Best Online Business Degrees 2021
| TBS Staff
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Earning a bachelor's in business online is a great way to start a career.
Business is the most popular major in higher education. Earning a business administration degree online can lead to careers in business. For example, graduates can apply for jobs in management and finance. Graduates can also earn master of business administration (MBA) degrees.
There are more than eight million business and finance professionals in the U.S. Most work in executive management and financial management positions. These workers earned a median annual wage of $72,250 in 2020. That number is above the national average salary for all occupations. Top executives are among the highest earners, especially chief executives, who earned a median income of $107,680 in 2020.
Online business programs offer concentrations like human resources (HR), sports, and healthcare management. Graduates can pursue corporate positions and entrepreneurship. The following schools are among the nation's best online business degrees.
What Is an Online Bachelor's in Business Administration Degree?
Students who earn online bachelor's in business administration (BBA) degrees can find jobs in management and finance. Bachelor-level business administration degrees qualify graduates for entry-level jobs. Graduates interested in executive positions may need MBAs.
Online business degrees help students develop management skills. Employers consistently rank marketing, sales, and business analytics among the most desirable job skills. These skills are all covered in business administration programs. Online business degrees also offer concentrations in management, finance, marketing, and entrepreneurship.
What Is the Difference Between a BBA, BSBA, and BABA?
Students who are pursuing online bachelor's degrees in business administration can choose from three types of degrees: BBA, bachelor of science in business administration (BSBA), or bachelor of arts in business administration (BABA).
BBA programs usually focus on business and management principles, while BSBA programs emphasize technical skills, like mathematics, statistics, and science. BABA programs balance business basics with general education courses. All three degrees can lead to successful business careers.
Featured Business Degree Programs
Choosing an Online Bachelor's in Business Administration Program
There are several factors to consider when choosing an online business administration degree. First, make sure the program is an accredited online business degree. Without accreditation, your degree might not be recognized by employers or graduate schools.
Next, check that the program offers concentrations that match your career goals. Also, make sure the learning format — synchronous or asynchronous $mdash; works for your schedule. Schools typically offer a variety of concentrations and enrollment options for online business degrees. You can learn more about common considerations for distance learners at the links below.
What Else Can I Expect From an Online Bachelor's in Business Administration Program?
Curricula vary by school. Many business administration degrees include core coursework in accounting, marketing, and communication. Concentrations usually include entrepreneurship, HR management, and international business. The following list explores popular courses and concentrations for students earning a business degree online.
Online Business Administration Curriculum
- Business Ethics and Law: This course explores legal and ethical issues of trade and commerce. Topics include limited liability companies, contract law, and international business.
- Leadership Theories and Application: Students examine the behaviors of successful leaders in business, finance, and management. They also develop their own philosophies of leadership. Coursework uses case studies to illustrate leadership theories.
- Accounting: Accounting coursework trains students in how to prepare and maintain financial reports, manage payrolls, and provide basic bookkeeping services. Topics can include financial, management, corporate, or tax accounting.
- Economics: Economics coursework covers both macro- and microeconomics. This includes exploring business analytics and economic theory and policies. Students learn how consumers interact with wealth.
- Marketing: This course explores practical and theoretical approaches to business marketing. Coursework covers advertising strategies, promotion development, social media marketing, and consumer research and analytics.
- Operations Management: Operations management includes supply chain management, project management, and quality compliance. All are essential functions for manufacturing, industrial, and general managers.
Online Bachelor of Business Degree Concentrations
Entrepreneurship concentrations emphasize small business leadership, HR management, and financial accounting. They prepare students to build a business from the ground up. Programs also explore creativity and innovation, venture capital, multicultural markets, and new product planning. Most programs also include a practicum, which often means writing a business plan.
Information systems concentrations help students develop strong business and IT management skills. Industry-specific courses include application development, software quality, database systems, technological collaboration, and electronic commerce. Coursework also covers soft skills like teamwork, interpersonal relationships, and project management.
