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What is Business Administration?

Business administration is a highly popular major in the United States, and numerous colleges and universities offer this degree option in Missouri. Instruction and coursework in this type of program tends to help students develop knowledge and skills that are valued by most prospective employers and easily transferred between industries. Graduates are often well-positioned to pursue a wide variety of careers in business, management, finance, leadership, and/or marketing.

There are many career opportunities related this this field, but the majority of people possessing business administration degrees tend to pursue employment in business and finance. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, employment in these occupations is expected to increase by 8% from 2020 to 2030. This is as fast as the average for all occupations and will account for an additional 750,800 new jobs nationwide. The factors impacting growth in this field the most are globalization, continued economy development, and a complex tax and regulatory environment. Additionally, there is likely to be an increased demand for qualified professionals capable of using business data and market research to better understand clients, customers, and product demand.

Professional and business services are the top industries in Missouri. This sector accounts for $42.3 billion in revenue each year. Other top sectors, such as manufacturing, real estate, healthcare, and finance, also rely on business administration professionals, making the state a potentially good location for those seeking employment in the field.

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Missouri employed a total of 154,160 business and financial operations professionals in May 2020. The annual mean wage for this field was $73,800, which is higher than the national median wage of $41,950 as reported for all occupations.

Prospective students planning to seek employment in Missouri should strongly consider enrolling at a local college or university. These institutions will have the best understanding of potential employee expectations throughout the region, as well as the requirements for establishing and maintaining private businesses within the state. Additionally, many schools work hard to create relationships with nearby companies to make it easier for students and graduates to acquire internships and/or jobs. While there are many online programs available throughout the nation, choosing to attend a college or university locally is often the best option.

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Online Business Administration Education in Missouri

In most cases, prospective business administration professionals should anticipate obtaining some form of higher education in the field. Colleges and universities offer relevant programs at every level: associate, bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral. The minimum standard for many employers is the bachelor’s degree, although graduates are likely to find some employment opportunities after earning an associate degree as well. As there are potential benefits and drawbacks associated with all degree types, it's important for prospective students to consider each carefully before enrolling.

Business administrators may work in a wide variety of settings and hold many different responsibilities. Most of these professionals are experts in or prepared to perform tasks related to business, management, finance, leadership, and marketing. As these skills are highly valued by companies and organizations of every kind, specific job descriptions tend to vary based industry and employer size.

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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

Most college and university programs related to business administration strive to prepare students to be highly adaptable and capable of adjusting to fluctuating workplace circumstances. To promote success after graduation, instruction generally focuses helping students to develop knowledge and skills that can be applied over many different fields. Some of the most common topics include analytics, leadership, and research. Schools also tend to encourage students to pursue subjects that align with their personal interests and/or passions, as this can help narrow down which jobs to apply for in the future.

Every employment opportunity is different, making it important for recent graduates and young professionals in the field to review expectations carefully before submitting applications. The best candidates for business administration careers are often highly organized, good at math, and possess superior communication skills. Professionals in this field also tend to be highly self-motivated learners who enjoy solving problems and completing tasks, as well as pursing other various developmental opportunities.

Online Associate Degree in Business Administration (AS)

Associate degrees in business administration typically consist of 60 credit hours of coursework that takes full-time students approximately two years to complete. Most often offered by community colleges, these programs frequently provide instruction that is split between general education and basic business subjects. Students generally receive a comprehensive introduction to the most important management principles and business-oriented theories in the field.

This type of degree can help prepare students for entry-level employment, but will only amount to the minimum education requirement for most jobs. Graduates will possess the basic skills needed to perform administrative and managerial activities for private, public, and non-profit organization. Some of the most common employment opportunities at this level include management trainer, project assistant, office manager, sales representative, and technology specialist.

Instead of applying for entry-level jobs, graduates will also be qualified to continue their educations by enrolling in bachelor’s degree programs. Credits can be easily transferred between accredited institutions and, in most cases, associate degrees are equivalent to the first two years of a four-year degree. For many, this is more economical, as community colleges tend to charge less in tuition and fees than traditional colleges and universities.

Online Bachelor's Degree in Business Administration (BS or BBA)

Online bachelors in business administration typically consist of 120 credit hours of coursework that takes full-time students approximately four years to complete. As mentioned above, those who already possess associate degrees may only need two additional years of education. Partial credit transfers are also acceptable, which can also result in less time until graduation. Most bachelor’s programs are made up of a combination of general education and major-specific classes. Specifics vary, but students often focus on developing fundamental knowledge related to business, as well as the many associated tools utilized in the field. Some common topics covered include finance, technology, healthcare, and many other fields.

It's worth noting that many colleges and university allow students in this field to select concentrations or specialties. Designating a concentration often helps further focus instruction and coursework, allowing students to become experts in certain sub-fields. Some of the most popular specialties include accounting, computer information systems, finance, and marketing.

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, most business and financial operations occupations require, at minimum, bachelor’s degrees in business administration or a related field. Graduates usually have the knowledge and skills necessary to satisfy most entry-level employment expectations. In general, those who possess bachelor’s degrees will enjoy more professional opportunities than those with only associate degrees. Some of the most common jobs available to graduates include accountant, auditor, budget analyst, cost estimator, and human resource specialist.

Graduates can also choose to pursue further education by enrolling in master’s degree programs. Students interested in taking graduate-level courses will need a minimum grade point average (GPA) and GRE scores.

Online Master's Degree in Business Administration (MS or MC)

Online MBA degrees can range between 30 to 60 credit hours of coursework that takes full-time students approximately two years to complete. Accelerated programs do exist and may require less time. Notably, this is one of the nation’s most sought-after graduate degrees.

