With their focus on building relationships, innovation, and improving the bottom line, employers tend to view business degree holders as individuals who are ready to contribute to their organization and fulfill an array of roles, especially those at the management level. Adding a business degree to your credentials might help you move into higher levels of management or switch your career trajectory altogether. Learn more about the types of business degrees available to find out which direction in your business education is the best course to take.
Business Degree Levels
Business degrees are provided at all levels of post-secondary education, from certificate programs through a Doctorate of Business Administration (DBA). Due to the broad variety, admission requirements can differ greatly. Certificate programs usually last less than two years and are open for individuals at both the undergraduate and graduate level. Two-year associate’s degree and four-year bachelor’s degree programs in business typically ask applicants to have a high school diploma or GED. Some undergraduate programs may also require standardized test scores, such as the SAT or ACT.
Both Master of Business Administration (MBA) and DBA schools require a four-year degree and might ask applicants to submit GRE scores. While most graduate business programs accept applicants from numerous undergraduate majors, students are often expected to have acquired a few years of real-world business experience prior to applying. Depending on the school, some doctoral programs may also require candidates to have first earned a master’s degree. MBA degrees usually take two years to complete, whereas DBA programs can take 3-4 years, but the exact timeline will vary by program.
Business Degree Concentrations
In addition to the traditional business majors of business administration or business management, business degrees are also offered in a variety of specialized disciplines as separate majors within the business college, such as majors in finance, accounting or entrepreneurship. Additionally, many programs include concentrations within business administration programs, such as an MBA with an emphasis in human resources management, where students can take classes that will better help them in the particular field where the student would like to work. These types of programs have the benefit of providing not only a solid business foundation, but also a career-focused curriculum in a specific discipline within business. Among some of the more popular specialized business areas are:
- Healthcare management
- Human resources management
- Information systems management
- International business
- Public administration
Business Degree Course Formats
While traditional programs are still popular, larger numbers of schools are offering degrees in business administration with flexible scheduling. Business schools are reshaping their programs to accommodate working individuals in meeting their education goals. Options include part-time and accelerated programs; online business administration degree programs; hybrid programs, where some courses are online and some are on campus; and weekend and evening programs, which meet at times that are convenient for the busy adult.
Marketing Your New Skills
After completing your degree in business administration, the possible career paths range across multiple industries, including finance, healthcare, marketing, and IT. Salaries generally depend on education level and the demand of the field, with roles at the managerial level typically commanding the highest income. As such, supervisory positions tend to be competitive and usually require extensive work experience in addition to strong academic credentials. In 2011, the median annual salary for the following careers were as follows:
- Human resources specialist– $48,440
- Advertising sales agent– $45,250
- Accountant and auditor– $62,850
- Financial analyst– $75,650
- Administrative service manager– $79,540
- Medical and health service manager– $86,400
- Advertising and promotions manager– $87,650
- General and operations manager– $95,150