15 leadership certificate programs to boost your career

15 leadership certificate programs to boost your career

Leadership training can help you hone the skills necessary to succeed in high-level positions. These in-person and online certificate programs can help you develop the optimal leadership qualities for your organization and career.

Strong IT leadership requires a mix of soft and hard skills that changes at the pace of technology. Even if you consider yourself a natural leader, it’s important to develop and fine-tune your leadership skills to be successful. Leadership training can help shape you into the leader you want to be, keep you on top of the latest leadership trends and teach you how to shape the next generation of leaders in your organization.

For those interested in continuing their leadership education, without committing to a full degree program, leadership certificate programs provide a great outlet. Each is designed to help you learn the latest leadership skills and techniques so you can hone and apply them at your organization.

Top 15 leadership certificate programs

  • Champlain College Online
  • Cornell University eCornell
  • Georgetown University
  • Harvard University
  • Michigan State University
  • MIT Sloan Executive Education
  • Penn State World Campus Online
  • SC Johnson College of Business at Cornell University
  • Southern New Hampshire University
  • The University of Iowa
  • UC Davis Graduate School of Management
  • University of Notre Dame Mendoza College of Business
  • Villanova University
  • Wharton University of Pennsylvania
  • Wisconsin School of Business

Champlain College Online

Champlain College Online offers a Graduate Certificate in Leadership that consists of two six-credit courses, each of which can transfer to a Master of Science in Executive Leadership or an MBA if you decide to extend your education. To earn the certificate, you’ll need to complete the Leadership Foundation: Competencies and Core Values course as well as the course in Organization Change: Theory and Practice. Champlain College promises that this certificate program will help you gain the skills that will help you “establish yourself as an effective leader” in your organization or industry.

Cost: $795 per credit or $9,540 for the entire program

Cornell University eCornell

Cornell University offers several leadership certificates through eCornell, the university’s online school. Certificate programs include entry- and high-level leadership programs, including a technology-specific leadership course. You’ll also find programs for women in leadership and courses that cover topics such as change management, digital leadership, business strategy and the psychology of leadership. The instructor-led courses are held online and take, on average, two weeks to complete. To earn your certificate, you’ll need to complete multiple two-week courses; certificate programs through eCornell take, on average, two to three months to finish.

Cost: Ranges from $1,260 to $9,800 depending on course and program

Georgetown University

The Institute for Transformational Leadership at Georgetown University offers several leadership programs across various industries. You can take courses in topics such as organizational consulting and change leadership, strategic diversity and inclusion management and leadership coaching. These programs require anywhere from four to eight courses over the span of four to eight months, depending on the program you choose. They also offer professional one- to three-day workshops in topics such as engaging and developing teams, women’s leadership and transformational leadership if you want a shorter and more focused course.   

Cost: Tuition ranges from $7,000 to $14,000 depending on the course you select; workshops range from $400 to $1800

Harvard University

Harvard University offers a range of online leadership courses — some are even free. You can register for courses online and each course requires a different time commitment depending on the subject. Some are short, wrapping up in three weeks, while others require up to a 14-week commitment. Courses cover topics such as leadership principles, improving your business’ culture, ethical leadership, sustainable business strategies, and cybersecurity.

Cost: Courses range from free to $2,800, depending on the program you select.

Michigan State University

Michigan State University offers Strategic Leadership & Management Certificates, including a Professional Certificate in Global Management, a Master Certificate in Business Leadership and Management and a Professional Certificate in Change Management. Each online program requires its own set of eight-week courses that you’ll need to complete to earn the designation. Courses are taught by MSU master’s-level faculty members who teach using a combination of traditional online learning methods and practical hands-on experience.

Cost: Course fees start at $1,980 per course

MIT Sloan Executive Education

The Executive Certificate program from the MIT Sloan Executive Education is offered online and at the school’s Cambridge, Mass., location. The executive certificate is offered in management and leadership, strategy and innovation and technology, operations and value chain management. You’ll need to complete three programs to earn your executive certificate but if you schedule the courses back-to-back and attend in-person, the certificate can be completed in two weeks. Most students complete the certificate within one year, but you will have to complete the three programs within four years to qualify for the certificate.

Cost: $4,100 per certificate program

PennState World Campus Online

The Graduate Certificate in Strategic Management and Executive Leadership from PennState’s online school, World Campus, requires 12 credits to complete. It’s designed for those with five or more years’ experience managing a team and who want to eventually transition into an executive-leadership role. Courses in the program cover global strategic management, strategic leadership, strategy implementation and organizational change. Completed credits will also transfer to the Master’s in Strategic Management and Executive Leadership program if you want to go further with your education.

