How to Become a Business Manager in Washington

Search Programs

What is Business Management?


Earning a degree in business management can lead to a wide variety of employment opportunities in Washington. This and other business-related majors are highly popular throughout the United States, largely due to the fact that they are so versatile. Every college and university is different, but graduates from these programs generally possess knowledge and skills in management, finance, leadership, and marketing. This type of expertise is highly coveted as it can be applied to many professions and industries.

Business managers are generally professionals in charge of supervising employees and/or overseeing operations for a business or organization. They are responsible for managing all daily work activities, as well as ensuring overall productivity and efficiency. These professionals also conduct performance reviews and implement new operational strategies when improvements are needed. Additionally, some jobs require business managers to develop and implement budgets, prepare fiscal reports, verify policy compliance, and ensure employees have access to all needed resources.

It is important to realize that business managers can be found in nearly every industry. The knowledge and skills they possess are often highly valued by companies, agencies, and organizations of every type. While this results in a wide variety of employment opportunities, it also means that job expectations and responsibilities can vary significantly. This makes it essential to carefully read position descriptions prior to submitting applications.

Some of the industries that commonly hire business managers include:

  • Sales
  • Finance
  • Marketing
  • Global Business
  • Entrepreneurship

Search Programs


Online Business Management Education in Washington


According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, employment in 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 in the field. Additionally, more availability will occur as workers leave the field permanently due to career changes and retirement. Overall, approximately 980,200 job openings are projected for this field each year.

Employment in management occupations is also expected to increase by 8% from 2021 to 2031. This will account for another 883,900 new positions in the field throughout the decade. With career changes and retirements, approximately 1.1 million openings are expected each year.

While overall outlook for business management professionals is promising, those interested in the field should realize that some professions are projected to experience higher employment increases than others. Financial managers, for example, are expected to grow by 17% by 2031. The sectors with the most significant anticipated growth are computer and information systems, finance, lodging, and social and community service.

Professional and business services is the fourth largest industry in Washington. It accounts for $59.7 billion of the state’s revenue each year. This makes the state a highly viable option for individuals interested in business management. Additionally, many of Washington’s other top sectors depend on and/or benefit from hiring professionals in this field. Workers are likely to find opportunities in finance, real estate, education services, healthcare, manufacturing, wholesale, and retail.

Pay potential for business management professionals in Washington is also above standard. As of May 2021, the state employed 243,360 people in business and financial operations, as well as 168,430 management professionals. The annual mean wage for these jobs ranged between $91,350 and $141,860, which is significantly higher than the state’s annual mean wage of $68,740 for all occupations.

Many colleges and universities in Washington offer degrees in business management. While prospective students can also enroll in online programs managed by other institutions, these are not recommended for individuals who plan to seek employment in the state. Online learning makes it easy to attend classes and complete coursework from nearly anywhere in the world, but local schools provide more regionally relevant academic plans. These colleges and universities understand employer needs in the area and adjust their curriculums accordingly. Additionally, local institutions commonly establish relationships with nearby companies and organizations, which can be helpful to students seeking internships and alumni applying for professional employment.

Academic programs related to business management often strive to provide students with learning opportunities in a wide variety of areas such as analytics, leadership, and research. Not only does this improve marketability and help graduates thrive in most work environments, but it also provides exposure to several possible career pathways.

Most business management professionals possess some amount of higher education. While requirements vary by profession, advanced degrees typically lead to the most prestigious jobs in the field.

Prospective students can choose from business management degrees at every level – associate, bachelor’s, master’s, and doctorate. Some colleges and universities also offer relevant professional certificate programs for undergraduate and/or graduate students. While many professionals opt to obtain traditional four-year degrees, the type of education needed depends on your ultimate career goals. It’s also important to consider the benefits and drawbacks of every program carefully before enrolling.

Online Associate Degree in Business Management (AS)

Online associate degrees in business management generally consist of 60 credit hours of coursework that takes full-time students two years to complete. These undergraduate programs tend to be relatively broad, including both general liberal arts and major-specific classes. They typically serve as basic introductions to higher education and the business field. Curriculums vary by academic institution, but those enrolled can expect to receive instruction in English communication, mathematics, and history, as well as economics, accounting, and management.

