How to Become a Business Professional in Pennsylvania

Business Management Education Guide for Pennsylvania

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What Business Major are You Interested In?


As Pennsylvania's economy continues to grow, an increasing number of students are looking to business colleges and degree programs to start or further their careers. Pennsylvania has a wealth of reputable business schools, many of which offer associate, bachelor’s, and master's degrees in a variety of business-related fields.

First, consider your goals and interests. Do you want to work for a large corporation or start your own business? Are you interested in financial planning or marketing? Once you've narrowed down your options, you can research the schools that offer the programs you're interested in.

Online business degree programs offer students the opportunity to gain the skills and knowledge needed to enter the corporate world. Programs may vary in terms of duration, level of difficulty, and coursework, but all provide a comprehensive education that prepares students for entry-level positions in business. Some schools also offer evening or online classes so that students can continue their education while working.

Another important factor to consider is tuition cost. Make sure you find out how much each school charges and what kind of financial aid is available. You should also ask about the job placement rate for graduates of the program you're considering. Finally, don't forget to visit the schools on your list. You can also check out the best online college programs in Pennsylvania.


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Online Business Education in Pennsylvania


A business professional might work in any business, large or small, for-profit or non-profit, in human resources or management. Because this is a huge umbrella, under which a very wide variety of jobs might fall, it’s difficult to say what you will be doing day-to-day if you work in ‘business’. Those who work in marketing might spend their days studying market research reports, planning campaigns, or creating copy and images to be used in said campaigns. Those who work in human resources or payroll will spend their time planning for changes to benefits, hiring and training new employees, sending tax paperwork, and more. Others may work in finance and either track transactions through data entry and accounting functions or perform statistical analysis and financial modeling to help a company decide where they should invest their money or how much they should spend on a particular project.

As you can see, what you will spend your time doing is based on what sector you focus on. A business degree can help you get started in a wide variety of fields.

Online Associate Degree in Business (AS)

An in-person or online associate degree can help you enter the workforce with valuable skills. These skills include problem-solving, critical thinking, and organization, among others. This degree can prepare you for an entry-level role in a business environment and give you the foundational knowledge you need to begin a successful career. You can finish a degree at this level in two years if you attend full-time. However, if you choose to attend online because of work or family obligations and you can only attend part-time, then it will likely take somewhat longer to graduate from your chosen program. In this degree, you'll learn the legal and financial aspects of the business world, as well as the relationship between the business market and consumers.

Many two-year and four-year colleges have transfer agreements. These agreements help students who have completed an associate degree transfer their earned credit hours and go on to earn a bachelor’s degree as well, without spending another four years in school. If all your credits transfer, you may begin your time in a bachelor’s program as a junior rather than starting over from scratch.

Online Bachelors Degree in Business (BS)

With the economy in a downturn and jobs hard to come by, many people are looking for ways to increase their earning potential. One option that is becoming increasingly popular is earning an online bachelor's degree in business. After all, this is a broad degree that can prepare you for a number of careers in the business world including management, marketing, and accounting. Most employers prefer those with bachelor’s degrees over those with only an associate degree or no higher education.

An in-person or online bachelor's degree in business can be a great way to jump-start your career or change careers altogether if you’ve found yourself in a rut. It can also help you move up the corporate ladder more quickly than an associate degree. At the highest levels, you may need to earn a master’s, but a bachelor’s degree can be enough for many to never need to earn more education for the rest of their career. The best part is that you can complete a flexible, online degree program from home, which means you can continue working while you study.

Online Masters Degree in Business (MS)

An online master's degree in business can be a great way to further your education and career. There are many different programs available, so it’s important to do your research and find the one that best suits your needs. The curriculum for an online master’s in business will vary depending on the school you choose, but most programs will cover topics such as finance, marketing, accounting, and management. Earning your degree online can be convenient and affordable, and it can also help you stand out from the competition.

Master’s degrees are most useful for those who have already started their careers. In fact, many master’s programs require that you have at least a couple of years of experience in the field. After you have gained that experience, you will complete around 60 credit hours of higher-level education, which will provide you with theories of management and a specialization in the field you choose. You can gain this specialization in the sector in which you already work, such as human resources, or you can take this as an opportunity to shift your career in a new direction.

Online PhD Degree in Business (PhD)

An in-person or online PhD in business focuses on research-based leadership strategies and emerging technologies. Students will complete two to three years of courses that will provide knowledge at the highest level and then they will write a dissertation addressing an issue of special concern to business. This dissertation will use research that they perform themselves, which will be made easier by the fact that at least some of the courses they take will be focused on research methodology. In addition to writing the dissertation, students must successfully defend their work before an expert panel. The most common areas of study for PhD programs in business include technology and innovation management, organizational leadership, business administration, and global business.

