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What is Business Administration?
Business administration is an extremely popular degree choice in the United States and throughout the world. As an especially versatile field, graduates often develop a large range of transferrable skills and are qualified for a variety of careers related to business, management, finance, leadership, and marketing. Knowledge in these areas is highly valuable in almost any workplace, making business administration a viable degree choice at every academic level.
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. This may not seem significant, but it does mean job outlook for this field is comparable to most other professions. The projected growth will primarily be due to globalization, as well as an ever-developing economy. Additionally, increased usage of and dependency on business data and market research to better understand clients, customers, and product demand will result in greater need for professionals with expertise in this field.
Professional and business services is the second largest industry in Arkansas. It accounts for $13.8 billion in revenue each year. Further, according to the U.S. BLS, business and financial operations occupations are considered a major employment group in the state. This one sector accounted for 53,750 jobs in 2020. The annual mean wage for local professionals in this field was around $66,200, which is significantly higher than the national median.
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Business Administration Education in Arkansas
Understandably, the demand for business administration professionals in Arkansas is relatively high. There are a wide range of companies and organizations that benefit from this type of expertise. As a result, the state has numerous notable academic programs available for individuals interested in pursuing a career in this field. While colleges and universities throughout the nation offer business degree programs, individuals seeking to work in Arkansas should seriously consider state schools. Enrolling at a local institution can provide an edge in the job market, as these schools often offer the most relevant education to the area.
A business administration degree prepares graduates for various employment opportunities. Companies and organizations of every type depend on and utilize the expertise of business professionals, making it possible to work in nearly any industry. Those interested in the field can generally choose work that aligns well with their interests and/or passions.
Some of the most prominent industries in need of business administration professionals include:
- Bookkeeping and Accounting
- Company and Enterprise Management
- Energy and Utilities
- Financial Services
- Management Consulting
Because business administration professionals can work in nearly any private industry, their daily tasks and responsibilities can vary significantly. Even within the same field, job descriptions can differ due to company size and employer preference. To account for this, most academic programs are designed to teach students easily applicable and transferrable skills in analytics, leadership, and research. Adaptability is also essential, as hiring preference is generally given to those who are capable of adjusting to variable work parameters when organizational goals change over time.
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This type of work is usually best suited for individuals who enjoy completing tasks and solving problems. The most successful business administration professionals possess great organizational, managerial, communication, and mathematical skills. It’s also important to note that they tend to pursue development opportunities throughout their entire careers.
The most popular careers associated with business administration degrees are accounting, computer information systems, finance, and marketing. While not required, it can be beneficial to identify one or two primary areas of interest before enrolling in an academic program. This can help narrow down options and will make selecting a concentration easier.
The majority of business administration professionals start their careers by earning a bachelor’s degree. There are, however, other programs available at every academic level. Each degree has its own benefits and drawbacks, making it even more important to know your academic and career goals prior to enrollment.
Associate Degree in Business Administration (AS)
Those interested in basic management and administration roles in private, public, and non-profit organizations are often satisfied earning an associate degree in business administration. This level of education is also generally considered adequate to qualify graduates for entry-level employment opportunities as management trainers, project assistants, office managers, sales representatives, and technology specialists.
Most associate degrees in business administration consist of 60 credit hours of coursework and take full-time students approximately two years to complete. These programs generally provide students with a comprehensive understanding of management principles and business-oriented technology.
Some people also use associate degrees in business administration to gauge their overall interest in the field and/or jumpstart their academic careers. A common alterative to seeking entry-level employment is enrolling in a bachelor’s degree program. Earning an associate degree at a local community college is a cheaper, and often more convenient, option. Transferring all credits earned can shorten the time it takes to complete a bachelor’s degree by half.
Bachelor's Degree in Business Administration (BS)
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), most business and financial operations occupations require a bachelor’s degree. Employers often give preference to applicants with higher education degrees because they are perceived as more knowledgeable and better qualified. As a result, business administration professionals with bachelor’s degrees tend to have an easier time finding employment.
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. Curriculums are not standardized, but colleges and universities generally cover fundamental knowledge and tools essential to career success. They also help students develop and hone their in-demand skillsets in finance, technology, healthcare, and many other fields.
After graduation, the most accessible employment opportunities available include accountant, auditor, budget analyst, cost estimator, and human resource specialist. Graduates can also choose to pursue advanced degrees in business administration. Most of these programs require a candidate to have an undergraduate degree, minimum GPA, and GRE scores to apply. Those with graduate degrees generally enjoy higher pay and more employment opportunities.
Master's Degree in Business Administration (MS or MC)
One of the most popular graduate degrees in the nation, a master’s in business administration (MBA), can help new and current professionals advance their careers significantly. Graduates will qualify for supervisory roles with more significant responsibilities. As a result, they tend to promote quickly and earn higher salaries.
Program lengths can vary, but many master’s degrees in business administration range from 30 to 60 credit hours of coursework. Full-time students generally complete requirements within one to one-and-a-half years, although attending part-time will extend this timeframe. Curriculums tend to explore various business fundamentals at a deeper level, ensuring students develop a more comprehensive understanding of how businesses and organizations operate.
Graduates will be prepared for management roles across many industries, but some of the most common employment opportunities include information technology manager, financial manager, industrial production manager, and management analyst.
PhD Degree in Business Administration (PhD)
Those who want to conduct business research and/or become an academic professor in the field will need to pursue a PhD in business administration. Students often conduct independent studies and are responsible for writing dissertations before being considered for graduation. Programs typically consist of between 90 and 120 credit hours and take full-time students four to seven years to complete.
