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What is Business Administration?

Washington state actively looks for ways and opportunities to innovate and improve how its industries achieve goals. The state even holds the largest number of STEM workers (science, technology, engineering, and math) in the United States. The highest-earning industries include real estate, rental, and leasing; information (#3 in the nation); manufacturing; professional and business services; and retail trade. In fact, Washington is second only to California in patents filed annually.

A business administrator can work in any industry in Washington. They may be employed in hospitality business management, the auditing industry, or operations and supply chain management and find that their skills are of use.

In their day-to-day business life, business administrators will supervise overall operations, either within a department or for an entire organization. They will problem-solve, handling real-world business problems; support various teams and departments; and oversee employee productivity. They’ll make sure that each department is producing work at the level expected of them.

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Online Business Administration Education in Washington

Entrepreneurs and business administrators will find that Washington offers business owners what they need to succeed, both in educational opportunity and within their strong economy. Washington is pro-business, its economy is strong, energy doesn’t cost very much, the state boasts an expert labor force, the state has a creative culture, and there are a wide diversity of industries.

The state’s economy is strong, leading to attractive jobs and competitive salaries. Workers may find positions in biomedical companies, aerospace, clean energy, technology, and many more sectors. Prior to 2017, the state lacked the workers to fill up to 25,000 jobs classified as high-skilled. In response, the state imported workers with higher degrees (master and above) from other states and even from other countries. The state still has a great need for skilled labor and the management required to ensure that companies get the most from their workforce and from the market.

The best industry sectors for employment and education include aerospace, a sector that the state is concentrating on to maintain its leadership in the field. When it comes to agriculture and food manufacturing, the state aims to grow the market for its 300 crop commodities. Clean technology is working within several industries to develop new technologies, and Washington abounds with forests, and its production of lumber, paper, and other wood products benefits from proper management of these resources.

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Despite the fact that there are skills that will be versatile, being useful no matter what industry or sector you work within, it is vital that administrators have experience in their specific industry. This is important because the requirements are very different for various industries. An administrator for a retail chain or grocery store will need to meet different standards than those working for a mining company or an auditing firm. For this reason, it’s impossible to tell you what your day-to-day will look like without knowing which industry you will eventually work in.

Online Associate Degree in Business Administration (AS)

Many community colleges offer associate degrees in business or business administration. You can also find those that have direct transfer agreements with four-year institutions so that you can immediately move from a completed associate degree into earning your bachelor’s. If you meet admission requirements, this can save you money in the long run and allow you to start earning real-world work experience before you graduate.

Associate degree programs allow you to complete general education courses you would take in a four-year program, as well as many business prerequisites and some classes focused on management or administration. General education courses cover humanities and the arts, social sciences, natural and physical sciences, and mathematics. By the time students graduate, they should have college-level critical thinking skills and the ability to write well. You may also be able to gain skills in quantitative analysis, information and technology literacy, and more.

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

At the bachelor level, students learn the hard skills they will need in order to enter the job market, as well as sharpened critical thinking skills, which helps them to ask those questions that are necessary in the working world. In these degree programs, students also learn management techniques and skills that they will need to eventually move into a management position. These include planning, leadership, organizing, and more. This business discipline teaches students about the skills they will use throughout their business careers: training, motivation, the evaluation of employees, and how to make and manage organizational changes.

An online business administration bachelor’s degree usually takes around four years to complete, though those who have already completed an associate degree with credits that transfer to your bachelor’s program may be able to enter as juniors rather than freshmen. Luckily, there are plenty of options when you start looking for bachelor’s degree programs in business. They are one of the most commonly earned degrees in the US, and your focus on management will prepare you to move ahead quickly, not only in comparison to those who don’t have bachelor’s degrees, but also compared to those who did not focus on management.

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

Graduate students can look to earn a master of business administration (MBA), Accounting (MSAcc), or another field if they want to focus on a specialty at this level. A master’s is a better fit for those who are specializing, as instruction at this level can really take the time to focus on the newest analytics, software, marketing trends, human resources laws, and more. These degree programs can provide education and training in leadership, communication, critical thinking, and research, preparing you to move into management within a specific department with your current employer or to branch out and look for a management position with a new company anywhere in the country.

While you can choose a focused master’s degree, most who are looking into management choose to earn a master of business administration. These degrees are well-respected throughout the business world, and they can provide you with in-depth and foundational business knowledge while still allowing you to focus on a specific field. You can earn an MBA with a concentration in computer science, marketing, human resources, and much more.

Internships offered through these programs allow students to gain the real-world knowledge they need, while also letting them use the skills learned in the classroom. Or, if their employers are willing to help pay for a new degree, students can use their newfound knowledge at their current company and work to become industry leaders in their down time.

Even if you attend while working full-time, these programs are made for working professionals. Many of them take around two years to complete, but some are just 12-18 months. Do your research and find the program that works best for you.