The topics covered are often similar to those at the undergraduate levels, but the coursework and assignments are much more involved for graduate students. Instructors are also likely to place a more comprehensive emphasis on certain topics, such as functional business and organization operations.

Prospective students will need to earn bachelor’s degrees before enrolling in MBA programs, making the overall time commitment approximately six years. Graduates will, however, enjoy many great benefits including more employment opportunities, increased salary potential, and preference for promotion. Professionals with MBAs may also have more overall job security as they are often perceived as experts in the field and possess the knowledge and skills necessary to fill supervisory roles. Some of the most common employment opportunities include information technology manager, financial manager, industrial production manager, and management analyst.

Online PhD Degree in Business Administration (PhD)

PhD’s in business administration typically consist of between 90 and 120 credit hours and take full-time students four to seven years to complete. They are somewhat less common and only required for a select few professions in the field. In fact, this type of degree is likely only relevant for individuals interested in business research careers or higher education. Curriculums vary, but students are generally expected to conduct independent studies, as well as write and defend dissertations, prior to graduating.

Those interested in expanding their theoretical knowledge of business and business management should consider opting for the doctorate in business administration (DBA). These programs are designed to help current professionals qualify for advanced positions in upper management and top executive jobs. DBAs usually take about six years to complete.

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Become a Business Administrator in Missouri

Because there are many paths to becoming a business administration professional in Missouri, the first step is identifying your personal career goals and aspirations. The type of degree and amount of experience you need will depend upon the kind of positions you plan to pursue. Each profession in the field has its own academic standards and requirements. Once you determine your ultimate outcome, it will become easier to find and select the most appropriate degree program.

If you are unsure which part of the field interests you most, you can still enroll in a business administration degree program in Missouri. Most colleges and universities design their curriculums with coursework that allows students to be exposed to a wide variety of business and finance topics early. As you take classes, you may discover specific interests that require you to adjust your goals. You can then work with your college or university to switch programs, add minor areas of study, and/or select concentrations. Designating a concentration, or specialty, ensures you receive more instruction related to a single facet of the field and can make it easier to gain employment in that area. In fact, many institutions offer opportunities to focus your studies on specific subsection of business or finance.

Some of the most common concentrations include:

  • Entrepreneurship
  • Economics
  • Finance
  • Management
  • Marketing

After earning the necessary degree(s) in business administration, you can increase your marketability by obtaining one or more professional credentials within the field. There are many different certifications and/or licensures available that can help you stand out to employers. Additional credentials can also lead to more employment opportunities, faster promotions, and higher pay.

It’s worth noting that there is no single, standard credential recommended for business administration professionals. Notably, some employers do have more specific expectations that others. In most cases, however, you are free to select certifications that interest you and/or are most appropriate for your specific area of interest. You can also choose to pursue credentials that align with personal interests, even if they do not directly impact your career.

A business administration degree can also help you prepare to establish and maintain your own company. Missouri has many regulations and laws pertaining to the creation of new businesses. Specifics vary depending on the type of business entity established, but most will need to be registered with the Missouri Department of Revenue, Missouri Department of Labor & Industrial Relations, and the Internal Revenue Service. Prospective owners will also need to check to see if workers compensation insurance coverage is required.

Careers for Business Administration Graduates

After earning a business administration degree and acquiring the necessary or preferred professional credentials, you will be qualified to apply for a wide variety of positions in Missouri. Salaries and daily duties will vary, but some of the most common career options include the following.

  • Accountant
    Accounting associates support accountants, auditors, and other financial experts administratively. They are often responsible for various bookkeeping tasks, data input, reports preparation, and account reconciliation. These professionals also ensure clients’ financial information is tracked correctly. According to PayScale, accounting associates make an average base salary of $48,800 per year.
  • Administrative Coordinator
    Administrative coordinators provide support and budget management assistance, as well as various clerical duties. Common tasks include maintaining databases, creating reports, and composing letters. They may also hire new employees and organize, supervise, and facilitate their work assignments. According to PayScale, administrative coordinators make an average base hourly rate of $18.56, or approximately $46,200 per year.
  • Bookkeeper
    Bookkeepers maintain financial records. Other responsibilities also include verifying the viability of financial decisions, as well as calculating, recording, and balancing payroll reports for their employers. These professionals must know how to utilize accounting software to track transactions. According to PayScale, bookkeepers make an average base salary of $43,850 per year.
  • Bank Branch Manager
    Bank branch managers oversee bank branches and the teams assigned to them. They often have many responsibilities including ensuring that the financial needs of clients are met. These professionals facilitate good working relationships among staff members, manage branch budgets, and monitor banking expenses. According to PayScale, bank branch managers make an average base salary of $60,200 per year.

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  • Digital Marketing Manager/Director
    Digital marketing managers and directors work to increase sales and brand loyalty among customers. This generally entails creating new advertising projects that are efficient and effective. These professionals may also be responsible for utilizing 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 their financial needs of their clients, as well as ensuring that their personal goals are met. This often entails helping clients establish short-term and long-term financial objectives. It’s common for these professionals to coordinate with various financial institutions that support many different investment types. According to PayScale, financial advisors make an average base salary of $60,050 per year.
  • Project Manager
    Project managers oversee employer projects. Responsibilities can vary, but most professionals establish project goals, timelines, and budgets, as well as handling issues as they arise. They also dispense important information to team members, 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 $74,950 per year.
  • Supply Chain Manager
    Supply chain managers oversee franchise supply chains. They are responsible for keeping the process running smoothly. This often entails developing and maintaining logistical and procedural policies, as well as mediating between sales and customer service teams. These professionals 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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