The 20 Best Online Leadership Certificate Programs

best online leadership certificate

Reviewed by Malcolm Penalty

Most modern organizations and companies find themselves in a more competitive and congested market, from financial and I.T. services to healthcare and pharmaceutical services. When the competition is tougher, and the stakes are higher, your skills and expertise are valuable investments.

“I think the online leadership certificate programs listed here are catalysts for unleashing one’s leadership prowess, readying them for a world awaiting change-makers.”, says Chief Editor, Malcolm Penalty.

As such, talent development and leadership training can create a significant difference between being an average candidate vs. being one of the company’s industry leaders, driving the company forward.

An interdisciplinary field of study, leadership, emphasizes management in organizational settings. It is closely associated with the scope of organizational studies. Organizational leaders pursue management positions and can establish organizational or departmental procedures, goals, and policies. They also manage and drive a company’s budgetary and financial activities and oversee general processes.

Organizational leaders prepare, anticipate, and examine future leadership plans. These professionals apply practices in leading organizations and people to advocate creativity, innovation, and change.

An online leadership certificate program is developed for working professionals pursuing career development and career advancement in their respective industries. The program’s short courses are made to help learners explore more about new leadership models to enhance their employment prospects. They also let individuals discover how to apply contemporary leadership models to real-world challenges.

Quick audio summary:

Leadership Certificate Programs

Although some online certificates are described as “leadership certificates,” some online schools offer these programs with numerous variations. As an example, here are the official program names for some schools:

  • Leadership and Change
  • Leadership and Innovation
  • Leadership and Management
  • Leadership Excellence
  • Organizational Leadership and Development
  • Strategic Organizational Management and Change


As you enhance your skills as a student and future professional, you need to find the best Online Leadership Certificate Program for you! rounded up the most well-regarded programs across the country to help you make that decision. We considered these factors in making our list of the Best Online Leadership Certificate Programs:

  • 100% online or hybrid Online Leadership Certificate Program classes,
  • Superior Leadership coursework featuring the latest leadership strategies, techniques, and applications relevant to all corporate and organizational settings,
  • An outstanding set of Online Leadership Certificate Programs who excel in the many facets of business and organizational leadership,
  • Excellent reputation among industry peers and good standing in academic organizations,
  • Full accreditation evidencing adherence to high standards of quality education
  • A range of financial assistance options is offered to eligible students.

For more information, see our Methodology page.

Leadership Certificate Programs

The 20 Best Online Leadership Certificate Programs

Preparing for career development and progression creates opportunities for continued education in significant industries. By enrolling in online leadership certificate programs, students improve their career prospects and credentials within their fields. Hence, we list the best online leadership certificate programs you can pursue to develop your leadership skills and strategies.

Cornell University

Cornell University

Ithaca, New York

Cornell University’s Online Executive Leadership Certificate program is offered through eCornell for distance learners. It is an online certificate program designed for V.P. or C-level executives, senior managers, and mid-level managers with a minimum of five years of professional experience. Through eCornell’s online leadership certificate program, students participate in an instructor-led virtual discussion of under 35 students per class.

The program features six foundational courses and two electives. Some of the core required courses include Coaching Skills for Leaders, Motivating  People for High Performance, Leading with Credibility, Strategic Decision Making, and Quality and Service Excellence.

The program features eight electives for electives where students can choose two courses that align with their professional goals. Each course has two weeks, and students spend three to five hours per week accomplishing coursework. 

Types of Aid: Tuition Discounts, Military or Veterans Educational Benefits

Admission Requirements: 

  • Open Enrollment (No Formal Admission)


  • Middle States Commission on Higher Education

Distance learners pursuing an online certificate program at eCornell have two purchase options, providing them with the flexibility to pay tuition according to their means and preferences. The first option includes the “Determine Your Own Course Schedule” option, where students settle a one-time payment for the certificate program as a whole.

On the contrary, students can choose the “Learn and Pay As You Go” option to settle a fixed monthly payment for a given duration. Depending on the chosen program, they can either choose an 8-month or 4-month payment plan.

Learn more about Cornell University’s Online Executive Leadership Certificate Program.

Liberty University

Leadership Certificate Programs

Lynchburg, Virginia

Liberty University has an Online Graduate Certificate in Management and Leadership program that can be completed within six months of full-time learning. To complete the certificate program, students must have nine credit hours. The online leadership program only requires three courses:

  • Effective Executive Communication,
  • Strategic Leadership and Management,
  • and Organizational Behavior.

The program’s courses have an 8-week duration, with eight different start dates per year. Students can easily complete their programs with no fixed login times; hence, they can graduate according to their schedule and preferences.

Enrollment into the online leadership certificate program allows applicants to transfer up to 50% credits of the total certificate requirement. This program lets students earn master’s level courses to transfer easily to the university’s Master of Arts in Executive Leadership program.

