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Compare Popular Online Business Programs

A business career is flexible and versatile, and it can involve nearly every economic activity. Business careers thrive in the for-profit sector including large, medium, and small sized organizations. Business careers also have enormous impacts on the non-profit sector. Students can build solid business careers on a strong foundational knowledge of the basics of organizations and management. In a broad sense, being prepared for financial management, operations management, project management, international supply chain management, human resource management, business administration, or business management means having the knowledge and skills that move an organization towards its goals. These degrees in business are designed to prepare graduates of on-campus or online business degree programs to take on vital roles and leadership positions.

On-campus, hybrid (online and campus instruction), or online degrees can help everyone learn business and management principles and gain the education they need to succeed. Online education is flexible and students and business professionals can maintain employment, businesses, community ties, and family obligations. Whether you have an associate, bachelor’s, master’s, or no degree at all, online business degree programs offer an effective, money-saving alternative to full-time on-campus education while still providing general education courses and business courses you need.

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Skills Needed to Become a Business Executive!

One might define business careers as a sequence of jobs, positions, or business program opportunities. The sequence may be connected by growing levels of responsibility and higher levels of personal or financial rewards. A successful career can be one that accomplishes a set of long-term goals that include both career and personal achievements. For some purpose-oriented individuals, a successful business career can be part of a larger, satisfying life experience. The components of a successful career include education, but also the things that people learn through experience. Some parts of business education involve personal experience and depend on self-motivation even more than education.

  • Knowledge
    Proper knowledge is the foundation for a career in any field, not only business. An on-campus or online education in business administration and management prepares graduates to work in a variety of job environments and to manage many different types of business activity. The core of a business major consists of online studies about operations management, accounting, marketing, and finance. A business major may be completed at the two-year associate degree, four-year bachelor’s degree, two-year master’s degree, or six-year doctorate level.

  • A Skill Set
    Skill sets help define the roles online business program graduates can perform, and skills provide a base for further development. Vital skills include good communication, both verbally and in writing, listening, managing time, working smoothly and productively with others, and understanding online research and databases to make the best use of data collection. Skills can involve personal traits such as a sharp memory or a talent at expression. Some people exhibit exceptional abilities for working with a team and interpersonal relations. The business field is broad enough, and business environments are numerous enough that nearly every combination of skills and abilities can have a positive impact on business careers.

  • Technology Tools
    Today’s business workplace consists of many technology-based tools, such as management information systems, and business graduates must prepare to operate in this type of environment. Based on the field or area of business administration and management they are in, graduates must use fundamental technology tools such as electronic ledgers and accounting business software. Some personnel must use information systems and database management software. Employers expect graduates with a Master of Business Administration program (MBA) to have a firm grasp of financial analysis programs, enterprise resource planning software, international business and perhaps even tax preparation software.


How to Earn an Online Business Degree (Mini Steps Guide)

There are many reasons to complete an online business program. First, there is the benefit of knowledge. An undergraduate online business degree is a stepping stone towards employment and to further education. A bachelors’ degrees in business administration, financial management, project management, human resources or any of the major subject areas of business studies prepares graduates for entry-level positions in anything from an exciting tech start-up to a large, well known global business. You just need to decide on the types of business programs that interest you, if you want to attend a college of business and what business degree program level you want to obtain.

Popular Business Major Concentrations

You can learn more about each of these business concentrations below:

Associate Online Business Programs

The typical online associate degree in business is a two-year program that requires approximately sixty credit hours of coursework. The general education coursework includes communications, writing and verbal skills, general knowledge. The business degree core includes introductions to the basic business field functions and principles of management, accounting, marketing, and planning. There are some more focused associate business degrees for marketing or finance majors as well.

Associate online business degrees are the first level of qualifications for business management. It is not necessary to earn an associate’s if you plan to earn your bachelor’s online business degree. However, an associate degree in Business Administration or Management can open doors for you to start an entry-level business career. The cost range for an associate degree is approximately $3500 per year at public institutions and an average of $14,000 per year at private schools. The two-year total ranges from $7,000 for public associate online business degrees to more than $28,000 for top private schools for a two-year degree.

Associate degree sample courses

  • Introduction to Accounting
  • Principles of Management
  • Basic Marketing

Some schools offer concentrations at the associate business degrees level in Healthcare Administration, Human Resources, Diversity and Inclusion, and Business Information Systems.

