The Best Online Bachelor’s in Business Intelligence
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There has never been a better time to pursue an online business intelligence bachelor’s degree. As more enterprises around the world rely exclusively on the internet to conduct business, workers with strong analytical, quantitative, and technical skills in data collection are in high demand. According to PayScale, graduates of bachelor’s-level management information systems and services programs are among the top earners in the industry, with a median annual salary of just over $81,000. With many different career options available in business intelligence, it’s important to find the program that best suits your professional goals.
Best Online Bachelor’s in Business Intelligence
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Online Bachelor's in Business Intelligence Degree Overview
It is crucial for students to locate an accredited business intelligence degree that suits their specific career goals. Most programs exist as a concentration or < a href="/rankings/bachelors/best-online-bachelor-business-administration-degree-programs/">major within a general business, business management, or technical management degree. Most curricula combine basic education coursework with core and program-specific classes. Required coursework includes humanities, social sciences, mathematics, and natural sciences, equipping graduates with skills tailored to business intelligence careers.
Core curricula typically emphasize communication and personal and professional development skills through courses in composition, public speaking, problem-solving, and technology. You can expect program courses in business intelligence to cover topics like data analysis, database management, and business-oriented computer applications. You may also have the option to choose electives that explore specializations, such as design, security management, or specific business technology programs. Most online business intelligence bachelor’s degrees conclude with a capstone or senior project that involves either a simulated business proposal, portfolio presentation, or business intelligence exam.
What Can I Do With an Online Business Intelligence Bachelor’s Degree?
The best online business intelligence degree programs prepare graduates to evaluate different datasets and analytics in order to help organizational leaders make informed business decisions. The demand for these degree holders is relatively high and salary expectations for most positions — even entry-level roles — are above average. Business intelligence careers require candidates who are precise, thorough, and detail-oriented. Five popular occupations for those with a business intelligence degree are outlined below.
- Business Intelligence Analyst:
- Business intelligence analysts apply their analytical skills to help organizations improve operations and increase profits. They rely on a variety of software programs and tools to perform their duties, including Microsoft Word and enterprise resource planning platforms, such as Oracle or SAP. Most analyst roles require a bachelor’s in business intelligence, computer science, or a related field.
- Salary based on experience:
- Entry Level: $63,000
- Mid-Career: $78,000
- Experienced: $86,000
- Late Career: $89,000
- Financial Analyst:
- Financial analysts focus their business intelligence skills on stocks, bonds, and other types of investments. Financial analysts may advise organizations or individuals with investment needs. Entry-level positions for these professionals often require a bachelor’s degree in fields related to finance, economics, business, and statistics.
- Salary based on experience:
- Entry Level: $57,000
- Mid-Career: $67,000
- Experienced: $70,000
- Late Career: $73,000
- Management Analyst:
- Also known as management consultants, management analysts work with executives and other organizational leaders to optimize their company’s efficiency and profitability. They review revenue and expenditure reports, interview employees, and perform other tasks in order to provide effective advice. Most entry-level management analyst roles require a bachelor’s degree in fields such as business, finance, accounting, or information science.
- Salary based on experience:
- Entry Level: $59,000
- Mid-Career: $70,000
- Experienced: $73,000
- Late Career: $79,000
- Information Security Analyst:
- Information security analysts protect their organization’s computing systems and networks. They have a strong working knowledge of firewalls, data encryption programs, and other security measures that safeguard sensitive data and prevent breaches from outside users. Most employers prefer candidates with a bachelor’s in computer science, information assurance, or a related field.
- Salary based on experience:
- Entry Level: $63,000
- Mid-Career: $82,000
- Experienced: $89,000
- Late Career: $91,000
- Operations Research Analyst:
- Operations research analysts use complex mathematical and analytical procedures to address different areas of business administration, such as price setting and supply chain logistics. They gather information from different sources, including databases and employee surveys, and often use simulations and predictive modeling to interpret this information. Employers generally prefer candidates with bachelor’s degrees in fields such as computer science, mathematics, or analytics.
- Salary based on experience:
- Entry Level: $65,000
- Mid-Career: $84,000
- Experienced: $103,000
- Late Career: $110,000
Choosing an Online Business Intelligence Bachelor’s Program
Choosing the right business intelligence online bachelor’s program requires thorough research and careful consideration. Many colleges and universities offer lower tuition rates to in-state students, which can make them more affordable. However, a growing number of schools also offer separate tuition schedules for distance learners that do not take state residency into account. Other key considerations include a school’s student-to-faculty ratio, class sizes, program length, and whether the online program carries any on-campus requirements. Students should ultimately choose the program that meets their educational and professional needs at the lowest possible price. With so many different business intelligence degree programs available online, prospective students can choose from multiple options to fit their educational goals.
What to Consider
- Program Cost:
- The cost of a business intelligence bachelor’s degree online includes tuition, but also technology fees, books and course supplies, and monthly food and housing expenses. Many students minimize these costs by living with their families and applying for student loans, scholarships, and other forms of financial aid.
- Transfer Policies:
- Online schools usually have policies in place for students transferring from other two- or four-year institutions. Most regionally accredited institutions only accept credits from other regionally accredited schools. Many schools also place a cap on the number of credits a student may transfer, typically 90 or fewer.
- School Size and Type:
- Public four-year universities generally offer the lowest tuition rates. However, their class sizes tend to be larger and students may not receive as much individualized attention. Most private nonprofit schools have lower student-to-faculty ratios, but the cost is often much higher for a four-year degree.