Types of Aid: Transfer Credits, Grants, Scholarships, External Aid, Work-Study Programs, Federal and Private Loans, Payment Plans, Deferred Corporate Tuition Assistance, First-Responder Discounts, Military Tuition Assistance, and Veteran Affairs Benefits

Admission Requirements: 

  • $50 application fee
  • Admission application
  • Official transcripts
  • Proof of English proficiency


  • Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges

Students at Liberty University have the opportunity to enjoy affordable and top-quality education with the help of financial aid programs. It’s also one of the best online universities around Virginia to offer diverse student support services.

As a highlight, the university’s Jerry Falwell Library provides students with the opportunity to access a wealth of electronic learning resources, such as special collections, media, scholars crossing, e-books, and databases.

Through the Jerry Falwell Library, online learners can exclusively access numerous services, including the Interlibrary Loan System, Research Guides, Thesis/Dissertation Publishing, Citation Management Software, and Research Smart Toolkit.

Learn more about Liberty University’s Online Management and Leadership Graduate Certificate Program.

Southern New Hampshire University

Leadership Certificate Programs

Manchester, New Hampshire

Southern New Hampshire University offers an Online Leadership of Non-Profit Organizations Graduate Certificate program that only requires 18 credits or six courses for completion. As such, students can earn a certificate of completion in less than 12 months.

The program helps students begin a path toward an advanced career in non-profit leadership. With 24/7 online courses, they can complete the program on their schedule with no fixed class meeting times.

Students take two courses focused on marketing fundamentals through the program, while the four courses build upon students’ leadership skills. Human Behavior in Organizations, Organizational Leadership, Marketing Strategies, Leading/Managing Not-For-Profit Organizations, Marketing Strategies for Not-For-Profit Organizations, and Leading Change is the program’s set of courses to be completed by students.

If you want to further progress in your leadership education, you can pursue a Master’s in Organizational Leadership that shares some certificate program courses.

Types of Aid: Grants, Federal Work-Study Options, Federal Loans, Merit Scholarships, State and Institutional Scholarships, Military and Veterans Benefits, and Student Loans

Admission Requirements: 

  • Completed online graduate application
  • Official transcripts
  • Bachelor’s degree


  • New England Commission of Higher Education

Southern New Hampshire University has a diverse range of student support services exclusively for online students. Since some students are studying remotely, SNHU offers a dedicated Technology Help Desk for assisting students with hardware-related or software-related problems. The SNHU help desk is available 24/7 via live chat, online form, and phone.

For online programs related to finance, I.T., and programming, the university provides students with access to its Virtual Environments. It is a cloud-based platform that offers access to virtual desktops, simulations, and software applications.

Learn more about Southern New Hampshire University’s Online Leadership of Non-Profit Organizations Graduate Certificate Program.

The University of Iowa

Leadership Certificate Programs

Iowa City, Iowa

Completing an Online Leadership Studies program at the University of Iowa requires 21 credits of core required courses and a set of electives. Students must complete the two interdisciplinary core courses, such as Leadership Theory to Practice and Perspective on Leadership.

Aside from that, students must complete one elective course from each of the four developmental areas, namely Ethics and Integrity, Cultural Competence, Communication, and Self and Group Leadership. Each developmental area has more than three electives that students can choose from.

Also, students must accomplish one out of two experiential learning courses, consisting of three credits each. They can either pursue the Leadership Certificate Internship or the Career Leadership Academy Part 2.

The university’s Leadership Studies program features an undergraduate Certificate in Leadership Studies and a Career Leadership Academy. The Career Leadership Academy is a two-course sequence developed to help undergraduates develop their employment and leadership skills. This initiative consists of weekly seminars, events, and activities.

Types of Aid: Federal Direct Stafford Loan, Federal Direct Unsubsidized Stafford Loan, Federal Direct PLUS Loan, Scholarships, Grants, Private Loans, Work-Study Options, and Military and Veterans’ Benefits

Admission Requirements: 

  • Online application for admission
  • $40 application fee
  • Baccalaureate degree
  • Official transcripts
  • ACT/SAT scores


  • Higher Learning Commission

The University of Iowa’s Academic Support provides non-traditional and traditional learners with the tools and resources. The IOWA Challenge advocates essential principles that guide students toward academic success. It consists of four principles, namely Excel, Stretch, Engage, Choose, and Serve.

The initiative establishes and aligns the expectations between students and the university itself, making it helpful for new students to familiarize themselves with the UIowa community. Through this initiative, students have the chance to win $500 in its Meet The Challenge Awards which are sponsored by the Office of the Provost and the Division of Student Life.

Learn more about the University of Iowa’s Online Leadership Studies Certificate Program.

