What Can You Do With an MBA in West Virginia
If you’re like most people considering returning to school for your master’s in business administration (MBA), you probably already know some of the advantages: the best jobs, highest earnings, and most prestigious professional positions are awarded to those who hold advanced graduate degrees.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), management positions enjoy the highest annual wages of all occupational groups, with a national median wage of $102,590 across all positions. This means that your degree will most likely pay for itself within a year or two of graduation.
Most of those who return to school for graduate programs are already employed full-time, so you may be wondering if you have the extra hours necessary to attend an institution and complete a degree program. While you can gain admission to a college program that can be completed the same way your undergraduate degree was, attending on site for one to two years, that is not the only option. Often, attending online is also a viable option and many schools offer flexible graduate degree programs so you can attend all online, all on campus, or a combination of the two.Read More
When choosing between colleges, you should know in advance what concentration you want, since this will help narrow your choice. Knowing what types of skills, info, and academics are needed in local areas and industries will also help you define your future goals.
Why Consider an Online MBA?
With a 2017 labor force of almost 779,000, West Virginia has a median household income of $42,600. That means that earning your MBA is an excellent option to enable you to rise well above the average income for the state. An MBA will move your resume to the top of the pile because potential employers will immediately know that you have the knowledge and experience for the best positions.
Most employers value their workforce and prefer to promote internally and approve of employee development. If you’re already working in the sector you prefer, you may find your employer will be flexible with your schedule when you return to school part-time. In addition, many corporations have a policy of offering tuition reimbursement to employees, so you may not have to pay for your studies by yourself as long as you are willing to continue working for the same company for several years after you have completed it.
An MBA also opens the door to other opportunities, so if you decide to leave West Virginia once you’re an alumni you’ll find it easy to find employment in your chosen field.
Percentage of Students Enrolled By Distance Education
Typical MBA Concentrations
Concentrations are a focus you can add to your MBA, similar to the way you could have a concetration or specialization when you earned your bachelor’s degree. These are designed to allow students to master specific academic content that they can apply to specific positions and industries in their professional life. Some of these available across the country include business economics, law and legal studies, strategic planning, and more. Some of the main MBA programs West Virginia has offer the specializations seen below. Even if these aren’t what you are looking for, there’s no reason to skip over the possibility that there is a concentration out there for you.
A master’s in finance will enable you to manage the financial operations of any sized business, work in the banking industry, or become the chief financial officer (CFO) of a major corporation.
- Information Technology Management
With a master’s in IT management you will oversee the entire information technology department of a corporation or business. For example, hospitals rely on computer systems to keep every aspect of their operation running smoothly and security events must be dealt with swiftly.
- Healthcare Administration
Healthcare administrators are needed to oversee the entire business end from employees to supply orders in facilities ranging from hospitals to medical centers to assisted living facilities.
- Public Health
Public health administrators are relied on in federal, state, county, and city health facilities to keep their operations running smoothly.
- Human Resources Management
Every business has employees, and large companies and corporations rely on human resource departments to manage all aspects of employment. The HR manager is also tasked with making sure the company is in compliance with state and federal employment laws as well as mediating negative social interactions within the company.
Accreditation in West Virginia
One of the most important considerations in choosing your MBA school is to verify it is accredited. In West Virginia, accreditation is overseen by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC) which is the regional division of the Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA). Although regional accreditation is voluntary, it is the national standard for educational institutions. Online schools are most often accredited by the Accreditation Council for Business Schools and Programs (ACBSP). Another accrediting agency you might look for is the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB).
Accreditation has another important aspect. Most federal grants and scholarships require enrollment in an accredited school. These programs verify the quality of the faculty, curriculum, and more. You also won’t be able to transfer credit hours to a different program if the first isn’t accredited. If you’re confused by the accreditation of your school of choice a quick check with the HLC should give you the information you need before you enroll. If you get confused by the acronyms, do an online search to verify it is a reputable organization.
Career and Job Outlook for MBA Graduates
The West Virginia business occupations with the highest annual median wages are chief executives, purchasing managers, computer and information system managers, and industrial production managers, all of which earn a comfortable salary between $104,000 and $128,200. The biggest employers in West Virginia are in the healthcare industry and it’s a good idea to keep this in mind while earning your degree.
Note that, while the largest employers are major health organizations, there are also clusters of smaller businesses tied to the same field: clinics, doctors’ groups, insurance agencies, and similar businesses in the healthcare sector will be located near the major employers. In West Virginia the major employment cities are Charleston and Morgantown. Here are the leading employers:
Top Employers in the State by Number of Employees
|Company||Industry||Headquarters City||Number of Employees|
|WVU Children's Hospital||Health Care||Morgantown||7,000|
|Ruby Day Surgery Center||Health Care||Morgantown||6,700|
|Charleston Area Medical Center||Health Care||Charleston||6,071|
|CAMC Memorial Hospital||Health Care||Charleston||5,000|
|CAMC General Hospital-Rehab||Health Care||Charleston||4,200|
Careers and Salaries for MBA Graduates in West Virginia
Average Degree Salary Ranges Potential
- Earnings with Associates - $41,567
- Earnings with Bachelors - $52,102
- Earnings with MBA - $61,678
Careers for West Virginia MBA Grads
- Chief Executive Officer
Provide oversight for an entire corporation or company, formulates policies, and reports to the board of directors. They direct, plan, and coordinate all operations within a business.
