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What is Business Administration?

Business administration is one of the most popular degree choices among students in the United States. The field is highly versatile, making it a perfect selection for individuals interested in pursuing careers in business, management, finance, leadership, and/or marketing. Those enrolled in this type of program often develop a wide range of easily transferrable skills that can be utilized across numerous fields. Ultimately, graduates tend to be well-perceived and prepared to work in almost any workplace.

Many business administration graduates choose to pursue careers in business and financial operations. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, employment in these occupations is expected to increase by 5% from 2019 to 2029. This is faster than the average for all occupations and will account for the addition of 476,200 new jobs to the market nationwide. While several factors are expected to impact this growth, the primary cause will be globalization and an ever-developing economy. Additionally, dependency on the usage of business data and market research to understand clients, customers, and product demand will increase demand for qualified professionals.

As business administration graduates gain expertise in a variety of areas including business, management, finance, leadership, and marketing, they are often able to pursue a range of career paths. Skills in these areas are typically highly valuable to companies and organizations of every type, making it possible to find employment in nearly any industry. While opportunities vary, many business administration professionals are able to choose employment that aligns with their personal interests and/or passions.

Industries that hire business administration graduates most often include:

  • Bookkeeping and Accounting Services
  • Company and Enterprise Management
  • Energy and Utilities
  • Financial Services
  • Healthcare Services
  • Management Consulting
  • Non-Profit Organizations
  • Technology

Because opportunities vary so significantly, it is difficult to identify the exact daily tasks and responsibilities of business administration professionals. Expectations can differ wildly from one industry to another. In most cases, the work performed will depend on employer goals, size, and preferences. Additionally, graduates should be prepared to adapt as necessary, as companies and organizations tend to adjust objectives over time.

To ensure business administration students gain the skills needed to thrive in most work environments, many colleges and universities design their programs to focus on skills and knowledge that can be applied over many different fields. Some of the most prevalent topics include analytics, leadership, and research.

In general, jobs in business administration are usually best suited for individuals who gain satisfaction from completing tasks and solving problems. The most successful professionals in the field often possess great organizational, managerial, communication, and mathematical skills. They are also frequently identified as highly self-motivated learners dedicated to pursuing various development opportunities throughout their careers.

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Business Administration Education in Hawaii

Professional and business services are the third largest industry in Hawaii. This industry accounts for $8 billion in revenue each year. While tourism is an essential component of the state’s economy, nearly every sector depends, at least minimally, on the expertise of business administration professionals.

Hawaii is a small state, but business and financial operations occupations are still available. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, this one industry accounted for 28,700 jobs in May 2020. This is more than many other significantly larger states in the country. The annual mean wage for local professionals in this field was $73,060, which is competitive for the field and higher than the national median wage of $41,950 as reported for all occupations.

Many companies and organizations in Hawaii benefit from hiring business administration graduates, so the demand for qualified professionals in the state is still quite high. There are also several academic institutions in the state that offer business administration degree programs. Enrolling in one of these is highly recommended for individuals planning to seek employment in Hawaii, as local colleges and universities tend to have pre-established connections with nearby employers and offer the most geographically relevant educations.

The majority of people interested in pursuing business administration careers will need some form of advanced education. While most professionals start by earning bachelor’s degrees, prospective students can choose from academic programs at every level, from associate’s to doctorates. Every program offers benefits and has drawbacks, making it essential that you identify your personal academic and career goals prior to enrollment.

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It’s worth noting that many colleges and universities allow students to select a concentration, or specialization, associated with a particular aspect of business. The most popular career areas include accounting, computer information systems, finance, and marketing. If you have already identified a special area of interest, you should verify that your program offers it as an educational track.

Associate Degree in Business Administration (ABA)

Individuals interested in acquiring basic management and administration roles at private, public, and non-profit organizations can benefit from earning an associate degree in business administration. Graduates at this level can qualify for some entry-level employment opportunities as management trainers, project assistants, office managers, sales representatives, and technology specialists. This will allow them to gain experience in an industry.

