What is Entrepreneurship?
Typically, entrepreneurs are defined as people who create new businesses. They can form companies in any industry, making opportunities nearly endless. Assuming all laws and regulations are followed, private business owners have complete control over their creations. This allows them the freedom to choose between businesses being incorporated or unincorporated, as well as whether to hire employees or maintain operations alone.
While it’s possible for entrepreneurs to hand over all management responsibilities to others, many prefer to take on the majority of work themselves. Some choose to do this because it saves money, but others truly enjoy playing active roles in their companies. As the level of involvement varies, the responsibilities of entrepreneurs differ significantly. The most involved businesses owners, however, commonly oversee operations, direct production, assist with personnel management, develop company-wide policies, handle customer service issues, and review financial activities. Industry type will also impact the kind of work performed.
Being an entrepreneur can be very stressful, as income generally depends directly upon business performance and success. For many, though, the potential benefits heavily outweigh any drawbacks. The biggest perk is having personal and professional independence and autonomy in creating a company. Professionals of this type also get to choose the type of work they perform, who they provide products and/or services to, where their businesses are located, and even how much money they earn. Business owners also tend to experience more personal enrichment as well, as they often participate in independent and guided learning experiences. It’s common for entrepreneurs to be knowledgeable about many things and have skills in numerous areas.
Entrepreneurship Education in Maryland
Making the decision to pursue an entrepreneurship degree in Maryland can be exciting. Entrepreneurship graduates often enjoy many benefits and can pursue a wide variety of careers. This degree is also a particularly good choice for those who are interested in starting their own businesses. While employment expectations vary, the most successful entrepreneurs possess strong work ethics, tend to be highly creative, and enjoy learning new things.
Professionals in this field also benefit from skills related to:
- Business Management
- Critical Thinking
- Customer Service
Because entrepreneurship is a relatively broad term with some relevance in almost every industry, graduates can typically expect to find employment with some ease. Most people who possess this degree are more likely to establish their own businesses, however. While earning potential in this field can be quite high, salaries ultimately depend on the position gained or the type of business created. According to PayScale, hourly rates for self-employed professionals range from $11.40 to $81.74. The average pay for those who are self-employed is $21.65.
The outlook for entrepreneurs is also generally promising. Again, however, overall success is ultimately dependent upon the business type and industry entered. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the most promising sectors for potential entrepreneurs are healthcare and social assistance. Businesses with the lowest rates of survival, on the other hand, relate to building and construction.
Professional and business services are the second highest ranking industries in Maryland, accounting for $58.3 billion in revenue each year. This bodes well for entrepreneurs in the state. This is especially true because new businesses can be formed in any of Maryland’s top ten sectors: real estate, education services, healthcare, manufacturing, finance, retail trade, construction, wholesale trade, information, and entertainment.
Many colleges and universities throughout the nation offer entrepreneurship degrees, and online learning makes it easy to enroll in programs from nearly anywhere in the world. Prospective students who intend to work in Maryland, however, should give strong preference to institutions within the state. This is because local schools will be more familiar with business laws and regulations in Maryland. As every state has different expectations, this can give graduates an edge in the local market. Additionally, these colleges and universities are likely to have pre-established connections with potential employers in the area, as well as current businesses, for networking purposes.
It's important to realize that starting any business can be risky. Anyone considering the prospect should be aware that it’s fairly common for new companies to fail within only a few years. Entrepreneurs must take the work seriously, carefully assessing their abilities and the viability of their ideas prior to investing a significant amount of time and money into the endeavor.
A degree in entrepreneurship is not necessarily required to start a business, but choosing to earn one can help you develop the knowledge and skills needed to be more successful. Graduates are also typically better prepared to gain employment in a variety of other jobs.
Not all colleges and universities offer entrepreneurship as a major. In many cases, prospective students will need to earn degrees in business and select entrepreneurship as a concentration. In instances like this, it’s common for institutions to focus entrepreneurial instruction on a single facet of the field, such as product feasibility, funding or E-commerce.
