Has it always been your dream to work in the world of business? Is it now time to decide just how you plan to pursue this career dream? A career in business can be a fulfilling and exciting way to apply your skills and knowledge in a noticeable and beneficial way. Keep in mind, a degree in business can make it possible for you to work in practically any industry. You could also choose to work in positions related to market research, human research, management, entrepreneurship, or public relations. It is common for individuals who want to work in business administration to pursue a bachelor of business administration; some people also choose to further their level of educational degree by pursuing their masters of business administration degree. Your coursework will likely begin by teaching you about the principles of business, which will cover: operations and planning, human resources management, accounting, corporate responsibility, ethics, and law. You should also expect to complete managerial accounting courses. This portion of your coursework will focus on the relationship that exists between cost, volume, and profit and will teach you how to make wise, informed business decisions.
You will also spend time learning about how to prepare an accurate budget, and how to plan for and control business costs. It will also be important that you learn about how law factors into how a business is operated. Business law courses will teach you about contracts, trusts and estates, bankruptcy, liability, corporations and partnerships and other legal guidelines that will help you efficiently operate a business. Depending upon the coursework of the post-secondary school you are attending, you will probably also be required to complete classes related to marketing, microeconomics and macroeconomics, and organizational behavior and management. Take a moment and request a free information packet from any of the schools listed on the site. As previously mentioned, there are many different employment avenues that you can choose to pursue with your degree in business administration. For instance, you could choose to work in human resources. In this position you would likely be responsible for recruiting new employees, managing company policies and procedures, designing and coordinating training programs, and compensating employees in an accurate manner. Or, you could choose to work as a market research analyst. In this occupation you would spend time researching market conditions in many different locations to determine how viable a product or service would be. Another option would be to work in public relations. In this capacity it would be totally feasible for you to work in educational sectors, governmental departments, in health care, or even advertising.
Are you looking to become a business owner or a high level executive at a corporation, non-profit, government, finance, or similar institution? Going to college and earning a degree in business administration will prepare you for a wide variety of positions, from sales manager to Chief Executive Officer, and anything in between. While most people start out in entry-level positions, a proven track record of success will usually land you in a fast-paced job that pays well at the head of a public or private company. The constantly changing landscape of business administration and management makes it hard to nail down an exact prediction for the growth or decline of the entire field. For instance, the Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts about 6% growth for top executives between 2014 and 2024 and that outlook is about the same for sales managers, but they predict occupations such as industrial production manager to decline by 4% during that same period. This reflects a general shift in labor as processes become more effective and machines replace humans in some roles. It also reflects a shift in the overall economy as jobs at this level move away from fields like industry and towards fields like healthcare and information technology. However, there will always be a need for people to lead businesses that are made up of human beings with complex thoughts and emotions. Managing a large number of people is not a skill that will be replaced any time soon, so areas that see decline will most likely just see a general shift towards a more complex role.
No matter your position, people in business administration and management typically have some very similar job responsibilities. As a business manager, you would be responsible for delivering measurable results in areas like productivity, profit and loss, and sales. You may also be required to deliver reports and analyze data to determine the value of implementing new processes or specific job roles. Above all, a business manager is a decision maker and that comes with both benefits and responsibilities because you might be handsomely rewarded if your decisions do well for the company's bottom line, but you will also have to answer to decisions that may not turn out so well. You'll also be expected to have excellent interpersonal skills, often leading a group of employees that could be made up of just a few people or could be hundreds of people depending on the size of your corporation. You will need to balance accountability of these employees, by leveraging tools such as performance evaluations and disciplinary actions, with motivation, in the form of incentives and positive feedback, all while providing them a safe and compliant work space. You also will be taxed with making sure they are fully equipped to perform their roles with the proper knowledge and tools. Many roles in business administration and management are not simple, but they are compensated well and provide many with very fulfilling careers full of potential for upward mobility and a better than average set of benefits. A formal education isn't always needed to become a manager or high-level executive in business, so we'll cover the many paths you can take to enter business administration and management, as well as the average salaries, hours of work, and work environments of various roles within business administration.
Education Necessary to Enter Business Administration and Management
A formal education will often jump start your career in business administration and management, but it isn't always necessary. There are many stories of people that have risen from positions, like a mail clerk or personal assistant, within a company to become high-level executives at that same company, or even people who hold nothing more than a high school education that have started their own business and gone on to be wildly successful. It is entirely possible to build a great resume without attending school by seeking out opportunities to demonstrate your leadership. There are plenty of opportunities out there, from volunteer work, to retail corporations that are willing to train you and give you these highly desirable skills.
However, these instances are few and far between and the safer and more established route into business administration lies in education and specialized certification. These positions typically pay well, so competition at the upper echelons of a corporation is often fierce. Those with degrees, certifications, and other demonstrable credentials that prove they can deliver on profit and loss, like a strong record of managerial experience, will be better equipped to obtain and keep these high paying jobs.
