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What is Business Administration?

Are you considering pursuing a business administration degree in South Dakota? Business and business-related majors are some of the most popular in the United States. While results vary, graduates are generally qualified to work in a wide variety of professions across almost any industry. In fact, employment opportunities are often available in most sectors as the majority of companies and organizations utilize business professionals to some extent. It’s also worth noting that the knowledge and skills gained during these academic programs is often applicable to other occupations, making the degree even more valuable. Notably, however, those seeking work in business, management, finance, leadership, and/or marketing are likely to experience the best outcomes.

Business administrators generally possess some level of expertise in business, management, finance, leadership, and marketing.

Their academic and professional backgrounds may qualify them for a wide variety of career opportunities, but most are employed by:

  • Bookkeeping and Accounting Services
  • Company and Enterprise Management
  • Energy and Utilities
  • Financial Services
  • Healthcare Services
  • Management Consulting
  • Non-Profit Organizations
  • Technology

It’s important to realize that responsibilities can vary significantly and are often dependent upon employer needs and expectations. Other important factors that can impact the type of work performed include employer size and industry.

Generally, however, business administrators create and/or organize schedules, hire new employees, ensure training covers all required knowledge, and more. They may be responsible for a single department or an entire company, depending on the size of the company, the industry, their experience level, and more. Colleges and universities often design business administrator degree programs to help students develop various knowledge and skills. Curriculums are broad enough to ensure that graduates are prepared to perform a wide variety of tasks that can be applied to almost any industry. In many cases, those who are enrolled are also given opportunities to select academic concentrations, which tailor instruction to address a specific area.

Those who are best suited to business administration degree programs and professional positions typically possess great organizational, managerial, communication, and mathematical skills. They also tend to be highly self-motivated learners who enjoy pursuing various development opportunities, solving problems, and completing tasks.

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Online Business Administration Education in South Dakota

While graduates with business administration degrees can choose to pursue a wide variety of professional opportunities, most find jobs related to business and finance. According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the overall employment for business and financial occupations is expected to increase by 7% from 2021 to 2031. This is about as fast as the average for all occupations and will account for an additional 715,100 new positions nationwide. This growth is primarily due to the continually changing economy, although the complex taxation regulatory system in the United State is another significant contributing factor. Some of the new jobs in this field will also result from companies and organizations continuing to use business data and market research to understand clients, customers, and product demand.

Professional and business services is the eight largest industry in South Dakota and accounts for $3.1 billion of the state’s revenue each year. Notably, finance and insurance is the number one sector, bringing in $8.1 billion per year. This means that employment prospects are likely promising, especially because many of the state’s other top industries also depend on business administration professionals. Opportunities may also be available in education, healthcare, social assistance, manufacturing, real estate, wholesale trade, agriculture, retrial, construction, arts, accommodation, entertainment, and food services.

The median annual wage for business and financial occupations nationwide was $76,570 in May 2021. This is slightly higher than the annual mean wage of $70,220 for these professions in South Dakota. It’s worth noting, however, that the pay reported for business and financial operations occupations in the state is still well above the annual mean wage for all occupations in South Dakota, which was $46,810.

There are several online colleges and universities in South Dakota that offer business administration degrees. However, some prospective students may be tempted to enroll in online programs offered by other institutions throughout the nation. Distance learning is often appealing due to more flexible class scheduling and the ability to complete coursework from nearly anywhere in the world with internet access. But those who plan to pursue employment in South Dakota may want to give preference to schools located in the state. This is because many of these colleges and universities are familiar with local employer expectations and preferences, resulting in a much more geographically relevant education. It’s also common for institutions to build and foster positive relationships with nearby businesses and organizations, which can make finding local internships and jobs easier.

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Those who plan to pursue jobs related to business administration in South Dakota will need some amount of higher education. Many of the state’s colleges and universities offer these programs, with options at the associate, bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral levels. Some academic institutions also have undergraduate and graduate certificates available.

It’s important to realize that each degree type is different, with possible benefits and drawbacks. Often, the amount of education obtained directly impacts the kind of occupations that graduates qualify for. In the business field, most employers expect job candidates to possess bachelor’s degrees. Those who complete academic programs in business administration at any level should have improved employment prospects.