The University of Pennsylvania

Leadership Certificate Programs

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Through Wharton Online, the University of Pennsylvania offers an Online Leadership and Management Certificate program suitable for high-potential mid to senior-level managers regardless of any industry or function.

The program has an open enrollment basis; thus, students can enroll immediately and start their certificate studies. Depending on the student’s preference and schedule, they can commit two to four hours per week.

Some of the courses they complete include Strategic Management: Competitive and Corporate Strategy, Managing the Global Firm, Managing and Motivating Talent, and Leadership in the 21st Century. Each course has a duration of four to six weeks.

Students have the option to enroll in the whole program or on a pay-per-course basis. Although the program has an open enrollment scheme, applicants are recommended to have at least five to seven years of professional experience.

Types of Aid: Federal Loans, Private/Alternative Loans, Grants, Scholarships, Work-Study Options, Summer Funding, Emergency Funding

Admission Requirements: 

  • Open Enrollment (Pay for every course enrolled)


  • Middle States Commission on Higher Education

The University of Pennsylvania is known for its Wharton School, a premier institution for business and leadership studies. Aside from that, the university is known for being a global frontrunner in the world of education.

Through its Global Initiatives, Penn Global has seven reporting divisions. For example, UPenn’s Perry World House is an international policy research center that advocates policy-relevant and interdisciplinary research on the world’s most critical global challenges.

Other divisions include Penn Abroad, International Student and Scholar Services, Global Support Services, and Penn Global Finance and Administration. That said, students can expect numerous global ventures while pursuing an online education at UPenn.

Learn more about the University of Pennsylvania’s Online Leadership and Management Certificate Program.

Online Leadership Certiificate fact 5

Concordia University Irvine

Leadership Certificate Programs

Irvine, California

The Online Organizational Leadership Certificate program at Concordia University Irvine is offered through Townsend Institute. Through the program, distance learners learn from Dr. John Townsend, a New York Times best-selling author and leadership consultant.

The online leadership program starts with a 4-day Kick-Off Conference with Institute Fellows, faculty, and colleagues. Dr. Townsend facilitates a series of training to start their certificate program.

Students participate in a 3-hour online classroom twice a month where one of the Institute Fellows and Dr. Townsend provides training. Aside from that, the program helps you gain access to white papers produced by Dr. Townsend for specific consulting and leadership development areas.

Students can either receive the Advanced Certification for Organizational Leadership or a Professional Certification in Organizational Leadership. The whole program is 11 months for an Advanced Certificate and 30 weeks for the Professional Certificate.

Depending on the certificate program, students must have 18 credits or 12 credits, respectively. They accomplish one 7-week course at a time. The core courses include Organizational Leadership and Character Development and Personal Development Skills Process Group.

Types of Aid: Military and Veterans Tuition Discount and Benefits, Federal Aid, State Aid, Private/External Aid, Institutional Aid, Scholarships, Grants, Loans, and Work-Study Options

Admission Requirements: 

  • $50 non-refundable application fee
  • Completed online application
  • Official transcripts
  • Bachelor’s degree
  • Minimum GPA of 3.0
  • Written essay
  • Minimum 1 professional reference
  • Current resume/CV


  • Western Association of Schools and Colleges Senior College and University Commission

Concordia University Irvine offers a variety of student resources for both on-campus and online students. Like most universities around California, CUI integrates Handshake as part of its online career services platform.

Students connect with alumni and companies using the Handshake portal. Also, they can browse for internship opportunities in on-campus and off-campus settings primarily aimed at Concordia learners.

CUI’s Center for Career and Vocation also features a Four-Year Roadmap where students receive guidance every year to become career-ready after completing their studies. Students can also ask for guidance on how to create a resume through the Career Services at CUI.

Learn more about Concordia University Irvine’s Online Organizational Leadership Certificate Program.

University of Southern Maine

Leadership Certificate Programs

Portland, Maine

Students pursuing an Online Certificate of Graduate Study in Leadership program at the University of Southern Maine accomplish courses in an asynchronous learning format. The program requires 12 credits of specific graduate-level leadership courses, making it an attractive program for individuals seeking additional leadership skills training but can’t commit to a full graduate-level study.

The 12-credit hour online leadership program requires completing Communication and Relationship Building and Foundations of Leadership Studies I and II courses. Although the program doesn’t have a mandatory course sequence, it is highly recommended that online students first accomplish the Foundations of Leadership Studies I: Theory and Practice.

Types of Aid: Scholarships, Grants, Loans, Work-Study Options, New England Regional Student Program, Graduate Assistantships, Payment Plans, and Military and Veterans’ Benefits

Admission Requirements: 

  • Application for admission
  • Official transcripts
  • Resume or CV
  • Essay


  • New England Commission of Higher Education

The University of Southern Maine’s comprehensive USM Online Library serves as a one-stop-shop for distance learners to search for videos, books, articles, journals, and other learning resources.

