Types of Business Degrees
When you are ready to pursue a business degree, it is important to make the right choice. Whether you are entering college or the first time or you are a returning student, you want to choose a program and institution that’s a good match for your needs and objectives. Below is a list of common areas of business that are key in most companies and are often available as a degree. For each major below we discuss what you can expect to learn while studying and possible job outcomes for that business degree.
A business administration degree gives students a good overview of business practices. This business degree is especially appropriate if you are seeking a leadership role in business. You will most likely take courses in business management, marketing, finance, human resources management, and operations. You might choose an area of concentration such as accounting, finance, or marketing.
After earning your business administration degree, you can apply for administrative jobs in sectors such as retail, operations management, sales, or hospitality. You may hold job titles such as product manager, retail manager, systems analyst, or marketing executive. Your responsibilities may include negotiating contracts, analyzing financial data, overseeing budgets and managing the company or departmental goals and policies. These are all positions that require you to communicate effectively, display leadership skills, and see the “big picture.”
An accounting degree deals with the measurement, processing, and communication of financial information in business. It is possible to get an associate degree in accounting; however, most accountants obtain a bachelor’s degree. You usually need a minimum of 150 credit hours in related subjects to earn this type of degree. Some of the subjects that will be covered in an accounting degree program include taxes, auditing, financial reporting, and a certain number of business electives.
As an accountant, you may choose among many specializations. For example, public accountants manage financial information for businesses, forensic accountants investigate financial crimes, and auditors analyze financial data for individuals or businesses to make sure all laws and regulations are being followed.
Finance is the area of business dealing with the sources of funding and the actions that business managers take to increase the value for shareholders. Depending on what kind of job you are seeking, you might also study real estate law, business ethics, investment banking, and many other topics related to the financial industry.
With a finance degree, you are qualified for many jobs, including financial analyst, consultant, banker, and financial planner. You may work for a bank, large company, or an individual as a personal financial advisor.
Marketing is the communication from a business to the consumer that aims to increase the value of the firm or its products. If you want to be in charge of marketing campaigns, a marketing degree provides the kind of training you need. You can find associate’s, bachelor’s, and master’s degrees in this diverse field. Some of the topics you might study include marketing analytics, consumer behavior, digital marketing, pricing strategies, and global business.
Because marketing is an essential function for every business, a degree in this field gives you many possibilities. You could work in areas such as advertising, brand management, and digital marketing. You can apply for jobs such as marketing manager, marketing specialist, public relations specialist, sales manager, or social media manager. You could also apply what you learned to start and grow your own business.
Human Resource Management
Human Resource (HR) Management is designed to help maximize employee performance in regards to a business’s key strategic objectives.
When earning a degree in human resources, you will be learning about subjects such as recruitment, employee training, legal issues, organizational theory, diversity issues, and how to manage employees’ compensation and benefits.
As a human resources specialist, you may work in the public or private sector. Some of the jobs that you may consider with this type of degree include labor relations specialist, compensation and benefits manager, training and development manager, and human resources manager. In general, an HR expert needs to be well organized, an excellent communicator, and able to understand and explain complicated information in a way that others can easily understand.
If you prefer the idea of being your boss rather than reporting to a manager an entrepreneurship degree is something you should consider. This is a degree that prepares you for the challenge of starting, managing, and growing your own business. To be a successful entrepreneur, you need to acquire the business acumen needed to run your own business. As part of this process, it will be helpful to study topics such as human resources, marketing, management, accounting, and finance in your degree program. You may also want to take courses that relate to an industry that is directly related to your future business, such as hospitality, sports, technology, or fashion. You can also choose electives based on your goals. For example, you can find courses that teach you how to start a digital business, raise funding, or recognize new technology trends.
Unlike most other business degrees, an entrepreneurship degree is designed to prepare you for starting a business rather than getting a typical job. Entrepreneurs need a large amount of self-motivation, discipline, and perseverance. They also must be skilled at fundraising, supervising employees, and managing their time. A business degree in entrepreneurship will provide the educational base needed to become successful at managing your own business.
