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Most Employable Business Degrees 2016

Most Employable Business Degrees 2016

When it comes to choosing a major, many students decide on the practical path of a business degree. What's attractive about today's business programs is that they go beyond just textbook theory and principles. Instead, they educate students with a good mix of soft and hard career-focused skills that can be applied in a variety of professions.

More and more, the ability to communicate, understand basic finance and accounting, and solve organizational challenges can serve people well no matter where they end up working. The same is true for budding entrepreneurs.

What's also true is that business degrees usually lead to higher starting salaries than other popular majors in the liberal arts and social sciences. In fact, savvy students often choose to study business because they expect a good return on their educational investment. This is especially true for adult learners who wish to purse graduate-level business degrees.

OnlineDegrees.com recently published a ranking of the Most Employable Degrees of 2016, highlighting which college majors offer the best potential ROI. We compared 1,248 degree fields on a number of cost-benefit factors, using data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics and National Center for Educational Statistics. Each major was evaluated based on:

  • Number of jobs matched to the degree
  • Average annual salary of all job matches
  • Average projected job growth rate (2014-2024)
  • Average concentration of jobs per 1,000
  • Number of schools offering programs in the field
  • Average in-state tuition for these programs

To take this a step further, we've broken down the research to compile a list of the most employable degrees in business.

One thing to consider before you dive in: These findings are based on data calculations, so there's no guarantee that your career outcome will be an exact match. Your success will ultimately depend on what you put into your degree program, and how well you apply those lessons in the working world.

With that in mind, here are the top 20 business degrees of 2016 based on our analysis:

1. Business/Commerce, General

If you're not sure which area of business to focus on, you can choose a general business degree program. This is a popular choice nationwide as it gives students a well-rounded sense of what success in a modern organization looks like, whether you choose to work in HR, management, finance, or operations. Employers value graduates who understand basic business principles, organizational structure, and how company teams work together.

  • Average annual salary, 2014: $102,290
  • Average projected job growth, 2014-24: 12%
  • Number of schools offering programs in the field: 1,083
  • Average tuition cost, 2014-15: $9,554

2. Business Administration and Management

Like the general business degree, a business administration major has applications in a variety of career paths. That's because you'll learn to develop the attributes most valued by today's top employers: fundamental management skills, organizational behavior, and leadership, among others.

  • Average annual salary, 2014: $102,290
  • Average projected job growth, 2014-24: 12%
  • Number of schools offering programs in the field: 2,743
  • Average tuition cost, 2014-15: $11,023

3. Marketing/Marketing Management

Marketing is playing an increasingly more vital role in business, thanks to the explosion of digital marketing and advances in big data. Understanding how to develop relationships and engage with customers, and how to increase market share are skills that can take you far.

  • Average annual salary, 2014: $107,116
  • Average projected job growth, 2014-24: 15%
  • Number of schools offering programs in the field: 1,033
  • Average tuition cost, 2014-15: $10,071

4. Finance, General

Business is ultimately all about the bottom line, so it's no wonder that finance degree holders can go on to have strong careers. If you enjoy number crunching, investment analysis, and budgeting basics, developing expertise in those areas as a finance major may prove to be profitable.

  • Average annual salary, 2014: $101,202
  • Average projected job growth, 2014-24: 11%
  • Number of schools offering programs in the field: 720
  • Average tuition cost, 2014-15: $13,563

5. Management Science

Solving complex problems is truly a science, and that's why the world of business needs management science graduates. This degree focuses on business systems, quality control, statistics, and more. It's no surprise why corporations value people who can navigate such challenging territory.

  • Average annual salary, 2014: $117,395
  • Average projected job growth, 2014-24: 15%
  • Number of schools offering programs in the field: 130
  • Average tuition cost, 2014-15: $13,520

6. Entrepreneurship/Entrepreneurial Studies

Whether it's freelancing, becoming a franchise owner, or another solo endeavor, entrepreneurial opportunities are vast and come with big earning potential. Of course, you can improve your chances of success by getting schooled in basic business strategies, and learning how to write a business plan, do market research, and so forth.

  • Average annual salary, 2014: $124,213
  • Average projected job growth, 2014-24: 10%
  • Number of schools offering programs in the field: 486
  • Average tuition cost, 2014-15: $8,085

7. Operations Management and Supervision

Keeping things running smoothly for a large organization is no easy task, which is why companies hire operations managers to optimize business processes. From planning to implementation to quality control to service delivery, operations management degrees delve into what goes on behind the scenes of production and transactions from start to finish.

  • Average annual salary, 2014: $88,830
  • Average projected job growth, 2014-24: 10%
  • Number of schools offering programs in the field: 251
  • Average tuition cost, 2014-15: $11,870

8. International Business/Trade/Commerce

The concept of a global economy has never been more true, thus explaining the growing popularity of international business degrees. This field of study educates students on how to conduct business overseas, international trade, and the importance of cultural awareness and diplomacy.

  • Average annual salary, 2014: $128,880
  • Average projected job growth, 2014-24: 11%
  • Number of schools offering programs in the field: 556
  • Average tuition cost, 2014-15: $13,554

9. Marketing Research

This specialized area of marketing will continue to remain in high demand as technology provides more opportunities to gather consumer and competitor data. Market researchers are responsible for drawing insights based on metrics and analytics to help inform business decisions.

  • Average annual salary, 2014: $87,393
  • Average projected job growth, 2014-24: 19%
  • Number of schools offering programs in the field: 25
  • Average tuition cost, 2014-15: $9,947

10. Accounting and Finance

Behind every successful business is a strong accounting and finance department. From accounts receivable to accounts payable, and payroll to expenses, not to mention tax planning and investing, someone has to be in charge of the spreadsheets. This major will help get you up to speed on the latest tools, software, and regulations in the world of business accounting.

  • Average annual salary, 2014: $92,523
  • Average projected job growth, 2014-24: 11%
  • Number of schools offering programs in the field: 102
  • Average tuition cost, 2014-15: $13,686

Here are 10 more business degrees that made our list of best bets for 2016:

11. Financial Planning and Services

12. Human Resources Management/Personnel Administration

13. Accounting and Business Management

14. Accounting

15. Credit Management

16. International Marketing

17. Management Information Systems

18. Purchasing, Procurement/Acquisitions and Contracts Management

19. Accounting Technology and Bookkeeping

20. Organizational Leadership