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Bachelor’s Online Business Programs

A typical online bachelor’s degree is 120 credit hours roughly divided between general education courses and business or business-related core courses. The goal of a bachelor’s program is to provide a solid foundation of knowledge and experience in basic business functions to allow students to gain access to a job in the field. The curriculum then permits students to develop business concentrations or focus areas. These intense studies can prepare you for employment in fields such as banking, finance, or international trade or a position as a project manager, public relations specialist, or a human resources manager.

A bachelor’s degree provides a strong knowledge base in organizations and business operations that cover management principles, organizational processes, and functions. A bachelor’s degree is your first step towards earning a master’s and is also an excellent background for entrepreneurship. The cost range for a bachelor’s degree is approximately $16,500 per year for public schools and about $34,000 for private colleges. The four-year totals would be $66,000 for public schools and $132,000 for private schools for a four- year degree.

Bachelor’s degree sample courses

Concentrations for a bachelor’s online business degree include Entrepreneurship, Accounting, Finance, Information Technology, and Marketing.

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Master’s Online Business Programs

A masters program typically takes between 30 - 60 credit hours to complete and a masters business degree provides a competitive edge in the business world. Those with a Master of Business Administration (MBA) degree or general business degrees can earn substantially more than competitors with bachelor’s degrees, or those reliant upon work experience. Your courses will focus on your major's specialization in business law or consumer behavior marketing or market research, but will also provide a foundation in business ethics, how to make the best business decisions, and more. These are the general requirements of business programs at the associate, bachelors and masters levels, but as we dive deeper into these general business programs may require additional requirements in order to graduate.

The master’s degree in business management or administration opens a wide range of mid to upper-level positions. The business degree also supports entrepreneurship. A graduate degree in business is a one to two-year full-time program. On a part-time basis, students may take up to eight years to complete the degree at some institutions. The basic requirements include completion of a four-year undergraduate degree in business or a closely related field. Master’s programs may require additional coursework for those with bachelor’s degrees in unrelated fields. The cost range for a master’s degree is approximately $9,000 per year at public schools and about $30,000 per year at private institutions. The averages for a two-year MBA degree is $18,000 for public schools and $60,000 for private schools.

Online Master’s degree sample courses

  • Managerial Concepts and Best Practices
  • Organizational Behavior
  • Ethics and Leadership
  • Long-term Planning
  • International Finance
  • Accounting and Finance
  • Information Technology

Concentrations for Master’s in Business include Computer Science, International Business, Finance, Human Resources Management, Healthcare Management, Marketing, Accounting, and Entrepreneurship.

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What Can I Do with a Business Degree?

A career in business can take many different forms. The world of business has become increasingly diversified since the advent of personal computers and the Internet. These days, specialties such as information systems, finance, and supply chain management are either virtually new job types or would be unrecognizable by a visitor from the past. On the other hand, while a profession such as sales has undergone many changes in how it is conducted, the essentials remain the same.

Find Online Business Schools

Business degrees have likewise evolved into wholly new forms. Undergraduate students now major in highly specialized areas such as international finance, project management, hospitality management, human resources or management information systems. These types of online business degrees are tailored to types of business and these business skills can be further developed in graduate school. This page is designed to guide students and new graduates towards the degree types and programs as well as careers that will last them a lifetime as a business professional.

Fields of Study in Business

  • Marketing:
    This field dives deep into what is needed to help market products and services to the public. You'll learn how to identify the demographics most likely to purchase your company's wares and then how to best appeal to them.
  • Supply Chain Management:
    This is a very hot field and attaining a business degree in supply chain management could land you a job as a logistician. The focus of this field is solving problems related to shipping and receiving goods to and from your business and around the world.
  • Finance:
    This specialty area focuses on various models for analyzing a firm's accounting processes. It also covers topics such as credit, equity markets, derivatives, investment banking activities, and more. Those who focus on finance might seek a career in banking or as a consultant.
  • Management Information Systems:
    This is where high-tech meets the business world. This online program will help you design databases, upgrade software and hardware, and provide a firm with the tech support it needs.

Business Careers and Salary

Business is a huge field that spans innumerable industries and companies. There are many job types that translate across multiple industry classifications, but even very similar jobs can have wide salary disparities, depending on your industry or firm. That is because certain industries tend to be more successful at various times, in accordance with economic trends. For instance, at one time brick-and-mortar retail was a hot industry type. Now, that enthusiasm is directed more towards e-commerce or entirely different sectors, such as healthcare.

