Business Administration Degree

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Why Earn a Business Degree?

A degree in business administration is the single most popular college degree program in the United States.  The draw for many students to earn a business degree is the program’s sheer versatility, applicability, and efficacy.  Likewise, employers seek students with a business degree for many of the same reasons.  A student earning a college degree in business administration can be equipped to jump into a variety of career opportunities in a wide variety of sectors.  From construction and manufacturing to IT consulting and software, business degree holders have myriad career options to select.

For clarity, the study within the academic domain of Business Administration is a broad field.  It brings together many ideas, practices, and methodologies then applies them to the management and development of business at a managerial level.  Individuals in this field are responsible for decisions and planning to help guide a given business with the intent to increase revenue and profit while reducing cost.

Business administration also deals with the management and motivation of employees while driving KPI's to meet organizational and divisional goals.  A minimum of a bachelor's degree is typically required but due to exceptional competition for managerial positions, it is common for applicants to be required to hold an MBA degree or similar graduate-level degree in business.

What Business Degree is Best for Me?

Business majors can launch a variety of careers in a number of different industries depending on geographic location, demand, technology, and degree type.  The different types of business degree programs include certificates, associate’s degree, bachelor’s degree, master’s degree, and a doctorate degree.  To ascertain which programs are right for you, simply research the degree programs below and request information from schools you are most interested in learning more about.

Top Certificate Programs in Business

An undergraduate certificate in business administration can be a segue for students to learn about business basics, techniques, and principles.  Courses found in many certificate programs include basic courses in marketing, law, organizational behavior, management, human resources, finance, and ethics.  Many accredited colleges and universities offer a number of learning modalities for certificate programs that include online, on-site, and hybrid programs.  A certificate program may range from 9-21 credit hours and curriculum will range by school so make sure to learn more about schools offering certificate programs below.

Associate’s Degree in Business

An associate degree in business administration may be a viable option for those looking to upskill in their current job or start a new career.  The associate degree program in business can be a bridge to a four-year college or university (known as a 2/4 transfer or forward transfer) to continue towards a bachelor’s degree.

Unlike certificate programs, the associate degree program will include a number of general education courses like creative writing, philosophy, math and English composition to provide an integrative way of thinking.  Core business courses for an associate’s degree in business will often include 100 and 200 level courses in: finance, economics, management, international business, communications, accounting, law, statistics, and computer applications.

The core curriculum found in a business administration degree program are created with career-readiness and real-world applicability at the forefront.  Courses found in an associate degree program will help students build necessary business skills and help industry information to retain an entry-level job or jobs in a specialized field.

Associate degree programs in business administration can be taken online or on-site through colleges and universities across the country.  The type of program and mode of delivery is up to you and recommend reading the following articles to help determine if classroom-based college courses or online programs are right for you: Which Type of Online Degree or Credential is Right For You? and Is an Online College or Traditional College Setting Best for You?

Bachelor’s Degree in Business

Students earning a bachelor’s degree in business administration are equipped with broad business topics and deep analytical thinking about specific issues.  A bachelor’s degree in business can be conferred as a Bachelor of Arts in Business Administration (BA), Bachelor of Business Administration (BBA), or a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration (BS).

The difference between a Bachelor of Arts and Bachelor of Science in Business Administration resides within the design of the curriculum established by the college or university along with the contents of coursework involved in the degree.  In general, a BS degree is a more technical and science-rich degree program while the subjects studied while in a BA degree program are more broad in nature.

Earning a bachelor’s degree in business, you will be equipped with the business essentials to step into impactful roles in private institutions, public corporations, and non-profit businesses.  Given the nature of the curriculum, you can expect to possess skills necessary to integrate into a variety of teams or roles from a business analyst, consultant, operations manager, marketing coordinator, financial analyst, or entrepreneur.