International business prepares you for a career in the fast-growing world of global business. Your course of study is likely to include international finance, macroeconomics, marketing, and international trade law. You should also study at least two foreign languages. Fluency in languages is essential if you want to work in other countries or communicate with people around the world.
With a degree in international business, you may work in fields such as international banking, economics, accounting, or foreign trade. The Foreign Service, which is part of the US Department of Commerce, the CIA, and the US State Department are all good employment prospects when you have this business degree. You can also apply for jobs with multinational corporations and nonprofit organizations. These can be ideal careers for people who enjoy travel and interacting with people from many different cultures.
Operations management will prepare you for a career that involves helping businesses operate more efficiently. While earning this degree, you will study subjects such as manufacturing strategies, supply-chain management, project management, and quality control. Also, you may be required to take courses in calculus, microeconomics, information systems, and finance. Because operations managers are responsible for a wide variety of tasks, it helps to have a diverse background that includes business, mathematics, economics, and finance.
An operations management degree prepares you for jobs such as operations manager, quality control manager, or production manager. These are all jobs that require you to be an expert in the day-to-day functioning of business, demanding organizational and communication skills as well as a thorough knowledge of business operations.
The public relations degree has long been one of the most attractive and useful business degrees you can pursue. While the field has changed a great deal with the dawn of the digital age, the basic principles remain the same. PR specialists exist to promote businesses, manage reputations, and build brands. To learn to do this, you will have to study areas such as mass media, communications, digital media, and the nuts and bolts of planning public relations campaigns.
As a public relations specialist, you will be responsible for generating publicity for individuals or businesses. This may involve sending press releases, arranging interviews, helping CEOs or celebrities create speeches, and managing the impact of negative publicity. Today, social media plays a significant role in the public relations field. This type of job requires you to be an effective communicator and a good networker. The best PR specialists excel at building relationships with people in the media and others who can help to generate positive publicity for clients.
Economics is a field that studies the economic activities of individuals and societies. The field is divided into microeconomics (which focuses on individuals or particular institutions) and macroeconomics (which is concerned with entire countries or the world). In addition to micro and macroeconomics, you will study subject areas such as statistics, economic theory, and public policy. Economists today must also be able to work with sophisticated software, so computer related courses are also helpful. Many jobs in economics require a graduate degree.
Economics is a broad field that can prepare you for a career in politics, law, academia, and business or nonprofit business. This degree can prepare you for jobs such as economist, financial risk analyst, economics professor, or attorney who specializes in financial issues. All jobs in this field require advanced analytical skills so you must be comfortable working with interpreting complex data.
If you are seeking a career in business management, many types of degrees can help you prepare for this. A business management degree, however, is specifically geared for this kind of job. To earn this degree, you will have to complete core business courses in subjects such as business management, economics, statistics, and business ethics. Some programs allow you to choose electives based on your particular area of concentration.
With a management degree, you will be able to apply for a variety of jobs, including business manager, financial analyst, marketing manager, or sales representative. Leadership positions require excellent communication and leadership skills. Job responsibilities include supervising employees, setting departmental and company goals, and delegating tasks. You have a wide choice of industries to choose from with this degree, as all enterprises and organizations need people with management skills. If you are enrolling in an undergraduate degree program, this is an especially good choice if you plan to pursue an MBA later.
Logistics is concerned with tasks such as supply chain management, transportation, and warehousing. Today, the field includes subjects related to e-commerce as well as operating traditional brick and mortar facilities. To get a logistics degree, you will study general business topics as well as logistics management, supply chain management, and transportation management.
With a logistics degree, you can apply for jobs for which you will oversee tasks such as the distribution, production, and transportation of goods. You could become a logistics manager, transportation director, supply chain manager, or an inventory manager. All of these jobs require organizational skills, the ability to oversee a variety of tasks, and supervisory skills.
