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What does a nonprofit degree entail?

There have never been more nonprofit organizations in the United States than those that currently operate across the country. This is an exciting time for business professionals who want to contribute to society in some way to make the world a better place. While generations before ours might seek volunteering opportunities outside of their “day jobs”, today’s business managers can enjoy the opportunity to actually be employed by groups and organizations which exist to offer goods and/or services to serve the common good.

There are all types of nonprofit organizations in the world today, from small volunteer-run groups to major corporations with complex and highly-developed infrastructures. Because many nonprofit organizations deal with many of the same structural and operational issues that their for-profit counterparts contend with, there is a great need for well-trained and highly-qualified nonprofit managers. The best way to become trained in nonprofit management is to pursue a top master’s degree in nonprofit management. Some of the most popular degrees of this kind are the MA, MPA, and MBA in Nonprofit Management.

The format of an Master’s in Nonprofit Management

While many of the nation’s best business schools only accept students into master’s programs who have acquired at least two years of professional work experience, there are some programs that are offered with a hybrid option for course delivery includes an incredible amount of flexibility and convenience for the employed distance learner. Students may choose to take more than one course each term, and by doing so can complete all master’s program requirements in a year or less. Professionals who have less time to commit to their education, because of stiffer work or personal demands, can often work at their own pace and in some cases take up to seven years to graduate. While some on-campus programs are full emersion and offer the highest amount of networking, some hybrid degrees require short residencies which allow for these networking opportunities as well.

The curriculum of a Master’s in Nonprofit Management

Most master’s programs feature at least 30-credit hours of curriculum while some might offer over 60 credit hours. This will usually consist of foundational or prerequisite courses, core courses, elective/specialization courses, and a capstone or internship experience at the program’s conclusion. Students with a business undergraduate degree will be happy to find that some of their previous coursework may be applied to foundational courses, thus shortening the time to graduate. Foundational and core courses will often center on the general topics of business and include courses like accounting, management, organizational behavior, finances, and statistics. Concentration courses within a master’s program may be very general in nature allowing students to get a broader scope of a topic or more specific in order to train a student for a particular career path within the world of nonprofit management. Popular courses include topics like social entrepreneurship, ethics, fundraising/grant writing, advocacy, and public policy.

The career potential for graduates with a Master’s in Nonprofit Management

Recent research by the United States Department of Labors’ Bureau of Labor Statistics reveals some incredible growth in the nonprofit sector including an increase of 15% of the total number of nonprofit organizations from 2007-2012 and a 26% increase in total annual wages for the same time period. Some of the fastest-growing positions within nonprofit organizations include the roles of public relations and fundraising managers, computer and information systems managers, training and development managers, medical and health service managers, and market research analysts and marketing managers. While technical jobs will continue to be available for both for profit and nonprofit organizations alike, it is interesting to note there is a broad scope of positions available within the world of nonprofits.

These are just a few aspects which make Master’s Nonprofit Management degrees a viable option for professionals interested in combining business management with the potential to serve the common good.

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