Associate's Degree in Business Administration – Associate degrees in business administration are typically offered as an associate's of applied science degree and are available at both 2-year and 4-year institutions, like universities and community colleges. There are also online degree courses available to obtain your associate's degree and some are even offered by accredited institutions, like the Florida Institute of Technology, Virginia College, or Kaplan University.
These programs are perfect for individuals that are looking to gain an entry-level position and begin to work their way up towards better paying jobs, as they only take two years to complete. The average cost of a two-year business administration degree is approximately $41,000 for the whole program, though online programs may turn out to be significantly cheaper. Some larger corporations even have programs that fund your business education while you work. That makes these programs excellent for people in low wage positions that are looking to broaden their horizons. A business degree can help you get a promotion at the place you work or it can help you obtain a better position in a more lucrative field of work. Many people who earn their associate's degree in business administration go on to apply those credits towards a bachelor's degree in business administration. During these programs, students learn about business-oriented technology, management principles, critical thinking, and project planning. Courses include subjects such as: macroeconomics, applied statistics, financial accounting, business law, business systems design, marketing, and human resources administration. In addition to these core classes, many programs offer specialized programs geared towards specific industries. Some popular programs at the moment are information systems, healthcare administration, and human resources. It's important to note that you should have reasonable goals in mind after completing this program. You probably won't become the CEO of a company upon graduation, but you can certainly be hired on as an office manager, retail manager, or project assistant, as just a few examples. If you want the higher paying jobs, you'll have to work towards a bachelor's degree or perform extremely well in whatever role you are given.
Bachelor's Degree in Business Administration (BBM/BSBA) – This is the degree that most professionals in business administration possess. These degrees typically offered as a Bachelor's of Science degree and are available at colleges and universities. They can even be earned online, which is a method growing in popularity and acceptance in the field. As a result, many accredited institutions are making this program available online, like Temple University, the University of Iowa, and the University of Florida. A bachelor's degree program typically takes four years to complete and on average they can cost anywhere from $22,000 - $43,000 per year, on average, though the price of college can vary widely depending on where the college is located, whether or not you are an in-state student, and a wide number of other factors as well.
These programs are ideal for those that are hoping to one day become an executive-level manager at a business, non-profit, or government agency. Though it's not necessary to major in business administration, this degree program offers the most translatable educational experience to any business management position. It can qualify you for positions such as commercial loan officer, city manager, public relations specialist, or even chief executive officer or chief financial officer. A large majority of people in the business administration field possess a bachelor's degree in business administration or a related field. Perhaps the most exciting aspect of this degree is that it qualifies you for management across a very large number of industries, from music management to industrial management.
During bachelor's programs, students typically learn about subject matter like organizational leadership, resource management, financial management, business ethics, marketing, corporate communication, critical thinking, and information systems. Courses that would be taught in an average bachelor's program would include: business statistics, intro to marketing, microeconomics, leadership theories, entrepreneurial finance, corporate sustainability and responsibility, intro to law, business analytics, and management communications. Typically, part of the senior year curriculum includes electives or an experiential learning credit that helps a student specialize in their field of choice. These requirements and the availability of different programs varies by institution. While earning a bachelor's degree in business administration will get your foot in the door, you might want to consider continuing your education while you work or after you have gained some experience. Most top level executive positions require a master's degree or special certification to acquire. However, you can still climb the corporate ladder with a bachelor's degree if you display a great eye for productivity and drive great results. Some people spend many years with the same organization and work their way up to the upper levels, while others leverage their success at a company to land a better job with a competitor or a company in a different industry altogether.
Master's Degree in Business Administration (MBA) – A master's degree in business administration is ideal for individuals that are hoping to become a top-level executive at a corporation, non-profit, or similar institution. Master's degrees are commonly referred to by their acronym, MBA. A master's can be earned online, and many highly respected institutions have made their programs available online, like Baylor University, John Hopkins University, and Louisiana State University. Sometimes employers offer financial assistance to employees that are looking to earn their MBA while they work. Most programs can be completed in a year or two, but all require a bachelor's degree as a prerequisite in order to be accepted to the program. On average, the cost of a master's degree in business administration will cost you about $40,000 - $80,000 per year on average. However, this can vary widely based on a number of factors such as your living expenses, whether the school is private or public, and how much financial assistance is offered from the college, government, and other sources.
