Best Online Bachelor’s in International Business
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Of the many undergraduate majors that universities offer, business remains one of the most popular areas of study, according to the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES). The field attracts learners in part for its versatility and potential earnings after graduation. International business offers students even more opportunities to grow.
Earning an international business degree online equips graduates with the skills necessary to succeed in roles at large global businesses, ambitious startups, or government organizations with positions as trade compliance officers, marketing professionals, buyers, and managers. PayScale reports that professionals with these degrees earn $54,000 per year on average.
With a bachelor's degree in business administration, which can include a concentration in international business, professionals make an average of $61,000 annually. Positions for these graduates generally include human resources managers, operations managers, and financial controllers.
Professionals who choose specific areas of business can earn even more with a bachelor's of international business online. For example, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that labor relations specialists earn median wages of $67,790 per year and budget analysts earn about $76,220 annually. Graduates often find employment at government organizations and nonprofits that partner with businesses around the world.
The Best Online Bachelor in International Business Degree Programs
We selected degree programs based on quality of program and range of courses, as well as school awards, rankings, and reputation.
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Advantages of an International Business Education
Many international business online degree programs are business administration degrees with specializations in international business. With an associate in business administration, professionals earn $52,000 per year on average. The available jobs at this level include office manager, executive assistant, retail store manager, and administrative assistant. Even with a concentration in international business, these degrees rarely offer benefits such as global travel and mobility within a company.
A bachelor’s degree in international business opens up jobs with these benefits and higher salaries. Graduates with these degrees can work as managers in many sections of business, including finance, marketing, and human resources. Furthermore, MBA programs require candidates to hold bachelor’s degrees. Professionals with MBAs in international business make an average of $89,000 annually. Graduates often work in upper management in roles such as business development manager, marketing director, senior financial analyst, and vice president. It’s important for learners to understand their earning potential before enrolling.
International Business Career and Salary Information
Graduates with an international business bachelor's degree have a variety of businees career opportunities available to them. They often work in economics or finance and tend to receive high salaries. Graduates can also work in marketing or public relations for an international business.
- Transportation, Storage, and Distribution Managers
- These professionals can also be called logistics managers. They oversee the shipping and storage of production materials and final products. These managers can work for shipping and warehouse companies or for organizations that rely on such services.
Salary based on experience:
- Entry Level: $49,000
- Mid-Career: $55,000
- Experienced: $64,000
- Late Career: $69,000
- Management Analyst
- These professionals, who may also work as management consultants, gather information about an organization’s management systems. They then conduct analyses and make recommendations based on their findings.
Salary based on experience:
- Entry Level: $52,000
- Mid-Career: $60,000
- Experienced: $71,000
- Late Career: $77,000
- Human Resources Managers
- These managers oversee employment functions such as hiring, compensation, benefits, training, and firing within an organization. In medium and large organizations, they manage teams of human resources specialists.
Salary based on experience:
- Entry Level: $49,000
- Mid-Career: $58,000
- Experienced: $66,000
- Late Career: $71,000
- Purchasing Managers, Buyers, and Purchasing Agents
- Buyers and purchasing agents make decisions on the products that companies spend money on, which include raw materials for manufacturing or consumer goods for retail chains. Purchasing managers oversee teams of buyers and purchasing agents.
Salary based on experience:
- Entry Level: $51,000
- Mid-Career: $55,000
- Experienced: $65,000
- Late Career: $71,000
- Marketing Managers
- These professionals set budgets, oversee creative processes, and manage employees in marketing departments or agencies. Their overarching goals include promoting the company’s products and establishing strong brands.
Salary based on experience:
- Entry Level: $46,000
- Mid-Career: $56,000
- Experienced: $67,000
- Late Career: $75,000
Source: PayScaleReturn to the top
Choosing an Online International Business Program
When students choose international business degrees online, they should take special care to pick schools that meet all their needs. Each university offers different benefits, such as low pricing, generous transfer policies, or accelerated programs. What is vital to one learner may not matter as much to another. For example, a degree candidate with an associate degree may prioritize schools that allow candidates to transfer all credits. Meanwhile, a first–year student may give the lowest–cost schools top priority. All candidates should take plenty of time to compare their options and find international business degrees online.
- Program Cost
- Typically, learners pay the lowest tuition rates at public schools within their home states. However, some colleges offer in-state tuition for online degree candidates. Students should consider what financial aid they receive at each school, the tuition rate per credit, and the number of credits they need to complete the programs.
- Transfer Policies
- Students with several credits from other schools can save time and money by choosing universities with generous transfer policies. Some schools maintain transfer agreements between one another, which can help with this process. Most universities only accept credits from regionally or nationally accredited schools.
- School Size and Type
- Students may also wish to consider schools based on whether they are public or private and the size of the student body. For example, degree candidates may prefer private schools with specific religious affiliations or colleges with small class sizes. Large universities sometimes offer more student resources and alumni networks.
- Program Length
- Learners should consider how many credits they need to complete each program and whether they will study full or part time. These determinations will help them understand how long it will take to earn their diplomas. Some schools offer accelerated plans that allow students to graduate quickly.
