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Any organization that offers goods and services in exchange for some form of compensation is a business. Anyone who works for a business is considered a business professional. So, breaking into the business world isn't necessarily hard, but finding the business that is right for you can be a difficult task. However, if a person focuses on their interests and their goals in life, they can find the right business for them, be it as an employee or an owner.
If you have a job working for a business or organization, or you own a business, you are already a business professional. The type of professionals employed by a business can vary depending on the business and the industry. And, depending on where they fall in the hierarchy of a company, a business professionals’ clout will also vary. For example, a CEO of a department store has more power than an assistant manager, but both have more power than a retail associate.
If you’re looking to work as a human resources professional, then you’ll deal with new employees, benefits programs, and payroll. An office manager will ensure that those working in the office have all the supplies they need. An accounting professional may do basic data entry or could be responsible for overseeing the entire accounting department. So, as you can see, ‘business’ is a broad umbrella and it’s impossible to say what you will be doing on a day-to-day basis unless you know what role you plan to hold.
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Online Business Education in Washington
In the state of Washington, the biggest industries are real estate, business and finance, and manufacturing. In those industries, homebuilders, real estate brokers, and bankers thrive. Obviously, each of these industries have their own specialized educational needs and the paths to success can vary greatly. With that in mind, this document is going to focus on reaching the management levels of the various organizations that exist in the top industries and others.
The state of Washington has 631,000 small businesses. Of those businesses, most of them have employees. This means that almost half a million businesses have at least one manager and over 100,000 businesses have two or more managers. And those managers, and those at all businesses across the state, are always on the lookout for employees in various positions. According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the need for managers is going to increase faster than average between now and 2030. So, if you are looking to break into management in a particular industry, this would be a great time to attain the education an experience you need to succeed in your goal.
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As was previously mentioned, not every industry requires their business professionals to have a formal education. For example, a fast-food restaurant manager might have gone through specialized training with the restaurant but might not necessarily have a formal college education. That said, a large portion of industries do require their business professionals and managers to have some form of a formal education. In many instances a business education is desired, but other forms of college experience could be substituted as well. For instance, a manager at a manufacturing company might have a degree in engineering instead of business but could still rise to the management level.
Online Associate Degree in Business (AS)
An associate degree in business can help a person land entry-level positions and many businesses. The two-year degree is a good way for a student to determine what type of business major they might like to choose. For example, a person might decide they want to major in accounting, marketing, finance, or some other business-related major. Upon completion of this degree a person will have a basic knowledge in most aspects of business.
Some of the courses that a person would study while pursuing an associate degree in business include:
- Principles of Marketing
- Principles of Management
- Business Communication
- Business Ethics
- Principles of Finance
- Macro and Microeconomics
- Public Speaking
- Business Law
An associate degree in business takes two years to complete, though those who attend part-time will usually require up to three years. Some people can finish earlier while others require more time depending on their personal responsibilities, work, etc.
Online Bachelor's Degree in Business (BS)
Most bachelor-level business degrees consist of three parts: the general education courses you must take in the first two years of the program, general business classes, and a specialization. General education courses may have been covered in an associate degree program if you earned that degree first. The general business section is a series of business classes that provide an overall business education. And a specialization is where a person chooses which aspect of business they want to focus on and takes several courses in that field such as marketing, human resources, healthcare administration, hospitality, supply chain management, etc.
General business courses that a student might take while pursuing a bachelor’s degree include:
- Financial Management
- Business Communication
- Business Law
- Financial Accounting
- Managerial Accounting
- Principles of Microeconomics
- Organizational Behavior
However, if someone wants to pursue a business career in manufacturing, they might add the following courses to their curriculum to make them more attractive to prospective employers:
- Managerial Accounting
- Cost Accounting
- Personnel Management
- Human Relations
- Conflict Management
Online Master's Degree in Business (MS)
A bachelor’s degree is enough for a person to start their career as a business professional, but the competition for management and supervisory positions in most businesses can be tight and, therefore, additional education could be the advantage a person needs to move ahead of the pack. A Master of Business Administration (MBA) is a graduate-level degree that offers students the opportunity to delve deeper into the running and management of a businesses. Unlike an undergraduate degree that is basically a training ground in business in general, an MBA is tailored for those who want to take control of a business either through a managerial role or ownership role. Students will cover the topics that were also studied in undergraduate at a higher level, and additional courses will also be included.
