Many students and professionals reach a point where they want to look for growth into a leadership position. And ask themselves if they are ready to advance to a well-paid management position. Earning an online master’s in management can take you to an elite role with leadership, human resources, project management, and healthcare administration expertise. The US Bureau of Labor Statistics found that professionals holding a master’s degree earn $300 per week over graduates with only a bachelor’s degree. Graduate degrees are expensive, but this guide is about finding an affordable Masters in Management degree program that offers high-quality preparation for the competitive business world. We’ve ranked the best online MIM programs based on affordability and academic excellence, and we’ve compiled a list of specialization options.
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It’s easy to get tangled up in your comprehensive search for the best online master in management. Using a custom methodology, we have evaluated many of the upper-echelon programs to compare their tuition, student services, accreditation, program excellence, business-school reputation, faculty honors, and graduation rates. Here are the best Masters in Management programs:
Affordability is a primary concern in a school search. The average cost of an accredited master’s program is $40,000. If you attend a prestigious business school, tuition can top $100,000. Are you looking for a cheap online masters in management offering a top-notch education? We’ve done the homework for you and compiled the list of the most affordable online masters in management programs. Here is the list:
Understanding Online Masters in Management Programs
Students need to fully understand the online masters in management programs before signing up. These programs can get complex and overwhelming if students don’t make a plan. The first step in this process is to know about the master’s in management course details. In this section, we will dig deep into the online masters in management programs.
Online Masters in Management Degree Types
There are three major online Masters in Management degrees to consider: MS, MA, and MBA. Each qualifies you as a manager, but there are major differences between the three. To help you decide the ideal course for a management career, we’ve distinguished the programs with Masters in Management course details and focus:
MS in Management
The online MS in Management is the gold standard for students who plan on various industries’ leadership roles. Unlike the MA, the MS degree offers a greater variety of concentrations in management studies. It is not a terminal degree, meaning graduates may earn a doctorate if they choose. Studies traditionally culminate in a thesis or Capstone project.
MA in Management
You’ll find universities offering an online MA in Management. While the program may cover some of the MS curricula, the MA is considered a terminal degree. MA students do not intend to go on to a doctoral program or teach management at the university level. A thesis may not be required.
MBA in Management
The MBA in Management is a one to a two-year degree (full-time) designed for business professionals who want to take their existing career into the realm of executive, supervisory, and management roles. This management MBA is different from generalist MBAs in that it concentrates on the leadership of finance, human resources, marketing, and personnel leadership. Find out more about this degree on our MBA page.
Specializations in Online Masters in Management Programs
Today’s online Masters in Management degree programs combine a series of core classes with coursework in a management specialization. You can choose your degree concentration based on the sector where you plan to practice. Find more details on our organization leadership page.
Healthcare Management Strategy and Leadership
Graduate students learn about managing healthcare systems and services. Courses cover economic principles and decision-making strategies, healthcare practices, and terminology. Learn the techniques for leading healthcare organizations’ accounting and financial functions.
This Masters in Leadership online specialization features studies in project planning and evaluation, cost estimating and control, human resources skills, and financial contracts and procurements.
Develop management strategy and leadership in creating marketing strategies to lead your team in promotions and sales. Conduct market research, explore the competitive landscape, and choose the right avenues for print and broadcast ads, press releases, multimedia, and digital communications.
Management Information Systems
This specialization in the Masters in Leadership online combines advanced IT skills with best-practice management strategies. Learn to organize and prioritize technical initiatives to see them through to completion.
Curriculum and Skills Gained in Online Masters in Management Programs
By graduation day at your online Masters in Management program, you’ll have a leadership toolkit that serves well incorporate or non-profit management professions. Through online classes and required projects, students learn critical skills in project management, business communications, human resource leadership, accounting, and change management strategies. Here’s a sampling of Masters in Management courses:
Masters in Management Courses
Students learn the specific skills specific to project management, including financial allocation, cost models, quality and risk management, change orders, and implementing best-practice solutions.
Human resource management
This advanced course explores the strategic planning process for recruiting, training, evaluating, and retaining employees. Includes examination of leadership ethics and HR policies.
This course covers topics including effective leadership, organizational behavior, implementing change, and project management.
Statistics for decision making
Business students learn the strategic methodologies for gathering data, interpreting results for the management, and examining trends.
As a final project, students create an e-portfolio of their work, illustrating the skills and knowledge they have mastered. The presentation includes the application of their skills in a real-life business problem.
Accreditation for Online Masters in Management Programs
When a business school gains national or regional accreditations, it means you’ll receive a program that complies with educational guidelines for a thorough and quality MIM education. If students fail to attend accredited management courses, they become ineligible for federal financial aid. They may also be prohibited from earning professional certifications or enrollment in continuing education. Learn more about accreditation.