Senior level positions in business administration are extremely competitive, so most if not all large employers will require an advanced degree like an MBA. Smaller companies may not require this, but in general those that earn this higher level degree make more money. Not only that, but achieving a master's degree in business administration will qualify you for an extremely diverse number of professional opportunities. You'll still need to display your mental acuity and business savvy, but the degree will go a long way towards landing you the interview. Most of these senior level positions will require some kind of demonstrable track record of success, so equally important to the degree is the extracurricular activities you take on and the internships or volunteer work you perform while in school or after you graduate. In short, just getting the degree is not enough, you still need to look for opportunities to take the lead. During master's degree programs in business administration, you can hope to learn about subjects such as: marketing, brand management, business finance, corporate strategy, business writing, critical thinking as it relates to decision making, and business ethics. During these programs, you'll participate in advanced classes with names like: managerial economics, marketing management, foundations of teamwork and leadership, leadership and organizational behavior, technology and operations management, leadership and corporate accountability, and data analysis. Specialized electives are typically taken in the second year of the program, or towards the end of the first year if it is only a one year program, and are geared towards the industry in which the individual hopes to work. In addition to seminars and regular coursework, most programs expect students to obtain a summer internship between the first and second years. These programs also often include intensive workshops where faculty and guest speakers gather with students to talk about the industry and give helpful advice about how to get their ideal jobs and the demonstrating the keys to networking.
Doctor of Business Administration (DBA) – After graduating from a master's degree program and working for a significant amount of time in the field of business administration, some people seek further education in the form of a doctorate degree in business administration. The upper-most senior level consulting positions and positions in teaching are quite often the goal of acquiring a doctorate degree, as well as performing postdoctoral research. These programs typically take anywhere between three and six years to complete. A Doctor of Business Administration is known as a terminal degree, meaning it is the highest level of academic achievement that is possible on the subject of business administration. There are actually more degree programs available in Europe than the Unites States, but in general this program is fairly popular and can be found in most major universities. The program is also available online, but availability of this type of program is much more limited. The cost of a DBA program varies quite widely. Many can be attended for “free” and include a stipend for your time researching and teaching classes of undergraduates, but you will have to attend full-time and leave your job where you will most likely be making substantial yearly money. Some expedited programs can be completed in 3 years and cost about $30,000-$45,000 per year, but you will still need to attend full-time. Some online courses are much cheaper and can be completed in conjunction with your continued work, but they will take a much longer team to complete.
During a DBA program, you will cover subjects such as: strategic planning, managing change, research and analytical methods, international business, developing managerial theories, public administration, economics, and consulting. Much of the work in these programs revolves around teaching undergraduates and performing research for your dissertation, so there aren't many course titles to provide as the learning done in seminar form or normal course form is limited. However, these programs afford you the ability to formulate your own program with a high level of specialization, and some of the areas of specialization you can achieve with a DBA include: accounting, supply chain management, information systems management, human resource management, leadership, international business, homeland security, and healthcare management. These programs also require the student to complete a doctoral dissertation, which is a heavily researched, comprehensive report on market trends or a subject related to the field of business that is fitting for publication in a peer-reviewed journal. Dissertations often take at least two years to complete as they require a lot of research and writing.
A Doctor of Business Administration degree is very similar to a PhD in a similar field, but the biggest difference is that a DBA program will give you more skills applicable to working in the field because it is focused more on the application of theory than the development of new theories. Therefore, most teachers will earn a PhD in Business Administration rather than a DBA, though both will qualify you to teach at the university level. People in senior level positions that hope to transfer their skills into a consulting role are best suited to pursuing this type of degree, but this isn't the only case in which a DBA is a good choice. Either way, you will need a lot of experience in the field before you even consider applying to one of these programs.
Certification for Upper-Level Positions – Certifications are usually the best bet for individuals who are looking to advance in their current career. There are a variety of accredited certification programs, like the Association of Business Management, the Project Management Institute, and even private companies like Hubspot offer programs that result in a certificate that displays a working knowledge of different subjects, from Sigma Six to sales certification. We'll take a closer look at the two levels of the Association of Business Management's certification programs. This certification program is offered in two levels, Certified Associate Business Manager and Certified Business Manager, and both together are meant to offer the same level of education as an MBA.
Certified Associate Business Manager – This covers the knowledge portion of an MBA program, covering topics such as human resource management, finance, accounting, information technology, and operations management. There are 10 topics in total in which you can seek certification. These programs also incorporate methods of experiential learning, such as class projects, peer study groups, and field studies. Courses taught in this certification program have titles such as: Quality and Process Management, Information Technology, and International Business. Certified Business Manager - This covers the knowledge portion of an MBA program while it also offers help in the application of this knowledge, covering topics such as human resource management, corporate control, law, ethics, and governance, accounting, general management, leadership, and strategy, and operations management. There are 10 topics in total in which you can seek certification. These programs also incorporate methods of experiential learning, such as class projects, peer study groups, and field studies. Courses taught in this certification program have titles such as: Finance, Human Resources Management, and International Business.
Certification is a way for you to get a leg up on your competition for higher paying jobs. It's a good idea, always, to seek continuing education while you are in role at a company so that you can be ready when a better position opens up. These certifications can sometimes be found at local community colleges, but a large amount of them are available online. They are pretty affordable, often less than a few thousand dollars, and can usually be purchased in smaller increments as you go.