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What Business Major are You Interested In?

Degrees in business can lead to a wide variety of professional opportunities in Montana. Some of the most commonly pursued positions include human resource specialist, labor relations specialist, management analyst, and market research analyst. This is not a comprehensive list, however, and job titles and duties often differ significantly in the field.

Most professions available to business degree graduates involve analyzing and improving company and organization performance. The knowledge and skills obtained can be applied to almost any industry and work settings vary from standard business headquarters to home offices.

Due to differing needs and expectations between industries, defining a standard list of responsibilities for business professionals is difficult. Specifics are generally dictated by employer size and overall company objectives. Fortunately, most colleges and universities strive to ensure students enrolled in business degree programs are prepared to work in almost any industry. Graduates are then able to pursue opportunities that align with their personal interests and talents.

The best professionals in business are interested in and proficient with analytics, leadership, and research. They also tend to have strong critical thinking and problem-solving abilities, as well as interpersonal, communication, and social perceptiveness skills.

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Online Business Education in Montana

Are you interested in business colleges and degree programs available in Montana? This is a popular major in the United States, likely due to the availability of related employment after graduation. Graduates tend to gain the knowledge and skills necessary to work in many positions and numerous industries. Curriculums vary, but most students receive instruction in topics that are highly valued by prospective employers such as management, finance, leadership, and marketing.

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), 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 nationwide. Some of the most prominent factors impacting this increase include continued globalization and an ever-growing economy, as well as complex taxation regulations and the use of market research to predict customer preference and product demand.

While the average growth expected in business and financial occupations is not particularly noteworthy, prospective students should realize that some professions may provide better prospects than others. Employment for purchasing managers, buyers, and agents is only expected to grow by 4%, but job availability for market research analysts is projected to increase by 22% in the next ten years.

It’s also important to realize that employment opportunities can vary significantly by location. Professional and business services are the third highest ranking industry in Montana, accounting for $3.9 billion of revenue each year. Additionally, the BLS reported there were 25,000 business and financial operations occupations with an annual mean wage of $68,630 in the state in May 2020. Notably, this wage is well above the national median. Based on this information, workers in this field can expect relatively good job availability, employment security, and income.

Those who intend to apply for business jobs in Montana should strongly consider enrolling with colleges and universities located in the state. Online business degree programs are readily available throughout the nation and make it possible to complete coursework from anywhere with internet connection, but these options may not provide graduates with the knowledge and skills necessary to be successful in Montana specifically. Local institutions tend to provide instruction that is regionally relevant and preferred by employers in the area. They also often have established relationships with prominent companies and organizations, which can make it easier for students to secure internships and employment after graduation. Earning degrees from Montana schools is also particularly beneficial for students who plan to pursue state credentials or expect to start their own local businesses.

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While there are a few business professions that can be obtained without degrees, most jobs require at least some formal education. Colleges and universities in Montana offer relevant degree options at every level – associate, bachelor’s, master’s, and doctorate. The most common degree type needed for entry-level employment is the bachelor’s, but those with further education are likely to be more competitive. Graduates with master’s and doctorate degrees also tend to earn higher salaries and enjoy additional job security. It’s up to students, however, to determine which degree type fits their personal and career goals best.

Online Associate Degree in Business (AS)

Most online associate degree programs in business consist of 60 credit hours of coursework and take full-time students approximately two years to complete. Program specifics differ from institution to institution, but students can expect to receive instruction in subjects such as finance, human resources management, and customer service.

This degree type is optimal for those seeking a general introduction to the field as a whole. Topics are often covered in broad terms and students spend a significant amount of time working through general education requirements. Once complete, graduates may qualify for some entry-level employment opportunities, but options are likely to be limited. The most accessible positions available tend to be administrative assistant, executive assistant, food service manager, bookkeeper, office manager, human resources employee, and office clerk. It’s important to note that candidates with more education and/or prior experience in the field will have more success during the application process.

Enrolling in further education is a common alternative to seeking employment directly after graduating with an associate degree in business. Most traditional colleges and universities accept transfer credits from properly accredited institutions, which can equate to as much as two years of a four-year bachelor’s degree. This can serve to jumpstart students’ educations and help them achieve higher-level degrees faster and with less expense.

Online 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. Every program is different, but most are designed to include both general education and business-specific course requirements. Instruction is meant to help develop various business-related skills. Common topics covered include marketing, finance, and accounting and students may also have opportunities to tailor their programs by selecting concentrations.

This type of degree is ideal for individuals seeking entry-level employment in the field. 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 will be qualified to work in most major business disciplines. Some of the most common employment opportunities available include roles as financial analysts, human resource specialists, and management consultants.

Those interested in pursuing advanced supervisory positions are likely to need more advanced degrees. While credits from bachelor’s degrees do not transfer to graduate programs, some colleges and universities do require applicants to have taken certain prerequisite courses. Additionally, some institutions may also expect candidates to have professional experience and on-the-job training prior to applying. Prospective students will also need to meet minimum grade point average (GPA) and Graduate Record Examination (GRE) standards.

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

Most online master’s programs in business consist of 30 to 60 credit hours of coursework, which full-time students can finish within about two years. There are a number of relevant degree options available, but most students choose to enroll in either masters of business or masters of business administration (MBA) programs. Both degrees tend to cover similar topics in greater depth than undergraduate curriculums. One important distinction is that MBAs often emphasize knowledge and skills related to business planning and execution.