Those interested in obtaining an online entry-level business management positions quickly will benefit most from earning this type of degree. This is one of the fastest and least expensive ways to gain the foundational knowledge needed to qualify for employment as administrative assistants, executive assistants, food service managers, bookkeepers, office managers, human resources employees, and office clerks.

It’s important to note, however, that most employers give preference to job candidates with bachelor’s degrees or above. Those planning to pursue careers in mid-to-upper management will need more education, training, and experience. This is particularly true for roles with supervisory components.

Graduates with associate of science in business management are often well prepared for future learning. Many choose to transfer the undergraduate credits they have earned to other academic institutions to be applied toward bachelor’s degree programs. Most colleges and universities will accept between 60 and 90 credit hours from properly accredited schools. This can make a huge difference in graduation timelines. Those with associate degrees often enter four-year institutions as juniors instead of freshmen and can complete remaining requirements in approximately two years.

Online Bachelor's Degree in Business Management (BS)

Bachelor’s degrees in business management generally consist of 120 credit hours of coursework that takes full-time students approximately four years to complete. As previously mentioned, it may take less time for those who already possess applicable undergraduate credit hours. Curriculums vary, but still include both liberal arts general education and major-specific classes. Students can expect to obtain a wide variety of knowledge and skills that can be applied in most business settings.

Notably, the US Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that the majority of management occupations in the United States require candidates to have bachelor’s degrees. Some common professional opportunities available to graduates include financial analysts, human resource specialists, and management consultants. Depending on training and experience, some may also qualify for mid-level positions in their field.

It’s also relatively common for graduates to pursue further education by enrolling in relevant master’s degree programs. Prospective graduate students must be prepared to meet institutional admissions standards, such as minimum grade point average (GPA) and Graduate Record Examination (GRE) test scores.

Online Master's Degree in Business Management (MS)

Master’s degrees in business management generally consist of 30 to 60 credit hours of coursework that takes full-time students 18 months to two years to complete. Undergraduate credits cannot be transferred and applied at this level, but some programs do require certain prerequisite courses prior to enrollment. While some topics may have been covered previously, curriculums focus solely on major subjects and explore important concepts in greater depth.

A popular alternative to this type of online degree is the master of business administration (MBA). Both programs explore various aspects of the business field, although MBAs tend to place more emphasis on the technical aspects of planning and execution. This is a particularly good option for individuals who plan to pursue supervisory positions.

Master’s in management and business administration can both lead to successful careers in the field. Employers frequently give preference to these graduates, who typically promote faster, earn higher salaries, and are perceived as much more competitive in the job market. This is particularly true for top leadership roles in the field. Some common employment opportunities include training and development managers, top executives, public relations and fundraising managers, human resource managers, information technology managers, financial managers, industrial production managers, and management analysts.

Online PhD Degree in Business Management (PhD)

Doctorates of business administration (DBAs) and related PhD programs generally consist of between 90 and 120 credit hours that take full-time students four to seven years to complete. As terminal degrees, these programs represent the highest level of education available in the field. Students can expect to receive in-depth instruction is many key topics, as well as time to perform independent study and research. Most colleges and universities require the submission and defense of dissertations prior to graduation.

These degrees are typically pursued by individuals interested in research, instruction, or leadership roles in the field. Notably, a PhD in business is most appropriate for research careers, while those seeking upper management and executive occupations should give preference to the DBA. Graduates often have access to the most prestigious opportunities in the field such as top business executive, postsecondary business professor, postsecondary education administrator, and economist.

Become a Business Manager in Washington


Becoming a business management professional in Washington starts by determining your ultimate career goals. There are many professional opportunities available to workers in this field within the state. You should research the various options carefully while also considering your personal interests, skills, and aptitudes. Narrowing your focus early ensures that you pursue the most appropriate education, training, and experience as you prepare for success.

A degree in business management is also a good choice for those who are still undecided about their occupational goals. This is because the major curriculums often encourage students to explore various subjects related to business, providing a useful overview of the field that can help identify potential areas of interest. Many colleges and universities also allow those enrolled to choose concentrations, or specialty areas. Designating a concentration tailors coursework to prepare students for certain types of work.

