Business Administrators and Managers

Are you ready to discover your college program?

Search Colleges
TheBestSchools.org is an advertising-supported site. Featured programs and school search results are for schools that compensate us. This compensation does not influence our school rankings, resource guides, or other information published on this site.

Business administration and management professionals can assume leadership roles in nearly every industry. CEOs, managers, and operations managers often bring a background in business management or business administration.

Business administration salaries often exceed $100,000, and management occupations earn the highest median annual salary for any major occupational group, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). This article covers educational requirements for business management and administration jobs, the difference between business administration and management, and salary potential for business administration and management careers.

Essential Career Information

Median Annual Salary: $104,240
Number of New Jobs from 2018-2028 706,900
Annual Salary of the Lowest 10% $49,260
Annual Salary of the Highest 10% $208,000
Employment Growth Forecast from 2018-2028 7%
Average Entry-Level Education Requirements Bachelor's Degree

Source: BLS

What is Business Administration and Management

Business administration and management professionals may work in roles such as financial manager, sales manager, human resources manager, or as an executive. Management-level employees oversee staff, set long-term agendas for organizations, and report to executives. Business administration and management professionals need strong interpersonal and communication skills.

Managers must communicate effectively with direct reports, executives, clients, and customers and draw on analytical and organizational skills to help organizations run smoothly. Managers bring specialized skills to their organizations and play a central role in an organization's success. The following table introduces several administrative management careers, including employment growth forecasts and average salaries.

Administrative Management Careers

Occupation Employment Growth Forecast (2018-2028) Median Annual Salary Entry-Level Educational Requirements
Financial Managers 16% $127,990 Bachelor's Degree
Social and Community Service Managers 13% $65,320 Bachelor's Degree
Computer and Information Systems Managers 11% $142,530 Bachelor's Degree
Food Service Managers 11% $54,240 High School Diploma or Equivalent
Construction Managers 10% $93,370 Bachelor's Degree

Source: BLS

What is the Difference Between Business Administration and Business Management?

The difference between business management and business administration programs are subtle. Business management programs usually emphasize general day-to-day business operations, like managing people, creating goals, and organizing workflows. Business administration programs typically allow students to focus on a particular aspect of business, such as finance, marketing, or human resources.

Prospective business students interested in a specific career, such as marketing manager, finance manager, or public relations manager may benefit from a business administration degree with a concentration aligned with their career goals. Students considering general management jobs or seeking a promotion in their current workplace may prefer a business management degree.

How to Get Into Business Administration and Management

Current business professionals can advance or change their career by earning a degree in business administration or management. During a business degree, students complete courses on topics like management, leadership, and organizational behavior and they build analytical, interpersonal, and communication skills.

Many programs offer concentrations that prepare students for specific careers, such as entrepreneurship, advertising, and public relations. Earning certification in a business specialization can also help business professionals demonstrate their skills and stand out in the job market.

Prospective business administration and management professionals can pursue a degree at any level, from an associate degree to a doctorate. The following section introduces different types of business administration and management degrees and the jobs available for professionals by degree level.

Associate Degree in Business Administration and Management

Associate degrees in business administration and management prepare graduates for managerial roles and further study. While many business careers require a bachelor's degree for an entry-level job, an associate degree prepares graduates for roles in fields such as lodging management and food service management. In these industries, a growing number of employers prefer candidates with some postsecondary business education.

During an associate program in business administration and management, students complete classes on business fundamentals and leadership principles. Many programs incorporate classes on topics like marketing, accounting, economics, and organizational management. These courses prepare students for leadership roles and help students hone their interests.

Associate degrees typically comprise 60 credits and take two years of full-time study to complete. After earning an associate degree, graduates can apply to a four-year college to complete a bachelor's in business administration or management. Transfer students with an associate degree often meet the general education requirements for a bachelor's degree, allowing them to earn a bachelor's degree in two years.

Bachelor's Degree in Business Administration and Management

Many entry-level business management jobs require a bachelor's degree. Several management careers that offer six-figure average salaries, including financial manager, marketing manager, and human resources manager, require a bachelor's degree.

During a bachelor's program in business administration and management, students complete foundational courses in accounting, economics, finance, and marketing. Upper-division courses on topics like operations management, business decision-making, and business strategy give students leadership and organizational skills.

Many programs incorporate concentrations or electives that allow students to specialize the degree. For example, students can concentrate in entrepreneurship to start a business after graduation or choose a concentration in their current field to pursue management-level opportunities. Most business programs also incorporate an internship that gives students hands-on professional experience.

A bachelor's degree in business administration and management typically comprises 120 credits and takes four years of full-time study to complete. Transfer students with prior college credits or those who choose an accelerated pathway can earn a degree in less time. The convenience of an online degree appeals to professionals who are balancing school with work or family obligations.

Master's Degree in Business Administration and Management

Professionals often pursue a master's degree to advance their career and qualify for positions with greater responsibility and higher earning potential. Many top executives, including CEOs, general managers, and operations managers, hold a master's degree in business administration.

During an MBA, graduate students complete core classes on topics like strategic operations management, ethics for business managers, and organizational research. Most MBA programs, including online MBA programs, offer concentrations that allow students to tailor the degree to their interests and goals, such as healthcare management, accounting, data analytics, and finance.

An MBA typically takes two years for full-time students to complete, though accelerated programs may offer a one-year route to an MBA. Accredited online MBAs meet the same rigorous academic standards as on-campus programs.

Doctoral Degree in Business Administration and Management

The highest degree in business, a doctorate of business administration and management prepares graduates for leading roles in business organizations, such as president, executive director, and CEO. Graduates can also assume academic roles. Doctoral students gain advanced knowledge of business and strong research skills.

Depending on the program, students may take courses on topics like organizational development, business management theory, strategic management, and financial decision-making. Doctoral students also complete specialized classes in their focus area and research courses. Most programs incorporate a comprehensive examination to test doctoral students on their knowledge of the curriculum. Doctoral students then research and write a dissertation under the supervision of a faculty advisor.

Doctoral students with an MBA typically spend at least three years completing doctoral requirements. Online doctoral programs in business administration appeal to working professionals seeking a flexible degree.

Take the next step towards your future with online learning.

Discover schools with the programs and courses you’re interested in, and start learning today.

Woman working at desk