How to Become a Business Professional in Oregon

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Oregon is a diverse place. The western I-5 corridor provides most of the state's economic activity with Portland, leading the way in terms of technology, retail, and other industries. However, east of the Cascade Mountains, the state supports a diverse agricultural base that is augmented with tourism on the ski-worthy mountains and urban centers such as Bend that attract wealthy retirees, among others.

Like many states, Oregon's economy is led by its real estate sector. It ranks #22 in the nation, and much of that growth has come from the property boom in Portland. The second strongest economic driver is manufacturing, which generates $34 billion, with professional and business services close behind in the #3 spot. Arts, entertainment, recreation, etc. take the #9 position and the information sector comes in at #10, with an economic value of $8.8 billion, the 23rd largest such sum in the nation.

Given that most of the state's economic power comes from Portland, it manages to easily maintain its tourism industry along with its other sectors. The state also has strong initiatives in renewable energy, increasingly positioning the state to streamline many economic functions and operate with increased autonomy in the global marketplace.

Naturally, this economic growth and strength comes from Oregon's brilliant business executives, among other workers, who are eager to apply creativity and ingenuity to their work. These business professionals aren't often generated from whole cloth, however. Oregon's colleges, universities, and community colleges all pitch in to keep the Beaver State's economy at the vanguard of commerce. To accomplish this, business degree programs must seek out the best faculty members who can mold young minds toward long-term success.


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Online Business Education in Oregon


Oregon's higher educational institutions seek out faculty who are experts in fields such as renewable energy, economics, and all of the business disciplines. Not only do they look for academic all-stars but also local businesspeople who can offer students relevant, Oregon-based knowledge. They may have been around through the economic downturn of 2008 and thus be able to relate to students how they might navigate similar problems in the future. They may also be more familiar with Oregon's approach to business regulation and the general business climate.

A business professional is a person who typically makes their career in a for-profit firm. There are many different types of business professional, but they all are working to expand their firm's revenues and profits. For instance, some may work in industries such as retail trade, manufacturing, financial services, or wholesale trade. Within each of those broad categories are many industries, and each has its own special qualities and requirements for its business professionals.

Most business professionals, however, work in offices where they spend their time on computers or the telephone. Sales professionals might work on a sales floor, as in a furniture store, or they might conduct business selling high end equipment where they must close their deals in -suite boardrooms.

There are also business professionals who work in the non-profit arena. They may perform many of the same duties as their for-profit colleagues, except that they are not driven toward profit. Nevertheless, non-profit businesspeople still must generate revenue for their organizations so that they can keep the doors open and continue to pursue their mission.

Online Associate Degree in Business (AS)

Many launch their business careers with an associate business degree. Community colleges often support degrees in business related fields such as management, finance, accounting, marketing, and more. Even students who are pursuing a career in a trade, such as electricians, might benefit from a few business courses in case they decide to work as independent contractors. Those who earn associate business degrees are sure to land an entry-level position with their degrees.

Associate degrees also have the added benefit of being a more affordable option. Most two-year degree schools offer their credit hours at a drastically reduced rate relative to their four-year counterparts. In fact, students who are aiming at a bachelor's degree might choose an associate degree and then transfer into a four-year, bachelor's degree program to finish up. In fact, some community colleges have gone to lengths to ensure that their graduates can easily transition into universities in their state.

Online Bachelor's Degree in Business (BS)

Many consider a bachelor's business degree to be the minimum requirement for success in business. Management trainee programs are eager to find fresh graduates who hold their four-year diplomas and a bachelor's degree is a requirement for further advancement. Not only is a bachelor business degree required for a master’s degree, but it may be necessary for licenses such as the CPA credential or industry certificates in various fields such as project management, supply chain management, or human resources, among many others.

Furthermore, bachelor's degrees can offer a great deal of specialization. Some may focus on entrepreneurship or special areas of marketing or management. For instance, sports loving students often major in sports management or sports marketing. Bachelor’s business degree programs are also more likely to offer internship opportunities or co-op learning where students alternate terms working and studying. A bachelor's degree also offers students the opportunity to complete a double major or a minor concentration in a complimentary field. For instance, marketing students might study computer science to sharpen their data crunching abilities.

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

An MBA is the gold standard for business executives. To earn a spot in the C-suites, an MBA is nearly a requirement. This is for a good reason. An MBA elevates students' learning to the next level with one year of intensive training in business fundamentals. The second year is then spent studying a specialty concentration that will guide the rest of their careers.

Since the MBA degree is so popular, there are some interesting approaches to the degree. Some undergraduate programs offer an accelerated MBA in which bachelor's business degree students immerse themselves in an intense five years that result in an MBA. There are also dual-MBA programs that allow students to complete two graduate degrees in approximately three years. One of the more popular pairings is a law degree and MBA (JD/MBA) that may take four years, considering that law school is a three-year proposition. Other pairings with MBAs include public administration, computer science, engineering, and nearly any discipline students can dream of. However, few programs will support all pairs.

