Online Degrees in Entrepreneurship

Have you ever wondered why a particular product or service doesn’t exist and realized there’s a gap in the market for it? And have you considered creating something that could address the need? If so, then you may have the mindset of an entrepreneur. And you might want to move forward with an entrepreneurship degree.

In fact, an entrepreneurial spirit seems to thrive in the U.S. The Census Bureau’s America’s Entrepreneurs publication highlights that more than half of American businesses have been around for 10 years or less. And among female-owned businesses, that number grows to over 60 percent. Furthermore, for businesses in operation less than two years, minorities and women led the way in entrepreneurship.

One of the great things about creating your own business venture is that there’s typically no age limit for success. Still, whether you’re a recent high school graduate or thinking of making a change in your career, an online entrepreneurship degree could help you gain the skills you need.

The daily tasks of a business owner tend to vary based on the type of business they run. To illustrate, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) and the U.S. Small Business Administration, there may be certain responsibilities that many top executives or entrepreneurs could perform:

  • Writing a business plan for their new venture
  • Raising funds to get the business started
  • Determining the costs of creating new products
  • Creating and implementing product development and marketing plans
  • Making cold calls to obtain clients and investors
  • Creating a buzz for their product or service via social media and other channels
  • Hiring staff and adapting their business plan as the business grows
In 2018, more than 77% of women-owned or minority-owned businesses had 1-19 employees. (Census.gov)

As an entrepreneur, the possibilities are nearly endless. For example, you may end up starting the latest high-tech firm. Or you might produce your own line of craft cheeses. But you could also focus on niche industries like sustainable construction, mobile healthcare, or app development.

While entrepreneurs typically start their own businesses, graduates of online entrepreneurship degree programs could also find that their skills are in demand at existing companies. To illustrate, here’s some data to give you a general picture of the job outlook, pay and expected job growth for a range of occupations. See the nationwide figures below, for example, for management analysts (BLS), marketing managers (BLS), public relations and fundraising managers (BLS), and general and operations managers (BLS).

Careers
Employment
Median Salary
Projected Job Growth
General and Operations Managers2,400,280$100,7806.9%
Management Analysts709,750$85,26013.5%
Marketing Managers263,680$136,8508.1%
Public Relations and Fundraising Managers79,160$116,1807.8%

You could certainly try to start your own company without a degree. But learning at least the basics through an education plan might be a big help. That is to say, through the range of business courses that make up the study plan in an entrepreneurship program, you could learn the small business management and problem-solving skills you need to succeed.

Different business fields require their own sets of skills. So, knowing how your chosen field works is essential for any professional. But you also need to know how to manage a company. And you especially should know how to plan for the future.

Several types of programs exist at the different degree levels. But the program that’s perfect for you tends to depend on your goals.

Entrepreneurship programs may allow you to take elective courses like market research and small business management. And if a school only offers standard Bachelor of Science in business or Bachelor of Business Administration degrees, then look for electives that focus on entrepreneurship.

Completing an undergrad certificate program might add a few key business skills to your portfolio. Earning an associate degree in business administration, however, may give you a solid grasp of the basics. And stepping up to a four-year degree plan could teach you business skills at a higher level. Finally, learners looking for advanced degree programs might opt for a master’s or even a doctorate.

What could you expect to learn in an associate entrepreneurship degree program?

These study plans offer small business owners and entrepreneurial thinkers the chance to expand their skill set. In addition, they could also help you learn how the business world works. Two-year degrees are typically offered as Associate of Science (A.S.), Associate of Applied Science (A.A.S.), or Associate of Arts (A.A.) programs. And colleges across the U.S. offer these introductory programs. They may teach you what you need to know to bring your ideas into the world or to expand your existing business.

Typical program length: Two years of full-time study, or 60-90 credit hours

Standard prerequisites: High school diploma, GED or TASC

Typical coursework: Core courses tend to focus on the fundamentals of business. For example, they often cover topics like accounting, marketing and management. Here are some specific examples of courses you might take:

  • Introduction to business: These aim to give students a strong basis on which to build their knowledge. So, they usually provide an overview of concepts and practices that keep companies in the black.
  • Marketing: These work to teach students different ways to promote a product or service.
  • Introduction to business law: These would focus on the legal atmosphere of the business world. This is especially important to know for giving your business a solid foundation.
  • Leadership: These could teach you the difference between leadership and management. They might also give you tips on how successful businesses are run.

In addition, learners in associate programs may be able to take on an internship. This option is so that you might gain real-world context for your classroom lessons.

