Earning Your Business Administration Degree Online
Compared to all other fields of study, business is the most popular choice for undergraduates. In 2013-14, 80% more undergraduate business degrees were awarded than in any other field of study. In regards to online study, business administration is even more popular, with upwards of 34% of online students choosing an business administration online degree, more than twice as many as the next most popular field. As the popularity of online learning grows, so too does the effectiveness of online delivery. Accredited educational institutions promise students the same quality degree online as they do on-campus, with the added benefit of flexible online study. An online business administration degree is usually offered with asynchronous class schedules, meaning students can study whenever they want and less travel to and from campus is required. While some schools do offer a business administration online degree with scheduled classes, meetings, and/or on-campus requirements, these are usually held during nights and weekends and are kept to a minimum for maximum convenience.
Job Outlook for Business Administration Graduates
The business world draws from a range of educational disciplines. Within the field, approximately 30% of employees have an online business administration degree and 10% have a master’s degree in business. As with most careers, most business professionals have achieved some level of higher learning. The employment rate for new graduates of an online degree for business administration is about 90%, whereas it is only 82% for new high school graduates. The placement numbers jump to approximately 93% for new master’s degree graduates. This ideal combination of low unemployment rates and high accessibility and availability of business careers led the National Association of Colleges and Employers to place business graduates in the greatest demand by employers in the field.
In addition to placement rates, a candidate’s level of education affects the median entry-level salaries earned in the business profession. According to Payscale, business professionals with an online associate degree in business administration have a median entry-level salary of $34,000, while experienced professionals with more than 20 years’ experience and an associate degree earn approximately $54,000. The entry-level median salary for those with a business administration online degree is $46,000 and the experienced professional’s median salary is $80,000, a 48% increase from the associate degree salary. Finally, business professionals with a master’s degree see another significant increase, starting out with a median salary of $58,000 and growing to a salary of $113,000 with experience, a 41% increase over the online business administration degree at the bachelor level.
While placement rates are not dramatically different for the bachelor’s or master’s degrees, the job outlook for more specialized positions that typically require graduate degrees is better, in many cases. The growth for business operations specialists, for example, a career that typically requires a bachelor of science in business administration online, is projected at 7% through 2024, the same as the national average. Compare that to the more advanced careers that typically require graduate degrees, such as management analysts, which expect considerable growth at 14% through 2024, an expected increase of more than 100,000 jobs.
Types of Business Administration Careers
Management careers fall into a number of different categories, but some of the best opportunities are in the fields of management consulting, top executive positions, and financial management. Since these professionals must be experts in their field, the positions usually require a combination of education and experience. While top executives create plans, strategies, and policies to allow companies to run more effectively and efficiently, consultants advise other managers and businesses on how to reach company goals. Financial managers optimize the financial health of their parent organization. The median salaries for these management positions are some of the highest in the business profession, averaging $81,000 for management analysts/consultants, $104,000 for top executives, and $122,000 for financial managers in 2016.
Due to the growing complexities of the field of finance, more individuals and companies require experienced professionals to help manage finances than ever before. For business students looking for a career in finance, some of the most promising opportunities are found in personal financial advising, financial analysis, and financial examination. These three occupations differ most in regards to the type of finance involved, as personal financial advisors work with individuals and their finances, financial analysts advise organizations on investment opportunities, and financial examiners often work for the government and overlook the compliance of financial institutions. In 2016, the median salary for personal finance advisors was $91,000, $82,000 for financial analysts, and $79,000 for financial examiners.
Marketing is one of the most common areas for business graduates because it is such a broad field. Careers are in market research analysis, marketing management, and advertising management are among the most popular jobs for business graduates with marketing experience. Whereas market research analysts study market conditions to better understand how a product or service will fit, marketing managers use their knowledge of the market to gauge the demand for products and services, and advertising managers use their knowledge of the market to create interest in a product or service. The median salaries for these positions in 2016 were $63,000 for market research analysts and $128,000 for both advertising and marketing managers.
The field of entrepreneurship can be limitless for a determined student. Self-employed professionals can use their business expertise to run their own business within a pre-existing industry, or simply create their own. Some of the most common business fields for self-employment are real estate, personal finance advising, and management consulting. Each of these fields require graduates to use their knowledge of both the general business landscape and the specific industry they’re working in (housing, finance, or management). The median salaries for these three professions in 2016 were $57,000 for real estate managers, $90,000 for personal finance advisors, and $81,000 for management consultants.