A general set of courses you can expect to take in a bachelors of business administration program will include the following set of 200, 300, and 400 level core classes:

  • Business Law
  • Financial Accounting
  • Managerial Accounting
  • Principles of Macroeconomics
  • Principles of Microeconomics
  • Corporate Finance
  • International Business
  • Principles of Management
  • Human Resource Management
  • Principles of Marketing
  • Strategic Planning
  • Organizational Ethics
  • Operations Management
  • Computer Applications
  • Organizational Behavior
  • Probability and Statistics

A number of accredited colleges and universities provide specialty programs in tandem with a bachelor’s degree in business.  For those students who know what they want to do for a vocation while in school or a sector of business that they are passionate about, a specialty would make sense to pursue.  Specialty programs will vary from school to school depending on the teaching resources and curricular design but a few specialties worth noting include:

  • Communications
  • Digital Marketing & Advertising
  • Finance
  • Entrepreneurship
  • Economics
  • Financial Planning
  • Green & Sustainable Management
  • Human Resource Management
  • Healthcare Management
  • Leadership
  • International Business
  • Marketing Analytics
  • Public Administration
  • Project Management

Master’s Degree in Business Administration

A master’s degree in business administration is known as an MBA.  Graduates earning an MBA will be equipped for a number of leadership and management roles in business.  A graduate with an MBA can effectively step into a leadership role in a non-profit organization or business consultant with a large, international firm with the same business degree.  A common thread for MBA students seems to be there aptitude and willingness to accept business challenges in a number of different fields of study.

There are several different types of MBA programs for students to choose from when researching college programs.  The options to earn your MBA range from full-time to part-time programs and in-class to online opportunities to fit your busy schedule and personal life.  A list of MBA programs is listed below with a full explanation of differing programs on our dedicated MBA page here.

  • Part-Time MBA
  • Executive MBA
  • Full-Time Executive MBA
  • Evening MBA
  • Full-Time MBA
  • Accelerated MBA
  • Modular MBA
  • Mini-MBA
  • Distance Learning or Online MBA
  • Blended MBA
  • Dual Degree MBA

Doctor of Business Administration (DBA) Degree

The Doctor of Business Administration degree program is often known by its abbreviated name DBA.  Students earning a DBA will be equipped to lead, manage, teach, and consult in private and public organizations.  Akin to the PhD track for doctors, the Doctor of Business Administration program builds upon the core teachings found in the upper level programs found in a master’s degree program.  These essential educational building blocks provide students with a level of competence in business management, human behavior, and leadership principles to help navigate the road ahead.

The majority of DBA programs require students to select an area of specialty prior to matriculation.  Areas of specialty for Doctor of Business Administration students include the following tracks such as: marketing, leadership, international business, project management, human resources, healthcare management, information systems, and accounting.  In terms of a dissertation for DBA students, some colleges require a traditional dissertation while others require an applied doctoral research project.

The length of time to earn a Doctor of Business Administration depends on whether students attend school on a full-time or part-time basis.  For full-time students with a master’s degree in business in hand, the DBA program will likely take three years to complete.  For DBA students attending classes on a part-time basis, the program is estimated to take six years to complete.   DBA programs are available online and on-site from a large number of accredited colleges and universities to provide the proper degree of flexibility and independence to match your goals.

What Classes Do Business Majors Take in College?

Business administration is a course of study which educates students on how to properly operate, grow and maintain a business. An degree in business administration is useful for finding entry level work in large businesses and corporations as well as assisting in starting a business. A master's in business administration (MBA) is usually required to obtain high level jobs. A variety of MBA programs are available based on the scheduling needs or experience of the interested individual. The time frame for completion of a MBA program is based on the type chosen and taking between one and four years of study.

Curriculum for a MBA program may include:

  • Accounting
  • Economics
  • Technology and Information
  • Human Resources
  • Marketing

Business degrees at the associate level are typically earned by professionals in a given field seeking to grow their business through the application of standard business practices, accounting methodology, and the proper use of advertising to gain clients. Such programs take between one and two years to complete.