What kinds of jobs could you pursue after earning an associate degree in entrepreneurship?

Associate degree graduates may transfer their credits to a bachelor’s program. On the other hand, you may feel ready to head straight into the workforce. But you could also apply your new skills to gain new responsibilities in your current job. Here’s a short list of jobs that you might qualify for and some details about each one:

  • Promotions managers might build relationships with clients and act as the face of their firm when communicating with them. As part of that, they work to understand and address clients’ needs.
  • Fundraisers typically work for nonprofit organizations. They use their business skills to interact with donors. And they also make the public aware of how they might help.
  • Recruiters usually help companies find the talent they need to achieve their business goals. So, they often spend time in social environments. For example, they may visit college career days and job fairs.
  • Trainers may teach new employees about their job duties. And they might also give them the tools they need to succeed. These professional typically need project management and communication skills.

What could you expect to learn in an bachelor’s entrepreneurship degree program?

An online bachelor’s in entrepreneurship comes with a full set of business core courses. Therefore, they may teach you a range of skills to add value to your business ventures.

Major courses tend to emphasize topics like how to identify new business opportunities and ways to promote sustainable growth.

Typical program length: Usually four years of full-time study, or 115-130 credit hours. But transfer credits or enrollment in accelerated programs could reduce your time in school.

Standard prerequisites: High school diploma, GED or TASC. Some programs may also have a GPA requirement.

Typical coursework: Online courses in these programs could help students learn to assess risk, analyze the effects of markets on new businesses and plan for the future. To illustrate, here’s a short list of courses often seen in bachelor’s programs:

  • Digital marketing: This vital in the age of smartphones and social media. Thus these courses may help you get a feel for strategies that work to connect users with your brand.
  • Foundations of entrepreneurship: These could teach you the basics of starting and running your own business. For example, topics usually include decision making, writing business plans and sourcing funds.
  • Operations management: These typically focus on the day-to-day duties of managing a business. And these courses are often part of a program’s business core.
  • Principles of finance: These are often taught in the junior or senior year of online B.S., B.A. and B.B.A plans. They typically teach students about value analysis, weighted average cost and calculating risk and return.

Possible electives: Venture capital, private equity, ethics, human resource management, project management

Students may also be asked to complete a capstone project. Or you might do an internship in addition to your classroom or online courses.

Which type of bachelor’s program to choose?

Most importantly, students should know that the three types of bachelor’s programs differ in the sort of general ed courses they include. Also, many entrepreneurship programs at this level are usually delivered as business admin programs with an entrepreneurship concentration. This is especially true for B.A. and B.S. plans.

  • Bachelor of Arts (B.A.): This type tends to feature more social science and liberal arts courses.
  • Bachelor of Science (B.S.): These programs typically add more math and science.
  • B.B.A, or Bachelor of Business Administration: This option may include deeper study in a business core.

What kinds of jobs could you pursue after earning a bachelor’s in entrepreneurship?

A bachelor’s program may prepare you for a range of jobs in the business world. They could also teach you the skills you typically need to start a new venture. Likewise, they may help you expand an existing business. If you’re looking for a job with a startup or an established company, then here are some of the career paths you might qualify for:

  • Administrative service managers usually work to ensure that an office runs as smoothly as possible. For one thing, they keep records. They also put policies in place. And they set goals for the office.
  • Human resources managers recruit, hire, and train new staff. They also serve as a link between staff and management. So, taking courses in human resource management might help you land jobs in this field.
The possibilities for entrepreneurs are almost endless. You could focus on sustainable construction, a line of craft cheeses, or health care apps, for example.

What could you expect to learn in an online master’s degree program?

A Master of Business Administration (MBA) degree is often held up as the gold standard of business education. And it’s important to know that graduate-level study plans may be tailored to suit your specific needs, touching on a range of different business sectors. Master of Arts (M.A.) and Master of Science (M.S.) programs may be available as well.

One advantage of programs at this level might be the opportunity to expand your business network. Meeting others with similar goals could give you new ideas. It could also help you find potential business partners.

Typical program length: Two years of full-time study, or 30-45 credit hours. However, transfer credits or enrollment in accelerated programs might shorten your time in school.

Standard prerequisites: Bachelor’s degree in business or a related field. In addition, some programs may have GPA requirements.

