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What Business Major are You Interested In?
Are you considering enrolling in a business degree program in Maine? Business majors tend to be quite popular among incoming students because graduates often have a wide variety of employment opportunities. In fact, this subject is one of the most sought-after academic disciplines in the United States. Specific course requirements vary by institution, but most colleges and universities offer instruction designed to develop skills in management, finance, leadership, and marketing, as well as a wide variety of knowledge that can be applied to almost any industry.
Those who intend to work in Maine should give preference to business programs offered in the state. While online learning makes it easy to earn degrees from nearly anywhere in the world with internet access, enrolling with a local college or university has many benefits. Not only do these institutions provide a more regionally relevant education, but it’s common for them to have established relationships with potential employers in the area. This can make obtaining internships and employment much easier. Earning degrees from institutions in Maine is particularly important for students who intend to pursue state credentials or who plan to establish their own local businesses.
Employment opportunities also vary by location. As professional and business services are the third highest ranking industry in Maine and account for $7 billion of the state’s revenue each year, those choosing to pursue careers in this field can expect moderate job availability. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, business and financial operations occupations accounted for 27,380 of the state’s jobs in May 2020. The annual mean wage for people in these jobs in Illinois was $71,560 that same year, which is well above the national median.
Specific job titles will vary, but most work in this field relates to analyzing and improving the performance of companies and/or organizations. Those who earn business degrees in Maine will be able to choose from a wide variety of positions in many different industries, however. Business professionals may be responsible for performing many tasks in all sorts of environments, from home offices to client residences.
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Business Education in Maine
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, employment in business and financial occupations is expected to increase by 8% from 2020 to 2030. This is about as fast as the average for all occupations in the country and will account for approximately 750,800 new jobs in the field. Growth in this sector will be heavily impacted by globalization, a continually growing economy, complex taxation regulations, and the use of market research to better understand customers and product demand.
Prospective students should realize that there are numerous business-related professions to choose from including human resource specialists, labor relations specialists, management analysts, and market research analysts. Job outlook will ultimately depend on the type of position sought, with some career fields seeing more growth than others. Employment for market research analysts, for example, is projected to grow by 22% in the next ten years, while employment for purchasing managers, buyers, and agents is only expected to grow by 4%.
Because industries vary so significantly, it’s relatively difficult to summarize the daily responsibilities of business professionals. Individual employer expectations, size, and objectives play a role in determining expectations. As a result, job descriptions can differ even when position titles are similar.
Fortunately, the knowledge and skills gained from earning a business degree often prepare graduates for work in almost any industry. This often leaves them free to seek out opportunities that align well with their personal interests and talents.
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Some of the most prevalent sectors seeking business professionals include:
- Business Development
- Global Business
- Human Resources
To ensure potential success in as many of these areas as possible, most academic programs provide instruction in high-value subjects such as analytics, leadership, and research. They also emphasize development of critical thinking and problem solving abilities, as well as interpersonal, communication, and social perceptiveness skills. This helps graduates thrive in most workplaces.
While job responsibilities can vary quite significantly, most employment opportunities in business require candidates to have some level of advanced education. Colleges and universities in Maine offer business degrees at every level, from associate degrees to doctorates. Notably, the majority of employers in the field require applicants to have bachelor’s degrees, even for entry-level positions. Candidates with more education, however, are more competitive and have more employment opportunities, as well as higher pay potential and job security. Prospective students must determine which degree type fits their personal and career goals best.
Associate Degree in Business (AS)
Most associate degree programs in business consist of 60 credit hours of coursework and take full-time students approximately two years to complete. Curriculums vary, but some of the most common subjects taught include finance, human resources management, and customer service.
Students interested in receiving a general introduction to the field may be most drawn to associate degrees in business. These programs typically cover some of the most important topics, but only in broad terms. While graduates may qualify for some entry-level employment opportunities, options might be limited and candidates with more education and/or experience are likely to be more competitive. The most accessible positions are often administrative assistants, executive assistants, food service managers, bookkeepers, office managers, human resources employees, and office clerks.
Graduates from associate degree programs can also choose to transfer the credits they earn to institutions that award bachelor’s degrees. Most associate programs are equal to two years of a four-year degree. As community colleges tend to charge less per credit hour than traditional universities, this can be a much more economical way to attain the necessary education. It’s important to keep in mind, however, that institutional accreditation statuses matter. Credits earned from nationally accredited or unaccredited schools may be difficult or impossible to transfer.
Bachelor's Degree in Business (BS)
Most bachelor degree programs in business consist of 120 credit hours of coursework and take full-time students approximately four years to complete. Curriculums vary, but students typically receive comprehensive instruction in marketing, finance, and accounting, with opportunities to tailor coursework by selecting concentrations. Instructors also help students develop various business-related skills that can be applied to almost any employment setting.