Most associate degrees in business administration consist of 60 credit hours of coursework and take full-time students approximately two years to complete. Every program is different, but most provide a comprehensive introduction to the most important management principles and business-oriented theories in the field. This makes them optimal for students still gauging their overall interest in business.

Those who find the subject areas most compelling often choose to pursue further education by enrolling in bachelor’s degree programs. General education and business-related course credits earned at regionally accredited institutions can often be transferred to four-year institutions. This can drastically decrease the number of classes needed to complete a bachelor’s degree, often saving time and money.

Bachelor's Degree in Business Administration (BBA)

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the majority of business and financial operations occupations require candidates have bachelor’s degrees in a related field. As a result, those with this level of education have access to more employment opportunities. They are also generally perceived a knowledgeable and skilled enough to fulfill the needs of most employers. Employment opportunities can differ, but some of the most popular job options available to graduates include accountant, auditor, budget analyst, cost estimator, and human resource specialist.

The majority of bachelor’s degree programs in business administration consist of 120 credit hours of coursework that take full-time students approximately four years to complete. Program specifics vary, but instruction typically covers the fundamental knowledge and tools necessary to be successful in the field. Coursework is generally designed to help students develop and hone skills in finance, technology, healthcare, and many other fields.

It’s important to realize that some employers and positions require further education. Those planning to pursue advanced degrees in business administration will need a minimum grade point average and GRE scores in order to apply to graduate programs.

Master's Degree in Business Administration (MBA)

A master’s in business administration (MBA) is one of the most sought-after degrees in the United States, and for good reason. Earning an MBA can help new and current professionals significantly advance their careers. Graduates typically qualify for various supervisory roles and are capable of taking on more responsibilities, qualities that make them highly desirable to prospective employers. Professionals with master’s degrees also tend to promote faster and earn higher salaries.

Most master’s degrees in business administration range from 30 to 60 credit hours of coursework and take full-time students approximately two years to complete. Accelerated programs do exist and may take less time to finish. While classes may be similar to those offered at the undergraduate level, instructors tend to explore topics at a much deeper level. Students also develop a more comprehensive understanding of how businesses and organizations actually operate.

Graduates will qualify 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 (DBA)

Individuals who want to conduct business research and/or become academic professors in the field will benefit the most from earning PhDs in business administration. Programs typically consist of between 90 and 120 credit hours and take full-time students four to seven years to complete. Most programs require independent studies and written dissertations to graduate.

Alternatively, students can choose to pursue a doctorate in business administration (DBA). This type of degree is ideal for professionals seeking advanced positions in the field. Graduates will be qualified to apply for upper management and executive jobs with top companies and organizations. DBAs generally take six years to complete and are known to enhance students’ theoretical knowledge of business and business management.

Graduates from either degree will have advanced mastery over business theory and practice. As a result, they will have access to some of the best employment opportunities available in the field. The most common career paths include top executive, postsecondary business professor, postsecondary, education administrator, and economist.

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Become a Business Administrator in Hawaii

The first step in becoming a business administration professional in Hawaii is identifying your ultimate career goals. With so many options available, it’s a good idea to spend some time considering which areas and/or industries interest you most. This ensures you are always working toward your ideal career and will direct your search for an academic program.

As you consider your career aspirations, however, it may not be necessary to pinpoint your exact objectives. Business administration degree programs are unique because they cover a wide variety of topics. It’s not uncommon for students to discover more specific interests and goals as they work through the curriculum. Most colleges and universities make it fairly easy to adjust academic plans as needed.

As previously mentioned, selecting a concentration or specialization is also a great way to direct an academic program. Many institutions offer several degree options that allow you to focus on a specific subsection of the field.

Some of the most common concentrations include:

  • Entrepreneurship
  • Economics
  • Finance
  • Management
  • Marketing

After obtaining the necessary degree(s) in business administration, you should also consider pursuing one or more professional credentials. Many graduates go on to earn various certifications and/or licensures. There are no standardized credentialing requirements in business but obtaining certification and/or licensure from a reputable entity can lead to more employment opportunities, higher salaries, and increased competitiveness during the hiring process.