- Purchasing Manager
Coordinate, direct, and plan the buying division within a company. May oversee purchasing agents, buyers, and similar employees that purchase services, products, or materials for retail or wholesale use within the business.
- Computer and information systems managers
Oversee all aspects of a company's communications including system analysis, electronic data processing, computer programming, and information systems. May be charged with updating programs and overseeing computer system security within the network.
- Personal Financial Advisors
Recommend financial and investment plans to private clients using knowledge of strategies, insurance, securities, real estate, and pension plans. Help clients' cash flow while promoting growth of assets and investments while minimizing tax liabilities.
- Medical and Health Services Managers
Coordinate, plan, and direct health and medical services in clinics, hospitals, and managed care businesses as well as public health agencies and larger assisted living facilities.
- General and Operations Managers
Oversee the operations within a private or public business. May formulate policies, plan the best uses of human resources and materials, and manage the daily operations not covered under a specific administrative area.
Best MBA Programs in West Virginia
|West Virginia University||Location
|American Public University System||Location
Charles Town, WV
|West Virginia Wesleyan College||Location
|West Liberty University||Location
West Liberty, WV
|Fairmont State University||Location
|University of Charleston||Location
|Strayer University-West Virginia||Location
Scott Depot, WV
How to Choose & FAQ's
- Now that you have a clear idea of the ins and outs of earning your MBA in West Virginia, it’s time to set up your strategy for choosing a school. The first step is to get organized: you can purchase a notebook and folders to keep your notes and brochures in order or set up a file and folder system on your laptop so you can put all your information in one place; or do both. Starting a document to keep your bookmarked page URLs and other notes in lets you email the document to yourself and access it from your smart phone or another computer if needed.
Make a list of your top five school choices or use the ones listed above. Check the accreditation for each to be sure they are reputable schools; ask your employer and coworkers their opinion of the business programs at each school. Go online and look for reviews for each school and check for student forums to see what current attendees think about the program. When you hear or read a negative comment about the school, make a note of it and see if it’s repeated by others. One or two disgruntled students may be an anomaly; several dozen indicate there’s probably a valid concern.
If you have a dream job in mind, go to the company website and look at the executive team. Note what schools they attended. If one or more of your schools is listed, it’s a good indication they will hold your degree in high esteem and give you a boost in the future hiring process.
Make sure your GPA and prerequisites meet the requirements of the MBA program at each school. Check the list closely and make notes of any possible issues with being accepted in the program. If there’s a problem, don’t cross the school off your list just yet; call the admissions office and clarify first.
Consider whether the school is within driving distance. Although you can earn your MBA entirely online there may be a class, seminar, or meetings you’d like to attend. You may decide at a later date that there’s an on-campus class you’d like to take, so it might be a good thing to be able to visit without too much hassle.
Check for other requirements, such as an internship or global program, you’ll need to complete in order to graduate. Confer with your employer if you think there’s a potential problem, as they may be able to give you flex time or training hours to meet your requirements. There may be options available that aren’t required but are highly recommended. Contact the business school itself to see what they recommend you add to your schedule as you earn your MBA.
- Financial Options
Don’t let the program cost shock you into not enrolling. Once you’ve narrowed your choices, contact the financial aid office and see what scholarships and grants you might qualify for. See if your employer offers a tuition reimbursement program and check with local organizations and business groups to find out if you qualify for financial assistance.
Sign up for one or more scholarships, search online programs and enter as much detail as possible. There are thousands of scholarships available for everything from redheads to ethnic groups, and you may find the time well spent.
Look online for organizations dedicated to specific aspects of business such as healthcare administrators and chief executives. Often these organizations sponsor and mentor MBA students and they can be an important source of support before, during, and after you earn your degree.
Remember the tuition won’t be the only expense you’ll face when earning your MBA. Check with the individual schools for other costs such as books, labs, and field trips you might need to attend.
- Career Fields
Investigate the business concentrations offered by each school on your list. If you’re already sure of the concentration and field you plan to enter, it will help you narrow your school choices; if you’re not sure, look deeper into each concentration and see if it meets your needs. Keep in mind, even if a school doesn’t offer a specific concentration you may be able to use your electives to take the classes specific to a concentration, so check the other courses offered. For example, you may plan to go into healthcare administration, but a school only offers a general healthcare MBA. Add the extra administration courses to your class load and you may have the equivalent of a specific concentration from another school.
Do some investigating on job boards to see if there are openings in your chosen field. Even if you plan to stay with your current employer it’s a good idea to confirm your concentration is a marketable degree. If you think you might move from West Virginia in the future, check the job boards in your dream state to see if it is marketable in that area of the country.
Remember that any MBA is a marketable degree; for example, assisted living facilities will accept most concentrations for an administrative position. You can also take additional courses after you earn your degree if you feel you need more specialized knowledge.
- Time Considerations
Although an online degree means you won’t have to commute to campus every day, it doesn’t mean you have time in your daily schedule. Look closely at the course load; most schools have a calculation of how many hours you’ll be spending on reading, homework, and other class requirements.
Online school means you’ll be in charge of completing your work in a timely manner, so make sure you can discipline yourself when it comes to getting your school work done. You’ll need a quiet area to study and do homework and if you have children you may need a sitter for a few hours a week while you learn.
Check with your employer and see if the company allows time for degree work. You may be able to claim a few hours on the clock while you do your homework. Keep in mind, you’ll still have your other responsibilities such as family time and home maintenance to keep up while you’re earning your MBA, so make sure you have a support system in place if at all possible.