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What Business Major are You Interested In?

Are you interested in or planning to enroll in a business degree in Georgia? Of course, curriculums vary, but students are generally encouraged to develop abilities in management, finance, leadership, and marketing in these degrees. As one of the most popular academic majors in the United States, business degrees encompass a wide variety of knowledge and skills than can be easily transferred to almost any industry. Because of this, graduates tend to have little trouble gaining employment.

There are many different kinds of business professionals in the field. Job titles and descriptions will vary, but most professionals analyze and improve operations and performance for the companies and organizations they work for. Employment opportunities tend to be very diverse, with business professionals performing tasks in various types of environments, from office cubicles to client homes.

As previously mentioned, various types of companies and organizations depend on and utilize the expertise of business professionals. Because their knowledge and skills can be applied to most positions, professionals with business degrees often choose to pursue employment that aligns with their personal interests and/or passions.

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Business Education in Georgia (AS, BS, MS, PhD)

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, employment in business and financial occupations is expected to increase by 5% from 2019 to 2029. This it is faster than the average for all occupations in the country and is anticipated to add approximately 476,200 new positions in the field. This change will likely be due to several factors including globalization, economic growth, and the use of market research to understand customer demand more clearly. It’s important to realize, however, that there are numerous business-related jobs that fall under this employment category. Ultimately, the outlook will vary for each profession, with some performing better over time than others.

Some of the most prominent career paths for business professionals include:

  • Accounting
  • Business Development
  • Economics
  • Sales
  • Finance
  • Marketing
  • Global Business
  • Human Resources
  • Operations
  • Management
  • Entrepreneurship

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The needs of every industry are different, which makes it difficult to identify the exact daily tasks and responsibilities of all business professionals, in general. Expectations are also likely to vary based on the size and preferences of the employing company, even among positions with the same titles. To account for these differences, academic programs typically focus on analytics, leadership, and research subject to ensure graduates are prepared for and capable of thriving in almost any work setting.

The most successful professionals in this field are capable of thinking critically and often enjoy solving problems. Other important qualifications include excellent interpersonal, leadership, communication, and social perceptiveness skills.

Professional and business services are the second highest ranking industry in Georgia, accounting for $72.8 billion in revenue each year. Notably, almost all of the top ten industries in the state benefit from or depend on business professionals to be successful. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, business and financial operations occupations accounted for 270,770 of the state’s jobs in 2020. The annual mean wage for business professionals in Georgia was $76,140 that same year, which is higher than the national median.

Business degrees are available at every academic level, with colleges and universities offering study opportunities all over the world. Individuals seeking to gain employment in Georgia may want to strongly consider attending schools in the state. Local institutions are more familiar with what employers in the area expect from graduates and ensure students receive the necessary training, skills, and knowledge to be successful. Additionally, many colleges and universities in the state have built relationships with local businesses over time, which can make it easier to find internship and employment opportunities.

Most business professionals have at least a bachelor’s degree, as this is typically the minimum requirement for entry-level employment in the field. There are, however, academic opportunities at every level, from associate degrees to doctorates. It’s worth noting that master’s and doctorate degrees tend to afford graduates more options and often lead to positions with higher pay. Ideally, you should select a program based on your ultimate career goals.

Associate Degree in Business (AS)

Associate degrees in business are generally designed to provide students with a foundational introduction to the field, covering several relevant topics in broad terms. Most people who choose to pursue this level of education are interested in entry-level employment or plan to transfer credits earned to a four-year institution later. Job options will be somewhat limited for associate degree holders, as candidates with bachelor’s degrees are likely to be selected first. Some common opportunities include administrative assistant, executive assistant, food service manager, bookkeeper, office manager, human resources employee, and office clerk.

Most associate degree programs in business consist of 60 credit hours of coursework and take full-time students approximately two years to complete. While every institution is different, some of the most common instructional topics include finance, human resources management, and customer service.

However, those interested in advanced careers in the field will need to graduate from a bachelor’s degree program. As long as the institution you attend for your associate degree is accredited, you should have little trouble transferring your credits to a traditional four-year institution. In fact, this route can often help save you money on your education.

Bachelor's Degree in Business (BS)

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the minimum education requirement for most business occupations is a bachelor’s degree. While some entry-level positions may accept an associate’s, there will be little opportunity for advancement until after a bachelor’s degree is attained. Graduates at this level are trained in most major business disciplines and qualify to apply for jobs as financial analysts, human resource specialists, and management consultants after graduation.

Most bachelor degree programs in business consist of 120 credit hours of coursework and take full-time students approximately four years to complete. Class requirements will vary, but marketing, finance, and accounting are some of the most common topics covered. Instructors also help students develop business-related skills that can be applied in almost every employment setting.

Those interested in pursuing advanced supervisory positions in business will need to continue their educations. Employment of this kind typically requires candidate have a master’s or doctorate, as well as years of professional experience, on-the-job training, and/or additional education.

Master's Degree in Business (MS or MC)

Master’s degrees in business are ideal for professionals seeking high-level leadership positions. While these jobs tend to have higher expectations and assign more responsibilities, they also pay more. Those with this level of education are generally perceived as experts in business, management, and leadership, making them more highly valued by many employers. As a result, master’s degree graduates are very competitive in the job market.

While master’s degrees in business exist, a common academic program is a master’s in business administration (MBA). Business administration places more instructional emphasis on planning and execution than a standard business program does. Both options help to prepare students for supervisory roles, but earning an MBA will likely lead to employment opportunities like training and development managers, top executives, public relations and fundraising managers, human resource managers, information technology managers, financial managers, industrial production managers, and management analysts.