Alternatively, individuals can choose to pursue a doctorate in business administration (DBA). This degree is not required to qualify for most entry and mid-level jobs in the field, but is more common in upper management and executive positions. DBAs enhance students’ theoretical knowledge of business and business management. They can usually be completed within six years.
As both options result in advanced mastery of business theory and practice, graduates will have access to some of the best employment opportunities in the field. The most common employment opportunities include top executive, postsecondary business professor, postsecondary, education administrator, and economist.
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Top College Programs in Arkansas for Business Administration
- University of Arkansas
- Arkansas State University
- Harding University
- University of Central Arkansas
- John Brown University
- Hendrix College
Become a Business Administrator in Arkansas
The first step in becoming a business administration professional in Arkansas is to determine your ultimate career goals. Because the knowledge and skills learned can be applied to many different industries in a variety of ways, identifying specific aspirations will help direct your search for an appropriate academic program.
If you have difficulty pinpointing these objectives right away, you can still begin your business administration education. The business field is unique because many key elements of the curriculum overlap. Fortunately, this makes it easy to adjust your career path if one facet appeals more to you along the way.
Most college and university programs also give students the opportunity to select a concentration as part of their degree. This tailors a portion of the program to a specific subsection or field, allowing you to explore an area of interest on a much deeper level.
Some of the most common options include:
After obtaining the necessary degree(s), you will have the option of pursuing various certifications and/or licensures. While not necessarily required for employment, opting to do this can improve job and salary potential, as well as increase competitiveness during the hiring process. It’s worth noting that some employers do require candidates to have specific certifications, so always review job postings carefully before applying.
In most cases, business administration professionals simply choose which optional certifications are most interesting and/or appropriate to advance their careers.
Many professional credentials require some sort of continuing education. While every certificate program is different, most accept classes taken through colleges and universities, associations and organizations, or leading industry corporations. While some resources are free, others will have associated fees.
Those planning to open their own businesses in Arkansas will also need a business license. All new businesses must be officially formed and approved by the Secretary of State. The state requires existing businesses to pay franchise taxes annually, as well as offer workers compensation insurance (if applicable).
Careers for Business Administration Graduates
After earning a business administration degree and acquiring the necessary or preferred certifications, you will be qualified to apply for a wide variety of positions in Arkansas.
Salaries and daily duties will vary, but some of the most common career options include:
- Administrative Coordinator
- Marketing Manager
- Maintenance Manager
- Digital Marketing Manager / Director
- Product Director
- Project Manager
- Supply Chain Manager
- Non-Profit Director
- Public Services / Works Director
- International Business
- Certified Public Accountant
- Financial Advisor
- Financial Analyst
- Accounting Associate
- Loan Officer
- Human Resource Manager
- Banking Branch Manager
- Project Manager
Project managers are responsible for the project oversight for the company or organization they work for. This includes generating any associated goals and timelines, as well as dispensing important information to their teams and handling problems. These professionals also coordinate, document, and assign tasks to others, as well as manage budgets and resources appropriately. According to PayScale, project managers for non-profit organizations make an average base salary of around $75,000 per year.
- Administrative Coordinator
Administrative coordinators are responsible for managing company budgets and providing support to employees. They often help organize, supervise, and facilitate assignments, as well as hire new workers. These professionals may also perform various clerical duties such as maintaining databases, creating reports, and composing letters, especially in smaller companies. According to PayScale, administrative coordinators make an average base hourly rate of $18.56, or approximately $46,200 per year.
- Supply Chain Manager
Supply chain managers are responsible for overseeing and coordinating franchise supply chains for companies or organizations. They often develop and maintain logistical and procedural policies, as well as mediate between sales and customer service teams. These professionals also manage inventories based on customer demand. According to PayScale, supply chain managers make an average base salary of $83,950 per year.
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- Digital Marketing Manager / Director
Digital marketing managers and directors are responsible for developing marketing projects for companies and organizations. They ensure advertising is efficient and effective, resulting in both sales and brand loyalty increases. These professionals also implement new media and digital marketing strategies, coordinate social and digital media platforms, and lead website development efforts. According to PayScale, digital marketing managers make an average base salary of around $67,800 per year.
- Financial Advisor
Financial advisors are responsible for assessing clients’ financial needs in order to help them achieve established fiscal goals. They generally work for financial institutions that deal with various investment types. These professionals also assist clients in establishing short and long-term objectives. According to PayScale, financial advisors make an average base salary of around $60,100 per year.
- Accounting Associate
Accounting associates are responsible for assisting accountants, auditors, and other financial experts with bookkeeping. They enter data, prepare reports, and reconcile accounts. These professionals often work with other employees and clients to ensure financial information is tracked appropriately. According to PayScale, accounting associates make an average base salary of $48,800 per year.
- Bank Branch Manager
Bank branch managers are responsible for leading a team of bank employees. They facilitate good relationships among the staff and help clients meet their financial needs. These professionals also manage branch budgets, monitor expenses, and lead staff meetings. According to PayScale, bank branch managers make an average base salary of $60,200 per year.
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- Business and Financial Occupations. U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics
- May 2020 State Occupational Employment and Wages Estimates Arkansas. U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics
- Businesses. Arkansas Department of Finance and Administration
- Business & Commercial Services. Arkansas Secretary of State
- Owning a Business. Arkansas.gov