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. Those enrolled will take both general liberal arts and major-specific classes. These programs provide a broad introduction to the field as well as the world of higher education. In addition to basic math, composition, and sociology courses, students are likely to receive instruction in various management principles and business-oriented theories.

This type of degree is ideal for those who want to qualify for entry-level employment in business and finance as quickly as possible and without accruing significant student loans. These programs are often offered at community colleges, which tend to charge lower tuition rates. Graduates may qualify for jobs in management and administration roles within private, public, and non-profit organizations. Other common employment opportunities include management trainer, project assistant, office manager, sales representative, and technology specialist. Additionally, the knowledge and skills obtained while in school are often easily applied to other professions unrelated to business.

Not all graduates pursue employment right away, however. In fact, many opt to continue their education by enrolling bachelor’s degree programs. Notably, credits earned at the associate level may be applied toward other undergraduate programs. This is particularly true for general liberal arts education coursework. While every college and university is different, most accept between 60 or 90 transfer credits. Those with associate degrees can enter bachelor’s programs as juniors instead of freshmen, with only two additional years of education remaining.

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

Bachelor of Science in Business Administration (BBA) generally consists of 120 credit hours of coursework that takes full-time students approximately four years to complete. These programs are still comprised of both general education and major-specific classes, although students often spend time gaining a more expansive understanding of business. Those enrolled can expect to receive instruction that focuses on various business and management tools, as well as helpful finance concepts and technology. Graduates often possess the knowledge and skills necessary to be successful in many different industries.

It's also common for online colleges and universities to encourage students to select concentrations. Choosing a specialization can enhance learning in particular areas and lead to expertise in sub-fields. The most common concentrations for business administration majors are accounting, computer information systems, finance, and marketing.

This type of degree is generally considered the field standard. According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), most related occupations expect candidates to have successfully completed bachelor’s programs prior to employment. This is particularly true for those seeking work as accountants, auditors, budget analysts, cost estimators, and human resource specialists. Graduates at this level also tend to have more job opportunities and earn higher wages than those with less education.

While sufficient to gain many kinds of employment in the field, bachelor’s degrees also serve as good preparation for further learning. Many graduates choose to enroll in master’s programs to increase opportunities and earning potential. Those interested in graduate school should be prepared to meet minimum grade point average (GPA) requirements, as well as provide Graduate Examination Record (GRE) scores.

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

Master’s degrees in business administration generally consist of 30 credit hours of coursework that takes full-time students approximately two years to complete. Programs at this level do not incorporate any general liberal arts classes. Instead, students can expect to receive instruction that is solely related to their major. Topics are also explored in far more depth, with particular focus placed on functional business and organization operations.

This type of degree is ideal for those seeking professional opportunities in leadership and management. Graduates often possess the knowledge and skills necessary to perform most basic business and finance functions, as well as serve in various supervisory roles. Some of the most common employment opportunities include information technology manager, financial manager, industrial production manager, and management analyst.

Prospective students should realize that the master of business administration (MBA) is one of the most popular degrees available in the United States. Earning one can drastically increase employment opportunities, salary potential, marketability, career mobility, and job security.

Online PhD Degree in Business Administration (PhD)

PhD and doctoral degrees in business administration generally consist of between 90 and 120 credit hours and take full-time students four to seven years to complete. These programs explore the field much further, with a significant emphasis placed on research. Students can expect to receive a few years of targeted instruction before pursuing independent study. Written dissertations are often required prior to graduation, with verbal defenses conducted before a board.

This is a terminal degree, which means graduates possess the highest level of education available in the field. It’s worth noting, however, that very few business and finance professions require PhD degrees. In most cases, graduates choose to pursue work in research, and/or higher education. Both of these options can be highly lucrative, however.

Those who complete doctorate of business administration (DBA) programs, on the other hand, often possess theoretical knowledge of business and business management that can be applied to many professions. Graduates may qualify for advanced employment in upper management, as well as top executive jobs.

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Become a Business Administrator in South Dakota

The first step to becoming a business administration professional in South Dakota is determining your ultimate career goals. Because graduates are often qualified for a wide variety of professions, it’s important to identify which one(s) you are most interested in as early as possible. This will allow you to narrow your focus academically and ensures you enroll in the most appropriate degree program.