Cost: $1,215 per credit

SC Johnson College of Business at Cornell University

The SC Johnson College of Business at Cornell University offers a Certificate in Executive Leadership that includes six core courses and two electives. The university promises that the course will prepare you for executive leadership, arming you with the right combination of soft skills and strategic thinking. Each course takes around six hours to complete, and the entire program can be completed with 48 hours of total work. Courses cover topics such as strategic decision making, negotiation skills, leading organizational change, leading collaborative teams, credible leadership and quality excellence.

Cost: $769 per course or $4,800 for the entire certificate program

Southern New Hampshire University

Southern New Hampshire University offers an online graduate certificate in Six Sigma that will help prepare you for your Six Sigma black belt certification exam. Six Sigma is a staple in leadership — as you climb the ranks and earn higher-level belts, you gain more responsibilities and have mentees that rely on you to help them learn more about Six Sigma leadership. If your business relies on Six Sigma as a leadership methodology, this course will help get you ready to pass the highest designation levels in Six Sigma.

Cost: $1,884 per course or $627 per credit hour

The University of Iowa

The Tippie College of Business at the University of Iowa offers a Leadership Certificate that consists of five MBA-level courses. The program takes place in-person at the Cedar Rapids, Des Moines and Quad Cities campuses. Courses are typically 11 weeks long and classes meet one night a week — but never on Fridays — with the option for a few online and hybrid courses. If you want to keep going after you earn your certificate, credits from completed courses in the certificate program can transfer over to an Iowa MBA through the Professional MBA Program.

Cost: $10,500 for the entire program or $2,100 per individual course

UC Davis Graduate School of Management

The UC Davis Graduate School of Management offers an eight-week online Leadership Program that will help you gain the skills you need to be a strong leader. Course modules cover topics such as situational leadership, leading change, leading teams, leading in crisis and valuable communication skills. It’s taught by Kimberly Elsbach, a Professor of Management at UC Davis, through a personalized online learning experience that offers a “flexible but structured approach,” according to UC Davis. The program is designed for leaders who want to further develop managerial skills, those interested in learning about the situational leadership model and anyone else in a position where they need to hone leadership skills.

Cost: $1,500 for the entire program

University of Notre Dame Mendoza College of Business

The University of Notre Dame Mendoza College of Business offers two online leadership certificates, a Professional Certificate in Management and an Executive Certificate in Leadership. To earn the Professional Certificate in Management, you’ll need to pass two eight-week courses: Foundations of Management and Critical Management. The Executive Certificate in Leadership requires the completion of three eight-week courses: Foundations of Leadership, Leadership Challenges and Strategic Leadership. If you complete all five courses included in both programs, you’ll earn an Executive Certificate in Leadership and Management. The programs cover topics such as engineering leadership, executive leadership, supervisory development and executive coaching.

Cost: Ranges from $1,420 to $1,775 per module or $5,615 for individuals from a for-profit organization and $4,492 for individuals from a nonprofit organization. 

Villanova University

The Certificate in Organizational Leadership from Villanova University includes three eight-week courses that include courses on strategic organizational leadership, maximizing team effectiveness and one elective course of your choosing. The program is billed as “perfect for anyone seeking tactile management and organizational skills, according to the Villanova University website. It’s designed for business leaders, mid-level managers and project managers at all levels as well as for IT professionals, especially those with Six Sigma training.

Cost: $5,685 for the entire program or $2,095 per individual course; some electives are $2,495 per course

Wharton University of Pennsylvania

Wharton University of Pennsylvania offers an online Leadership and Management Certificate program that consists of four individual courses required for completion. The course promises to deliver “cutting-edge management concepts” taught by Wharton faculty. It’s intended for “high-potential mid- to senior-level managers working in any function or industry,” with at least five to seven years’ experience. Each online course takes four to six weeks to complete and requires an average time commitment of two to four hours per week.

Cost: $3,600 for the entire program or $995 per course

Wisconsin School of Business

The Wisconsin School of Business offers an Executive Leadership Certificate that requires four courses to complete. The courses cover topics such as aligning strategy for organizational growth, general business strategy, leadership and transforming the business culture. The in-person courses are designed for senior-level leaders, experienced managers and directors and functional managers who are gaining leadership responsibilities in their organizations.

Cost: Individual courses range in price from $2,295 to $4,995

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