Online Degrees in Business Administration
If student enrollment numbers are any indication, a degree in business administration can be one of the most valuable academic tracks out there. According to the National Center for Education Statistics, nearly 40 percent of all bachelor's degrees in business in 2009 were awarded in business administration, and at the master's degree level, that number jumped to over 60 percent, making business administration the most popular track within the broader business category.
Degrees in business administration are available at the associate, bachelor's, master's and doctoral level. Degrees in business cover the basics in the field and include fundamentals such as:
At the associate degree level, two-year business administration degrees can either provide a basis for a four-year program or lead to careers such as office manager, administrative manager or accounting clerk. Coursework focuses on accounting basics as well as business communication and management principles.
The four-year bachelor's degree in business administration is a more versatile degree that includes in-depth courses in finance, management techniques and sales and marketing, among other topics. With a bachelor's degree, students can qualify for careers such as human resources generalist, account manager or public relations consultant.
At the master's degree level, an MBA, which typically takes about two years to complete, is the gold standard for many desirable jobs in business. Earning a master's degree is often required for management positions, and it may be necessary to get a foot in the door at large or prestigious corporations and firms. Specialized positions in business such as health care administrator, information systems manager or project manager increasingly require a master's degree, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS).
A doctoral degree in business administration, or DBA, is a research-oriented degree that generally leads to careers in academia rather than applied careers in the business world.
At all levels, both campus-based and online degrees in business administration often combine classroom instruction with a business internship. The business world runs on connections almost as much as credentials, and internships provide both valuable networking and resume-building opportunities.
Because business administration is such a versatile field, it can complement a wide range of career paths. Online degrees in business administration can help working professionals add sales, marketing or accounting knowledge to their existing skill set. For example, tech-savvy individuals may gain business training to start their own technical consulting company, while a culinary worker might pursue marketing skills to launch a catering business. Many MBAs are choosing to flex their entrepreneurship muscles and start their own companies or non-profit organizations with an increasing emphasis on social issues, according to a 2011 article in The New York Times.
Additionally, online business administration degrees can help students capitalize on one of the newest trends in business education--learning with a global perspective. A 2011 article in The Economist reports on a growing tendency of business schools worldwide to include international internships, foreign campuses and exchange programs to help students learn about the global business world. From foreign language skills to business etiquette in Asia, students in online business administration degree programs can get an education without borders.
Salaries in the business world vary depending on the level of education and the industry. The BLS reports the following 2010 mean annual wages for selected business careers:
- Payroll and timekeeping clerk: $37,070
- Executive secretaries and executive administrative assistant: $45,860
- Human resources generalist: $57,830
- Management analyst: $87,260
- Marketing manager: $122,720
The job outlook for many of these fields is growing as well. According to the BLS, management analysts should see 24 percent growth from 2008 to 2018--much faster than the average--while marketing managers are projected to experience 12 percent growth, and human resources employees are slated for 22 percent growth.
- Job outcomes: People with degrees in business administration commonly go into marketing, consulting or finance or use their expertise to launch their own business.
- Salaries: Mean annual salaries for MBA holders can range from $82,100 (consulting) to $109,580 (marketing management).
- Employment prospects: Georgetown University reports that 94 percent of those with a bachelor's degree business administration were employed.
Online Degree Programs in Business Administration
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- Business (Bachelor's)
- Business Administration (Master's)