Levels of Business Degrees
There are several different levels of business degrees available for those who want to study business, from associate’s degrees to doctoral degrees. Continue reading to learn more about each level of degree, typical coursework and length of completion, and possible jobs available for degree-holders.
Associate Degree in Business Administration
An associate in business administration is a two-year Associate of Science degree that’s offered at many two-year community colleges. Students typically must complete around 64 semester hours for this degree. These hours include general education, business core, and electives. Business courses may include Business Administration, Business Law, Principles of Management, Financial Accounting, and Microeconomics.
This degree is an excellent choice for someone who wants a solid foundation in business. Associate’s degrees are also suitable for older students who have been out of school for some time or other non-traditional students. After graduating, you can apply for jobs such as office manager, administrative assistant, or auditing clerk. Many graduates also go on to enroll in a bachelor’s degree program in business administration or a related field.
A Bachelor of Business Administration (BBA) is a four-year degree that requires you to complete 120 credit hours of coursework. Typically, half of these courses will be in areas related to your major, such as business law, management, marketing, finance, and accounting, while the remainder of your curriculum will be a combination of general education requirements and electives. You will also be required to take a number of liberal arts courses helpful for business, such as psychology, sociology, and economics.
This is a bachelor’s degree that can be helpful if you want to assume a leadership position in business. It delivers a solid skillset including identifying and carrying out organizational goals, analyzing finances, and communicating with executives and people in various departments to coordinate operations. A bachelor’s in business administration is also good preparation for pursuing a master’s in business administration.
A Master of Business Administration or MBA is a highly valued graduate degree that usually takes two to three years to complete. There are also accelerated programs that can be finished in one year. The number of credits required to complete this degree varies depending on the program, but it typically requires between 36 and 52 credits. MBA core courses include subjects such as marketing, statistical analysis, business economics, and financial management.
An MBA qualifies graduates for more rewarding and better-paying business jobs. It is a degree that’ is highly respected by employers because it shows that the graduate has a solid background in business. Research indicates that people with an MBA earn higher salaries than those with only bachelor’s degrees. There are now many online MBAs offered as well as traditional master’s degrees in business administration.
Doctorate in Business Administration
To enter a Doctor of Business Administration (DBA) degree program, you must have an MBA or an equivalent graduate degree, although you can also find combined MBA-DBA programs. A DBA usually takes between four and seven years to complete, depending on whether you are studying full or part time. Most programs require you to complete between 54 and 60 credits, divided into concentration courses, core courses, research skills, and electives. A dissertation is also required.
A DBA is the highest possible degree you can earn in the field of business administration. It is a good choice if your goal is to reach a high-level executive position. While many people pursue MBAs, earning your DBA places you in a small and elite category that will help you obtain better jobs throughout your career.
Why Get a Business Degree?
With so many options for courses of study these days, why should you choose a business degree over other subjects? If you are seeking a career in the business world, it makes sense to pursue a business degree that will provide you with a solid foundation and understanding of the field. While obtaining a business degree is not the right option for everyone, business studies can provide you with a way to quickly gain the knowledge and skills that you will need for a modern career in business. Also remember there are different business degrees at all educational levels, from associate’s degrees all the way up to doctoral degrees. Following are a few points for you to consider while doing your research.
1. It’s practical.
One advantage of a business degree is that it is a practical option with many applications. With most fields, you are limited in the type of jobs you can apply for. Business, however, is intrinsic to nearly every industry as well as nonprofit and the public sector. This makes the business field a good choice if you are not sure exactly what direction you want to take with your career. Whatever career you end up in, having a solid understanding of how a company operates will always be invaluable.
2. You want to go into management.
Many types of business degrees are useful if you are seeking a particular kind of occupation in management. If, for example, you know you want to become an accountant, a public relations specialist, an operations manager or a financial analyst, you can find a business program that leads to this type of career. An MBA can also be a good stepping stone into a career in management.