Thus, to ensure the maximum success in business, you should seek out specific online degrees that will help launch a career in the industry with the most economic strength. For more general online business degrees, such as marketing, students can tailor their internships and class projects to reflect their long-term interests. Keep in mind that it's important to follow not only economic trends but your own strengths, passions, and values.

Business Career Options

  • Information Security Analyst:
    Every business relies on its technological acumen to operate at maximum efficiency and with utmost security. In this job, you can apply what you've learned in a management information systems program or via a cyber security degree to help your firm maintain the sanctity of its data.
  • Financial Analyst:
    In the investment banking world this is an entry-level position that pays far more than your average entry-level job. After two years as an analyst you'll cycle out of an analyst position and likely move on to achieve an MBA which you can convert into an associate position.
  • Benefits Specialist:
    Every business that has a significant number of employees needs someone to manage the benefits packages. With a business online degree program that focuses on HR, you can enter the working world as a benefits specialist. The position will require you to negotiate healthcare and other benefits packages with providers and then manage the benefits enrollment period for your firm.
  • HR Manager:
    After a few years working in an HR department, you can use your business degree in human resources to rise into management. While an MBA or certificate in HR will help, many are able to attain this position based on their bachelor's degree and a track record of excellence.
  • Management Consultant:
    This position is often reserved for those with an MBA, but those with bachelor's degrees can also apply their knowledge and expertise as a junior consultant. This position often involves a lot of travel which can be exciting but also a drain on family life.

Business Salaries by Career

Occupations Entry-Level Median Annual Salary Mid-Career Median Annual Salary Late-Career Median Annual Salary
Financial Analyst $55,200 $68,900 $75,000
Accountant $46,800 $55,500 $58,300
Human Resources Manager $51,300 $68,500 $75,200
Supply Chain Manager $61,800 $85,600 $95,100
Accounting Manager $56,900 $75,200 $76,000
Public Relations Manager $44,500 $72,300 $78,600
Content Marketing Manager $46,500 $72,000 $84,800

Important Questions to Ask (FAQ)

How long does it take to earn a business degree?

A bachelor's business degree from an accredited university or college typically takes four years of attendance. Schools may set a time limit for completion of the degree at up to eight years. Master's business degrees or a Master of Business Administration degree will take closer to two years. Some types of online business degrees may also take longer to earn depending on the difficulty of the material and what courses you have already completed when you begin the program. Online classes help students take business program courses at their own pace, speeding up the process.

How much does a degree in business cost? Is an online business degree worth it?

The cost of a business degree depends on the type of school and the amount of coursework required. Private schools typically charge more than public institutions. Distance learning education reduces the costs of living on campus or in an expensive location. For-profit schools may charge less than the other types. Many public institutions have a two-tiered system of fees with lower fees for in-state students and higher fees for out-of-state students. National averages shed some light on costs and help students understand the costs charged by institutions they might select.

According to the US Department of Education, the average, annual out-of-state cost for a bachelor program in Business Administration, Management, and Operations is $33,045 with an estimated average, total cost for a four-year degree of $132,180

Below are The National Center for Education Statistics reports for average annual undergraduate cost estimates, in current dollars, for the 2015–16 academic year. The NCES surveyed the average annual costs for undergraduate tuition, fees, room, and board for public and private institutions.

  • $16,757 at public institutions or about $67,000 for four years.
  • $43,065 at private nonprofit institutions or about $170,000 for four years.
  • $23,776 at private for-profit institutions or about $96,000 for four years.

What is the Business Coursework Like?

The business curriculum builds a base of knowledge in business functions and organizational processes. Course subjects will include Organizations and Organizational Leadership, Strategic Planning, Human Resources, Diversity and Inclusion, and Business Ethics. Students canspecialize in business subject areas including accounting, finance, marketing, international business, information technology, healthcare management, and entrepreneurship.

Does the school have the business major(s) you’re considering?

It is important to align your career goals with the school and program that you select. If you wish to enter a field like finance or banking, then you should select a school that offers coursework in finance, international finance, and securities. Further, you can look for schools that provide hands-on experiences like internships and projects with real-world businesses.

How many students graduate “on time,” in four years?

About 41% of college students complete their four-year degree on time. The National Student Clearinghouse Research Center study if the question suggests that money is a large factor in the rate of non-achievement. In-state public college tuition rates have traditionally been the lower range for leading schools. Today, the annual in-state tuition average is over $9,000 per year. Private schools average more than $30,000 per year. Many students run out of money and take reduced course loads to accommodate increased work and other money-making activities. Low per-semester credit-hour rates means more time required to complete the degree. Reducing the per semester course load from 15 to 12 credit hours can add a year to the time needed to complete a degree.