Its online library features a OneSearch module, allowing students to input what they’re looking for and browse through a collection of databases, catalogs, guides, journals, and eBooks.

Aside from that, students can access a wealth of online services through its Online Library, such as Digital Commons, Open Educational Resources, Tutorial and Instruction, Schedule a Tutoring Appointment, and an Interlibrary Loan. As such, online students can easily find resources to help them in their studies.

Learn about the University of Southern Maine’s Online Certificate of Graduate Study in Leadership Program.

Pennsylvania State University

Leadership Certificate Programs

University Park, Pennsylvania

Pennsylvania State University has an Online Leadership and Communications Skills for Ecosystem Managers Graduate Certificate program, a unique program in Pennsylvania. The credits obtained in this certificate program can be transferred toward a Master of Professional Studies in Ecosystem Management.

It is a program that provides a foundation in the tools and planning procedures required for leading and developing management plans for natural resource systems.

The program is an excellent credential to help students develop their communication and leadership skills and strengthen their understanding of environmental law, policy, and economics.

Twelve credits must be completed for these required courses: Environmental Law and Policy, Ecosystem Management, Planning, Economics, Full Range Leadership Development, and Communication Skills for Leaders in Groups and Organizations.

Types of Aid: Private Alternative Loans. Military and Veteran Tuition Discounts and Benefits, Scholarships

Admission Requirements: 

  • Completed online application
  • Baccalaureate degree in an ecosystem management-related field
  • Official transcripts
  • Minimum GPA of 2.75
  • Test scores


  • Middle States Commission on Higher Education

Graduates at the Pennsylvania State University are automatically granted access to its global network of over 692,000 alumni. They can also join the Penn State Alumni Association, the biggest alumni network in the world.

As alumni network members, students gain professional development, friendship-building, and volunteering opportunities with Penn State alumni worldwide.

One of the noteworthy advantages of becoming an alumnus of Penn State is its LionLink network. LionLink is a professional networking platform developed to help Penn State alumni and learners discover different career fields through the guidance of alumni career coaches.

Learn more about Pennsylvania State University’s Online Leadership and Communications Skills for Ecosystem Managers Graduate Certificate Program.

Villanova University

Leadership Certificate Programs

Villanova, Pennsylvania

Villanova University offers an Online Leadership Certificate program for individuals who want to pursue a formal education in leadership. It is suitable for individuals interested in securing professions in management, self-employed individuals, and small business owners. Although a baccalaureate degree isn’t mandatory, academic credits can be applied toward College of Professional Studies degree programs.

The program consists of two core required courses and three elective courses, totaling five courses or equivalent to 15 credits. Strategic Planning for Leaders, Foundations of Leadership, Leadership Communication, Strategy-Driven Talent Management, and Global Strategic Leadership are some of the courses to be accomplished by students.

Types of Aid: Payment Plans, Employee Tuition Assistance, Employee Tuition Reimbursement, Military and Veteran’s Benefits, Private Loans, Scholarships, and Grants 

Admission Requirements: 

  • $50 non-refundable application fee
  • Application for admission
  • Unofficial and Official transcripts
  • Official high school transcript/GED certificate


  • Middle States Commission on Higher Education

To provide students with more convenient and accessible learning, Villanova University features a comprehensive Falvey Memorial Library. Through its Falvey Memorial Library, students can access a diverse range of online learning services, including How-To Guides, Publishing, Citing Your Sources, Full-Text Access, Evaluating Sources, and Digital Tools and Workflows. Also, they can find collections of eBooks, journals, articles, and other online learning resources.

As part of its Learning Commons initiative, the university offers its student community an abundance of learning resources, such as Learning Support Services, Center for Access Success and Achievement, Learners’ Studio, Writing Center, and Research Services.

Learn more about Villanova University’s Online Leadership Certificate Program.

Leadership Certificate Programs

Seattle University

Leadership Certificate Programs

Seattle, Washington

Seattle University’s Online Executive Leadership Certificate program is a 7-month program that offers an in-depth exploration of leadership and its associated principles. It is a stand-alone certificate program that serves the first two-quarters of the Leadership Executive MBA program. Hence, students can easily credit their leadership certificate program towards more advanced leadership studies.

The program’s core required courses include Leadership for a Just and Humane World, Leadership Assessment and Coaching, Leadership Synthesis and Discernment, Ethical Leadership, and Building Vision for a Global Commons.

Besides coursework completion, students participate in team projects, advanced experiential learning, residential retreats, and the chance to collaborate one-on-one with top executive coaches. The program’s curriculum includes classes with once-a-month meetings in 2 to 3 days’ worth of modules.