Most business administration professionals simply choose which optional certifications are most interesting and/or appropriate for advancing their careers. However, some employers do require specific credentials. Always review position postings carefully prior to applying to ensure you meet all necessary requirements.

If you are choosing to pursue a business administration degree in order to open your own business in Hawaii, the state offers numerous resources. Hawaii Business Express is a one-stop shop for starting and managing a business, making it easy to register your idea, reserve a name, and file annual reports. The Department of Commerce and Consumer Affairs also hosts a Business Action Center, which offers a general overview of the process and expectations. Keep in mind that you will need to establish a business plan and legal structure, as well as apply for all necessary permits and licenses. Business owners are also responsible for paying federal and state taxes.

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 Hawaii.

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
  • Bookkeeper
  • Public Services / Works Director
  • International Business
  • Certified Public Accountant
  • Financial Advisor
  • Financial Analyst
  • Accounting Associate
  • Loan Officer
  • Human Resource Manager
  • Banking Branch Manager
  • Call Center Team Supervisor
  • Chief Marketing Manager
  • Economist
  • Project Manager
    Project managers oversee and manage projects for the companies and organizations they work for. These professionals often generate project goals, timelines, and budgets, as well as dispense important information to team members. They also handle problems that arise, coordinating, documenting, and assigning additional tasks to others as needed. According to PayScale, project managers for non-profit organizations make an average base salary of $75,000 per year.
  • Administrative Coordinator
    Administrative coordinators manage budgets and provide administrative support to company and organization employees. These professionals are often responsible for hiring new employees, as well as helping, organizing, supervising, and facilitating work assignments. They also may perform various clerical duties such as maintaining databases, creating reports, and composing letters. 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 oversee franchise supply chain coordination for the companies and organizations they work for. These professionals often develop and maintain logistical and procedural policies, as well as mediate between sales and customer service teams. They may also manage inventories based on customer demand. According to PayScale, supply chain managers make an average base salary of $83,950 per year.
  • Digital Marketing Manager / Director
    Digital marketing managers and directors develop new marketing projects for the companies and organizations they work for. These professionals increase sales and brand loyalty among customers by ensuring advertising efforts are efficient and effective. They also often use new media and digital marketing strategies to implement and coordinate social and digital media campaigns. According to PayScale, digital marketing managers make an average base salary of $67,800 per year.
  • Financial Advisor
    Financial advisors assess and monitor the financial needs of their clients, working to ensure personal goals are established and met. These professionals may help clients establish short or long-term objectives. They also coordinate with financial institutions that deal with various investment types. According to PayScale, financial advisors make an average base salary of $60,100 per year.

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  • Accounting Associate
    Accounting associates assist with bookkeeping and provide support to accountants, auditors, and other financial experts. These professionals perform a variety of tasks including data input, reports preparation, and accounts reconciliation. They also often ensure the financial information for clients is tracked appropriately. According to PayScale, accounting associates make an average base salary of $48,800 per year.
  • Bank Branch Manager
    Bank branch managers oversee teams of employees at the branch where they are assigned. These professionals ensure the financial needs of clients are met and are responsible for facilitating good relationships among staff members. They also manage branch budgets and monitor expenses. According to PayScale, bank branch managers make an average base salary of $60,200 per year.
  • Bookkeeper
    Bookkeepers maintain the financial records for the companies and organizations they work for, ensuring accuracy. These professionals often verify the viability of financial decisions and utilize accounting software to track transactions. They also calculate, record, and balance payroll reports for their employers. According to PayScale, bookkeepers make an average base salary of $43,850 per year.
  • Certified Professional Accountant (CPA)
    Certified Professional Accountants (CPAs) assist individual clients, corporations, and government agencies handle important financial processes. These professionals are capable of performing taxation, reporting, and auditing services. They also review financial information, prepare documentation, and ensure government regulations are followed correctly. According to PayScale, CPAs make an average base salary of $51,700 per year.

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