Entrepreneurship and business degrees are available at the associate, bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral levels. The amount of education necessary will greatly depend upon your ultimate career aspirations in Maryland.
Associate Degree in Entrepreneurship (AS)
Associate degree programs in entrepreneurship consist of 60 credit hours of coursework and take full-time students approximately two years to complete. Most place a strong emphasis on subject areas most likely to be useful when starting a business such as math, English, and economics. Curriculums also tend to include coursework related to accounting, marketing, business law, and business ethics. Students may also learn to use various software programs that can assist in the creation of spreadsheets, presentations, and written documents.
This type of degree is optimal for those interested in gaining the minimum skills needed to open, manage, and advance private businesses. Graduates may also be qualified to work as retail managers, office managers, general sales managers, business analysts, and business consultants.
It’s also common for associate degree candidates to seek further education. College credits earned from properly accredited institutions can be transferred and used to help you gain a higher degree level, such as a bachelor’s. In many cases, an associate degree satisfies the first two years of a four-year bachelor’s degree. As community colleges tend to have lower tuition rates than traditional universities, this can be a much more economical way to achieve higher levels of academic achievement.
Bachelor's Degree in Entrepreneurship (BS)
Bachelor’s degree programs consist of around 120 credit hours of coursework, which generally takes full-time students four years to complete. Curriculums vary from institution to institution, but instruction typically focuses on subjects relevant to business. Students can anticipate taking classes on low-risk startups, entrepreneurial finance, and consulting. Professors also typically strive to help students develop the skills in leadership, organization, and problem-solving.
This type of degree is ideal for those seeking to gain the knowledge necessary to be successful as private business owners. Graduates often possess professional independence and a considerable work ethic, two traits that are important when establishing and managing companies. It’s important to note that much of the information covered in entrepreneurship and business degrees is valuable and can be utilized in almost any workplace.
It’s also necessary to earn a bachelor’s degree before applying to a graduate program. Most master’s degree programs also require applicants have minimum grade point averages (GPAs) and GRE scores.
Master's Degree in Entrepreneurship (MS or MC)
Master’s degree programs in entrepreneurship consist of about 60 credit hours of coursework and take full-time students approximately two years to complete. Every college and university is different, but most are designed to help current professionals grow and develop existing businesses. Students can expect to take classes related to financial management and strategic marketing management. Graduates should be prepared to manage their preexisting businesses better, but may also be considered for advanced jobs in the business field.
Alternatively, entrepreneurs may benefit from earning Master of Business Administration (MBA) degrees. Many MBA programs offer concentrations in startups and business development, which are ideal for individuals opening or expanding upon companies. Instruction is typically designed to help students develop and hone skills in strategy, marketing, global business, and supply chain management. This type of degree can prove useful for any student interested in the field, however. In fact, graduates often stand out during interviews, make more money, and qualify for senior-level and management positions.
PhD Degree in Entrepreneurship (PhD)
Doctorate and PhD programs generally consist of between 90 and 120 credit hours and take full-time students four to seven years to complete. Coursework is generally designed to focus on various research methods, as well as economics and multivariate analysis. Those enrolled will spend the first few years completing assignments in classrooms, but later years will require extensive self-guided research for dissertations.
This type of degree is rarely necessary for entrepreneurs, as the information covered is not usually relevant to establishing and managing businesses. Choosing to pursue this level of academic achievement can be beneficial, however. Students interested in conducting business research and/or who want to become professors in the field will likely need a doctorate degree. Graduates are also often qualified to apply for positions as directors of operations and chief operating officers for larger corporations.
Become an Entrepreneur in Maryland
The first step in becoming an entrepreneur in Maryland is identifying your professional aspirations. Because the field is so broad, with numerous opportunities across most industries, it’s important to narrow your focus. Most prospective students hope to open their own businesses that relate somehow to their personal passions and/or competencies. Only you will be able to determine your ultimate goals. Once you know what kind of business you want to build, the knowledge and skills required will become more evident and it will become easier to select an appropriate academic program.