3. It’s versatile enough for everyone.
Business is also a field that makes it easy to continue your studies at any level. Whether you are ready to earn your associate’s, bachelor’s, or master’s degree, you can find a suitable business program to fit your needs. People have a wide variety of reasons for pursuing degrees in business and many types of people can benefit by studying business. From high school graduates, who can quickly gain the credentials they need to start their careers to people who have been working for many years in a focused field and who are considering a career change, business school can give students an edge. Even if you have an undergraduate degree in a non-business field, you can still apply for MBA and other graduate programs in business. A business degree program can be a great fit for future entrepreneurs as well, as people who own their own business need to understand how to run it effectively and how to be profitable. Some business degrees offer specialized entrepreneurial programs for such people.
4. It looks good on paper.
Regardless of your goals, when you have a business degree from an accredited institution, your resume will immediately become more impressive. Recruiters and hiring managers learn to weed out applicants based on their skills and education. When applying and interviewing for jobs, having one or more accredited business degrees under your belt will make you more attractive compared to candidates with no business school experience. Even if you are looking to change jobs mid-career, adding an MBA to your resume will make you more marketable in this competitive job market.
Still another benefit of a business degree is that you have a chance to make valuable and lasting connections during a business school program. From fellow students to professors to visiting recruiters to internship colleagues to alumni networks, business school provides the opportunity to network with others in the field, which may lead to job opportunities when you graduate. Some of these relationships may develop into mentorships or friendships that could last a lifetime.
Business Degree Accreditation
As you discover business degrees, one of the primary factors you must consider is accreditation. There are quite a few organizations that provide business school and business degree accreditation, each with a slightly different focus. You should also familiarize yourself with the different types of business accreditation.
Institutional accreditation means the entire college or university has been approved by a recognized agency that accredits business school degrees. When this type of accreditation is in place, you can assume that all of the programs offered by the school are accredited.
Business Degree Program Accreditation
Program accreditation, on the other hand, means that a particular program is accredited. If the program you are considering has been accredited this should give you confidence, regardless of whether every program in the school has been accredited. When schools or programs claim to be accredited, you should also make sure that it has been accredited by a recognized and respected organization, such as the following:
Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB)
The AACSB provides accreditation for bachelor’s, master’s and doctorate programs throughout the world. AACSB-accredited business degrees are widely recognized as the most selective type of accreditation for business programs. Fewer than 25% of business schools in the United States have AACSB-accreditation.
Accreditation Council For Business Schools and Programs (ACBSP)
The ACBSP was founded in 1988 and is another widely recognized organization that provides accreditation to business degree programs. Unlike the AACSB, the ACBSP provides accreditation for associate programs as well as baccalaureate, master’s, and doctorate degree programs. The ACBSP accredits close to 3,000 business programs around the world.
International Assembly for Collegiate Business Education (IACBE)
The IACBE was founded in 1997 and is another accreditation body that recognizes business education programs. The IACBE has an accreditation philosophy based on measurable results achieved by institutions.
Association of MBAs (AMBA)
The AMBA is an organization that offers accreditation to MBA programs around the world. This is a more specialized type of accreditation that is useful if you are applying for an MBA program. You can quickly look up a program to see if it is accredited by the AMBA or find accredited programs in your area. The AMBA accredits MBA programs in more than 70 countries.
EQUIS, which is affiliated with the Management Development Network (EFMD), is an international accreditation body that is a partner with the United Nations Global Compact, whose goal is to produce quality managers and leaders. EQUIS-EFMD has a network of more than 600 business schools and companies around the world. EQUIS provides institutional accreditation for schools that meet the organization’s standards. It does not just evaluate degree programs, but all activities of the institution, including research and community outreach. EFMD also offers EPAS, which is an international program accreditation system.
Additional MBA Degree Information by State
We offer a comprehensive listing of MBA programs and resources available in each state. Many business schools offer online MBA degrees in addition to traditional on-campus business degrees. Select your state in the list below to find out more about MBA degree programs in your area.
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- New Hampshire
- New Jersey
- New York
- North Carolina
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- Rhode Island
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- West Virginia