Here are some national organizations that provide business school accreditation:
Accreditation Council for Business Schools. Universities and business schools may seek voluntary accreditation from the ACBS that evaluates teaching excellence and continuous efforts to improve accredited management courses. Founded in 1988, the ACBS currently accredits more than 1,200 programs in 60 countries.
Timeline for graduation from Online Masters in Management Programs
The total time it takes to complete the online Masters in Management is governed by several variables. The time to graduation is based on the total number of required credits and whether they attend a full- or part-time schedule. There may be prerequisites that must be completed before accruing program credits. In most cases, earning the MIM will require two years. Depending on the requirements and the student’s availability, the degree may take from 1.5 to 4 years. There are ways to shorten the duration. For example, full-time online students might take more courses per term than the recommended course load.
For students pressed for time, accelerated programs are available to be completed in a year (see below).
Online Masters in Management Programs Admission Requirements
Admission requirements can vary from school to school. Typically, applicants must satisfy the general requirements established by the graduate school. They must also address any business division requirements offering the online Masters in Management, including any prerequisite courses. Here a glance at the most-common entrance requirements for the degree program:
Submit official transcripts for each undergraduate or graduate course you have completed. Applicants should have maintained a 3.0 GPA or higher.
The personal statement may be called an application essay. It should cover your career aspirations, educational goals, and why their particular program is best for you.
Current professional resume
The business school wants to know about your experience and why it’s relevant to the online Masters in Management. Students may receive class credit or waivers for taking GRE/GMAT exams with a powerful resume.
Professional recommendation letters
Two to three letters may be required. They should come from professors in your previous schooling that attest to your academic promise. Letters from employers may also be acceptable.
University guidelines require some programs to require graduate testing scores. The GMAT is the preferred entrance exam for this major. Many schools will waive the graduate exams if the applicant’s prior degree, related work experience, and other application documentation demonstrate aptitude. Learn more about the GRE and GMAT.
One Year Online Masters in Management Programs
The duration for completing the degree and returning to the workforce is a concern for some students. The one-year online Masters in Management is an accelerated degree option. The university and the program are accredited, yet the total number of hours required for graduation may be lower than at traditional online Masters in Management programs. To complete the program, online students must be dedicated to keeping up with rigorous, accelerated studies. Often, students can customize their curriculum to focus on career advancement, career change, and entrepreneurship. Here are some one year online masters in management programs:
How to Pay for Online Masters in Management Programs
Graduate school is expensive. However, there are substantial private and Federal Student Aid packages for graduate students, including subsidized public loans. In seeking loans, students enrolling in an online Masters in Management should budget accurately and borrow wisely. Forbes Magazine reports that the 2020 student debt balance was $1.56 trillion. The financial aid process for fellowships, grants, loans, and graduate assistantships begins when you complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA).
Let’s explore your financial aid options, one by one:
Both non-profit associations and private organizations offer scholarships, as do universities and business schools.Scholarships are awarded based on academic performance and student need. They do not need to be paid back.
The US Department of Education’s federal student loan program offers four kinds of loans, subsidized and unsubsidized. There are also private loans from banks and credit unions. Students need to pay all loans back — plus interest — upon leaving the university.
This federal program allows grad students to tacklepart-time jobs in their field while in school. Many institutions don’t support their students in working at the campus or off-campus jobs while studying.
Employer Reimbursed Tuition
Tuition reimbursement may be available from your employer. These are incentives to assure you will remain with the employer for a specified amount of time. It’s an investment in your advanced education. Most plans require students to pay for and complete their program before the firm offers repayment.
Get detailed information on how to pay for your online Masters in Management on the Best Financial Guide.
Scholarships for Online Masters in Management Students
Scholarships are available to pay for all or part of the total tuition for an Online Masters in Management. They may be offered based on academic achievement or potential. The best part is that you don’t have to repay your scholarship. They are awarded by professional management organizations, individual universities, and business degree programs at your university. Here’s a sample of the management scholarships out there:
Who Can Apply: The AKA Scholarships are granted for one year, and selection is based on academic merit and financial need. Applicants must be enrolled in a graduate program on a full-time basis and have a community involvement record. Amount: $2,500.
Who Can Apply: Open to full-time graduate students with a demonstrated commitment to management in the public sector. The Girard Miller Foundation has funded this scholarship since 1985. Amount: up to $20,000.
Who Can Apply: Open to students pursuing a master’s degree in areas related to health informatics or health information leadership. The AHIMA Foundation sponsors it. Preference goes to grad students specializing in the management of internet marketing. Amount: $2,000.
Who Can Apply: Applicants must be of Hispanic background and be a graduate management major at an accredited university. The Hispanic Scholarship Fund (HSF) offers $30 million in scholarships per year. Amount: Varies, $1,500 to $10,000.