Once you are enrolled in a business administration degree program, you may be given the opportunity to select a minor and/or concentration. These allow you to explore additional interests and aptitudes, either within the field or not.

Some of the most common specializations and minors for students in this field include:

  • Entrepreneurship
  • Economics
  • Finance
  • Management
  • Marketing

Additionally, you may benefit from obtaining one or more professional certifications related to business administration. There are many voluntary credentials available that can prove useful in this field. Not only do certifications help you stand out among other job candidates, but they can lead to more employment opportunities, faster promotion, and higher pay potential.

Notably, there is no single certification recommended for all business administration professionals. You are generally free to choose which credentials in the field you are most interested in or will be most applicable to you professional aspirations. Some employers do specify certain certifications as required or preferred, but this is most common in highly specialized jobs.

You may also be interested in starting your own business in South Dakota. If so, it’s important to first become familiar with all relevant laws and regulations in the state. All businesses must have a registered name on file with the county Register of Deeds Office. You will also need to obtain an employer identification number (EIN) for federal tax purposes. Depending on the perimeters of your venture, special licenses and/or permits may also be necessary. Applications for these can be submitted online.

Notably, small business owners and entrepreneurs often have decent success in South Dakota. The state has no corporate or individual state income tax, zero business inventory tax, and no personal property tax.

Careers for Business Administration Graduates

Those who earn business administration degrees may be qualified for a wide variety of employment opportunities in South Dakota. Job expectations and salaries will vary, but some of the most common career options include the following.

  • Accounting Associate
    Accounting associates provide administrative support to accountants, auditors, and other financial experts by performing various bookkeeping tasks. They are also regularly responsible for inputting data, preparing reports, and reconciling accounts. Additionally, these professionals ensure clients’ financial information is tracked properly. According to PayScale, accounting associates make an average base salary of $48,800 per year.
  • Administrative Coordinator
    Administrative coordinators provide budget management support and assistance by performing various clerical duties. They often perform databases maintenance, create reports, and compose letters. These professionals also organize, supervise, and facilitate work assignments, as well as oversee the hiring process for new employees. According to PayScale, administrative coordinators make an average base hourly rate of $18.56, or approximately $46,200 per year.
  • Bank Branch Manager
    Bank branch managers supervise the teams of employees assigned to specific bank branches. They are responsible for ensuring that all client needs of are met, as well as fostering good working relationships among staff members. These professionals also monitor banking expenses and are in charge of branch budgets. According to PayScale, bank branch managers make an average base salary of $60,200 per year.
  • Bookkeeper
    Bookkeepers maintain financial records and verify the viability of various financial decisions. They often utilize accounting software to track transactions. These professionals also calculate, record, and balance payroll reports. According to PayScale, bookkeepers make an average base salary of $43,850 per year.
  • Certified Professional Accountant (CPA)
    Certified Professional Accountants (CPAs) are employed by individual clients, corporations, and government agencies to complete various financial processes. They regularly provide various taxation, financial reporting, and auditing services. These professionals also review financial information, prepare documentation, and verify all government regulations are followed. According to PayScale, CPAs make an average base salary of $51,750 per year.

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  • Digital Marketing Manager/Director
    Digital marketing managers and directors oversee the creation of new marketing projects to increase sales and brand loyalty. They are often actively involved, but may also be tasked with supervising the process to ensure all advertising efforts are efficient and effective. These professionals must be familiar with the coordination and implementation of 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 help assess and monitor financial needs for clients while developing plans or strategies to meet various fiscal goals. They often assist in the development process of short and long-term objectives, coordinating with financial institutions that deal with various investment types. According to PayScale, financial advisors make an average base salary of $60,050 per year.
  • Project Manager
    Project managers oversee projects assigned to them by setting project goals, timelines, and budgets. They must also handle any issues that arise throughout the process, coordinating, documenting, and assigning additional tasks as needed. Additionally, these professionals regularly dispense important information to team members. 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 coordinate franchise supply chains by developing and maintaining logistical and procedural policies. They are responsible for manage inventories based on customer demand, as well as ensuring the process runs smoothly and efficiently. These professionals may also mediate between sales and customer service teams. According to PayScale, supply chain managers make an average base salary of $83,950 per year.
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