a rewarding career as an elementary, middle, or high school principal. Just like corporate companies, schools need innovative leaders who can guide their staff, administrators, and students in a positive direction.

Not only do principals aim to enhance their schools’ educational performance and learning environment, but they also strive to uplift the spirit of the community. The daily responsibilities of a principal include:

  • Developing curriculum standards
  • Reviewing teaching methods
  • Updating school policies
  • Creating safety protocols for emergencies
  • Monitoring student success
  • Assessing the school's annual budget
  • Hiring, evaluating, and overseeing staff
  • Attending school functions and engaging with the community
  • Involving parents in the vision of the school
  • Exemplifying the school’s values

Principals play an important role in their schools. They’re often beloved by their students, staff, and community for their caring dedication. 

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#5 Medical and Health Services Manager

Another industry that needs qualified leaders is the healthcare industry. Medical and health services managers use their leadership skills to take on the following tasks: 

  • Optimizing healthcare providers’ work schedules
  • Coordinating care teams
  • Monitoring healthcare facilities’ operations
  • Reviewing patient feedback
  • Planning, implementing, and forecasting budgets
  • Ensuring HIPAA patient records are properly maintained
  • Making sure staff stay in compliance with relevant laws
  • Communicating with insurance companies

By ensuring these tasks are completed properly in their healthcare organization, medical and health services managers create a functional, organized environment for their healthcare staff. In turn, healthcare providers can focus all of their attention on their primary role: caring for patients.

Medical and health services managers can work in many types of healthcare settings, from hospitals to outpatient care centers.

#6 Sales Manager

The sales industry attracts ambitious individuals who love meeting new people, taking on challenges, and pursuing their highest earning potential. If you resonate with these qualities and have a knack for public relations, you may want to use your leadership degree to work as a sales manager.

Sales managers lead sales teams by:

  • Developing strategic sales methods, policies, and procedures
  • Training their team on these approved sales methods
  • Analyzing company sales data
  • Setting annual, quarterly, and weekly sales goals
  • Evaluating their team members’ performance
  • Mentoring and motivating team members to reach their full potential

By optimizing the performance of their sales teams, sales managers can improve their companies’ sales metrics and revenues. 

#7 Training and Development Manager

Companies from all types of industries are continuously looking for new talent to add to their teams. After finding qualified candidates, they need to train them in the methods and procedures of their company. That’s where training and development managers come into play. 

These leadership professionals help new employees find their footing in a new company by:

  • Designing effective training programs
  • Developing training materials
  • Planning the training budget
  • Arranging training sessions
  • Supervising training staff
  • Leading orientation meetings
  • Organizing continuing education programs and workshops
  • Establishing employee evaluation methods
  • Conducting employee evaluations
  • Offering performance feedback

By setting up employees with the training and professional development opportunities they need to succeed, training and development managers can help new hires comfortably assimilate into companies and perform at their best. 

#8 Management Consultant

Even established companies need some outside advice sometimes. That’s where management consultants can help. If you are thinking about starting a career in organizational leadership, becoming a management consultant may be the right fit for you. Management consultants use their leadership expertise to help businesses upgrade their management, policies, and procedures. 

The daily tasks involved in management consulting may be as follows:

  • Analyze a business’ structure and operations
  • Identify problems and inefficiencies within the business
  • Evaluate the current management staff
  • Observe and listen to employees 
  • Review the business’ financial data and budget
  • Develop and communicate your recommendations
  • Create workshops to help put these recommendations into practice

As a management consultant, you get to meet a lot of new people, explore different industries,  and earn a comfortable salary. 

How to Find the Right Leadership Opportunities for You

  • Develop one specialized skill set - Mastering a particular skill set makes you stand out from the rest. This makes you valuable to organizations in need of leaders with a specific expertise. A specialized skill set also allows you to approach problems from a unique perspective, leading to more effective solutions and driving positive change. 
  • Gain valuable experience -  Hands-on experience is a good way to sharpen and demonstrate the leadership roles you have had. As you gain experience, your leadership development progresses quickly and gives you a track record of achievements. Field experience also presents networking opportunities with peers and mentors. This often opens doors to better leadership and management careers.
  • Identify the right industry for you - When you are in the right industry that works well with your interests and goals, you are more likely to be motivated and driven to deliver a good performance.  This also helps you find areas where your knowledge and expertise can make a significant impact as a leader.
  • Earn Your Degree - A degree in leadership studies gives you a solid educational foundation, which is highly valued by employers. Some industries have specific educational requirements and an advanced education gives you the competitive edge over the others. Earning the right degree can boost your self-esteem, which is one of the essential traits of an effective leader. 

Hone Your Leadership Skills at Alliant International University

As you can see, a wide variety of industries can benefit from skilled leaders who decide to join their ranks. What skills do you currently bring to the table and which ones are you hoping to acquire?

If you’re ready to earn your leadership degree, the California School of Management and Leadership (CSML) at Alliant International University can help set you up for success in organizational leadership jobs. As an accredited San Diego-based university, CSML is a perfect place to earn your master’s in management, a PhD in Leadership, or a doctoral degree in organizational leadership.

Our leadership degrees focus on the theoretical knowledge and practical experience you need to effectively lead in the workplace. As you hone your leadership skills at CSML, you can prepare yourself for a rewarding career in the industry you feel most called to.  

Learn more about the exceptional graduate programs at Alliant International University today. 

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