Some of those courses might include the following subjects.
- Advanced Business Communication
- Business Analytics
- Business Statistics
- Financial Projections
- Managerial Accounting
- Marketing Analytics
- Quantitative Business Analysis
Graduate degrees generally take three to five years to complete, and either a capstone project or a comprehensive exam is required for successful completion of the program. Additionally, many MBA programs offer a variety of concentrations. You can choose to focus your concentration on the same thing you focused on in your undergraduate degree or you can shift and earn your concentration in something new, expanding your opportunities even further.
Online PhD Degree in Business (PhD)
A doctorate in business administration (DBA) is a good option for those considering pursuing tenured professor positions at a college or university. It can also be helpful for those wishing to be considered subject matter experts in order to pursue consulting.
Those who pursue this degree will study the following areas:
- Human Development (in an organization)
- Information Systems
- Organizational Leadership
- Operational Management
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At the end of the program, a student will have to defend a dissertation or complete a doctoral study, a document that the student will prepare throughout their studies.
Become a Business Development Specialist in Washington
If you are working and getting paid for what you do then, by default, you are a business professional. But your level of experience and education can harm or help your career. For example, a person with a degree but no experience might be at a disadvantage when compared with a person with no or little formal education but extensive experience and a good track record in the industry. The ultimate goal is to attain both. For those who want to rise in the ranks of a chosen career, classes in your area of interest are a good place to start. If you want to narrow down your career focus, you could take a few different kinds of business classes, such as those in accounting or business management. You can take these classes at a local community college for a few hundred dollars and figure out where your interests lie.
Once you’ve narrowed your focus to a specific area of study, you’ll be ready to earn a degree. Many schools that offer business majors will allow you to choose a specialization. For example, if marketing is of interest to you, you could major in business marketing. This means you’ll get the general business education, but you’ll also take marketing courses that will prepare you for your career. Or you could earn a degree in marketing, human resources, healthcare administration, etc. These degrees are available at the associate, bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral degree levels, as was mentioned earlier. If you know you want to pursue an upper management position in your chosen field, getting an MBA or other graduate degree in your field is worth considering at this point. You can wait until you have more experience in your field and then pursue an advanced degree, or you can get the degree while you gain the needed experience to move into a management position. The choice is yours.
Of course, another approach entirely is to start your own business. If you have experience in a specific and the drive and passion to work for yourself, this could be the best path for you. But customers like to be ensured that the business they are dealing with is knowledgeable, so attaining some level of formal education is still a good idea.
Careers for Business Graduates
- VP Operations
A vice president of operations is a position directly under the president of operation, often the owner of the business. This person is usually in charge of the day-to-day operations of an organization and only answers to the president or the board. They have several managers underneath them that run different department such as human resources, maintenance, transportation, or any other department that is needed to make the business successful. A VP of operations usually has a minimum of a bachelor’s degree, though a graduate degree or higher may be required.
- Business Development Director
A business development director oversees growing business by finding new avenues for the business’ products and services. Development managers work closely with other businesses in the community to find ways to offer their products and services. Sometimes these agreements are monetary in nature, meaning the other company pays for the products; other times the product or service is offered as a service to the community in the hopes that profits will be gained from the gesture later. Development managers have excellent negotiation skills and are great communicators. In some organizations, they are considered the spokesperson, so excellent communication and writing skills are important.
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- Team Leader
A team leader does exactly as the title suggests: they lead a team. A team can consist of two or more employees and they can be assigned a variety of tasks or projects, depending on the type of business. In a call center, a team lead will oversee a group of customer service representatives that take calls throughout the day. Team leads, depending on the business, may hold associate degrees, but most have bachelor’s. Team leads report to general managers directors or another middle management person.
- Administrative Assistant
Many people lump administrative assistants in with clerical positions but they also tend to have other responsibilities. Administrative assistants are often tasked with keeping the daily activities of a manager, or even department, under control and on track. They maintain schedules, answer phones, send communications, plan travel itineraries, and more. They may even do the work of an office manager, tracking what is needed and sending out orders when necessary.