Online PhD Degree in Business Administration (PhD)

Administration doctorate degree focus, unsurprisingly, on management and leadership. Scholars will study management as a whole, as well as various techniques and how they work in real situations. In these programs, you’ll also study how to carry out scientific research with statistical analysis tools and methods of research design. Scholars are likely to take several management courses, along with courses in research design and statistics before moving into the research-heavy portion of the degree.

Most students in business administration PhD programs will complete their courses, dissertation, and dissertation defense within four to five years. They will take and pass required courses in the first year, develop an area of research in their second year, pass the comprehensive examination, write and complete their dissertations, and then defend them. Upon graduation, scholars may find career opportunities as industry consultants or university professors.

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Become a Business Administrator in Washington

There are no specific requirements to become a business manager or administrator except what each company decides they need from their employees. Even so, business professionals who know they want to advance in their careers should aim to continually improve their skills and knowledge. Depending on their administrative duties or areas of specialization, they may want to focus on gaining certifications in these areas. Or, if you are considering making a change to your business career, you can look for certifications that will help you in your new career.

There are a huge number of certifications available to those who work in various business roles. Here are just a few options, but make sure to do your own research into the many choices of certification available to you.

  • Certified Supply Chain Professional (CSCP)
    This certification is suitable for supply chain operators, their supervisors, and supply chain leaders. Certification courses offer instruction in supply chain concepts, related technology, and strategies to get products from the manufacturer to the customer.

    This certification requires a bachelor’s degree (or equivalent); one other approved certification, at minimum; and three years of business experience related to supply chain and logistics.

  • Entrepreneurship and Small Business (ESB) Certification

    Professionals earning this certification should have knowledge of both entrepreneurial and small business concepts.

    Testing areas include:

    • Financial management
    • Entrepreneurship
    • Skills in finding and evaluating new opportunities
    • Marketing and sales
    • Business start-ups and operations
  • SAP Certified Application Associate — CRM
    This software, created in Europe, means “Systems, Applications, and Products”. Organizations needing to manage their operations and maintain good customer relationships marketing, manufacturing, human resources, sales, and supply chain may use SAP.

    This certification recognizes the holders skills in understanding and using SAP CRM software and the ways it integrates with other SAP solutions (NetWeaver). Candidates for this certification should already have training and experience before they take the exam, for which there are training courses available.

  • Intuit QuickBooks Online Certified User
    This software is considered to be the standard for business accounting. To qualify for certification, candidates are required to show proof that they understand all areas of the program.
  • Candidates should expect to be tested on:
    • Set-up, how to maintain and get around QuickBooks
    • Set-up of products and services
    • Manage lists
    • Accurately record sales and use the forms
    • Set up customers and vendors
    • Set up purchase orders and bill payment
    • Use reports and customize them
    • Customize QuickBooks so the software meets the organization’s needs

Careers for Business Administration Graduates

  • Administrative Coordinator
    This coordinator is responsible for creating schedules and putting them into action; they may manage the organizational budget and are responsible for communicating with clients or staff who need help. They also maintain well-organized records. A large part of their effort goes toward ensuring that work moves effectively through the organization, including between departments.
  • Branch Manager, Banking
    The manager of a bank branch deals with the daily operations of the branch they are in charge of. They create business plans for the bank, they meet sales goals, ensure that customers receive good customer service, and they grow the bank’s revenue by safely increasing lending.
  • Team Supervisor, Call Center
    This supervisor is responsible for helping to train incoming call center representatives joining their team and supervising them as they work. They also aim to give them motivation and keep up morale. The supervisor monitors the progress of each representative and coaches them on their weak areas. Their goal for representatives is to gain the knowledge and skills they need so they can offer the best customer service.
  • Financial Advisor
    A financial advisor offers advice to their clients on taxes, estate planning, investments, insurance, retirement, college savings, and even mortgages. They are responsible for making financial planning strategies which fit the needs of their clients, whether those clients are businesses or individuals.

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  • Chief Marketing Manager
    This professional supervises an organization’s marketing employees. They make sure that the team is promoting the company and its services or merchandise effectively. They also verify that the marketing team targets the right audience in every marketing campaign. They may supervise sales and public relations teams, especially if they work with marketing.
  • Product Manager
    This professional handles the prioritization of the release and life cycle of a product. They coordinate every process necessary to get the item ready for store shelves (and digital stores), as well as getting the item into the market. They make decisions about stakeholders and the metrics for success, they collect and interpret feedback from customers, and they decide upon the product’s features.
  • Supply Chain Manager
    This manager takes charge of supervising and managing the organization’s supply chain and logistics strategy. They supervise operations, striving to increase process efficiency and productivity. They may also take the lead in developing and maintaining beneficial relationships with distributors and vendors.
  • Non-Profit Director
    This non-profit professional takes charge of planning, organizing, and directing a non-profit’s programs and operations. They supervise and report on results, communicating this to the board of directors. Depending on how large the organization is, they may also need to be available for fund raising opportunities, be able to write grant requests, and be able to manage volunteers.

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