Types of Aid: Federal Direct PLUS Loan, Federal Stafford Direct Loan, Scholarships, Grants, and Military and Veterans Education Benefits

Admission Requirements: 

  • Completed online application
  • $55 application fee
  • Baccalaureate degree
  • Official transcripts
  • Minimum of ten years of work experience
  • Two recommendations
  • 2 to 4 pages of personal statement
  • Interviews


  • Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities

One of Seattle University’s best features is its dedicated online platform for accessing its Student Support Center. Through its Student Support Center, distance learners can find everything they need to know when starting their online learning ventures. Aside from that, the platform provides students with the right links to specific resources.

They can also find hundreds of answers related to learning remotely, technology and tools, academic calendars and academic policy changes, academic and advising resources, financial aid resources, and other essential resources. As such, it’s one of the best starting points for prospective students to get to know more about Seattle University.

Learn more about Seattle University’s Online Executive Leadership Certificate Program.

University of Massachusetts Dartmouth

Leadership Certificate Programs

Dartmouth, Massachusetts

Pursuing an Online Organizational Leadership Graduate Certificate program at the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth is made possible through its UMassOnline initiative. It is an excellent option for current undergraduate learners who want to pursue graduate-level studies.

To complete the program, students must have 12 credit hours. The online certificate program can be completed within 12 months; however, students can take four or more semesters to earn their certificates.

Some of the courses they accomplish include Managing Across Cultures, Corporate Social Responsibility and Business Law, Management of Organizational Change, Advanced Organizational Behavior, Organization, Structure, and Process. After receiving the certificate, students can transfer nine out of 12 credits toward an MBA degree from UMass Dartmouth’s Charlton College of Business.

Types of Aid: Federal Direct Unsubsidized/Subsidized Loans, Federal Direct Parent PLUS Loan, Federal Direct Graduate PLUS Loan, Transfer Credits, Scholarships, Tuition Reimbursement, Private Loans, Grants 

Admission Requirements: 

  • Online application for admission
  • Bachelor’s degree
  • $60 application fee
  • Statement of Purpose
  • Current resume or CV


  • New England Commission of Higher Education

Even after completing an online program at the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth, online students gain access to their student support services. Regardless if learners are starting a job hunt, looking for internship programs, and wondering where to begin, they can access comprehensive career support through UMassOnline’s Career Development & Professional Connections Hub.

Although they are completing their studies at UMassOnline, students can access virtual resources, such as job and internship listings and Skype and phone appointments. Also, distance learners can access the Connect UMass initiative to connect with the UMass community for career discussions, counseling, and other essential services.

Learn about the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth’s Online Organizational Leadership Graduate Certificate Program.

University of Notre Dame

Leadership Certificate Programs

Notre Dame, Indiana

Through the Mendoza College of Business, the University of Notre Dame offers an Online Executive Certificate in Leadership program that doesn’t require formal admissions. Depending on the student’s budget and preference, they can enroll in the whole program or on a pay-per-course basis.

Students pursuing the whole program can receive tuition discounts. The online leadership certificate program requires the accomplishment of three required courses, namely Strategic Leadership, Leadership Challenges, and Foundations of Leadership. Each course has an 8-week duration. 

The university also offers an Online Executive Certificate in Leadership and Management and an Online Professional Certificate in Management. Other similar programs include Executive Education Courses in Women in Leadership, Strategic Leadership, Leadership Challenges, Foundations of Leadership, Critical Management Skills, and Foundations of Management.

That said, students are guaranteed to have comprehensive leadership studies with the university. Each executive course allows them to earn a specific number of Continuing Education Units (CEUs).

Types of Aid: Payment Assistance, Alternate Student Loans, Military, and Veteran Benefits, Student Employment, Scholarships, Federal Work-Study Options, Federal Direct Graduate PLUS Loan, Federal Direct Parent PLUS Loan, Private Loans, Federal Direct Subsidized/Unsubsidized Loans, Notre Dame Subsidized Loan

Admission Requirements: 

  • Open Enrollment


  • Higher Learning Commission

The University of Notre Dame has dedicated Tech Support to help its online students encounter any software-related or hardware-related problems. Its tech support team can be accessible every day with a corresponding schedule and can be reached via chat, phone, or email.

The university also offers several articles, journals, and other learning resources to inspire students and gain insightful tips related to their chosen majors.

Also, the Mendoza College of Business at the University of Notre Dame provides high-quality education; hence, they’re guaranteed to receive a reputable program from one of the country’s top universities.

Learn more about the University of Notre Dame’s Online Executive Certificate in Leadership Program.

Harvard University

Leadership Certificate Programs

Cambridge, Massachusetts

The Online Leadership for Senior Executives Certificate program at Harvard University is made possible through the Harvard Business School. It is one of the leadership certificate programs that are eligible for the Certificate of Management Excellence.

The certificate program takes place over five days per week, with virtual classes from 9 AM to 4:30 PM daily. Each class is conducted via Zoom, and students participate in daily discussion group meetings. Harvard University recommends 10 to 15 hours of self-paced work that already includes case preparation.