Among the reasons cited for the low rate of four-year completion were student decisions in course selection. Many students choose interesting subjects and neglect to grab key courses when available. The failure to take a required course when offered can add a semester to the completion of a major or concentration.

The student experience is a vital piece of information. The graduation rate is often a predictor of the student experience. Factors that can influence late graduation include the availability of required coursework and dropouts for financial reasons. School surveys often have information similar to customer satisfaction information on other businesses. It may be useful to see responses from recent graduates about their experiences. The student survey observations will not predict your experience, but they can lead to productive questions about the school and the business degree program.

What kind of accreditation does the program hold? How is it regarded in the field?

Accreditation is an important part of selecting a school for business education. Much depends on accreditation and the type of accreditation. There are two main types of accreditation; regional and national. Regional accreditation agencies work with research-based schools, private schools, public schools, and some for-profit schools. National accreditation works primarily with for-profit and career-related education.

Regional Accreditation
There are two types of regional accreditation; they are program accreditation and institutional accreditation. Institutional accreditation uses a group of states as the base to compare the school with other colleges and universities; the group of states comprises the region assigned by the Department of Education.

Programmatic Accreditation looks at specific programs or parts of a college or university. This type of accreditation has the same type of respect and acceptance as regional accreditation for institutions. Regional employers and other educational institutions regard regional accreditation as proof of high-quality education.

National Accreditation
National accreditation has a Faith-based branch and a career- related education branch. Faith-based institutions have a different set of standards that recognize the role of faith in instruction. The for-profit branch of national accreditation covers the special purpose and non-traditional schools such as vocational schools. The career-related education requires standards that place appropriate weight on general knowledge and education. Some regionally accredited schools do not accept credits from career-related schools.

Why is Accreditation Important?

Accreditation is an important part of the selection process. It adds value to a degree by offering wider acceptance than degrees from non-accredited schools receive. Accreditation ensures employers and other reviewers of your educational background that you have a quality education. It informs potential employers that the graduate has the expected level of education and knowledge to perform work in today’s high-paced, technology-driven business environments.

The Department of Education designates regional and national accreditation agencies. It is also through this department that educational loans and grants are provided to college students. The federal policy is to limit student loans to schools and colleges with acceptable accreditation. Which means that, if your school isn’t accredited, you will likely not be eligible to receive any financial aid. For many students, accreditation is key to getting funds to pay for the substantial costs of a degree in Business.

Business Programs Scholarships

Tuition costs for business students are high and rising each year. Business education has grown in popularity as business graduates command high salaries amidst a growing job market. Federal student loans are a reliable source of funds for qualified students at accredited schools, but the repayment of large sums can hamper the early careers of business graduates. To minimize borrowing and maximize assets for tuition, business students increasingly look for scholarships. The below-listed items describe five of the leading business management scholarships.

  • The Gates Millennium Scholars Program.
    The GMS program awards up to 1,000 scholarships for students with demonstrated financial need. The awards range in amounts up to $10,000. Students must show success in their college work and a capacity for leadership. The program encourages participation in business studies along with a range of subject areas.

  • Mary Elizabeth Lockwood Beneventi MBA Scholarship
    The one-time non-renewable memorial scholarship is for MBA students. The award covers part or more of MBA student expenses. Students may apply with any business concentration within an MBA in Business Administration. The program works with MBA programs at AACSB accredited schools. The scholarship requires a minimum 2.25 GPA, required essays, transcripts, and letters of recommendation from peers, and teachers.

  • NSHMBA Foundation Scholarship Program
    The National Society of Hispanic MBA’s offers scholarships for students with Hispanic lineage. The awards help students enroll in MBA programs and complete their degree in some part of business management. The stated focus of the program includes graduate students pursuing a business management degree with a related concentration.

    The one-time scholarship cannot be renewed. The program is open to students with any concentration within an approved, accredited MBA program. The award amounts depend on the student’s need and their application. The minimum grant is $2,500 up to a maximum award of $10,000. Students may apply throughout the year, with the deadline falling just before the start of each fall semester. The organization disburses funds before the start of each academic year.

  • The Ritchie-Jennings Memorial Scholarship
    The scholarship, awarded by the Association of Certified Fraud Examiners, represents a large segment of highly qualified accountant specialists. The scholarship itself is open to students with an accounting concentration. The qualifying majors are business management, executive leadership, finance, or accounting.

