The Road to a Non-Profit Management Career

July 17th, 2014 by

Make a DifferenceThere are two major groups into which all employers can be divided: Commercial for-profit companies and non-profit organizations.

While a for-profit business might be a restaurant, a bank or any other company where the bottom line is of significant importance, a non-profit organization does not have anyone making a profit.

The heads of a non-profit may work for free, or they may take a reasonable salary that often pales in comparison to similar commercial businesses.

In order for a non-profit group or organization to operate, however, they do hire and pay employees ranging from entry-level spots to upper-level management positions.

If you want to combine your natural management skills with a job that makes a difference for the world, then investigating a career in non-profit management can be the perfect option for your future.

Discover the Scope of Non-Profit Organization

Many of the people who strongly consider careers with non-profit organizations do so because they have a desire to make a difference and become part of a positive change in the world.

Non-profit organizations come in all shapes and sizes, and they can range from a five-person group that provides food for the local community to an enormous organization like Amnesty International or Habitat for Humanity.

Non-profit groups might be focused on climate change, healthcare overseas, cancer prevention, political ideals or anything in between, which means that aspiring employees can typically find an organization that appeals to their own personal goals in life.

If you are wild about the ecosystem, you might be able to snag a job as a manager for a branch of an environmental protection group. If you are passionate about animals, you might seek employment at a dog rescue organization. Wherever your talents and passions lie, the right non-profit can put them to work for good.

The Role of a Non-Profit Manager

Before you enroll into a degree program to prepare you for a career as the manager of a non-profit organization, it is important to learn more about what this position is actually like.

Most non-profit managers are responsible for a department branch or location of a larger non-profit. They might be tasked with creating and following a limited financial budget for the year, hiring and interviewing volunteers or delegating tasks to other employees within the organization.

The exact day to day tasks can range from writing a press release to meeting with potential donors, and those who work in smaller organization may take on a more diverse range of responsibilities. Long days and hard work is par for the course, but it can be a fulfilling and rewarding way to earn a paycheck.

Best Degrees for a Career in Non-Profit Management

The best choice of degree for someone interested in non-profit management is a business administration degree with a focus on non-profit management. This program choice is available as an associate degree, a bachelor’s degree or a master’s degree.

The associate degree in non-profit management takes an average of two years to complete, but it should only be viewed as a stepping stone in your education rather than the final degree.

One of the most popular degree types is the bachelor’s degree in non-profit management, which takes four years to complete. These eight semesters, or 120 credits, can be a fantastic way to learn more about the art of leadership, how a non-profit organization works and what it takes to succeed in the field.

In order to secure some of the top management positions within a non-profit organization, it may be recommended for you to pursue a master’s degree. This will take anywhere from one to two years to complete, and it allows you to find a niche specialty and expand your career options substantially.

Prerequisites for Degree Enrollment

After choosing one of the three degrees listed above in non-profit management that you want to earn, you will need to pick out the right college, apply for the degree program of your choosing, be accepted to the program and then formally enroll.

Acceptance is never guaranteed at any college, but there are some prerequisites that can give you an idea of whether the college is the right fit for you. Before applying to an undergraduate degree, which could be either an associate degree or a bachelor’s degree, you should have a minimum of a high school diploma or a general education degree.

Admissions staff at the college may also ask for your grade point average in high school, a written reference from a previous or current teacher, SAT scores, ACT scores or copies of your transcripts. To earn a master’s degree, you will need to show proof of your completed bachelor’s degree, GRE scores and an average grade point average of 3.0 or higher on a 4.0 scale.

What You’ll Find on Your Degree Program’s Syllabus

Much of what you can expect to find in a business administration degree with a focus on non-profit management will revolve around traditional business administration subjects, which might include organizational behavior, economics and marketing.

In addition, the courses will emphasize how to use these skills in a non-profit setting through additional classes like accounting for nonprofits, grant writing, philanthropy, management for nonprofits and more.

Perks of an Online Non-Profit Management Degree

Although you will have the option of earning a non-profit management degree from hundreds of college campuses across the country, you might find yourself gravitating toward an online degree.

An online degree is one that allows the student to watch lectures and class recordings over the Internet, take exams online, participate in online classroom discussions with peers and teachers and even access coursework and textbooks over the Internet.

It includes all of the vital points of a college degree, but it allows you to skip over hassles like parking on a busy college campus, missing work to accommodate an exam, commuting to evening classes on a regular basis or hiring childcare for your family when you head to campus.

Online degrees can also supplement an existing career, allowing you to move up the ladder, increase your earning potential and better your life without ever stepping foot on a college campus.

Career Prospects and Expectations for Graduates

One of the key factors to consider when picking out a future career is the future of the industry where you plan to work. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, service and community managers, most of whom work for a non-profit organization, can expect to see an increased demand of 21 percent over the next decade.

This is a great sign of rising job security and increased earning potential for graduates with a minimum of a bachelor’s degree in non-profit management.

Becoming the manager of a non-profit organization can take education, drive and the desire to do great things for the world, and it can be amazingly rewarding. Take all of this into consideration if you’re thinking about pursuing a career in non-profit management and make the decision that will carry you toward a career you will enjoy.

About the Author:

Sandy Davis

Sandy Davis is a long-time educator who holds a Master’s Degree in Education, having taught English, writing, and communication on the secondary and college levels. With ten years of experience in blogging, social media and content management, she is a freelance writer and content marketing specialist for a diverse range of clients.

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