The curriculum covers essential topics, such as Leader as Architect, Leader as Change Agent, Leader as Innovator, Leader as Coach, and Leader as Beacon. Its program fee already includes online case materials, eBooks, and tuition.

Types of Aid: Alumni Discounts | (Financial Aid isn’t available for HBS Executive Education programs.)

Admission Requirements: 

  • Completed online application
  • Resume/CV
  • Minimum of ten years of work experience
  • HBS Community Values
  • Letter of reference


  • New England Commission of Higher Education

Undoubtedly, Harvard University is one of the world’s most prestigious universities, especially when it comes to business-related studies. Hence, completing an executive education at Harvard University offers top-quality education that is recognizable worldwide.

Although the university doesn’t offer financial aid options for its executive education programs, students can avail themselves of an alumni discount. Hence, students can pursue a specific certificate program and gain alumni status.

As part of the Harvard Business School alumni network, graduates enjoy exclusive access to publications, special discounts, and other perks. The school also features an HBS Career and Professional Development, providing a comprehensive suite of professional and career development resources for its students.

Learn more about Harvard University’s Online Leadership for Senior Executives Certificate Program.

University of Louisville

Leadership Certificate Programs

Louisville, Kentucky

The University of Louisville’s Online Healthcare Leadership Certificate program prepares students to stand out as they aspire to new ventures, developing their abilities to lead and manage in different healthcare settings. This online certificate program’s credit hours can be transferred toward a Bachelor of Science in Organizational Leadership and Learning.

The 12-credit hour program consists of four highly specialized courses, such as Healthcare Quality Evaluation, Healthcare Finance, Accounting, Fundamentals of Healthcare Human Resource Management, and Managing Projects in Healthcare Organizations.

Students can progress into their coursework in an accelerated 8-week timeframe. Depending on the student’s commitment, they can receive their certificate within one semester of full-time study.

Types of Aid: Military and Veteran Benefits, Scholarships, Transfer Credits, Flexible Payment Options, Employer Tuition Reimbursement, Stafford Loans, Graduate PLUS Loans, and Federal Student Aid

Admission Requirements: 

  • Completed Take Flight application
  • $25 non-refundable application fee
  • Official transcripts
  • Current resume
  • Minimum GPA of 2.25
  • A year of professional experience in a healthcare leadership role


  • Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges

The University of Louisville offers numerous Student and Faculty Resources to help them thrive in their academic journey at UofL. The university provides an orientation on getting started for new students, scheduling classes, assignments, teaching materials, and course demonstrations. Distance learners access courses via Blackboard, the university’s online learning management system.

Through Blackboard, students can take quizzes, review technical requirements, access course materials, and other online learning essentials. The university also features a FAQ section to help future online students on what to expect at UofL.

Get more information on the University of Louisville’s Online Healthcare Leadership Certificate Program.

University of Virginia

Leadership Certificate Programs

Charlottesville, Virginia

Completing an Online Graduate Certificate in Leadership program at the University of Virginia requires 18 graduate credits. It is an ideal certificate program for students seeking management and leadership roles in their respective industries. The online leadership certificate program features:

  • Financial Management for Leaders,
  • Communication & Team Development,
  • Organizational Leadership,
  • and Foundations of Leadership.

Besides core courses, students must accomplish two elective courses in one of the focus areas, such as Project Management Focus, Technology Leadership Focus, or General Leadership Focus. On average, students complete two courses per term, including the summer term, to receive a certificate in 12 months.

Types of Aid: Employer/Sponsor Assistance, UVA Education Benefits, Payment Plans, Scholarships, and Veteran and Military Benefits

Admission Requirements: 

  • Online application for admission
  • High school diploma or GED equivalent
  • Bachelor’s degree
  • Unofficial/Official transcripts
  • Application for Virginia In-State Education Privileges
  • $70 application fee


  • Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges

The University of Virginia’s School of Continuing and Professional Studies features a one-stop-shop online resource for non-traditional learners to help them navigate throughout their academic journey.

As a highlight, the UVA Career Center features an abundant list of services that help graduates prepare for their careers. Students can access essential information regarding career communities, LinkedIn & online branding resumes & cover letters, career fairs, jobs & internships, and comprehensive interview guidelines through the career center.

Aside from that, the UVA Career Center facilitates pre-health and pre-law advising and graduate school counseling. Like other universities, UVA also integrates the Handshake platform for career listings, scheduling appointments, and other career resources.

Learn about the University of Virginia’s Online Graduate Certificate in Leadership Program.

Champaign College

Champlain College

With a graduate certificate in Leadership, you can become an effective leader who leads change in organizations and guides diverse perspectives toward a shared goal. The human relations and organization development certificate can be completed as a standalone program or incorporated into Champlain’s online MBA or master’s. Leaders in today’s businesses and organizations must create a culture of authenticity, inspire their teams, and champion change.