Online PhD Degree in Business (PhD)

A PhD isn't high on the list of requirements in the business community. However, that may be changing soon. As MBAs gain increased popularity and presence in the halls of business, employers may want to see more and higher credentials.

While the various business disciplines such as marketing, management, supply chain management, and human resources, etc. don't necessarily require a PhD, technical fields value this degree. For instance, students with a doctorate in cyber security specialties, such as cryptography, might be hired on the basis of their degree. Computer scientists also are known to take their PhD credentials and then use their brilliant ideas to fuel a new tech start-up.

A doctorate in a business field is most often applied toward a career in academia. Students who fall in love with their field may take it all the way to the PhD level. Their degree will open doors to many teaching positions and perhaps a tenure-track position that will offer long-term stability and success.

Become a Business Development Specialist in Oregon


There are many routes to a successful business career in Oregon. Business professionals don't necessarily need any special degree or license to land a job or start their own firm. However, there are many ways to help ensure better success in the business community. Those ways start in school, even high school.

Oregon high school students who desire an Oregon business career should focus their efforts on subjects such as mathematics and any business-related courses their school offers. These days, some high schools offer a STEM-focused curriculum that could help business-minded students in the long term. Students who focus on computers, statistics, accounting, or economics may find long-term benefits from their courses. They can also become involved in student clubs like FBLA or any other club with a business focus.

Another way to prepare for an Oregon business career is to seek out after-school internships or summer jobs that allow an insight into the business in question. This will also help to build a network of mentors and other adults who can provide insight into the business community. Along the way, most budding business magnates will discover their strongest topic areas.

When a student discovers their particular niche in the business community, they can begin to find the best business degree programs for them. Oregon has many terrific business degree programs, both in their universities and in their community colleges. For those who desire out-of-state education, the Western Undergraduate Exchange program can open up educational opportunities in California, Washington, and other participating states.

After graduation, most students will want to start considering a master’s degree or certificates that bolster their credentials. An MBA can be very valuable, but it's not the only way. Graduate business degrees such as a MS in marketing, supply chain management, or finance, for example, can go a very long way in the business community. Even those who earn an MBA will want to earn additional credentials in their field. Non-academic credentials generally require that holders renew their certificates every year or two. Renewal usually involves continuing education which means that professionals can prove that their knowledge and skill sets remain at the vanguard of their field.

Potential Careers for Business Graduates


  • VP Operations:
    This career path generally opens up to those with an MBA in operations management, but an MS in management can also be very attractive to employers. VPs of operations oversee their firm's day-to-day functioning. In a manufacturing concern, they might oversee the factory and supply chain issues. Other businesses may need a VP of operations to ensure that all offices are stocked and that supplies are not wasted.
  • Business Development Director:
    This position is perfect for an entrepreneurial-minded business professional who has yet to start their own firm. To succeed in this position, most employers will want to see an MBA or some other graduate degree, plus any relevant certificates. A business development director in a tech firm, for instance, may need certificates in multiple coding languages, cyber security, or various IT topics.
  • Human Resource Specialist:
    This can be an entry-level position or one for more seasoned HR professionals. To land the position, workers will want to have a degree in business management, psychology, or human resources. Specialists may focus on a specific area of their business such as hiring, compensation, or benefits. These days, a graduate degree in human resources, including an MBA, is recommended.
  • Team Leader:
    This may be the first step one takes on the way into a managerial position. Team leaders are often workers who have proven themselves expert in the job and thus are promoted to team leader. They may serve as mentors to their team, but they may also work on the team's work schedule or manage other parts of the team's mission.
  • Administrative Assistant:
    This job title can include everyone from a front-desk receptionist to a CEO's administrative assistant. Thus, the level of responsibility and skills needed vary widely. However, this position typically won't require more than an associate business degree. To help land that first job, administrative assistants often study topics such as accounting, business administration, or management. Any academic background in business will help when seeking a job as an administrative assistant.
  • Data Analyst:
    These business professionals are vital in today's business climate. Big data is becoming so important for firms who want to find an edge in the market. It's also a title that financial professionals use. Financial data analysts may be monitoring the stock market, options chain, or commodities. However, they may also analyze company filings to determine the best candidate for a merger or a short stock position. To excel as a data analyst, most will complete degrees in computer science, mathematics, or even marketing.
  • Supply Chain Specialist/Manager:
    The pandemic did many things, among them was to introduce the term supply chain into our daily vocabulary. Supply chain specialists or managers can come in many different forms. Some hold degrees that are steeped in computer science and high-level logistics. Others might be dispatchers for cross-country truckers or perhaps they monitor ships coming in and out of port. In today's increasingly global business climate, an expertise in supply chain management is very valuable.

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