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What is Business Administration?

Business administration is a highly popular degree choice among graduates throughout the world. The field is extremely versatile, offering students opportunities to explore and develop a range of important skills related to business, management, finance, leadership, and marketing. These are crucial and valuable components in any workplace, making business administration graduates at every level an asset.

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), employment in business and financial operations occupations is expected to increase by 5% from 2019 to 2029, with makes job outlook comparable to most other professions. This growth is projected to be due mostly to globalization and an ever-developing economy, as well as a complex tax and regulatory environment. Additionally, an increasing usage and dependence upon data and market research in business to better understand clients, customers, and product demand will lead to higher demand for professionals with expertise in this field.

Business and financial operations is considered a major employment group in Arizona. This one sector accounted for 179,470 jobs in the state in 2020. The annual mean wage for local professionals in this field was $107,880 for management occupations and $71,130, which is significantly higher than the national median.

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Business Administration Education in Arizona

Business administration tends to cover a wide range of career pathways, chief among them being accounting, computer information systems, finance, and marketing. Most aspiring professionals have some notion of the career they want to pursue before enrolling in an academic program. This is helpful, as degree options can vary and often offer opportunities to select a concentration that coordinates with individual aspirations.

While the majority of positions in this field require candidates to have a bachelor’s degree, there are business administration programs available at every level, from associate degrees to doctorates. Each has benefits and drawbacks, making it even more important to know your academic and career goals prior to enrollment.

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Associate Degree in Business Administration (AS)

An associate degree in business administration is generally adequate to qualify graduates for basic management and administration roles in private, public, and non-profit organizations. Other common employment opportunities include management trainers, project assistants, office managers, sales representatives, and technology specialists.

While entry-level jobs like these are available, the most common use of an associate degree in business administration is to begin working toward a future bachelor’s degree. Credits can be easily transferred from accredited institutions and will drastically shorten the time to graduation.

The majority of associate degree programs in business administration focus on providing students with a comprehensive understanding of management principles, business-oriented technology, and interpersonal skills. They usually consist of 60 credit hours of coursework and take full-time students approximately two years to complete. For more information, see Online Business Administration AS Programs

Bachelor's Degree in Business Administration (BS)

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the majority of business and financial operations occupations require employees to have, at minimum, a bachelor’s degree. Additionally, employers tend to give preference to applicants who have higher education degrees. This means graduates will have a much easier time finding employment, especially in entry-level business and finance roles.

While there is no standardized curriculum for undergraduate business management programs, coursework is designed to teach students in-demand skill sets that can be applied to finance, technology, healthcare, and many other fields. The fundamental knowledge gained provides graduates with the tools needed to be successful in the business world.

Most bachelor’s degree programs in business administration 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:

  • Accountant
  • Auditor
  • Budget Analyst
  • Cost Estimator
  • Human Resources Specialist
  • Logistician

Graduates can also pursue advanced master’s and/or doctoral degrees in business administration. Most of these programs will require an undergraduate degree to apply and graduates generally enjoy even more employment opportunities. For more information, see Online Business Administration BS Programs

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

Individuals who wish to continue to advance professionally should strongly consider enrolling in a master’s in business administration (MBA) degree program. Graduates are generally assigned greater responsibilities at work and qualify for roles that require supervising other employees. Professionals with master’s degrees also tend to earn higher salaries than those without them.

MBA programs provide a deeper exploration of business fundamentals, allowing students to develop a more comprehensive understanding of how businesses operate. Graduates hone the skills they already have, as well as gain familiarity with leadership and management techniques.

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. Part-time students may need additional time to finish requirements.

While this type of degree will prepare graduates for management roles across many industries, the most common employment opportunities include:

  • Information Technology Manager
  • Financial Manager
  • Industrial Production Manager
  • Management Analyst

For more information, see Online MBA (Master in Business Administration) Programs

PhD Degree in Business Administration (PhD)

A doctorate in business administration (DBA) is not required for most entry and mid-level employment in the field. However, it can lead to extremely lucrative career opportunities. Most programs are designed to further enhance students’ theoretical knowledge of business and business management. Curriculums vary, but DBAs usually require three to six years to complete.

Alternatively, students could choose to earn a PhD in business administration. While DBAs prepare graduates for further work in management, PhD programs are ideal for individuals interested in research and academia within the field.

Both options demonstrate advanced mastery of business theory and practice and can lead to some of the very best positions. Students will conduct significant amounts of independent study and writing dissertations is almost always required. Programs typically consist of between 90 and 120 credit hours and take full-time students four to seven years to complete.