After enrolling in and completing your preferred degree program, you should also consider pursuing one or more professional credentials. There are many business-related certifications available that will help you advance your business and career. While there are no specific credentials required for entrepreneurs, most business owners select certifications within and applicable to their industries.
Some of the most prominent general business options include:
- Certified Associate in Project Management (CAPM)
- Certified Business Analysis Professional (CBAP)
- Certified Supply Chain Professional (CSCP)
- Certified in Production and Inventory Management (CPIM)
- Certified Logistics, Transportation and Distribution (CLTD)
- Certified Professional Logistician (CPL)
- Certified Professional Contract Manager (CPCM)
- Project Management Professional (PMP)
- Oracle Certified Professional (OCP)
If you plan to open your own business in Maryland, you will need to meet a variety of state regulations. To start, all businesses must be registered using the Maryland Business Express portal, which is overseen by the Department of Assessments and Taxation. Many businesses also require permits or licenses to operate. Maryland’s statewide licensing database and county licensing database can help you determine whether or not your business and/or employees will require additional credentials. The state also requires business owners to contact the Internal Revenue Service and register for a Federal Employer Identification Number (EIN). Alternatively, EINs can be established through the Maryland Business Express portion during the business registration process. Other helpful resources include the Small Business Development Center Network and the SCORE Association, which offers resources to help with business planning and startups.
Careers for Entrepreneurship Graduates
- Business Owner
Small business owners establish, maintain, and grow their own businesses. They may take an active role in the process or delegate management responsibilities to employees they hire. Those who are most active tend to perform a wide variety of tasks including overseeing daily operations, directing production, supervising personnel, developing policies, and directing financial activities. According to PayScale, small business owners make an average base salary of $63,000 per year.
- Business Analyst
Business analysts ensure the efficient functionality of the many departments within companies. They achieve this by assessing employee requests and developing strategies to meet their needs. These professionals may also create, implement, and evaluate business metrics. According to PayScale, business analysts make an average base salary of $61,850 per year.
- Business Consultant
Business consultants create profitable business models for their clients. This often entails improving customer outreach and/or identifying potential vendors for new products. These professionals spend a significant amount of time assessing current procedures and offering recommendations to company stakeholders. They may also help identify and execute changes to company infrastructures. According to PayScale, business consultants make an average base salary of $75,100 per year.
- General Sales Manager
General sales managers oversee sales departments for their employers. This generally requires performing a wide variety of tasks such as hiring and training employees, assisting sales teams, ensuring targets are met, compiling revenue data, and presenting relevant information to upper management. These professionals may also perform duties related to general marketing. According to PayScale, general sales managers make an average base salary of $65,700 per year.
- Marketing Manager
Marketing managers assist with or oversee the creation of advertising campaigns for their employers. Some are responsible for a single product or product line, while others manage entire brands or companies. These professionals frequently coordinate with product managers and monitor program performance. They may also help perform market research studies. According to PayScale, marketing managers make an average base salary of $66,300 per year.
- Office Manager
Office managers oversee the activities, projects, and employees they are assigned by their employers. As good communicators and problem-solvers, these professionals are typically charged with ensuring that all operations run smoothly. Other responsibilities include providing updates to high-level executives, implementing new policies, and completing additional tasks as directed. According to PayScale, office managers make an average hourly rate of $18.28, which is an estimated base salary of $49,300 per year.
- Retail Manager
Retail managers work in retail stores and are responsible for overseeing day-to-day operations. They generally manage store inventories, track various company goals, and assist with annual budget planning. These professionals may also coordinate employee onboarding processes, as well as address any customer service issues that arise. According to PayScale, retail managers make an average base salary of $48,000 per year.
- Web Developer
Web developers build websites for their employers. This often entails writing a significant amount of code to create the requested web pages and access databases. They may also create, modify, and debug software in order to enhance productivity, marketability, and/or efficiency. These professionals frequently test new software to ensure it is suitable for installation. According to PayScale, web developers make an average base salary of $60,100 per year.