    The awards range from $1,000 to $10,000 based on the students’ demonstrated need, their record of achievements, and the quality of their application materials. The scholarship awards 29 undergraduate students each year, and it is not open to high school students or community college business programs. Applicants must present essays, three letters of recommendation, and a minimum of part-time enrollment at an approved college or university.

Choosing an Accredited College

Selecting an accredited program to pursue a business degree is an important decision. The entire institution may have accreditation from the regional accreditation agency for the state. The US Department of Education and the Council on Higher Education oversee a national system for accreditation. These organizations authorize qualified agencies to conduct accreditation.

The national systems consist of regions of states and the US Territories. The regions are New England, the Middle States, the Northcentral, the Northwest, the South, and the Western region. These regional agencies perform institutional accreditations which assess the entire school, college, or university.

The leading agencies for program accreditation of business schools are the AACSB, the ACBSP, and the IACBE.

  • The Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business- The AACSB is the leading accreditation agency for business schools and business programs. This organization accredits bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral business programs. The AACSB operates in more than 50 countries, and its accreditations have wide acceptance and respect in academic and business communities.
  • The Accreditation Council for Business Schools and Programs- The ACBSP works with business, accounting, and business-type programs at all levels from associate degrees to doctoral degrees. The organization has a global scope of operations.
  • The International Assembly for Collegiate Business Education (IACBE) accredits programs at all levels, from associate degrees to doctorates, but it does not work with schools that only offer an associate level degree.

Online vs. On-Campus vs. Hybrid

Today, business students have opportunities to pursue an associate degree, bachelor’s degrees, and master’s degrees online, on-campus, or in a combination or hybrid of online and on-campus coursework. Distance learning education may be ideal for persons that have a job, business, or family situations that would not work well with full-time attendance at a college campus. Online education is more flexible and versatile than campus-based classes; most online work is asynchronous meaning that students do not need to log into the portal at a particular time to take the class together. With convenient online access, students can take online classes at any time and from anywhere with an internet connection.

Frequently Asked Questions

Students must inquire about the overall resources of the school and the prospects for employment after graduation. Among the key issues are support for post-graduation employment, education, and careers.

Why get a degree in business?

One of the most common reason that students earn an online business degree is that they want to earn a good income when they get out of school. However, online business degrees have more than just a paycheck to offer. Because ‘business’ is a generic term that covers a vast number of positions within a huge variety of industries, it really means that you are earning an online business degree that can give you a lot of choices. You might work your way into an industry from the bottom up, or you could earn a minor in school that helps you specialize in a field. However, if you want to move to another industry, you will have the skills to help you do so because of your foundation in business knowledge and concepts.

How much do business majors make?

As mentioned before, business graduates can end up in a huge variety of industries. This means that it’s hard to nail down exactly how much a business degree holder will earn, because it may change based on the industry you’re in, the location where you work, the size of your company, your level of experience, and more. However, those with a Bachelor of Business degree make an average of $67,000/year. Those with a degree in business and marketing or business management earn $66,000/year on average. Those with an MBA earn an average of $91,000/year and chief executive officers earn around $156,500/year.

What is the difference between finance and business?

This may seem obvious to some people, but finance and business are tightly intertwined. After all, every business needs someone to make sure the finances are in order. Those who go into finance might work with a bank, lender, insurance, or other financial institution, or they might find a great position in a corporation that can use their analysis skills to maintain their finances and investments. This means that, no matter which path you choose, you can end up in the industry you choose.

Does the College Have Post Graduate Job Placement Help & Assistance?

Schools can provide valuable assistance for graduates that seek employment after graduation. The programs can be formal, such as job banks and employment centers that present graduating students and graduate credentials to prospective employers and host interviews.

Depending on the school, they may have resources that can enhance employment and career opportunities for their graduates. Most schools have an extended community of alumni, donors, and corporate and business support. Alumni groups offer opportunities for networking as well as for sharing information and experiences. The corporate and business community support may include opportunities for internships or other hands-on learning experiences.

Why You Need to Consider How the Rating/Accreditation Can Affect Your Salary

The school’s accreditation status and academic rating information can affect the value of your degree. employers and the educational institutions must evaluate educational attainment when considering applicants for employment or further education. Nearly every use of the degree will call on the reputation of the institution for educational excellence. Students should look beyond the school publications and search for recent news and public information. It is a good practice to learn as much as possible about the past and current situation at the institution.

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