Online Business Certifications

A variety of online business certificates are available. Certificate programs might focus on building general business skills, filling knowledge gaps, or learning new skills and they can include courses in strategic decision-making, entrepreneurship, and business ethics. Many certificates also focus on one area of business, such as accounting or marketing. Coursework in accounting might include financial accounting systems, analyzing and evaluating accounting statements, and creating financial documents. Those focused on business strategy might cover implementing and assessing strategic plans.

An online business certificate program can complement a primary degree and can expand your career prospects. Many accredited universities use coursework from degree programs to develop these short-term courses and a business certification may be a cost-effective alternative to a full-time degree program, but only for those looking for specialized skills. Employers who are looking for workers with a bachelor’s degree will not hire those who only have certifications. Online business certifications are actually designed for working professionals who want to add new skills and expertise to their professional repertoire. The short-term format allows students to concentrate on essential business fundamentals, without the full workload of a degree.

Become a Business Professional in Pennsylvania


If you are looking to start a career in business, Pennsylvania is a great place to do it. The state has a thriving economy and offers plenty of opportunities for business professionals. However, landing your first job in business can be difficult. It can take a lot of hard work and determination to break into a competitive field or a competitive area. If you want to become a successful business professional in Pennsylvania, here are some steps that you can take.

  • Step 1: Start by getting a degree in business, accounting, marketing, or another business-related program

    A four-year degree is the best way to prepare for a career in business, and Pennsylvania has many excellent colleges and universities that offer programs.

  • Step 2: Get experience working in your chosen sector or industry

    Internships and entry-level jobs are a great way to gain experience and learn the ropes of the business world. If you are hoping to work in a specific area, then it’s best to intern in that area, whether it is a certain industry or a certain part of business, such as marketing or business analytics.

  • Step 3: Network with professionals in your field

    When you're starting out in a new career, networking is key. Meeting and getting to know other professionals in your field can help you get ahead. It can give you access to information, advice, and job opportunities. Networking also helps you build relationships that could lead to future collaborations or referrals. This is one reason that in-person business degrees are still so popular. By attending classes in person, you have a better chance to network with others who will also be going into business, teachers who might have solid contacts in the business world, alumni who might be running businesses of their own, and more.

  • Step 4: Stay up to date on business trends and developments

    As a businessperson, it’s important to stay up to date on business trends and developments in order to make informed decisions for your business. There are a number of ways to stay in the know including subscribing to trade publications, attending industry conferences, and networking with other businesspeople. By staying current on what's happening in your industry, you can identify new opportunities, anticipate changes that may impact your business, and learn from the successes and failures of others.

What Can I Do with a Bachelor's in Business?


A bachelor's in business can lead to a career in a variety of fields. A graduate with a business degree may work as a financial analyst, accountant, human resources manager, or marketing manager. Some business graduates start their own businesses. A business degree can also prepare students for law school or for a career in international business.

Potential Careers for Business Management Graduates


  • Operations Manager:

    An operations manager will be responsible for overseeing the day-to-day operations of the company. They will be in charge of managing staff, budgeting, and ensuring that operations run smoothly.

    Necessary Requirements:

    • Bachelor’s degree in business or related field
    • 5+ years of experience in management or leadership role
    • Strong communication and interpersonal skills

    Estimated Salary

    • The median annual wage for general and operations managers in the US in 2021 was $97,970
    • The mean annual wage for general and operations managers in Pennsylvania is $113,840
  • Human Resources Specialist:

    A human resources specialist is responsible for the recruitment, selection, and placement of employees. They perform duties such as screening and interviewing candidates, conducting background checks, and orienting new employees. They may also handle employee relations issues such as grievances and disciplinary actions.

    Necessary Requirements:

    • Bachelor’s degree in human resources or a related field
    • Previous experience in human resources or a related field
    • Strong communication and interpersonal skills

    Estimated Salary

    • The median annual wage for human resources specialists in the US in 2021 was $62,290
    • The median annual wage for human resources specialists in Pennsylvania is $68,400
  • Administrative Assistant:

    An administrative assistant provides administrative and secretarial support to the organization. They may take calls, maintain a contacts list and calendar, perform personal tasks for workers who have particularly busy schedules, arrange for flights or hotels for work trips, keep note of meeting schedules and communications both within and from outside the company, and much more.