Online Business Degree Resources

In response to overwhelming requests from students, we have assembled a number of guides and resources with respect to online business degrees.  The online business degree programs have been growing at a rapid pace for a number of years and may be worth considering for a variety of reasons.  Students earning a business degree online may have a greater degree of flexibility while working, a greater level of independence, and likely save on overall costs of earning a traditional degree by bypassing inherent costs like room & board, parking, transportation, and vehicle maintenance.

Prior to jumping into an online business degree program, take the time to create a priority list.  This list must be specific to your goals and aspirations to have the maximum impact.  Cross-check your list with the resources listed below and begin reaching out to accredited colleges to earn your business degree online or in a traditional classroom setting.

How Important is Accreditation for a Business School?

Accreditation is the process of a third-party accrediting body officially recognizing a college or university meeting published school standards.  An accrediting body certifies and attests that a college meets or exceeds established academic standards thus giving institutions, teaching staff, and students credibility and assurance.  The two types of academic accreditation include specialized accreditation and institutional accreditation.

A specialized accreditation is where a college or university seeks to have a specific degree or department accredited in a different manner than the rest of the school.  On the other hand, an institutional accreditation is conferred to an entire school across all departments and degree paths.  Make sure schools you are interested hold a national or regional accreditation from an institution recognized by the U.S. Department of Education (DOE).

Schools Other Students Requested Information From:

Employment Opportunities for Business Majors

Those who work in the field of business administration will be required to manage people and tasks in order to achieve short and long term goals set forth by the organization and operation heads.  Due to the changing nature of business and the large pool of knowledge and information necessary to properly manage operations, businesses will often require a minimum of an MBA to be considered for high level positions. It is important to note that many graduate schools offer MBA programs for individuals currently working as business administrators and are looking to advance.

In addition to an education, a number of skills have proven necessary over time for an individual to be successful in business administration. Many of these skills may be learned or developed over time and through practice, and any individual wishing to forge a career in business administration should work hard to strengthen them. These skills include:

  • Verbal Communication
  • Flexibility
  • Multitasking
  • Creating & Maintaining Organizational Culture
  • Authenticity
  • Critical Thinking & Problem Solving
  • Empathy & Patience
  • Public Speaking
  • Persuasion Skills
  • An Open Mind
  • Active Listening Skills
  • Good Judgement
  • Writing Skills
  • Innovative Thinking
  • Negotiating Skills
  • Leadership

How Much Money Do Business Majors Make?

Jobs in business management are expected to grow steadily over the coming decade.  The yearly salary of a business manager is highly dependent on education, experience, location and the size of the business he or she works with.  The median salary for administration services is approximately $73,000 per year, with the lowest ten percent typically earning $37,000 per year.

Those who obtain an MBA should expect to see a large jump in salary with the national average salary for business majors at $84,000 per annum.  Again, experience coupled with organization type and geographic location will also impact the starting salary for MBA graduates.

According to the latest study performed by the Seattle-based data aggregator, Payscale, the following represent a typical starting salary by degree and profession while the next column represents a mid-career average salary.

Degree Area                         Average Starting Salary     Average Mid-Career Salary

International Finance $54,500 $112,000
Business Technology $58,700 $105,300
Economics & Business $53,000 $104,000
Finance & Accounting $52,200 $89,000
Human Resources $42,300 $71,500
Financial Management $48,000 $82,000
Marketing $46,000 $97,200


Students interested in earning a degree in business administration may also be interested in pursuing a degree in international business, business economics, or accounting and business management.

Top Rated Business Associations

  • National Federation of Independent Businesses (NFIB)
  • Business Professionals of America (BPA)
  • American Business Women's Association (ABWA)
  • American Finance Association (AFA)
  • American Management Association (AMA)
  • National Human Resources Association (NHRA)
  • American Bankers Association (ABA)
  • American Marketing Association (AMA)

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Career Summary: Business administration Major




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