Typical coursework: Students in MBA, M.A. or M.S. programs could learn how to create a successful business model and market their product or service effectively. As well as learning aspects of business law, management, and ethics, you’re likely to run across courses like these:

  • Consumer behavior: While this subject may be hard to pin down, these courses could give you a firm basis for analysis and marketing.
  • Managerial economics: These usually take an in-depth approach to applied economics in a business context. They teach a combination of accounting, management, and economic theory.
  • E-commerce: This may explore what the key differences are from brick-and-mortar businesses. They also typically help students understand how to take advantage of the opportunities of e-commerce.
  • Critical thinking: These courses are typically designed to enhance your skill at decision making. So, developing this skill may also help you better analyze your market.

Possible electives: Taxes and business strategy, social entrepreneurship, financial modeling, supply chain, marketing analytics

What kinds of jobs could you pursue after earning a master’s in entrepreneurship?

If you graduate with an M.A., M.S., or MBA degree in entrepreneurship, then you may choose to put your skills to use at an existing business. But which roles you qualify for might vary depending on your area of focus. To illustrate, here’s a quick range of potential job targets:

  • Marketing managers might oversee teams of people at marketing firms or in-house at large companies. They may also review reports by market analysts. This is so that they choose the right approach to reach specific groups of consumers.
  • Business development managers usually focus on increasing sales and revenue by reaching out to new clients. They may also develop plans for expanding a business into new markets.
  • Management analysts typically work with executives and other decision makers. This is for the purpose of finding ways to increase profits. They also look at improving efficiency. They may work for companies from within or be a part of outside firms.

If you have a degree in another field and are looking to start your own business, then earning a graduate certificate might be a great choice. These programs typically don’t include general education courses. Instead, they tend to concentrate on just one or two aspects of entrepreneurship. They may also take fewer credit hours to complete than an online M.A., M.S., or MBA. In addition, they might have at-will start dates. Graduates of these programs may also be able to apply their earned credits toward a master’s degree at a later date.

Typical program length: One to two years of part-time study, or 9-18 credit hours

Standard prerequisites: Bachelor’s degree, but previous study in business is often not required

Typical coursework: While these usually depend on the program’s focus, here are a few of the courses you might take, for example, in a graduate certificate program:

  • Entrepreneurial methods: These often vary based on the type of business. So, courses that cover these methods likely teach you about the various ways people have had success in the past.
  • Finance for entrepreneurs: This one typically covers the process of securing and managing capital in a startup. Focus is often placed on seed funding. And it’s also likely to look at best practices during the growth phase.
  • Entrepreneurial market research: While this might be daunting, these courses may help students understand how to best make use of market data.
  • High tech entrepreneurship is a hot field right now in terms of software as well as hardware. For this reason, courses in this subject work to give students a sense of the challenges and opportunities in the tech sector.

What could you expect to learn in an online doctoral program?

Grad degrees at this level typically give students the chance for deep study of different business types. For instance, you could look at family stores or tech startups. You may also look at global conglomerates. You might then study their impact on society at large. These programs often require a great deal of previous business education.

Typical program length: Five to seven years of full-time study

Standard prerequisites: An M.S., M.A., or MBA, but requirements vary from one school to another.

Typical coursework: These usually depend on your concentration and your school’s approach to grad studies. Here are some you might see on your schedule:

  • Research methods: They typically teach students how to design and conduct complex research projects. In addition, they may cover multiple frameworks and the tools and methods for each one.
  • Statistics: These may give you an in-depth look at probability and variance. You’re also likely to look at different methods of data modeling.
  • Entrepreneurship theory: These typically dive into classic and modern thought in the field of self-started business. For example, you could study social capital. You may also look at bias in decision making.
  • Innovation: This is a key aspect of entrepreneurship. So, courses on the topic are usually designed to teach students how to find gaps in the market and fill them. And they may also look at how innovative ideas spread through markets.

Planning and writing a major research project is a common part of doctoral programs. Known as a dissertation, it must be defended before a panel of professors and experts in the field. Students typically compose and prepare it with help from a faculty advisor.

Online students in some programs may be asked to visit campus for parts of their study plan. Fully online programs may be found as well.

Types of Doctoral Programs

Doctoral degrees for entrepreneurs come in two different forms. In general, Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) programs typically focus more on the academic side of the field. On the other hand, Doctor of Business Administration (D.B.A.) plans with an entrepreneurship concentration feature more applied skills.

What kinds of jobs could you pursue after earning a doctorate in entrepreneurship?

