Business Degrees in Washington

Washington is a hot state. It routinely appears on top ten lists of the best states to live in within the US, and its burgeoning technology industry—headlined by household names Microsoft and Amazon—has garnered it a great deal of attention around the world over the last couple of decades. It is also a state with great natural beauty, including many famous landmarks and parks. Its climate is famously wet, owing to its coastal location and inland mountain ranges that wring water from Pacific storms, though many people don’t realize that the interior beyond those mountains is actually among the driest regions of the continent. Its estimated population of approximately 7.5 million is mostly concentrated in the urban and suburban centers around Seattle and Tacoma.

Given its importance to many key businesses and its relatively rapid growth—the state’s population has roughly doubled over the last 40 years—one might expect that there would be a lot of business schools in The Evergreen State. However, for whatever reason, this is not the case. According to National Center for Educational Statistics (NCES) statistics, there are only 38 public and non-profit schools that grant undergraduate and graduate business degrees in Washington; of these, 14 are accredited at the undergraduate level and 13 at the graduate level, which are relatively low figures on an absolute and aX percentage basis. As with all states, we strongly recommend choosing an accredited business degree, as this provides assurance that the program you select has clear objectives and that the school has proven that it produces quality outcomes and adheres to national and international standards. Accredited schools also typically offer a richer educational experience via interaction with actual businesses.

All of the schools in this article have been accredited by the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB), Accreditation Council for Business Schools and Programs (ACBSP), and/or International Accreditation Council for Business Education (IACBE). They are all public or non-profit and regionally accredited by the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities (NWCCU).

This article contains essential data to help you choose the Washington business school that best suits your unique needs based on a variety of key factors: tuition, financial aid, entrance exam scores, acceptance rates, and more. The three sections that follow describe undergraduate programs, graduate schools, and the job prospects for business school graduates in Washington.

Undergraduate Business Schools in Washington

Due to most of its population being located in a major population center, so are most of its schools, resulting in relatively high average tuition costs relative to some other states. The average overall tuition for the 14 schools granting undergraduate degrees is just shy of $23,000, while average maximum financial aid offered is around $14,000. There aren’t any extremely expensive (> $50,000) schools, but Seattle University, Gonzaga University, Pacific Lutheran University and Seattle Pacific University are all in approximately the $40,000 range. There are only three schools on our list below $10,000, which is much lower than the number in more budget-friendly states: Western Washington University ($7,900), Central Washington University ($7,700) and Eastern Washington University ($7,000).
We were able to obtain acceptance rate data for all of our schools except the City University of Seattle. Washington undergraduate business schools have very high acceptance rates, with the overall average at an impressive 78%. Only one school (the University of Washington) is below 50% at 45%, while 7 of the 13 schools are above 80% and 3 are at 93% or higher.

Graduation rates for undergraduate business degrees in Washington are mostly moderate, with 11 of the 14 schools in a range from 47% to 75%. The University of Washington and Gonzaga University are tied for the highest graduation rate at 84%, while the lowest, just 24%, is at the City University of Seattle. Seattle Pacific University has the best combination of acceptance rate (87%) and graduation rate (71%), making it a great low-risk option for “getting in and getting out.” Western Washington University is just behind at 83% and 70% respectively.

The table below shows you all the important data you need about undergraduate business schools in Washington, including annual in-state tuition costs, average aid per student, acceptance rates, SAT and ACT score ranges of accepted students, and graduation rates. Click any column header to sort the table based on its contents.

SchoolCityTuitionAidMedian SATMedian ACTAccept. RateGrad. Rate
Central Washington UniversityEllensburg$7,719$7,383960-115018-2480%53%
City University of SeattleSeattle$16,748$1,47324%
Eastern Washington UniversitySpokane$6,951$8,416850-108017-2395%47%
Gonzaga UniversitySpokane$39,730$17,2941110-130025-3067%84%
Northwest UniversityKirkland$29,200$19,389942-117420-2693%53%
Pacific Lutheran UniversityTacoma$39,450$22,774980-123022-2877%71%
Saint Martin’s UniversityLacey$34,356$21,721895-115020-2595%55%
Seattle Pacific UniversitySeattle$38,940$20,928990-123021-2787%71%
Seattle UniversitySeattle$41,265$20,8761070-129025-3074%75%
University of WashingtonSeattle$10,753$13,6551120-137026-3245%84%
University of Washington BothellBothell$10,690$12,876910-117020-2580%67%
Walla Walla UniversityCollege Place$26,982$11,566920-121020-2762%54%
Washington State UniversityPullman$11,041$9,906930-116520-2672%67%
Western Washington UniversityBellingham$7,903$7,956990-122023-2883%70%

Graduate Business Schools in Washington

We have data on 13 accredited schools for graduate business study in Washington. Tuitions for MBAs in Washington tend to be on the moderate side; higher than the cost of undergraduate study, as is usually the case, but mostly reasonable, and with no extremely expensive schools. The overall average tuition is just over $37,000, and 7 of the 13 cost around $35,000 or less. The two most expensive schools are the University of Washington Tacoma at $66,700 and the University of Washington at $60,700.

We have average admission GMAT scores for 8 of our 13 schools, which fall in a tight band: 517 to 590. Nine schools provided data on the percentage of full-time faculty with doctorate degrees, all of which are over 80%, and 4 of which are over 90%.

