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Guide to Earning a Nonprofit Management PhD Entirely Online

written by: Sylvia Cochran•edited by: Heather Marie Kosur•updated: 6/2/2010

Earning a PhD entirely online allows the busy nonprofit manager to concentrate on the day to day operations of the organization and its outreach programs. This is a good opportunity for a professional considering an independent career as a nonprofit consultant.

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    A Doctorate in Nonprofit Management?

    The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) publishes a brochure entitled “Helping Charity Work: Paid Jobs in Charitable Nonprofits." Within its pages, the BLS outlines that, without proper management, the work of any charitable organization is virtually impossible to accomplish. It is interesting to note that, while the average nonprofit worker might be an unpaid volunteer, the management staff is well compensated, usually commensurate with work experience and professional backgrounds.

    Ten-year-old statistics show that charities with a budget exceeding $50 million would on average recompense a volunteer manager with an annual income of $77,268. These kinds of positions require experience, a foot in the door, and an education such as a nonprofit management PhD.

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    Nonprofit Management PhD Entirely Online

    Advancing your education in the nonprofit sector is easy; best of all, it may be done entirely online. Until you are certain that this is the career path you wish to follow, consider earning a graduate certificate. I explain this process in the article entitled “Guide to Earning a Nonprofit Management Graduate Certificate Online." A graduate certificate is an excellent means of starting up the management ladder in the nonprofit field.

    If you are ready to add the potential of directing an organization or consulting for a variety of different nonprofits to your job outlook, consider the doctorate. Available completely online, Capella University offers a doctor of philosophy in human services with an emphasis in the management of nonprofit agencies. This degree offers a unique mix showcasing the business of running a charity as well as the administration of the human component. The entire program consists of 120 quarter credits of which up to forty-eight may be transferred in. Capella is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.

    Another school to consider is Walden University. The school offers a PhD in public policy and administration with an emphasis in nonprofit management and leadership. This program encompasses coursework in ethics, strategic planning, and finance. Completion of the program requires eighty-two quarter credit hours and twenty days of residency broken down into two four-day and two six-day stays on campus. Walden is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.

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    Why Online?

    Leaving your current position in a nonprofit organization for the sake of your doctorate would be a mistake. You need to work your way up the ladder, garner the experience, and also make and maintain the industry contacts that will allow you, in the future, to successfully begin a consulting venture. Professionally speaking, a failure to remain active in the field may set you back a number of years. This makes the option of earning your PhD entirely online such an enticing proposition.

    Moreover, the doctorate programs in nonprofit management are usually targeted to students who are dynamically employed in the nonprofit sector, usually in a management role. A lot of the coursework assumes that you are familiar with the day to day operations of a not-for-profit organization and that you are also able to digest classroom theory against the backdrop of everyday practice. This makes these programs uniquely apropos for the career minded charity manager with an eye on the director’s chair.

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    Sources

    • “Helping Charity Work: Paid Jobs in Charitable Nonprofits" - http://www.bls.gov/opub/ooq/2001/summer/art02.pdf
    • Capella University - http://www.capella.edu/schools_programs/public_service/phd/non_profit_management.aspx
    • Walden University - http://www.waldenu.edu/Degree-Programs/Doctorate/17931.htm
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