How to Become a Business Manager in Alaska

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What is Business Management?


Business management generally includes a wide range of responsibilities around a single purpose: positively contributing to a company or organization’s overall profitability and viability. The specific tasks required tend to vary based on the business type and industry, but often include assisting with sales-related goals, analyzing data, supervising employee hiring and training, and developing budgets.

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, employment in management occupations is expected to increase by 5% from 2019 to 2029, which makes job outlook comparable to most other professions. Business managers often provide essential services to companies and organizations at every level of development. The anticipated formation of new businesses coupled with the need to maintain existing ones means there will be plenty of employment opportunities for individuals qualified to oversee and manage various operational factors.

While Alaska’s population is relatively low, management occupations, as well as business and financial operations occupations, are considered major employment groups in the state. The two sectors combined accounted for 317,890 jobs in 2020. The annual mean wage was $107,880 for management occupations and $78,270 for business and financial operations occupations. In both cases, this is higher than the national median.

With this type of work proving somewhat prominent in Alaska, it’s not surprising that the state offers several academic programs for individuals interested in pursuing a career in business management. This is particularly relevant for those planning to pursue employment within the state, as local colleges and universities are likely to offer the most relevant education. These institutions will be most familiar with what potential employers in the area expect from graduates.

It’s important to realize that the role of a business manager can vary significantly depending on the company or organization that they work for. Factors that may impact the position most are organization size and industry. Additionally, as the needs and wants of a business change over time, the job requirements of a business manager can expand to include more responsibilities.


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Business Management Education in Alaska


Generally, business managers are hired to help assist a company or organization in reaching sales, productivity, profitability, and/or industry penetration goals. This usually requires directing overall operations in a variety of areas such as supervising a particular department, analyzing data, preparing reports for senior management, and ensuring compliance with company policies. They are also frequently responsible for making crucial business decisions, such as hiring, training, and evaluating employees.

Individuals who enjoy overseeing others’ work and directing organizational operations are likely to find this type of position fulfilling. Professionals in this field tend to have great organizational skills and are goal oriented.

Some of the most important skills associated with business management include:

  • Leadership
  • Decision-Making
  • Personal Management
  • Reasoning and Assessment
  • Communication

Business management tends to cover a wide range of topics, chief among them being general business principles, organizational effectiveness, financial analysis, strategic planning, and data analytics. A broad knowledge of these areas can prepare individuals for work in a variety of areas including business administration, banking, and finance. While the majority of these positions require candidates to have a bachelor’s degree, there are business management programs available at every level. Each has benefits and drawbacks, making it important to know your academic and career goals prior to enrollment. It’s imperative that you take time to consider all the options carefully before making a final program decision.

Associate Degree in Business Management (AS)

An associate degree in business management is generally adequate to qualify graduates for administrative support positions in business and finance. These are primarily entry-level jobs, but are within sectors that provide relatively consistent employment security. While employment opportunities should be readily available for individuals with associate degrees, mid-level and managerial positions will remain out of reach until additional higher education is completed.

The majority of associate degree programs in business management focus on introducing students to general business and administrative knowledge and skills. Every curriculum is different, but it’s common to see courses in accounting, marketing, leadership, communications, and office applications. An associate in applied arts (AAS) may be most beneficial, as it provides more practical training in the field.

Associate degrees in business management usually consist of 60 credit hours of coursework and take full-time students approximately two years to complete.

The most accessible employment opportunities available after graduation include:

  • Customer Service Representative
  • Receptionist
  • Administrative Assistant

Earning an associate degree in business management can function as a steppingstone to further education. Many graduates use their enrollment as an opportunity to decide whether or not the field is a good fit. Afterward, course credits from accredited colleges and universities can be transferred to four-year institutions. This can dramatically decrease the number of classes needed to complete a bachelor’s degree.

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Bachelor's Degree in Business Management (BS)

In general, most employers expect business give preference to applicants who have a bachelor’s degree. This means that earning an undergraduate degree will make finding employment significantly easier, especially in entry-level business and finance roles. Additionally, graduates are likely to have more promotion opportunities in the future, with management positions often available after only a few years of professional experience.

While there is no standardized curriculum for undergraduate business management programs, coursework generally covers a wide range of fundamental concepts within the field. These frequently include marking, economics, business, and accounting. It’s also common for colleges and universities to allow students to select a concentration in marking, finance, human resources management, accounting, or global business.

Most bachelor degree programs in accounting consist of 120 credit hours of coursework and take full-time students approximately four years to complete.