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the minimum education requirement for most business and finance occupations is a bachelor’s degree. 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.
Prospective professionals interested in pursuing advanced supervisory positions, however, will likely need to earn more advanced degrees. Most of these positions require candidates to have master’s or doctorate degrees, as well as years of professional experience and on-the-job training.
Master's Degree in Business (MS or MC)
Most master’s programs in business consist of 30 to 60 credit hours of coursework, which full-time students can finish within about two years. Curriculums will vary based on the type of degree selected. Students typically choose between enrolling in master’s in business or master’s in business administration (MBA) programs. While both options cover similar topics, MBAs tend to place more emphasis on planning and execution. This level of academic achievement generally qualifies graduates for more opportunities, higher pay, and faster promotion.
Graduates are generally perceived as experts in the field, capable of fulfilling roles related to business, management, and leadership. They often find supervisory employment as 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.
PhD Degree in Business (PhD)
Doctorates in business typically consist of between 90 and 120 credit hours and take full-time students four to seven years to complete. Curriculums vary, but most programs place emphasis on independent research. Students typically write and defend dissertations prior to graduating.
This is the highest level of education available in the business field. It’s rarely required by employers but can lead to a number of great employment opportunities in research and/or academia. Doctorate degrees are required, however, for individuals striving to become college and university professors at regionally accredited institutions.
Prospective students at this level may also consider pursuing doctorates in business administration (DBA) or management. This type of degree helps those enrolled enhance their theoretical knowledge of business and business management, preparing them for positions in upper management. They generally take students at least six years to complete.
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Become a Business Development Specialist in Maine
Maine is home to a wide variety of business-related positions. As a result, there are many ways to pursue this type of career in the state. The first step is identifying your ideal job in the field, as this will determine the amount of education and professional experience necessary to gain employment.
Most business programs are intentionally designed to expose those enrolled to various aspects of the field. Students can then gauge their personal interest in, and aptitude for, key subjects, many of which are offered as concentrations for more targeted learning. Selecting a specialty can help tailor future instruction so it focuses more on a subsection of particular interest.
Some of the most common business concentrations include:
- Human Resources
- Global Business
Once all education requirements have been met, business graduates may benefit from obtaining one or more certifications and/or licensures. While the field does not have a standard license required by all, there are many credentials that can make professionals more marketable, improving their job prospects and earning potential. It’s also worth noting that some employers do expect candidates to have certain credentials prior to applying. This makes it very important to review hiring expectations prior to submitting applications.
Additionally, choosing to join one or more professional organizations may prove beneficial. Members tend to have exclusive access to educational materials, conferences, and networking opportunities.
Those planning to open their own businesses in Maine will also need to meet other requirements. The state offers numerous resources for prospective business owners, including a business answers program that provides free information about doing business in Maine. Registration and licensing regulations vary depending on the type of business being established. These regulations are typically managed at the town/city levels. Contact information for town offices and municipal websites can be obtained by visiting the Maine.gov Local Government portal.
Careers for Business Graduates
Earning a business degree can lead to a number of great career opportunities in Maine. While the level of your degree will dictate which positions you are most qualified for, the state supports a wide variety of business positions.
Salaries and daily duties will also 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
- Chief Executive Officer (CEO)
- C-Suite Professional
- Project Manager:
Project managers oversee various types of projects for their employers. This often entails establishing relevant goals and setting reasonable timelines for completion. These professionals may also manage project budgets and resources, as well as share important updates with others. According to PayScale, project managers make an average base salary of $75,000 per year.
- Administrative Assistant:
Administrative assistants perform various administrative support tasks for their coworkers and management teams. This often entails filing paperwork, sorting files, conducting minor research, and completing personal errands for those present in the workplace. These professionals may also perform data entry, billing, inventory, correspondence, and record-keeping. According to PayScale, administrative assistants make an average base hourly rate of $16.25, or approximately $40,100 per year.
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- Marketing Manager:
Marketing managers create advertising and merchandising sales campaigns for their employers. This may entail overseeing campaigns for single products or entire companies. These professionals also conduct 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.
- Human Resources (HR) Specialist:
Human resources managers manage employee policies, procedures, and compliance for their employers. This often entails ensuring all business-related activities are properly documented and legal, as well as providing expertise related to employment at both the state and federal levels. These professionals also oversee employee benefits and initiative programs. According to PayScale, human resources managers make an average base salary of $68,750 per year.
- Supply Chain Specialist/Manager:
Supply chain managers oversee franchise supply chains for their employers. This often entails coordinating between sales and customer service teams, as well as ensuring the necessary logistical and procedural policies are in place and followed. These professionals may 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 that are most relevant for their employers. This often entails projecting growth over time, reporting relevant findings, and recommending the best resource investments possible. These professionals may also provide advice regarding bonds and stock splitting. According to PayScale, financial analysts make an average base salary of $61,950 per year.
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