- Supply Chain Management
Supply chain management is an exciting and challenging career that involves making very detailed decisions with a large amount of information. Those who work in supply chain management deal with every aspect of the product production cycle, from obtaining raw materials to delivering and shipping product to end users. They are responsible for cutting costs and evaluating optimizing current processes. Common careers in this field include supply chain analyst and supply chain manager. Both of these careers have median salaries greater than $50,000, making a supply chain management concentration a lucrative option for those pursuing online business degrees.
- Information Systems
A business administration degree with a concentration in information systems is the intersection of business administration and technology. Ideal students for this concentration will be interested in analytics, technology, and business processes. Coursework includes traditional business curriculum, as well as specialized classes including statistics for business decisions and database management. People who work in information systems are usually responsible for network security, managing a company’s computer databases, and setting up intranet networks.
Types of Business Administration Degrees
The field of business is dominated by professionals with a business administration online degree, both at the bachelor and master level (less than 1% hold doctorates). While there are entry-level options for people with associate degrees and/or certificates, most employers request a bachelor’s degree as a minimum requirement.
Most business fields are much stricter in regards to minimum requirements. In securities and commodities, 54% of the field have bachelor’s degrees. Another 16% hold master’s degrees, earning a median salary that is 89% higher than those with a bachelor’s degree. The field of marketing is made up of 51% bachelor’s and 17% master’s degrees. In marketing, the median salary increases 38% between bachelor’s and master’s degrees. With such significant financial gains to be found through earning a master’s degree, both the options for online master’s degree programs and the number of professionals upgrading their education in the business world are rapidly increasing.
|Degree Level||Definition||Possible Concentrations||Median Annual Salary|
|Associate||An associate degree in business is designed to allow graduates entry into the field of business or act as a gateway for higher education. Graduates commonly secure entry-level jobs in a variety of fields or continue their education in a bachelor’s degree program.||Human resources, healthcare administration, bookkeeping||$36,000-$59,000|
|Bachelor’s||A bachelor’s degree in business is the most common, the most in-demand from employers, and the most flexible degree available. In addition to earning an understanding of the core business principles, students often have the choice to concentrate their learning in specific areas.||Property management, finance, marketing, securities and commodities, operations management, project management||$56,000-$104,000|
|Master’s||A master’s degree in business allows students to explore specific areas of business in much more depth than a bachelor’s degree. The master’s degree opens the door to advanced jobs in areas of management and other technical fields within the business profession.||Property management, financial management, marketing, securities and commodities||$76,000-$170,000|
|Certifications||Certifications typically fall into two categories: self-sufficient or supplementary. In some business fields, such as real estate and building inspection, certificates provide the required entry-level education for employment. In other areas, such as in management, certificates can supplement a bachelor’s or master’s degree (see the CMC), enhancing one’s credentials.||Real Estate, appraisers, inspectors, certified management consultant (CMC)||$52,000-$81,000|
Business Administration Certifications and Licensing
To work in any business field, formal college education or a combination of education and licensure is almost always required. Some of the most common licenses earned are in the fields of real estate and business management. In real estate, professionals are required to take an approved certification course and then pass both state and national exams. In business management, certifications range from basic business management principles, like the Certified Associate Business Manager (CABM) credential, to advanced certificates that supplement a bachelor’s or master’s online degree, such as the Certified Management Consultant (CMC) certification.
There are many other certifications available in the fields of finance, accounting, marketing, and human resources. Most certifications are intended to supplement a degree in business administration or one that is comparable. Business certificates are usually concentrated in one specific area in business, often delving into new policies or industry guidelines. In combination with a general understanding of business skills, certificates are powerful tools for honing specialization in an area of interest.
Business Administration Scholarships
For the average student, financial aid of some form is necessary to be able to afford higher learning. Whether provided by the government, schools, or organizations, scholarships are one of the most accessible options for students. Most scholarships have specific requirements that must be met for students to be eligible, including academic excellence, demonstrating financial need, and/or being enrolled in a specific program. Since business administration is such a popular and in-demand degree option, there are countless scholarships that cater to business students.
Across all fields and institutions, the average student is awarded approximately $9,740 in grants and scholarships, on average, according to the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES). To accommodate and encourage students to pursue certain in-demand fields, states are increasingly establishing funding opportunities for students in fields of finance, STEM, healthcare, and education. Since business administration covers such a range of fields, students have access to a number of scholarship opportunities, including specialized scholarships for accounting, human resources, and marketing majors. The following is a list of some of the field’s most sought-after scholarships:
- CEO of Tomorrow Scholarship
CEO of Tomorrow Scholarship is an annual award established to help the business leaders of tomorrow fund their education today. Eligible students are over 18 years of age, enrolled in a business program, and demonstrate a high level of academic achievement and on-campus leadership.