This concentration prepares students to work as public, private, or government accountants. This concentration explores advanced statistics, micro and macroeconomics, and calculus. It also covers taxation, auditing, and cost management. Graduates qualify to sit for the CPA licensure exam.
HR management concentrations begin with core coursework in business communications, managerial accounting, and contemporary management practices. Advanced coursework covers employment relations; social, regulatory, and ethical issues in business; negotiation and conflict management; and leadership and organizational behavior.
This concentration is for students interested in financial management or investment analysis. Many programs have prerequisites in financial management. Coursework covers corporate finance, investment analysis, tax and regulatory environments, collection and disbursement, and fundraising. Some graduates pursue certified financial planner credentials.
Concentrations in supply chain management are popular due to the globalization of business markets and practices. These programs focus on project management, supply chain analytics, and logistics management. They emphasize global sourcing and innovation, international aviation, and managerial economics.
A marketing concentration can lead to positions in advertising, public relations, sales, or social media. Marketing programs develop basic business skills in economics, statistics, and communications. They also explore modern consumer behavior, brand management, market research, and advertising strategies.
International business concentrations are more common with the rise of a global, internet-driven economy. This program builds on core business concepts in leadership, problem-solving, and teamwork, all taught from a global perspective. Coursework covers international business finance, global ethical leadership, international trade and policy, and international supply chain management.
Online business degrees are versatile, preparing students for many industries. Graduates of business programs can pursue roles in finance, accounting, sales, and analytics. These roles arise in many industries, including real estate, insurance, and public relations.
Below, you'll find some of the most popular careers for business graduates.
|Career||Median Pay (2020)|
|Accountants and Auditors||$73,560|
|Advertising and Promotions Managers||$141,490|
|Buyers and Purchasing Agents||$72,270|
|Compensation, Benefits, and Job Analysis Specialists||$67,190|
|Human Resources Specialists||$63,490|
|Market Research Analysts and Marketing Specialists||$65,810|
|Meeting, Convention, and Event Planners||$51,560|
|Personal Financial Advisors||$89,330|
|Project Management Specialists and Business Operations Specialists||$77,420|
|Property Appraisers and Assessors||$58,650|
|Training and Development Specialists||$62,700|
The Best Online Bachelor's in Business Administration Degree Programs
A public land-grant research university founded in 1853, the University of Florida houses the eighth-largest campus in the U.S.
Through the Warrington College of Business, UF Online offers both a bachelor of science in business administration (BSBA) and a bachelor of arts in business administration (BABA). The BSBA covers disciplines such as real estate and entrepreneurship. The 11 specializations for BABA candidates include sport or event management.
First-time student applications require ACT or SAT scores and a cumulative 'C' average on all core classes; minimum 2.0 GPA for dual enrollment courses.
Florida International University, the largest university in South Florida, first opened its doors in 1965. More than 58,000 students attend annually.
FIU Online's bachelor of business administration with a concentration in management (BBA in management) provides a fully online curriculum. Undergraduates pair with a success coach and specialize in accounting, finance, marketing, and statistics.
Students apply for one of three annual start dates, submitting a high school transcript and SAT or ACT scores.
Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University (ERAU), a private institution established in 1926, specializes in aviation and aerospace academics.
ERAU's bachelor of science in aviation business administration degree accommodates distance learners pursuing careers in the growing industry. Students complete 30 credits in aviation management as part of the 120-credit program.
The program offers 12 annual start dates. Candidates submit high school or college transcripts. ACT or SAT scores are not required but highly recommended. Discounted tuition benefits extend to military members.
Founded in 1868, UW-Whitewater accommodates more than 12,000 students across two campuses and online.
Students benefit from mentoring, technical support, and career planning while pursuing an online bachelor's in general management degree. In addition to 45 credits focusing on economics, operations, leadership, and stakeholder management, business majors complete 20 hours of community service.