Some of the most common specializations are:

  • Finance
  • Project Management
  • Human Resources
  • Nonprofit Management
  • Marketing
  • Global Business
  • Entrepreneurship

In addition to achieving the necessary education for your intended profession, you may benefit from obtaining one or more professional certifications and/or licensures. There are many credentials related to business management available, all of which help demonstrate competence in specific areas of the field. This can be hugely advantageous when applying for jobs and may lead to more promotional opportunities and higher pay. It’s also important to note that some employment opportunities require specific certifications or licenses, which may need to be obtained prior to or shortly after being hired.

While there are many options available in this field, the certified business manager (CBM) credential is one of the most popular among business management professionals. This certification demonstrates elite operational management skills, which are valuable in almost any work setting. CBM programs are offered by numerous accredited institutions. In fact, many colleges and universities build the credentialing process into their MBA programs.

A degree in business management can also prepare you to open your own business in Washington. This process is overseen by the state’s Department of Revenue, with most entities requiring a license to function.

You will need to register and obtain a business license if you meet any of the following conditions:

  • Your business requires city and state endorsements
  • You are doing business using a name other than your full legal name
  • You plan to hire employees
  • You sell a product or provide a service that requires the collection of sales tax
  • Your gross income is $12,000 or more per year
  • Your business is required to pay taxes or fees to the Department of Revenue
  • You are a buyer or processor of specialty wood products
  • Your business meets Nexus threshold reporting requirements

Additionally, all Washington corporations, partnerships, liability companies, and limited liability partnerships must file with the Washington Secretary of state before submitting the business license application. The Department of Revenue website has a Business Licensing Wizard program available to help new business owners determine which steps they should take.

Careers for Business Management Graduates


  • Account Executive
    Account executives work in sales, offering services and/or products to individuals and businesses. They often set and strive to meet company sales quotas. While some cold calling to gain new buyers may be required, these professionals frequently have established client lists. Additionally, account executives might be tasked with carrying out research and recruiting projects in order to expand clientele. According to PayScale, account executives make an average base salary of $58,450 per year.
  • Account Manager
    Account managers oversee certain customer interactions for their employers, such as advertising and sales. They utilize their extensive knowledge about the products and services offered to develop highly targeted pitches to current and future clients. These professionals may also travel in order to participate in meetings and demonstrations. According to PayScale, account managers make an average base salary of $57,650 per year.
  • Accounting Supervisor
    Accounting supervisors manage and collaborate with accounting teams, providing supervision, support, and troubleshooting assistance. They are also responsible for customer service and frequently take calls and respond to emails from clients. Depending on the structure of the organization, these professionals may report directly to executives or even boards of directors. According to PayScale, accounting supervisors make an average base salary of $68,650 per year.
  • Benefits Specialist
    Benefits specialists are responsible for ensuring company health plans are administered properly to employees, as well as providing information to workers about their various benefit options. They are typically involved in selecting employee retirement plans, keeping in mind both utility and cost. These professionals often perform detailed analyses to determine expected plan performance, matching costs, and overall affordability. According to PayScale, benefits specialists make an average base salary of $53,300 per year.
  • Business Analyst
    Business analysts examine sets of data and documents in order to help stakeholders make more informed decisions. They work to ensure internal departments are more efficient by reporting data findings and suggesting possible adaptations based on ever-changing conditions. These professionals may also be responsible for maintaining on-call hours or might be asked to work overtime to complete analyses. According to PayScale, business analysts make an average base salary of $64,000 per year.
  • Operations Manager
    Operations managers oversee the production of good and/or services for their employers. They may be responsible for purchasing, warehousing, and manufacturing departments, ensuring that outcomes meet or exceed buyer expectations. These professionals also verify that business is conducted safely and that all safety and environmental rules and regulations are followed. In some cases, operations managers participate in establishing sales and profit goals. Additionally, operation According to PayScale, operations managers make an average base salary of $68,500 per year.
  • Regional Sales `
    Regional sales managers oversee sales managers within their assigned districts. They are often responsible for developing marketing programs in order to introduce new offerings and/or increase purchases. These professionals also analyze sales data and provide mentorship to employees. According to PayScale, regional sales managers make an average base salary of $84,350 per year.

Search Programs