- Amount: $2,500
- Deadline: June 1, 2017
- The Ritchie-Jennings Memorial Scholarship
The Ritchie-Jennings Memorial scholarship is awarded to a student in a business-related program who is interested in a career in fraud examination. Applicants must be enrolled in a full-time, four-year business program, and are encouraged to meet with a Certified Fraud Examiner (CFE) to obtain a letter of recommendation.
- Amount: $10,000, $5,000, $2,500, and $1,000
- Deadline: January 2018
- Marc Beaumont Scholarship Fund
Established in honor of the COO of Capcom North America and Europe, the Marc Beaumont Scholarship Fund is awarded annually to a business student pursuing a career in the business of interactive media and entertainment. A minimum GPA of 3.3 in a full-time business administration program or a related program is required.
- Amount: $2,500
- Deadline: July 2017
- Marketing Edge Scholarship
The Marketing Edge Scholarship is awarded by Marketing EDGE to students who wish to pursue a career in marketing, specifically those interested in a career in direct marketing. Applicants must be enrolled at a four-year institution and studying business with a marketing concentration, or have completed at least two marketing programs. A minimum GPA of 3.0 is also required.
- Amount: $1,000 – $7,000
- Deadline: April 2018
- Miller Coors National Scholarship
Established by the Adelante U.S. Education Leadership Fund, The Miller Coors National Scholarship is an annual award available to students of Hispanic descent in a number of business- and STEM-related fields. The 20 available awards are given to college juniors and seniors of Hispanic descent. Eligible majors vary, but most acceptable programs are in the field of business.
- Amount: $3,000
- Deadline: May 30, 2017
- The Frank L. Greathouse Government scholarship
The Frank L. Greathouse Government scholarship is awarded to students in an undergraduate or graduate program in accounting who wish to pursue a career in any level of government. High-level academic performance in an accounting-related field of study is required.
- Amount: $5,000
- Deadline: April 2018
- The Michele L. McDonald Memorial Scholarship
The Michele L. McDonald Memorial scholarship is annually awarded to a female business student who is studying accounting. Applicants must have taken or be taking accounting courses to be eligible. Preference is given to female parents that are returning to college after raising children.
- Amount: $1,000 – $2,000
- Deadline: April 2018
- The Gates Millennium Scholars Program
The Gates Millennium Scholars Program is an annual program that awards students of color who demonstrate high academic achievement and leadership qualities, as well as financial need. The award is available to students of color with a minimum GPA of 3.3.
- Amount: Up to $2,000
- Deadline: May 2018
- The Golden Key Undergraduate Achievement Scholarship
The Golden Key Undergraduate Achievement Scholarship is an annual award available to Golden Key members who demonstrate academic excellence and represent the values of Golden Key. Available to Golden Key members with a minimum GPA of 3.5.
- Amount: $5,000
- Deadline: June 15, 2017
In the business field, joining a professional organization is beneficial for everyone, whether they’re students, new grads, or experienced professionals. At all levels, organization members have access to courses, resources, and networking opportunities. Students and new grads often find increased access to jobs, scholarships, and mentors, whereas industry professionals find benefits in discounted conference rates and updates on industry standards and policies.
Nearly every division within business has their own professional organizations. Some work primarily at the national level, while many have regional chapters. These professional organizations allow members to meet and socialize with other professionals in their specific field. The associations listed below are nationally recognized as the industry’s best, providing individual members with professional development opportunities and advancing their respective professions.
- American Management Association (AMA): The American Management Association (AMA) is a non-profit association that offers management development and educational services to both individual members and organizations. Throughout the year and around the world, the AMA hosts business seminars, conferences, webcasts and podcasts, and blended learning opportunities for its members.
- The World Federation of People Management Association (WFPMA): Representing more than 600,000 management professionals in the world of business, The World Federation of People Management Association (WFPMA) is dedicated to improving the quality of professional management and the role of human resources within all organizations.
- The American Marketing Association (AMA): The American Marketing Association (AMA) is a community that connects marketers and academics with the people and resources they require to be the best in their field. Through circulation of publications, such as the Journal of Marketing and Marketing News, the AMA helps shape the marketing industry around the world.