Obtaining a graduate certificate is a great way to showcase leadership skills, showcase subject matter expertise, and gain knowledge that you can apply to your workplace immediately.

Types of Aid: Federal Grants, Federal Loans, and State Grants

Admission Requirements: 

  • Online Application
  • Essay Questions
  • College Transcripts
  • Resume
  • Related Work Experience Requirement
  • Bachelor’s Degree
  • Proof of English proficiency


  • The Higher Learning Commission

Students at Champlain College Online are taught by faculty who are experts in their fields. Their expertise ensures that our leadership curriculum reflects today’s business professionals’ skills and meets the needs of employers. Learn from seasoned professionals and join a rich community of career-focused peers when you join this graduate certificate leadership at Champaign College.

Learn more about Champaign College’s Online Leadership Graduate Certificate Program.

Michigan State University

Michigan State University

Among the Strategic Leadership & Management Certificates offered at Michigan State University are Human Resource Management Certificates, Global Management Certificates, Business Leadership, and Management Master Certificates, and Change Management Master Certificates. You must complete eight eight-week courses in each online program to earn the designation. In addition to traditional online learning methods, master’s level students at MSU also receive practical hands-on experience. 

Transformational leaders and decision-makers who seek to target specific skills and knowledge can take this professional development program as a series of three four-week courses for the Professional Certificate or as individual courses.

Types of Aid: Employee Tuition Assistance, Credit Card, and Private Education Loans

Admission Requirements: 

  • Three Years of managerial experience
  • Bachelor’s degree
  • GPA of 3.0
  • $100 Application Fee
  • Completed Application
  • Official transcripts
  • Resume
  • Three Letters of Recommendation
  • Statement of Intention Essay
  • GMAT Scores


  • The Higher Learning Commission

For continued effectiveness as a leader, it is imperative to be able to influence and guide the teams you work with through continuous change and transformation, whether you are new to management, a first-line manager, a middle manager, a team leader, or an experienced executive. By developing and executing a strategy aligned with change management knowledge, you can capitalize on change instead of being disrupted by it.

By earning the Professional Certificate in Leading Strategy & Innovation at Michigan State University, you will become proficient at identifying the most potentially disruptive drivers of change. This includes both your organization as well as external market forces. You’ll learn to assess the impact of disruptors on your organization, develop effective change strategies, and lead the organization’s future with values, purpose, goals, and vision strategically aligned.

Learn more about Michigan State University’s Online Strategic Leadership and Management Certificate Program.

University of Wisconsin – Madison

University of Wisconsin - Madison

Senior managers can step up to the executive level with the Executive Leadership Certificate. Improving business operations, formulating and executing strategies, and aligning organizational performance provides you with the necessary tools and software.

A certificate offered by the Wisconsin School of Business Center for Professional & Executive Development enables you to set the tone for your organization based on your strengths. In addition to evaluating your leadership capabilities, you also gain an understanding of organizational design and development.

Types of Aid: Federal Direct Loans, Student Jobs, Institutional Grants, Scholarships, Federal Work-Study Options, Private Loans, and Summer Funding.

Admission Requirements: 

  • Bachelor’s Degree
  • Official Transcripts
  • GPA of 3.0
  • GRE Score
  • English Proficiency


  • The Higher Learning Commission

You can use these programs to explore your next career step and prepare for increased responsibilities. All programs are offered multiple times a year, so you can easily find a time that works for you. Equipped with practical business experience, leaders and instructors from diverse backgrounds will lead you either online or in a full-day, in-person environment. This certificate will enable you to become a leader who inspires others to follow your lead and communicates a powerful vision.

Learn more about the University of Wisconsin Madison’s Online Executive Leadership Certificate Program.

Wharton University of Pennsylvania

Wharton University of Pennsylvania

Wharton University of Pennsylvania’s Leadership and Management Certificate program consists of four individual courses that emphasize “cutting-edge management concepts.” An online course typically takes two to four hours per week and takes four to six weeks to complete.

Types of Aid: Need-Based Scholarships

Admission Requirements: 

  • Application Fee
  • Two Essays
  • Transcripts
  • Two Letters of Recommendation
  • GMAT or GRE Scores
  • Resume
  • English Proficiency


  • AACSB – the International Association for Management Education

Leaders across organizations can obtain a Leadership and Management Certificate through the online program. Students are typically mid-to senior-level managers in any industry or function with five- to seven-year experience.

An online executive leadership certificate program is an effective way for companies to increase competitive advantage through flexibly-paced online leadership training.

Learn more about the Wharton University of Pennsylvania’s Online Leadership and Management Certificate Program.