The most accessible employment opportunities available after graduation include:

  • Human Resource Specialist
  • Management Consultant
  • Marketing Manager
  • Sales Manager

Graduates can also opt to pursue advanced positions in business management. These programs can result in even more employment opportunities.

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Master's Degree in Business Management (MS or MC)

Individuals who wish to have greater responsibilities and want to find positions that oversee other employees will likely need a master’s degree in business management. These programs provide a deeper exploration of business fundamentals, as well as instruction in leadership. Graduates will be prepared to fill more advanced positions and are likely to earn higher salaries.

There are several different types of master’s degree programs available, including the master of business administration (MBA). Prior to enrolling, ensure the curriculum matches your ultimate academic and career goals. Whether you choose a management or MBA program, you are likely to gain access to top executive-level jobs.

Most master’s degree programs in business administration consist of 30 to 36 credit hours of coursework and take full-time students approximately one to one-and-a-half years to complete.

The most accessible employment opportunities available after graduation include:

  • Training and Development Manager
  • Top Executive
  • Public Relations and Fundraising Manager
  • Human Resources Manager
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PhD Degree in Business Management (PhD)

The highest level of education in business is a doctoral degree. This degree demonstrates advanced mastery of both theory and practice, which generally means graduates are sought after for the very best positions in the field. Professionals with doctorates can choose from work in academia, research, management, and policy.

Not all doctoral programs are the same. PhD programs, for example, focus mostly on business research. Students will have to complete a significant amount of independent study and then write a dissertation. Those who choose to pursue a doctorate in management or business administration, on the other hand, will spend most of their time learning about practical applications within the field.

Regardless of the type of doctorate selected, the programs typically consist of between 90 and 120 credit hours and take full-time students four to seven years to complete. Significant amounts of research and writing will be necessary.

The most accessible employment opportunities available after graduation include:

  • Postsecondary Business Professor
  • Postsecondary Education Administrator
  • Economist

Become a Business Manager in Alaska


The first step to becoming a business management professional in Alaska is establishing career goals. Knowing your goals from the start will direct your search for an applicable academic program that can provide you with the necessary knowledge, skills, and training to be successful in the future. Setting achievable goals now ensures you remain on the right track moving forward.

Once you have established your ultimate career objectives, it becomes easier to identify the level of education necessary to achieve them. In addition to obtaining a degree, however, you can also choose to pursue various certifications and/or licensures. Doing this will ensure you stand out even more among the competition for jobs, may qualify you for a pay increase, and could lead to additional promotional opportunities.

The most frequently sought-after designation is the Certified Business Manager (CBM) certification. This qualification is offered by numerous professional organizations and institutions that have attained the appropriate accreditation. Achieving this status is a clear signal to employers that you are an expert in the field and possess elite operational management skills.

Some colleges and universities actually incorporate CBM into their master’s level curriculums. This means that students can work through the certification process as they complete the necessary academic requirements for graduation. Once the program is completed, graduates can begin their careers as CBMs. You should always verify that this is offered prior to enrolling at the institution. Additionally, some schools offer other professional certifications that may help you stand out among others in the field.

Established professionals can use continuing education to advance their careers further. Choosing to earn another higher-level degree can make you more marketable and will qualify you for more prominent positions. Alternatively, current professionals can complete undergraduate or graduate certificate programs in various related concentrations. These take less time to finish and do not cost as much as earning a second degree. Additionally, many of these professional programs are offered part-time or online, making them accessible to working individuals.

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Top College Programs in Alaska for Business Management


  • University of Alaska Anchorage (UAA):
    The University of Alaska Anchorage (UAA) offers a Bachelor of Business Administration (BBA) degree in management. The program explores a variety of concepts and principles, including organizational theory, design, and development. Students learn to understand important basic principles and tenets of human resource management, as well as how strategies for handling negotiations and conflicts. Graduates will be prepared for careers working as managers for corporations, non-profit organizations, and government agencies.
  • University of Alaska Fairbanks (UAF):
    The University of Alaska Fairbanks (UAF) School of Management (SOM) offers several business-related degree programs at the undergraduate and graduate levels, as well as a minor. The most applicable option is the Bachelor of Applied Management (BAM), which teaches students how to apply business management philosophies to previously acquired technical training in any field. The university also offers degree programs in business administration and accounting and finance, as well as security and emergency management.
  • University of Alaska Southeast (UAS):
    The University of Alaska Southeast (UAS) offers both online and on-campus programs that are accredited by the Accreditation Council for Business Schools and Programs (ACBSP). The most relevant options available is the Bachelor of Business Administration (BBA) with an emphasis in management. Students may also want to consider the BBA in human resource management or management information systems programs. All degree options seek to prepare students for successful careers working with companies of every size across an array of different industries.
  • Alaska Pacific University (APU):
    Alaska Pacific University (APU) offers a Bachelor of Arts in Business Administration program that focuses on relevant and project-based instruction. Classes are offered online and in the evenings at an accelerated rate to help students complete degree requirements quickly. The curriculum covers strategic leadership, values and ethics, and a variety of current business topics. Students are also given an opportunity to select one of two concentrations: non-profit management or health care management. Additionally, business and non-business majors can choose a minor in accounting and finance, business administration, or healthcare management. Graduates frequently find work in accounting, finance, hospitality and tourism, and small business ownership.