- American Finance Association (AFA): Dedicated to the study and promotion of financial economics, the American Finance Association (AFA) has been bringing interested parties together since 1939. Largely through its publication, The Journal of Finance, the AFA’s main goals are to educate the public on financial issues and assist at various levels with all things related to finance.
- American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA): Since 1887, the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA) has been both representing its member accountants and serving public interests. The AICPA is in charge of setting the ethical standards for the accounting profession, developing the test and requirements for accounting certification, and providing specialty credentials in several different accounting areas.
- Society of Human Resource Management (SHRM): The Society of Human Resource Management (SHRM) is the primary provider of resources and career development opportunities for HR professionals. With over 575 chapters in the United States, SHRM is devoted to advancing the practice and scope of human resource management within all types of business.
Business Administration Internships
The most popular internships and externships are almost always in the technology sector. Fortunately, many of these high-profile opportunities are available to business students, specifically those interested in marketing, finance, and operations. Some other popular options are in consulting, media, and energy industries, all of which have internship openings for business students as well, typically in the area of business development. The most popular internships pay well, look great on a resume, and offer plenty of opportunities for personal and professional growth, but these are also very competitive positions. Not all internships include all of these benefits, so it is important to know what to look for when searching.
When looking for an internship, students should have a solid understanding of what form their employment will take. The main advantage of an internship is almost always career development. Explore positions that have the chance to lead to employment or will look great on a resume. While large companies usually take on more internships and might increase the chances of employment upon completion, internships at smaller organizations often allow students to get more involved and explore several different areas of their major. Determine what will be the most beneficial outcome for you, and focus your search that way.
Below is a list of some of the most popular and effective places to look for business internships:
- Use the pre-existing network at school: career services, business department, and professors.
- Join a professional organization and reach out to other members.
- Find a professional mentor and ask them for assistance.
- Attend school and regional career fairs.
- Check internship websites like internships.com, internmatch.com, YouTern, etc.
- Consult job websites like Glassdoor, Monster, Looksharp, Indeed, Idealist, CoolWorks, etc.
- Sign up for LinkedIn.
The availability of open courseware has changed the landscape of learning, continued education, and professional development. Even though courses do not offer credentials, free open courseware is a powerful tool for those interested or employed in the field of business. Learners can supplement their business administration online degree or even advance their careers by taking open courses. Whether preparing for a for-credit course/test or looking for a better understanding of a certain field, open courseware has something for every student.
Since an online business administration degree touches generally on a range of topics that allows for concentrations in a few areas, open courseware provides an ideal complement to this degree. Learners can educate themselves for free on specific elements of accounting, finance, marketing, or entrepreneurship, while concentrating on other aspects for credit in school. The following list highlights some of the many business-related courses available through open courseware.
- Building a Business
- Building a Business: Moving Your Product to the Market
- Entrepreneurship and Business Planning
- Entrepreneurship through the Lens of Venture Capital
- How to Launch a Successful Startup Company
- How to Start a Startup
- Introduction to Entrepreneurship
- Startup School
- Technology Entrepreneurship
- The New Entrepreneurs
- The Startup Workshop
- Essentials of Advertising and Marketing
- Introduction to Consumer Behavior
- Strategic Marketing – Contemporary Issues
Finance and Accounting
- Corporate Finance
- Corporate Finance
- Corporate Finance for Healthcare Administrators
- Financial Management
- Financial Planning and Money Management
- International Finance
- International Taxation I and II
- Investment Philosophies
- Money and Banking
- Money and Banking
- Personal Finance
- Principles of Managerial Accounting
- Real Estate Finance I and III
- Taxation of Trans-Pacific Transactions
- Payroll Applications
Other/General Business and Management
- Branding, Content & Social Media
- Business Intelligence Tools
- Crisis Management: Proseminar in Public Relations
- Futures and Options (Agriculture)
- Global Supply Chain Management
- Introduction to Business Administration
- Introductory Probability and Statistics for Business
- Introduction to Strategic Management
- Nuts and Bolts of Business Plans
- Organizational Behavior
- Professional Ethics
- Supply Chain Management & Logistics: An Intro to Principles and Concepts
- Writing for Strategic Communication
- Information Management and Processing
- Strategic Management
- Management Leadership
- Principles of Management
- Organizational Behavior
- 11.947 Sustainable Economic Development
- 15.279 Management Communication for Undergraduates (MIT)
- 15.343 Managing Transformations in Work, Organizations, and Society
- Information Literacy I and II
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