MIT Management Sloan School

MIT Management Sloan School

Effective leadership in a dynamic business world entails knowledge of today’s cutting-edge principles, techniques, and strategies that business professionals and technical executives can learn from MIT Sloan’s Executive Certificate in Management and Leadership.

This intensive certificate program covers marketing, finance, negotiation, change management, and systems thinking.

Types of Aid: Get a 10% discount for one to three courses; a 15% discount for four or more courses, and a Multiple Program Registration Discount

Admission Requirements: 

  • Open Enrollment (Pay for every course enrolled)


  • Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business

MIT Sloan’s Executive Certificate allows you to learn about the topics that matter most to you. Your professional development is recognized in this way. It can undoubtedly be a significant catalyst in your career, as many executives, mid-career managers, and technical professionals can attest. Enhance your executive skills, learn about current business topics, or customize your certificate to meet your specific needs.

Unlike taking individual courses, our Executive Certificates consist of several courses arranged around a central track. So consider getting this online executive management and Leadership certificate instead.

Learn more about MIT Sloan School’s Online Executive Management and Leadership Certificate Program.

Frequently Asked Questions

What are the career prospects for graduates with an online leadership certificate?

The leadership field is a vast occupation since almost all companies and other businesses require leaders’ expertise in driving success. That said, leadership graduates can pursue career opportunities in a diverse range of industries, including healthcare, education, business, engineering, and finance, where they can work as management consultants, human resources managers, or executives.

For example, if you want to become a leader in evaluating and hiring applicants, managing a company’s administrative functions, and maintaining workplace ethics among employees, a human resources manager position is your ideal position. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Human Resource managers have an annual median salary of $130,000. Its employment outlook is at 5%, indicating a faster-than-average growth compared to other occupations.

Without a doubt, earning an online leadership certificate opens numerous opportunities for students. They can look for senior-level positions in education, business, fintech, healthcare, or engineering. Compensation depends on experience, position, qualification, and location. As described by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, management analysts’ median yearly wage is $95,290 with a 10% faster-than-average job outlook compared to other occupations in the U.S.

FAQ - 10
How long will it take to earn a certificate in Leadership?

Generally, an online leadership certificate program will take between six months and one year to complete, depending on the school.

Is a Certificate in Leadership worth it?

Are you ready to jump-start your career? If so, a certificate in a leadership program will be well worth your time. Correct training in management is a must-have if you see yourself becoming a leader in the organization. Particularly with experience under your belt, your leadership training will help you with time management, decision-making, and boosting employee morale!

Is it better to get a leadership certificate or degree?

What’s your end goal? With the abbreviated time spent on a certificate program, your training will be limited. On the flip side, if you invest your time, money, and energy in a two or four-year degree in leadership, you will put yourself in a better position for a higher-paying job and more opportunities, without a doubt.

What are some of the courses I’ll study in an online leadership certificate program?

An online leadership certificate program consists of courses that help students enhance their leadership and managerial proficiencies to excel in business and other related industries. Depending on the student’s preferences, they can enroll in an online certificate program in organizational leadership or healthcare leadership.

Through a diverse range of leadership and change courses, learners can focus on training highlighting relevant issues. Aside from that, they learn more about the fundamental learning processes of action, analysis, and observation, allowing them to apply what they’ve learned in the workplace. Some of the common courses included in an online leadership certificate curriculum are the following:

  • Leadership Management
  • Organizational Behavior
  • Development
  • Accounting
  • Global Enterprise
  • Leading Global and Diverse Cultures
  • Leadership and Social Change
  • Leadership Communication
  • Civic Engagement and Wellness
  • Leading Sustainable Change

Although the courses mentioned serve as a general overview, courses’ types and names will depend on the school students enroll in. Students must complete core courses and elective modules to accomplish the credit hour requirements.

Leadership Certificate Programs

What are the enrollment requirements for an online leadership certificate program?

Like most online certificate programs, every online school has a different set of admission requirements for new students. However, some universities and colleges do not set any prerequisites. Depending on the type of program, students are recommended to have a baccalaureate degree before applying. As part of your preferred school’s application procedure, students may have to submit a statement of purpose or writing sample, letters of recommendation, and official transcripts.

When will I receive the certificate in Leadership?

Upon completing all the Certificate in Leadership program requirements, candidates typically submit a graduation form for approval. Graduates are presented with their Leadership Certificate at the school’s Awards Program.

Help From Your Peers

Free Online Courses & Classes with Certificates is a Facebook group that focuses on “free” courses and certificates with over 80k subscribers! This group, entitled Leadership and Management, is a widely popular FB group with nearly 460k subscribers who post helpful content and links to free courses such as this post.

Alison is a great source for free online certifications including ones in the leadership field. Here’s a helpful introduction to Alison and what they are all about.


Are you interested in a career in Business? The Best Online Business Schools

Would you like additional information? Take a look at these other certificate programs:

Malcolm Peralty
Chief Editor