A doctorate might allow you to join the ranks of professional scholars and thinkers. To illustrate, here are a few jobs you could get with a Ph.D. or D.B.A. in entrepreneurship:

  • University professors in some subjects may be able to teach without a doctorate. However, a Ph.D. may boost to your hiring chances. Ultra-competitive business schools might prefer candidates with a doctorate. They might also require several years of experience in the field.
  • Business consultants often meet with managers and top executives. This is in order to help them make plans that improve their market position. They may work freelance. Consultants may also take jobs at consulting firms.
  • Chief executive officers sit at the top of the corporate ladder. Consequently, they could run companies that may be worth billions of dollars. Many entrepreneurs gain executive skills with their own ventures, although a D.B.A. might help you sharpen those skills to a fine point.

Accreditation

Accreditation is a process by which a school is found to provide an education that meets or exceeds an accepted standard of quality. So studying at an accredited school is important. This is because it makes sure that the credits and skills you earn are recognized by employers and other institutions.

If the school you choose isn’t accredited, then there’s a chance that your transfer credits may not be accepted by graduate or doctoral programs. Entrepreneurship programs are typically accredited by the following agencies:

Certifications and Licensures for Entrepreneurs

Some fields of business, such as healthcare and finance, may require that you earn a license or certification to practice legally. Certification and license requirements typically vary from state to state.

Certifications may show your commitment to a field. And they could also signal your expertise to clients and employers. For example, if your goal is to provide HR services, then you might want to earn a designation offered by the Human Resources Certification Institute. And if you plan to put your knowledge to work advising other startup founders, then a Certified Entrepreneurial Advisor (CEA) Certification could teach you how to be helpful to others.

Licenses are usually handled at the state level. However, some industries make use of licenses with a national scope. Check with your state licensing board for info about any license you may need for your business.

Employment Statistics

Chief Executives

The industry, state, and metro area data for chief executives come from the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Industries with the highest levels of employment
  • Management of Companies and Enterprises: 16,690
  • Elementary and Secondary Schools: 9,510
  • State Government (excluding schools and hospitals): 8,300
  • Computer Systems Design and Related Services: 8,120
  • Management, Scientific, Technical Consulting Services: 7,860
States with the highest level of employment
  • California: 31,730
  • Florida: 26,300
  • Illinois: 10,010
  • New York: 8,990
  • Tennessee: 8,720
  • Massachusetts: 7,810
  • Pennsylvania: 6,630
  • Virginia: 6,440
  • Minnesota: 5,630
  • Utah: 4,680
Top-paying metro areas
  • Bridgeport-Stamford-Norwalk, CT: $270,040
  • Sioux Falls, SD: $264,330
  • Midland, TX: $258,760
  • New York-Newark-Jersey City, NY-NJ-PA: $252,880
  • College Station-Bryan, TX: $250,890
  • Philadelphia-Camden-Wilmington, PA: $250,890
  • Houston-The Woodlands-Sugar Land, TX: $248,900
  • San Jose-Sunnyvale-Santa Clara, CA: $248,890
  • Providence-Warwick, RI: $247,630
  • El Paso, TX: $245,810

Fundraisers

The industry, state, and metro area data for fundraisers come from the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Industries with the highest levels of employment
  • Grantmaking, Giving Services: 14,120
  • Colleges, Universities, Professional Schools: 13,280
  • Social Advocacy Organizations: 7,430
  • Individual and Family Services: 4,860
  • Community Food and Housing, Emergency and Other Relief Services: 3,630
States with the highest level of employment
  • California: 9,400
  • New York: 8,260
  • Texas: 4,380
  • Massachusetts: 4,230
  • Pennsylvania: 4,010
  • Ohio: 3,680
  • Virginia: 2,920
  • Illinois: 2,750
  • Michigan: 2,630
  • Washington: 2,510
Top-paying metro areas
  • Ithaca, NY: $89,030
  • Washington-Arlington-Alexandria, DC-VA-MD-WV: $82,340
  • San Jose-Sunnyvale-Santa Clara, CA: $81,590
  • New Haven, CT: $80,770
  • Oxnard-Thousand Oaks-Ventura, CA: $80,760
  • New Orleans-Metairie, LA: $80,460
  • Athens-Clarke County, GA: $78,500
  • San Francisco-Oakland-Hayward, CA: $77,450
  • Ann Arbor, MI: $74,880
  • Los Angeles-Long Beach-Anaheim, CA $74,300

Financial aid may be available to those who qualify. For example, here’s a sampling of scholarships specifically for eligible entrepreneurship degree students:

Organizations and Other Resource Guides

 
Methodologies and Sources