Careers for Business Management Graduates


After earning a business management degree and completing any optional certification programs, there are a wide variety of positions you may be qualified to apply for. From entry-level employment in primarily administrative roles to careers in department and resource management, it’s easy to find ways to apply a business management degree in Alaska.

While salaries and responsibilities vary, some of the most common career options include:

  • Management Information System Specialist
  • Human Resource Manager
  • C-Suite Executive
  • Non-Profit Manager
  • Administrative Assistant
  • Financial Analyst
  • Bookkeeper
  • Training and Development Manager
  • Top Executive
  • Public Relations Manager
  • Fundraising Manager
  • Human Resources Manager
  • Postsecondary Business Professor
  • Postsecondary Education Administrator
  • Human Resource Manager:
    Human resource managers are responsible for overseeing company or organization policies, procedures, and compliance as it pertains to employees. They must ensure all activities comply with local, state, and federal laws. These professionals also work closely with insurance programs and manage flexible work arrangements and open enrollment programs, as well as maternity leave, vacation time, and sick leave benefits. Human resource managers also frequently advise and coach other managers through employee-related issues. According to PayScale, human resource managers make an average base salary of $68,478 per year.
  • Non-Profit Program Manager:
    Program managers for non-profit organizations are responsible for ensuring projects align with established goals. They oversee quality control procedures by handling budgets, staffing, and any associated activities. These professionals are also likely to work closely with many other individuals, including volunteers and lead management. This means they must have excellent communication and presentation skills. According to PayScale, program managers for non-profit organizations make an average base salary of $53,201 per year.
  • Financial Analyst:
    Financial analysts help corporations and businesses make the best possible investments. This requires studying marketplace trends, as well as staying current with potentially relevant national and global news. Their primary responsibility is to provide helpful advice regarding bonds, stock and splits, as well as guide clients through possible areas of financial concern. According to PayScale, financial analysts make an average base salary of $61,799 per year.
  • Accountant:
    Accountants perform a wide variety of financial services for their clients, which can include individuals, companies, and organizations. While every position calls for a slightly different approach, the most common financial calculations offered include creating cash flow reports, administering payroll, maintaining balance sheets, performing various billing activities, keeping inventories, and managing budgets. According to PayScale, accountants make an average base salary of $51,796 per year.
  • Bookkeeper:
    Bookkeepers typically take responsibility for ensuring a company or organization’s finances are accurate and under control. They are typically familiar with a variety of accounting software, which is used to track and record financial transactions. These professionals also help verify that financial decisions are viable and safe for their employers. Other common tasks include calculating, recording, and balancing payroll reports. According to PayScale, bookkeepers make an average base salary of $43,857 per year.
  • Training and Development Manager:
    Training and development managers help companies and organizations remain effective by providing employees with the support and training they need to be most successful. They are often responsible for organizing relevant workshops, but may also work one-on-one with staff members to enhance individual knowledge and technique. According to PayScale, training and development managers make an average base salary of $77,551 per year.
  • Public Relations (PR) Manager:
    Public relations (PR) managers can work for companies and organizations involved in a wide range of industries, from hospitality to manufacturing. They are responsible for maintaining and improving how the public views their employers. Tasks generally include creating campaigns to boost positive awareness of business activities, managing social media, and ensuring content provided to the public is accurate. According to PayScale, public relations managers make an average base salary of $70,335 per year.
  • Economist:
    Economists are responsible for advising businesses and organizations about various elements of economics including tax rates, health statistics, energy facts, transportation trends, international trade, and land development. They regularly use computer programs to present relevant data in formats that will be most applicable for the industry they work within. These professionals are also good at understanding sampling and survey techniques. According to PayScale, economists make an average base salary of $78,021 per year.

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