FAQs about Online Masters in Management Programs
Q: What does an MSM degree stand for?
A:The accredited, online Master of Science in Management (MSM) degree focuses on developing leadership skills for students who have earned a bachelor’s degree. Concentrations in the curriculum allow students to concentrate on the industries that most-appeal to them. An MSM differs from an MBA degree and is more suitable for students preparing to enter the management profession.
Q: How much does the online MSM cost?
A:Many factors influence the cost of the degree. Private schools tend to charge higher tuition than public universities. Part-time students may pay more because the total time to earn the degree is extended. Our research shows that the total cost of the degree ranges from $15,000- $40,000.
Q: How long does it take to get an MSM degree online?
A:Each university that offers an online MSM program has different program requirements. The length of time to graduate varies based on the total credits required and whether they attend a full or part-time basis. Typically the MSM takes from one to two years to complete.
Q: Is an MSM different from an MBA?
A:Yes. The MSM is designed for students just entering or transitioning to a management career. The MBA is for experienced professionals who want to advance their skills for C-level roles of entrepreneurship.
Q: Is an MSM degree online worth it?
A:As with many advanced degrees, the value of earning an MSM depends on your career goals and desire to advance in your profession. The benefits can add up throughout your career. For instance, the degree can lead to wider career options, employers’ preference, and a rise to leadership roles and corresponding earnings.
Careers and Salary Outlook for Online Masters in Management Graduates
Master of Management career opportunities looks promising. Per the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, national employment in all management occupations is predicted to increase by 5 percent, 2019 – 2029, creating 505,000 new jobs. We have compiled four popular career options based on the MSM professional title, median annual salaries, and job outlook. Growth rates for the following four Master of Management career opportunities are higher than the projected growth rate for all American professions in the decade:
Median Annual Salary
Job Growth (2018-2028)
Financial managers are responsible for growth and profits in private enterprises. They create income projections, financial strategies, and investments.
Advertising, Promotions, and Marketing Managers
Advertising, promotions, and marketing managers develop and analyze corporate business campaigns to compete in the marketplace and boost earnings.
Medical and Health Services Managers
As the fastest-rising group in the management field, medical and health managers plan and oversee the financial programs for hospitals, group medical practices, clinics, and nursing homes.
Computer and Information Systems Managers (IT)
Information technology managers hold a supervisory position. They plan and implement hardware and software solutions to solve business problems.
Certifications and Licensing for Online Masters in Management Graduates
Beyond graduation, working managers can increase job opportunities or advance into leadership roles by obtaining a voluntary MSM certification. Certifications are available from professional organizations that measure your education and skills in your specialty. There are no licenses required for the profession except for those who work as personal financial or insurance advisers. These are common certifications held by managers:
Healthcare Administrative Management (AAHAM). The AAHAM certification is offered by the Association of Healthcare Administrative Management and designed for strategic healthcare managers. Credentials are for Certified Revenue Cycle Specialist (for beginning managers) and the Certified Revenue Cycle Executive.
AMA Certified Professional in Management. The American Management Association offers test preparation and exams to earn an AMA certification. The AMA reports that the certification can increase a manager’s role and higher earnings and separates job seekers from those who do not hold the credential.
Financial Risk Manager (FRM®). The FRM is among the top credentials for risk-management professionals the world over. The FRM attests to your skills in analyzing and mitigating risks in a bank or corporate setting.
Additional Resources for Management Professionals
There are abundant resources that can support your degree work toward an Online Masters in Management. These include professional management associations that offer student memberships. They offer research resources, publications, conferences, and certifications. At the same time, management organizations serve the interests of professionals who are already working. Some organizations offer job boards and employment assistance. One of the most-indispensable features of the association is the opportunity to network with fellow students, mentors, and potential employers. Here are some examples of organizations that support students and managers in healthcare, finance, marketing, and human resources:
American Management Association: Founded in 1923, the AMA provides coursework, continuing education, and the AMA Certified Professional in Management credential. Resources include news, white papers, and articles. Online Masters in Management students can explore skill assessments, women leadership programs, and association events.
American Marketing Association: Since 1953, the American Marketing Association provides members with 30% discounts on certification exams. Find the latest industry news, upcoming conferences, continuing education, research publications, and live webinars.
National Human Resources Association (NHRA): The NHRA, founded in 1951, is focused on leadership training/mentoring, career planning, and skills development for human resource managers. Members have access to a career services database, job board, and professional networking (a key need for Online Masters in Management students).
PHR® Professional in Human Resources: The HR Certification Institute offers the PHR to attest to a job candidate’s education and performance in a human resource profession. The certification aids vice presidents, directors, managers, and specialists in HR. You can maintain your certification by completing continuing education credits.
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