    Necessary Requirements:

    • Proven administrative or secretarial experience
    • Strong written and verbal communication skills
    • Proficiency in Microsoft Office Suite

    Estimated Salary

    • The median annual wage for secretaries and administrative assistants in the US in 2021 was $39,680. Executive assistants earned closer to $62,060
    • The mean annual wage for secretaries and administrative assistants in Pennsylvania is $39,570. Executive assistance earn closer to $65,310
  • IT Director:

    An IT director will be responsible for leading and managing the company's information technology department. They will be responsible for developing and implementing IT strategies, as well as managing and supporting the company's IT infrastructure.

    Necessary Requirements:

    • Proven experience as an IT Director or similar role
    • In-depth knowledge of computer systems and network administration
    • Strong leadership and management skills
    • Excellent communication and interpersonal skills
    • BSc/BA in computer science, engineering or relevant field

    Estimated Salary

    • The median annual wage for computer and information systems managers in the US in 2021 was $159,010
    • The mean annual wage for computer and information systems managers in Pennsylvania is $146,970
  • Office Manager:

    An office manager is responsible for the overall operation of the office and provides support to the staff. They may also oversee some training, create office policies, make sure there are always supplies so that work can get done, and more.

    Necessary Requirements:

    • Proven experience as an office manager or similar role
    • Strong organizational and time management skills
    • Excellent communication and interpersonal skills
    • Proficient in MS Office

    Estimated Salary

    • The median annual wage for administrative services and facilities managers in the US in 2021 was $99,290
    • The mean annual wage for administrative services managers in Pennsylvania is $113,000. First line supervisors of office and administrative support workers earn $63,160
  • Financial Analyst:

    A financial business analyst is responsible for providing analysis and support to the finance team. They will work with financial data to produce reports and forecasts, and will also provide recommendations on financial planning and decision-making.

    Necessary Requirements:

    • Bachelor’s degree in finance, accounting, or related field
    • Strong analytical and problem-solving skills
    • Experience with financial reporting and forecasting
    • Excellent communication and presentation skills

    Estimated Salary

    • The median annual wage for financial analysts in the US in 2021 was $81,410
    • The mean annual wage for financial and investment analysts in Pennsylvania is $92,810
  • Project Manager:

    A project manager is responsible for leading and coordinating projects from start to finish according to deadlines, within budget, and within scope. This includes developing project plans, delegating tasks to team members, monitoring progress, and ensuring quality control. They will also be responsible for stakeholder communication and managing risks.

    Necessary Requirements:

    • Proven experience as a project manager
    • Excellent organizational and leadership skills
    • Outstanding communication and interpersonal abilities
    • Good problem-solving skills
    • Project management certification is a plus

    Estimated Salary

    • The median annual wage for project management specialists in the US in 2021 was $94,500
    • The mean annual wage for project management specialists in Pennsylvania is $90,340
  • Public Relations Specialist:

    A public relations specialist helps to plan and implement public relations programs and communicates with the public, clients, and media. They work to maintain relationships with the public and clients and promote the organization's image. If they work at a large company with a full PR team, they will report to a PR manager.

    Necessary Requirements:

    • Bachelor's degree in public relations, communications, or a related field
    • 3-5 years of experience in public relations or a related field
    • Excellent communication, writing, and interpersonal skills

    Estimated Salary

    • The median annual wage for public relations specialists in the US in 2021 was $62,800
    • The mean annual wage for public relations specialists in Pennsylvania is $65,090
  • Entrepreneur:

    An entrepreneur is responsible for conceiving, developing, and launching new business ventures. They are required to identify opportunities, assess risks, and implement strategies to ensure the success of their businesses.

    Necessary Requirements:

    • A bachelor's degree in business or a related field
    • Several years of experience in business development or management
    • Strong analytical and problem-solving skills
    • Excellent communication and interpersonal skills

    Estimated Salary

    • The median annual wage for administrative services and facilities managers in the US in 2021 was $99,290. However, there are no BLS records kept for business owners in the US. According to private websites that track incomes in the US (ZipRecruiter, Mint, Payscale, Glassdoor, etc.) business owners in the US can make anywhere from $20,000 to $120,000 per year. It really does depend on you, the size of your business, your industry, how successful the business is, and more.
    • The mean annual wage for administrative services managers in the US in Pennsylvania is $113,000. According to those same websites, business owners in Pennsylvania earn between $20,000 to $100,000 per year
    All Business Career Paths

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