This type of degree is optimal for current professionals who want to apply for higher-level positions. Graduates are generally perceived as experts in the field and are given more opportunities to fill leadership and management roles. They are often qualified for a wide variety of supervisory positions, but some of the most common jobs available include development manager, top executive, public relations and fundraising manager, human resource manager, information technology manager, financial manager, industrial production manager, and management analyst. Graduates also tend to earn high wages than those with undergraduate degrees.

Online PhD Degree in Business (PhD)

Online doctorates in business typically consist of between 90 and 120 credit hours and take full-time students four to seven years to complete. In addition to upper-level coursework, students will be responsible for completing a significant amount of independent research prior to writing and defending dissertations.

This type of online degree is not required for many careers in the field but is ideal for professionals interested in research and/or academia. Those striving to because college and university professors at regionally accredited institutions will need doctorate degrees.

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. The generally take students at least six years to complete.

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Become a Business Development Specialist in Montana

With so many different business related positions available in Montana, prospective professionals should know that there are several ways to enter the career field. To ensure you obtain the appropriate education, it’s important to start by identifying your ideal job. Every employment opportunity has established academic standards that should be considered when you are searching for degree programs. Once you know which position you plan to seek, it becomes easier to determine which education options are most applicable.

In most cases, colleges and universities strive to design their degree programs so that students are exposed various aspects of business. This allows those enrolled to better gauge their personal interest in and aptitude for key subjects. Most schools also allow students to select concentrations, which allow for even more targeted learning.

Some of the most common specialty areas in the field include:

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

After earning the necessary online business degree, graduates often choose to pursue additional credentials. Notably, there is no single credential required for business workers, but there are many optional certifications and licensures available to choose from. Certified and licensed professionals enjoy several benefits such as better marketability when applying for jobs, increased promotional opportunities, and higher earning potential. Because some employers do specify certain credentials as required during the hiring process, employment candidates should always review posting carefully because applying.

In addition to obtaining business-related credentials, students and professionals alike may benefit from joining one or more professional organizations and associations. Advantages of joining vary, but most offer members exclusive access to educational materials, conferences, and networking opportunities, as well as discounts.

If you plan to start a business in Montana, you will need to meet several other requirements. In addition to evaluating your business idea and conducting market research, you must register your business name with the Montana Secretary of State’s Office. You will also need to determine an appropriate legal structure and apply for federal and state employer tax identification numbers. Some businesses in the state require special licenses, registrations, and certification, making it important to identify your ultimate goals early in the process in order to avoid delays.

Potential Careers for Business Graduates

As previously stated, earning a business degree in Montana can lead to a wide variety of career opportunities. The degree level obtained, as well as any additional certifications and/or licenses will dictate which positions are most accessible, but there are many business-related jobs available in the state.

While wages and work expectations will vary, some of the most common career options include:

  • Account Manager
  • Business Development Director
  • Chief Executive Officer (CEO)
  • Content Marketing Specialist / Manager
  • C-Suite Professional
  • Data Analyst
  • Entrepreneur
  • Information Technology (IT) Director
  • Office Manager
  • Operations Manager
  • Public Relations Specialist / Manager
  • Team Leader
  • Vice President of Operations
  • Business Administrator
    Administrative assistants are responsible for completing a variety of administrative support tasks, as directed by supervisors and colleagues. Expectations vary, but some of the most common jobs include filing paperwork, sorting files, conducting minor research, and completing personal errands for others. It’s also standard for these professionals to perform data entry and record-keeping, as well as writing correspondence, submitting billing, and conducting inventories. According to PayScale, administrative assistants make an average base hourly rate of $16.25, or approximately $40,150 per year.
  • Financial Analyst
    Financial analysts are charged with studying and assessing marketplace trends, demographics, and microeconomic factors that are likely to impact business success. These professionals often project possible growth over time and report any relevant findings to stakeholders. Other common responsibilities include recommending resource investments, as well as providing bonds and stock splitting advice. According to PayScale, financial analysts make an average base salary of $61,950 per year.
  • Human Resources (HR) Specialist
    Human resources managers are responsible for managing the various policies, procedures, and compliance records for employees. They often ensure human resource activities are completed and documented properly and provide insight about state and federal employment, as well as overseeing any employee benefits and initiative programs. According to PayScale, human resources managers make an average base salary of $68,750 per year.

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  • Project Manager
    Project managers are responsible for project oversight. This generally includes setting relevant goals and ensuring milestones are met according to schedule. It’s also common for these professionals to manage associated budgets and/or resources, as well as disseminating pertinent information to others when necessary. According to PayScale, project managers make an average base salary of $75,000 per year.
  • Marketing Manager
    Marketing managers are responsible for designing advertisements and sales campaigns. Depending on the scope of the project, these professionals may oversee single products, multiple product lines, or entire companies. As part of this work, they may have to conduct market research studies, monitor program performance, and/or collaborate with product managers. According to PayScale, marketing managers make an average base salary of $66,600 per year.
  • Supply Chain Manager
    Supply chain managers are responsible for managing franchise supply chains. The professionals often coordinate between sales and customer service teams to ensure all necessary logistical and procedural policies are 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.

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