- Program Length:
- Most business intelligence degree online programs require a four-year commitment from full-time students. However, some of these pathways are self-paced, which enables learners to progress more quickly. Some business intelligence degrees use an accelerated format that enables students to complete the program in fewer than four years.
- On-Campus Requirements:
- Many business intelligence online bachelor’s degrees use a fully online format, with no required campus visits. Some may require students to attend on-campus orientations but deliver all courses online. Other blended or hybrid programs combine online and on-campus coursework. Students may also need to visit other locations for internships or practicum courses.
How Long Does It Take to Get a Bachelor’s Degree in Business Intelligence?
A standard bachelor’s degree in business intelligence online program requires a four-year commitment from full-time students. These programs usually span a total of 120 credits for semester-based schools, or 180 credits for quarter-based schools. Some business intelligence degrees may require slightly fewer or more credits — roughly 175-185 credits — but these programs also have an expected completion time of four years.
Other online business intelligence bachelor’s pathways may offer accelerated options<. This means full-time students can complete all of their required courses and graduate in fewer than four years. Most accelerated bachelor’s programs require a commitment of two to three years. Additionally, a program’s pacing may also affect completion time. Self-paced programs enable students to complete courses on their own schedule. For some, this means graduating ahead of schedule. Programs that use a cohort format do not provide the same level of flexibility.
Lastly, whether a student takes courses on a part- or full-time basis impacts the time it takes to earn the degree. Students who enroll full-time take around 12-15 credits per quarter, depending on the school, and this course distribution allows most learners to complete their degree on schedule. Part-time students, however, often take longer than four years to finish their bachelor’s. Although part-time students take fewer credits, many schools price part-time students at a per-credit rate, while full-time students pay flat tuition rates. As a result, both groups typically pay about the same amount of tuition annually. Additionally, full-time students may have access to a larger number of scholarships and grants than part-time students.
Courses in an Online Business Intelligence Bachelor’s Program
- Identifying Core Business Processes and Master Data
- This course introduces fundamental business processes, along with the databases used to generate master data for these different processes. The curriculum also covers strategies for mapping data, and the importance of data integrity, structure, quality, and manipulation in business environments.
- Business Data Mining
- This course tackles predictive analytics methods, such as Sample, Explore, Modify, Model, and Assess — also known as SEMMA — and Knowledge Discovery in Databases, or KDD. Other topics of discussion include logistic regression and machine learning, lift factors, and diagnostic evaluations. Students also gain hands-on experience with data mining tools and programs.
- Structured System Analysis and Design
- This course offers an overview of traditional tools, methods, and approaches to system analysis and design. These include enterprise analysis, workflow analysis, data flow, and flowcharting. Students also learn to perform feasibility analyses and risk analyses, create product specifications, and draw up implementation plans for business systems.
- Data Interpretation and Statistical Analysis in Business
- This course is framed around a group project involving the application of business intelligence and data analytics. Students learn to identify and address business problems using different types of statistical analysis. Other areas of focus include statistical software platforms and advanced quantitative methods.
- Base SAS Programming
- Statistical Analysis System (SAS) base programming is integral to business intelligence and advanced analytics. This course offers hands-on training in creating and recording data sets, writing analytical reports, and calculating statistics using SAS methods. Many programs’ curricula follow guidelines for SAS base programming certification, should students pursue this credential at a later date.
Accreditation for Business Intelligence Degrees
Accreditation is a comprehensive vetting process that ensures colleges and universities meet acceptable standards of quality. Outside organizations (known as accreditors) carry out this process, and the accreditation process is voluntary. Students should note, however, that they must attend fully accredited institutions in order to qualify for federal student aid. Additionally, a school’s accreditation status may affect a student’s ability to transfer course credits.
U.S. institutions may qualify for three types of accreditation. The first two, regional accreditation and national accreditation, are also known as institutional accreditations because they apply to the school as a whole. Generally, public universities and non-profit private colleges receive regional accreditation, while for-profit institutions and vocational schools qualify for national accreditation.
Regional accreditation is considered the more prestigious of the two, as it generally applies to schools that are more academically rigorous. As a result, many regionally accredited schools will not accept transfer credits from nationally accredited schools. Nationally accredited institutions, on the other hand, usually accept credits from both nationally and regionally accredited schools.
The third type of accreditation is programmatic accreditation, or specialized accreditation, which is awarded to specific programs, departments, or schools at larger institutions, such as teaching degrees or law schools. Graduate-level programs and departments primarily receive programmatic accreditation, though specialty accreditation may also apply to undergraduate degrees in disciplines such as nursing or psychology. Many schools receive both institutional accreditation — regional or national — and programmatic accreditation in certain areas.
Two entities oversee the process for accreditors: the US Department of Education (ED) and the Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA), a non-governmental organization. The Department of Education and CHEA each recognize accreditors separately.
Several recognized accreditors may provide accreditation for a school offering an online bachelor’s in business intelligence program, and possibly the program itself. These include seven regional accreditors, all based in different areas of the country, and the Distance Education Accreditation Commission, a recognized national accreditor. Additionally, the Accreditation Council for Business Schools and Programs and the International Accreditation Council for Business Education — two CHEA-recognized programmatic accreditors — may award accreditation to an online business intelligence bachelor’s program.
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