The most common employment opportunities available after graduation include:

  • Top Executive
  • Postsecondary Business Professor
  • Postsecondary Education Administrator
  • Economist

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Top College Programs in Arizona for Business Administration

  • Arizona State University
  • Northern Arizona University
  • University of Arizona
  • Prescott College
  • Grand Canyon University

Become a Business Administrator in Arizona

The first step to becoming a business administration professional in Arizona is to determine your career goals. Identifying specific and broad aspirations will help direct your search for an academic program, ensuring you gain the necessary knowledge, skills and training to be successful. This will also help you determine what type of degree is needed.

While establishing objectives is important, you can still begin your business administration education without specific outcomes in mind. The business field is unique, with many sectors overlapping with each other. This makes it easier to switch career paths along the way if you happen to decide the one you have chosen is not the best fit.

Additionally, many colleges and universities offer students the opportunity to select a concentration as part of their degree programs. Doing this will tailor a number of classes to a specific subsection of the field.

Some of the most common options include:

  • Entrepreneurship
  • Economics
  • Finance
  • Management
  • Marketing

Once you have obtained the necessary degree(s), you can also choose to pursue various certifications and/or licensures. Doing this can improve your job and salary potential, as well as making you more competitive during the hiring process. Some employers may also require specific certifications. In most cases, however, professionals simply choose which optional professional certifications to pursue in order to advance their careers.

Depending on the industrial certification program selected, some form of continuing education may be necessary. Qualifying classes are often offered through colleges and universities, associations and organizations, or leading industry corporations. Some continuing education opportunities are free, while others are only available for a fee.

It’s also worth noting that those planning to open their own businesses in Arizona will need some form of business license. While the state does not issue or require licenses, most cities and towns do. Additionally, all businesses involved in activities supervised and regulated by one or more federal, state, and/or local governmental offices will need to obtain special licenses, certifications, and/or permits.

Careers for Business Administration Graduates

After earning a business management degree and completing any optional certification programs you wish, 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 Arizona.

  • Project Manager:
    Project managers oversee various projects assigned to them by their employing company or organization. These professionals define associated goals and timelines, which are then shared with the project team. It is also their responsibility to coordinate, document, and assign tasks, as well as manage budgets and resources appropriately. They will address problems within the team when necessary. According to PayScale, project managers for non-profit organizations make an average base salary of $74,962 per year. Read More
  • Marketing Manager:
    Marketing managers supervise and assist in the creation of advertising and/or merchandising sales campaigns. They are generally assigned one or two products, product lines, brands, or companies for which they are responsible. These professionals often collaborate with product managers, monitor program performance, assist in market research studies, and recommend new program implementation. According to PayScale, marketing managers make an average base salary of $66,317 per year. Read More
  • Supply Chain Manager:
    Supply chain managers are responsible for overseeing and coordinating a company or organization’s franchise supply chain. This generally includes developing and maintaining logistical and procedural policies, mediating between sales and customer service teams, and managing inventories based on demand. According to PayScale, supply chain managers make an average base salary of $83,953 per year. Read More
  • Product Director:
    Project directors help companies and organizations deliver high quality products to clients and customers. They often offer support throughout the product creation process and ensure production is accurately executed. This generally involves some level of knowledge regarding digital design and software engineering. They professionals report on customer feedback to stakeholders. According to PayScale, project directors make an average base salary of $129,375 per year.
  • Digital Marketing Manager / Director:
    Digital marketing managers and directors are generally charged with developing marketing projects for companies and organizations. They are responsible for ensuring that advertising efforts are efficient and effective, increasing both sales and brand loyalty or awareness and satisfaction. Their tasks usually include implementing new media and digital marketing strategies, coordinating social and digital media platforms, and leading website development. According to PayScale, digital marketing managers make an average base salary of $67,787 per year.

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  • Human Resource Manager:
    Human resource managers are responsible for ensuring employees comply with all company or organization policies and procedures. These professionals also make sure all activities observe local, state, and federal laws. It is common for them to work closely with insurance programs and they frequently manage flexible work arrangement and open enrollment programs. They also oversee maternity leave, vacation time, and sick leave benefits, as well as advise other managers through employee-related issues. According to PayScale, human resource managers make an average base salary of $68,478 per year. Read More
  • Bookkeeper:
    Bookkeepers are responsible for ensuring a company or organization’s finances are accurate and well maintained. These professionals utilize a wide variety of accounting software to track and record financial transactions. They 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.
  • Economist:
    Economists advise businesses and organizations about elements of economics. Specifics needs vary, but this often includes providing details regarding tax rates, health statistics, energy facts, transportation trends, international trade, and land development. These professionals regularly use computer programs to organize and present data to stakeholders. They also regularly utilize sampling and survey techniques to generate relevant and applicable industry information. According to PayScale, economists make an average base salary of $78,021 per year. Read More

Additional Career Options:

  • Marketing Manager
  • Non-Profit Director
  • Public Services / Works Director
  • International Business
  • Certified Public Accountant
  • Financial Analyst
  • Loan Officer

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