First-year students submit ACT or SAT scores and high school transcripts for consideration.
Founded in 1932 and now one of the fastest-growing private institutions, Southern New Hampshire University enrolls more than 80,000 online students annually.
Pursuing a bachelor of science in business administration (BBA) allows working professionals to complete their degree asynchronously with one of 14 specialties. Concentrations include nonprofit management, project management, and sports management.
Six annual undergraduate terms help candidates avoid acceptance delays. SNHU accepts up to 90 transfer credits and extends a 30% military discount.
Established in 1884 as Tri-State Normal College, Trine University adopted its current name in 1974. A small private university, Trine enrolls an average of 5,000 students annually.
Through TrineOnline, remote students pursue a bachelor of science in business administration-management (BSBA) degree asynchronously. Of the 120 credits, 78 encompass operations, accounting, project management, and internship hours, covering core competencies.
Applications require high school transcripts or GED exam scores. Active military and veterans receive tuition discounts and transfer credits for military experience.
A public university with roots dating back to 1884, Northwestern State University (NSU) became the first Louisiana-based school offering business degree programs.
NSU's bachelor of science in business administration program accommodates distance learners with one of six concentrations, including marketing, entrepreneurship, and international business. Upper-level electives offer students an optional concentration in management.
New students are asked to submit high school or college transcripts and official ACT or SAT codes (ACT 1600 or SAT 6492).
Established in 1931 as a public institution, the University of Louisiana at Monroe (ULM) enrolls more than 7,500 students annually.
ULM offers a bachelor of business administration-management degree through the College of Business and Social Sciences. Distance learners benefit from a fully online program emphasizing effective management practices.
The online curriculum divides the course load into two or three classes with eight-week sessions. Transfer acceptance requires a minimum of a "C" grade in each of college-level English and mathematics.
Reverend Billy Graham served as the second president of the University of Northwestern (UNW) from 1948 to 1952. UNW, established in 1902 as a private Christian institution, now owns a chain of radio stations and enrolls an average of 3,500 students annually.
The bachelor of science business management, one of the fully online degree pursuits, provides 125 credits of core competency coursework. Ministries, communication studies, and psychology minors allow students to customize the curriculum.
New undergraduate applicants submit transcripts along with optional ACT, SAT, or CLT scores for admission consideration. Average scores: GPA 3.5, ACT 24, SAT 1220.
Fort Hays State University, the fourth largest state university in Kansas, accommodates more than 16,000 students annually.
Through its Department of Management, Fort Hays provides an online bachelor of business administration in management degree. Management electives, including entrepreneurship, tourism and hospitality, and retail management, prepare students for careers in logistics or operations management, and management analysis.
Admission requirements include a 2.25 GPA and ACT composite of 21 or higher or SAT ERW+M score of 1080 for incoming first-year students. The same online tuition applies to both in and out-of-state degree candidates.
Online Bachelor's in Business Administration Programs Ranking Guidelines
We ranked these degree programs based on quality, curricula, school awards, rankings, and reputation.
The motto of TheBestSchools.org is Finding the best school for you. Here is how we do it:
The value of any ranking list of schools and/or degree programs depends on having a methodologically sound assessment of each school's/program's characteristics, especially insofar as these can be objectively measured. A college or university is a complex entity, with numerous factors to consider, and distilling these down to the place where meaningful comparisons can be made to form a defensible ranking list becomes part science and part art.
To meet this challenge—and thereby provide you with the most useful and insightful educational rankings on the Internet — TheBestSchools.org formulates our rankings based on five informational categories (six, when considering online schools). The major metrics and qualities for which we rank are these (with expanded, detailed considerations and weights listed):
1. Academic excellence based on a school’s curriculum generally or within the selected discipline [weight = 25%]
- Weighs school against known leading schools in that discipline
- Weighs number of core curricula listed as advanced courses within that discipline and compares against introductory courses
- Weighs school’s curriculum against known knowledge needs of major employers in that discipline
- Considers number and types of specializations offered within that discipline
- Considers faculty expertise in that discipline
- Considers range of electives within that discipline
- Considers quality of online environment offered to students (if applicable), particularly within that discipline
2. Strength of faculty scholarship [weight = 25%]
- Considers education background of the faculty
- Considers years of faculty experience both inside and outside of academia.