Most general business master and MBA programs consist of 30 to 60 credit hours of coursework, which full-time students can finish within about two years. Classes tend to cover important business topics in more depth.

PhD Degree in Business (PhD)

The highest level of education available in business is the doctoral degree. Those who earn this type of degree often choose to pursue work in research or academia. While rarely required for entry and mid-level positions in the field, it can lead to a number of great opportunities. Graduates generally have the choice to work in research or academia.

Doctorates in business typically consist of between 90 and 120 credit hours and take full-time students four to seven years to complete. Most require independent research and the submission of a written dissertation prior to graduation.

Another option is a doctorate in business administration (DBA) or management. DBAs are designed to enhance theoretical knowledge in business and business management. Graduates tend to pursue employment in upper management and executive positions such as top executive, postsecondary business professor, postsecondary, education administrator, and economist. It generally takes students at least six years to complete a DBA program.

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Become a Business Development Specialist in Georgia

The steps you take to become a business professional in Georgia will depend upon your ultimate career goals. Once you have identified your specific career aspirations, you can more easily determine which degree type is necessary. Additionally, because the knowledge and skills learned can be applied to numerous industries, it can be extremely helpful to identify your area(s) of greatest interest.

It’s not necessary, however, to have your entire academic and career paths planned from the start. Most colleges and universities provide plenty of opportunities to adjust course after enrollment. Business degree programs tend to start by covering general topics, moving towards more specialized training later. Students are also often given the choice to select concentrations as juniors, which tailor the remainder of instruction to focus more on a subsection of the field.

Some of the most common options include:

  • Finance
  • Sales
  • Human Resources
  • Management
  • Marketing
  • Global Business
  • Entrepreneurship

After completing the education requirements necessary to qualify for your intended career, it may be beneficial to obtain one or more certifications and/or licensures. Business professions rarely require formal licensure, but obtaining additional credentials can increase your marketability, improve job prospects, and result in higher earning potential.

Most professionals can choose which certifications and licenses fit their work best. They are free to pursue opportunities that appeal to their interests or align well with their career paths. Some employers do, however, require specific credentials. Always check the position qualifications carefully prior to applying for a job, taking note of which certifications and/or licenses are necessary or recommended.

If you are planning to open your own businesses in Georgia, the Georgia Department of Revenue can assist you in registering to pay business-related taxes, getting alcohol or tobacco-related permits/licenses, registering company vehicles, and understanding your responsibilities regarding state withholding taxes. To register your business, you will need specific information including legal name, location, mailing address, employer identification number (EIN/FEIN), North American Industry Classification System (NAICS) code, social security number, and a contact email address.

Careers for Business Graduates

Individuals who earn business degrees in Georgia will be qualified to apply for a wide variety of positions. Salaries and daily duties will vary, but some of the most common career options include:

  • Vice President of Operations
  • Operations Manager
  • Business Development Director
  • Human Resources (HR) Specialist
  • Team Leader
  • Administrative Assistant
  • Account Manager
  • Information Technology (IT) Director
  • Marketing Manager
  • Office Manager
  • Data Analyst
  • Financial / Business Analyst
  • Project Manager
  • Supply Chain Specialist / Manager
  • Public Relations Specialist / Manager
  • Content Marketing Specialist / Manager
  • Entrepreneur
  • Chief Executive Officer (CEO)
  • C-Suite Professional
  • Project Manager
    Project manager oversee projects for the companies and organizations they work for. They are responsible for establishing and achieving goals and timelines, as well as managing associated budgets and resources. These professionals also relay important information about their projects to other teams. According to PayScale, project managers make an average base salary of $75,000 per year.
  • Administrative Assistant
    Administrative assistants perform a wide variety of administrative support tasks for other employees at the companies and organizations where they work. They often file paperwork, sort files, conduct minor research, and complete personal errands for other individuals in the workplace. These professionals may also perform data entry, billing, inventory, correspondence, and record-keeping tasks. According to PayScale, administrative assistants make an average base hourly rate of $16.25, or approximately $40,100 per year.
  • Marketing Manager
    Marketing managers create advertising and merchandising sales campaigns for the businesses and organizations that employ them. They may be responsible for an entire company, one or more brands, or a single product. These professionals also regularly develop market research studies, monitor program performance, and collaborate with product managers. According to PayScale, marketing managers make an average base salary of $66,600 per year.

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  • Human Resources (HR) Specialist
    Human resources managers create and oversee employee policies, procedures, and compliance for the companies or organizations they work for. They specialize in regulations related to employment at the state and federal levels, ensuring that all activities are documented and legal. These professionals also manage employee benefits and initiative programs. According to PayScale, human resources managers make an average base salary of $68,700 per year.
  • Supply Chain Specialist / Manager
    Supply chain managers take charge of the franchise supply chains for the companies and organizations that employ them. They coordinate between sales and customer service teams, ensuring the necessary logistical and procedural policies are in place and followed. These professionals also manage inventories based on demand. According to PayScale, supply chain managers make an average base salary of $83,950 per year.
  • Financial / Business Analyst
    Financial analysts study marketplace trends, demographics, and microeconomic factors related to the corporations and businesses they work for. They often project growth over time and recommend the best resource investments. These professionals also provide advice regarding bonds and splitting stock. According to PayScale, financial analysts make an average base salary of $61,950 per year.

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