- On–Campus Requirements
- While students can earn an online international business degree without in-person meetings, some schools require learners to attend an orientation, intensive seminars, or regular class meetings on campus. Degree candidates should ensure that they can make all on-campus requirements before they enroll, especially if they live outside the areas of the schools they choose.
International Business Concentrations
In most cases, students earn international business degrees online by majoring in business or business administration and choosing concentrations in international business. As such, bachelor’s degrees rarely offer further specializations in international business. Students can choose minors in areas like accounting, marketing, or human resources at some schools.
How Long Does It Take to Get a Degree in International Business?
Students who begin with no college credit and take full–time courses earn online international business degrees in about four years. Most schools require 120 credits for graduation, which includes general education, business, and international business concentration courses. However, several factors can influence how long it takes to earn these types of degrees. For example, learners who hold an associate degree often graduate in just two years with full–time enrollment. Some universities also allow adult learners to earn credit for work or military experience.
Accelerated courses can also allow degree candidates to graduate in less time than traditional semesters. With these schedules, courses last 8–10 weeks at a time, and learners move into the next term. Students who choose universities with traditional semester schedules can take summer courses to graduate quickly. Many schools cap the number of credits around 18 hours per semester.
Online International Business Courses
Online bachelor’s in international business programs teach students to identify strategies for risk management in political, legal, financial, commercial, and cultural elements of international trade. Students also learn to analyze international business opportunities through cultural, political, legal, and economic lenses. Common courses include global financial systems, international management, multinational marketing, international economics, principles of management, and international managerial accounting.
While most aspects of an international business degree are constant, there is some variation in program length, graduation requirements, and program structure. Students may be able to take classes in a industry or area of interest, depending on the school.
- Global Marketing
- Students learn foundational marketing concepts and goals. They discuss how international markets pose challenges with cultural differences, language barriers, and legal distinctions. Degree candidates examine the ways that economic forces and cultural norms change that ways they can market products and services in different parts of the world.
- International Management
- Managing teams across time zones and borders poses specific challenges for international professionals. Learners in these courses are taught exam techniques for keeping these complex teams on track. Degree candidates uncover theories on the economic, cultural, and legal factors that affect hiring and overseeing employees around the world.
- Global Finance Systems
- Many international business professionals need to understand how global banks, economies, trade deals, and exchanges work. These courses help learners understand these complex systems and how they affect businesses. Students may also discuss how to balance legal, social, cultural, and ethical complications in global finance.
- Business Law
- Learners come to understand the many legal systems that businesses must follow, including state, federal, and international regulations. The class discusses common legal issues companies face, including employment and tax laws. Degree candidates learn the theories behind these laws and practical implications for professionals.
- Learners demonstrate what they learned throughout the program, completing final projects in capstones courses that incorporate their newfound business skills. Graduates can use these projects in their portfolios to aid in finding employment.
Accreditation for Online International Business Degrees
Perhaps the most important consideration for choosing an international business online degree program is accreditation. Schools should have institution–wide accreditation from either regional or national agencies. Without either of these types of accreditation, learners cannot be sure that they get high–quality instruction. Furthermore, schools that graduates may consider for graduate programs often do not accept credits from unaccredited schools.
Prospective students should consider schools with regional accreditation over those with national credentials. Regional agencies focus on smaller areas, which give them more time to thoroughly investigate each school than their national counterparts get. Furthermore, some graduate programs only accept learners with regionally accredited bachelor’s degrees. Business programs can also earn programmatic accreditation from business–specific organizations, such as the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB), International Assembly for Collegiate Business Education (IACBE), and the Accreditation Council for Business Schools and Programs (ACBSP). These organizations ensure member schools teach the best business practices.
The U.S. Department of Education (ED) does not directly accredit schools. Instead, the department grants third–party organizations the right to analyze schools and grant these credentials. These organizations then issue programmatic, national, or regional accreditation according to their permissions. Schools and accrediting organizations both join the Council for Higher Education Accreditation. This nongovernment organization advocates for high standards in education and policies that benefit its members. Students who want to be sure to attend accredited schools can check the ED website for a database of recognized accrediting organizations. This keeps students from trusting misleading credentials.
International Business Membership Associations
- International Executives Association
- A network of elite managers that allows international business professionals to make connections across the globe. Members attend annual conferences, give referrals, and learn from one another. Professionals join as individuals or companies depending on their needs.
- International Association of Business Communicators
- The IABC provides members with a rich array of resources like webinars, podcasts, blogs, and case studies. Members can win awards, earn certifications, and attend networking conferences. The organization provides membership levels for students, consultants, academics, and corporations.
- International Transportation Management Association
- The ITMA specializes in connecting logistics and transportation managers around the world. The organization awards scholarships for learners who want to work in this field as well as a job board for current professionals. Members can also keep up with the latest industry news.
- Society for Human Resource Management
- The SHRM provides globally recognized certifications for new and experiences human resources professionals. Members also access free webcasts, connect with advisors when they have questions, and chat with fellow professionals in the online community. The organization sends updates on human resources legislation.
- National Association of Small Business International Trade Educators
- NASBITE International aims to advance education and training for global business professionals. Members earn certification in trade and finance, attend annual conferences, and access learning resources. Trade educators, specialists, service providers, and professionals at companies that trade globally can join.
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