- Considers faculty membership and leadership within relevant, prominent associations
- Considers academic papers published by faculty in relevant, prominent periodicals
- Considers awards and recognitions given to faculty members from prominent organizations and from other sources
3. Reputation [weight = 20%]
- Considers a school's reputation among academic peers and employers regarding the following:
- "Freshness" of academic knowledge
- Adaptability to changes in employment sectors
- Suitability of graduates for the workplace
4. Financial aid [weight = 10%]
- Mandatory: Requires full accreditation from an agency endorsed by the U.S. Department of Education and listed on the federal register to accept student federal financial aid
- Considers range of school-sponsored financial aid, such as scholarships and grants
5. Range of degree programs [weight = 20%]
- Considers range of degree levels: associate, bachelor's, master's, and doctoral and professional
- Considers range of degree subjects offered, such as art & design, computers and technology, education and teaching, criminal justice, and business
6. Strength of online instruction methodology (if applicable) [weight = 25%; subtract 5% from each of the above for online schools/programs]
Considers the following of the online classes:
- Types of online technology used to deliver content
- Class style: asynchronous, synchronous, or both (depending on the degree)
- Extent and quality of the online learning environment, including options for communication, interactivity, and collaboration between students and instructors
- Variety, breadth, and depth of coursework and its support, including project options and online tutoring
Considers the following of instructors:
- Extent of training for teaching within an online learning environment
- Amount of timely, consistent feedback to students
- Extent of collaboration with prospective employers to develop instructional materials
- Ratio to number of students in a class
- Number and quality of internships in a student’s geographical area for applicable degrees
Because students tend to review a variety of information when choosing a school, the weight a student gives any one criterion will vary. For instance, it's not enough to offer a carefully constructed ranking of great schools if many are too expensive or too difficult to get into.
To better serve the needs of prospective students, we are therefore increasingly offering filters that help you better use our rankings to find the schools that match your specific needs. These supplement our ranking criteria and include:
- Public or private status
- Acceptance rate
- Retention rate
- Graduation rate
- ACT/SAT requirements
- Cost in-state / out of state
- Undergrad, grad, or both offered
Get the best rankings here AND get them to suit your personal needs. That's TheBestSchools.org advantage!
If you have any questions about our ranking methodology, please contact us.
Citations: For a broader account of our ranking methodology, especially as it relates to TheBestSchools.org's underlying educational philosophy, see Ranking Methodology: How We Rank Schools at TBS. Reputation of schools and degree programs is based on the school's publishing activity, citations, and desirability. For nuts-and-bolts information about colleges and universities, we look to the National Center for Education Statistics and especially its College Navigator. For salary and inflation data, we look to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
Common Questions About Business Degrees
Yes. Earning a bachelor's in business leads to interesting careers with steady job growth and high salary potential. Students can become entrepreneurs or work in a corporation. Earning a business degree online can be a smart career move.
Business degree-holders can get jobs in finance and management, including roles as accountants, HR managers, and marketing specialists. They can also pursue master's degrees and executive-level positions.
Advertising or sales managers earn the highest salary rates among business professionals, particularly at the executive level. Purchasing managers and personal financial advisors also earn high salaries.
Schools may offer BA or BS programs in business. Though BS degrees are more common and cover more technical concepts, BAs offer a broader education and approach to business, including more liberal arts coursework in subjects like English, history, and communication.
All business concentrations have broad career applications, but students specializing in entrepreneurship, marketing, and finance tend to have the most employment options.
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