To keep advancing your career while enhancing your education level, consider one of the online MBA programs in Washington. The most prestigious of these is offered by Washington State University, which is currently ranked 12th best online MBA offering by US News and World Report. Underscoring the level of this program is the requirement for a bachelor’s degree with a 3.0 or higher GPA and a GMAT score of at least 550, plus three letters of recommendation. These are stringent criteria given what is typical for online education. Other schools offering online MBAs include the City University of Seattle and Northwest University. Most online programs offer the same basic curriculum and courses as their offline equivalents.

The table that follows shows graduate business school tuition costs, average accepted applicant GMAT scores, percentage of faculty with a doctorate degree, and student-to-faculty ratios. Click any column header to sort the table based on its contents.

SchoolCityTuitionAvg. GMATFaculty
with Doct.
City University of SeattleSeattle$17,450
Eastern Washington UniversitySpokane$21,60081%0.76
Gonzaga UniversitySpokane$31,51552789%
Northwest UniversityKirkland$35,320
Pacific Lutheran UniversityTacoma$52,20052680%4.76
Saint Martin’s UniversityLacey$44,640
Seattle Pacific UniversitySeattle$40,050100%1.85
Seattle UniversitySeattle$44,42054791%8.02
University of WashingtonSeattle$60,67856694%2.4
University of Washington TacomaTacoma$66,678517
University of Washington BothellBothell$23,59253788%0.86
Washington State UniversityPullman$22,34956582%6.53
Western Washington UniversityBellingham$23,09859098%0.49

Job Outlook for Business Graduates in Washington

Between 2016 and 2026, Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) data predicts total growth of at least 5% in 32 of 37 business and management occupations across the US. The highest growth will be for market analysts and marketing specialists, at 22.8% over ten years, with financial managers coming in second at 18.7%.

Washington’s economy has tracked the national economy very closely over the last decade, with its unemployment rate being within a few tenths of a point of the national average for most of that time. It has recently diverged slightly, sitting at 4.8% as of April 2018 compared to the national figure of 3.8%. About 290,000 people were employed in the business and management sector in Washington in 2016. The largest subgroup was general and operations managers at 46,740, with business operations specialists well back in second place (34,370), followed by accountants and auditors at 30,460. Five categories employed between 10,000 and 20,000 people, while the rest were all below 10,000.

According to BLS data, the overall average annual wage in 2016 across all occupations in Washington was $67,106, which has the state falling just outside the top ten at 11th out of 51 (including the District of Columbia). Business and management occupations had a weighted average annual salary of around $101,400 in the same year. This is higher than the figure for many states, but only about 51% more than the overall state average, likely due to a high concentration of professionals among the general population in Washington, and the state’s relatively high minimum wage. Chief executives had the highest average salary ($194,240), while most management positions were roughly in the $100,000 to $150,000 range. Tax preparers were the lowest-paid group at $38,070.

Accountants and Auditors13-201130,460$36.54$76,01010.0%
Administrative Services Managers11-30115,060$54.91$114,21010.1%
Advertising and Promotions Managers11-2011580$65.9$137,0805.8%
Agents and Managers of Artists and Athletes13-101180$35.34$73,5104.9%
Architectural and Engineering Managers11-90414,350$74.11$154,1405.5%
Budget Analysts13-20311,190$35.73$74,3106.5%
Business Operations Specialists13-119934,370$37.13$77,2408.8%
Chief Executives11-10115,390$93.38$194,2408.0%
Compensation and Benefits Managers11-3111340$63.4$131,8605.0%
Compensation and Job Analysis Specialists13-11411,710$35.8$74,4608.5%
Compliance Officers13-10418,690$40.77$84,8008.2%
Information Systems Managers11-302112,590$74.42$154,79011.9%
Construction Managers11-90218,220$46.91$97,57011.4%
Cost Estimators13-10515,580$37.21$77,39010.6%
Credit Analysts13-20411,060$38.82$80,7508.4%
Credit Counselors13-2071410$24.19$50,30013.9%
Financial Analysts13-20516,330$41.28$85,86010.8%
Financial Examiners13-2061480$46.65$97,0309.8%
Financial Managers11-303112,920$63.99$133,1000.187%
General and Operations Managers11-102146,740$60.1$125,0009.1%
Human Resources Managers11-31213,440$60.81$126,4808.9%
Human Resources Specialists13-107115,980$33.31$69,2807.1%
Insurance Underwriters13-20531,950$37.95$78,930-5.2%
Labor Relations Specialists13-10752,220$36.58$76,080-7.8%
Loan Officers13-20726,960$36.66$76,26011.5%
Management Analysts13-111119,650$50.2$104,42012.0%
Market Research and Marketing Specialists13-116117,730$39.51$82,19022.8%
Marketing Managers11-20215,610$73.16$152,18010.0%
Meeting and Event Planners13-11213,060$21.75$45,24010.2%
Public Relations11-20312,100$56.05$116,59010.4%
Purchasing Managers11-30611,930$62.8$130,6105.6%
Sales Managers11-20227,760$64.49$134,1407.4%
Tax Examiners and Revenue Agents13-20811,070$30.76$63,990-0.6%
Tax Preparers13-20821,080$18.3$38,07010.8%
Training and Development Managers11-3131680$62.35$129,69010.3%
Training and Development Specialists13-11516,450$35.46$73,75011.5%

1. National Center for Education Statistics:
2. AACSB, Best Business Schools:
3. ACBSP, Business Schools:
4. IACBE, Business Schools:
5. US Bureau of Labor Statistics – Occupational Outlook Handbook, Business and Financial Occupations:
6. US Bureau of Labor Statistics – Employment and Wage Estimates Washington State:
7. Washington State Board of Education:
8. US News & World Report, 2018 Best Business Schools: