Business Degree Guide

Doug Wintemute
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Updated June 24, 2024
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Online business degrees offer various levels and concentrations. Discover how each type and specialization affects the studies and outcomes.

Are you ready to discover your college program?

Students have many options when it comes to online business degrees. Business is the most popular major for undergraduates, according to the National Center for Education Statistics. As one of the most versatile majors, a business degree prepares graduates for careers in many industries, including healthcare, marketing, information technology, and financial services. Business graduates often enjoy above-average salaries and strong job growth.

This article explores business degrees at every level and the various concentrations. Explore what you can do with a business degree and data on earning potential.

Popular Online Programs

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Can I Get A Business Degree Online?

You can find online business degrees at the associate, bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral levels. The rigor of these programs may increase at each level, but so can graduates’ earning potential.

Associate Degree in Business

An associate degree program in business offers foundational knowledge of the business world. These programs suit individuals seeking a shorter, cost-effective pathway to employment or a bachelor’s program.

Bachelor’s Degree in Business

Bachelor’s degrees equip students with an understanding of business principles, including management, marketing, economics, and entrepreneurship. The degree opens doors to many career opportunities and enhances earning potential.

Master’s Degree in Business

An MBA imparts advanced knowledge of business concepts, managerial competencies, and leadership skills. These programs can provide a competitive edge in the job market and significantly boost earning potential.

With this degree, graduates can ascend to higher-level management and leadership roles across industries to find jobs as CEOs, project managers, or strategy consultants. Enrollees can access networking opportunities with industry professionals, further enhancing career prospects.

Doctoral Degree in Business

A doctoral degree might be a good fit for those seeking to understand business from an academic perspective. In these programs, students develop their analytical capabilities and research skills, enabling in-depth exploration of complex business issues.

Graduates often pursue careers in academia, becoming professors or researchers. Alternatively, they may qualify for roles as high-level executive roles, consultants, and policymakers in corporate or public sectors.

What Business Concentration Should I Choose?

While general business administration programs can provide valuable insights and skills, concentrations allow you to focus on particular areas of interest in business to develop a more specialized expertise. In a bachelor’s in business administration, for example, you might encounter the following concentrations:

Accounting

Accounting concentrations provide you with skills in budgeting, analyzing financial records, business taxation, and auditing. An accounting-focused degree can prepare you to help organizations navigate economic conditions and make better financial decisions. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), accounting professionals made a median annual wage of $79,880 in May 2023.

Data Analytics

A concentration in data analytics prepares you to draw insights from various information sets, which can improve business decisions and your understanding of market conditions. A specialization in this field may cover data analytics technology, marketing, and market research analysis. The median annual wage for market research analysts is $74,680.

Economics

In an economics concentration, you’ll gain an understanding of financial markets and corporate finance. You may encounter this subject as a concentration or a standalone economics program. This discipline can teach you about consumer behaviors and how businesses can maneuver through the global marketplace. Economists earn a median annual wage of $115,730, though they may need advanced education beyond a bachelor’s degree.

Entrepreneurship

Entrepreneurship concentrations can prepare you to start and manage your own venture. You can learn to develop and commercialize ideas and innovations, manage early venture financing, and create business models. Entrepreneurship programs can lead to many business careers, including management analyst roles, who earn a median annual wage of $99,410.

Finance

In a finance concentration, you can learn to analyze an organization’s finances, spot investment opportunities, identify risk, and improve financial decisions. Coursework fosters skills in capital budgeting, investment analysis, and business valuation and forecasting. Finance degrees can prepare you to pursue many finance- and leadership-related positions, including as a financial manager. This role earns a median annual salary of $156,100.

Healthcare Management

A healthcare management concentration explores the applications of business principles in healthcare settings. These programs can teach you to analyze and implement healthcare policies, informatics, and finances. Concentrating in this field can lead to medical and health services management roles, who earn a $110,680 median annual salary.

Hospitality Management

Hospitality and tourism management concentrations focus on lodging operations, international tourism, and destination marketing. You’ll explore unique management challenges in the hospitality and service industry and ways to best approach these issues. Lodging management roles for graduates earn a median annual wage of $65,360.

Human Resources

If you specialize in human resources, you can learn to manage people and help connect management to its employees. In these concentrations, you might study recruitment, compensation and benefits management, and employee and labor relations. Human resources specialists earn a median annual salary of $67,650.

International Business

An international business concentration examines standard business topics in international contexts. For example, you might examine how foreign language, culture, and policy shape finance, marketing, and consumer behavior. International business specializations can lead to many business roles in international organizations, such as an operations research analyst. These professionals earn a median annual salary of $83,640.

Management

A management concentration in a business administration program develops leadership skills across various sectors. Your studies may cover business ethics and analysis, organizational behavior, operations management, and strategic management. A business management degree can lead to most management careers, a field that reports a median annual wage of $116,880.

Marketing

Marketing concentrations delve into marketing planning and development strategies in greater depth than general business programs. You can learn to research and capitalize on market and consumer data and opportunities. Marketing and advertising managers earn a median annual wage of $157,620.

Nonprofit Management

Nonprofit management specializations emphasize the teaching of leadership qualities required in nonprofit enterprises and initiatives. Common topics include nonprofit governance, marketing, volunteer management, and fundraising. Fundraising managers earn a median annual salary of $119,200.

Organizational Leadership

In an organizational leadership specialization, you can study the latest leadership theory and practice developments. This discipline explores the best methods for building and motivating a cohesive team while managing conflict resolution. This specialization can prepare you to pursue a career in training and development. This field reports a median annual salary of $63,340.

Project Management

By specializing in project management, you can learn how to oversee large-scale projects and teams within an organization. Your training in this area can provide you with the skills to manage project scheduling, budgeting, quality, and risk management. These degrees can lead to project manager careers, which report a median annual wage of $98,580.

Public Relations

Public relations concentrations equip you with the skills to manage the communications between organizations and the general public, consumers, and stakeholders. These specializations examine all communications, including branding, marketing, crisis management, and public events. Public relations managers earn a median annual wage of $66,750.

Retail and Sales Management

A retail and sales management concentration focuses on customer relationship management, sales forecasting, and sales marketing. You can learn to drive sales, lead sales teams, and run retail operations. These specializations can help you pursue sales manager roles. This position reports a median annual salary of $135,160.

Sports Management

In a sports management concentration, you’ll discover how to apply business fundamentals and skills to the sports industry. Comm topics include sports analytics, event management, and sports marketing. Sports advertising and promotions management professionals earn a median annual wage of $131,870.

Supply Chain and Logistics

Supply chain and logistics concentrations explore ways that organizations can improve the procurement and delivery of goods and services. Supply chain management studies can cover topics in sourcing, inventory management, forecasting, and sustainability. Logisticians earn a median annual salary of $79,400.

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