Many people dream about owning their own business because they love the idea of creating a product that reflects their passion, providing it for consumers, and working as their own boss. Although business ownership can be a challenging career, hard work pays off as a business grows and meets people's needs. An online entrepreneurship degree can prepare graduates for small business ownership as well as careers in sales, real estate, or throughout large and small companies. As a rapidly evolving area with a pool of diverse jobs, a career in entrepreneurship is a great choice for anyone with a mind for business.
An online degree can be an excellent alternative to a traditional brick-and-mortar education. Not everyone can afford to sacrifice their full-time career or family responsibilities, but an online degree can allow individuals to maintain their responsibilities and receive a quality education. In most cases, the same faculty teaches online and on-campus courses, and online courses feature opportunities to interact with instructors and peers. With coursework in business management, finance, economics, and principles of sales, an online entrepreneurship degree offers comprehensive preparation to succeed in the business world.
Bachelor's in Entrepreneurship Degree Online Ranking Guidelines
We selected the degree programs based on the quality of program and range of courses provided, as well as school awards, rankings, and reputation.
The Best Online Bachelor's in Entrepreneurship Degree Programs
1. Buena Vista University
Storm Lake, Iowa
Buena Vista University offers courses through 16 campuses across the state of Iowa as well as online. An impressive 98% of Buena Vista graduates either land a job or enroll in graduate school within six months after graduation. Online students can choose from more than 30 online options. The online entrepreneurship program teaches students the fundamental skills they need–marketing, accounting, finance, and management–to build a successful enterprise or create a new venture.
Along with 14 foundational business courses, entrepreneurship students take six entrepreneurship-focused classes. One notable course, the social responsibility of business, teaches aspiring entrepreneurs how to build mission-driven and socially-conscious enterprises. Students are encouraged to gain hands-on experience in the field. By the end of the program, all students must either complete a marketing internship or take an advanced elective. The curriculum consists of 55 credit hours. The school's flexible programs have six start dates throughout the year and classes start every eight weeks.
Buena Vista's programs, including the online entrepreneurship degree, are designed for students who have already completed some college. Applicants must have completed an associate degree or 60 credit hours from a regionally accredited institution. However, college level examination credits and life experience may be counted towards admission.
Buena Vista University is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC).
2. Cleary University
Located in Michigan, Cleary University was founded in 1885 as a school of penmanship. Today, the university teaches students the skills they need to succeed in business. While Cleary University is an all-around business school, its online degree in entrepreneurship is particularly strong. The school's Center for Innovation & Entrepreneurship supports entrepreneurship students and Michigan's business community through events, education, and other resources.
The school's comprehensive entrepreneurship concentration, offered as part of the business administration major, focuses on teaching students critical thinking and communication skills, as well as the economic and legal theories they need to launch successful businesses. The program takes four years to complete. Students take 41 courses for a total of 120 credits. Some notable courses include creativity and innovation, startup seminar, and technology entrepreneurship. In addition, entrepreneurship students are required to complete a professional project in their last semester. Cleary encourages students to customize their coursework to reflect their specific interests. To this end, the entrepreneurship curriculum includes the opportunity to take seven different electives over four years.
Cleary prides itself on its flexible transfer policies. The school works with transfer students from community colleges, two-year institutions, and four-year universities in order to develop an appropriate academic plan. The school also has agreements with many Michigan colleges, making the transfer process for in-state students hassle-free.
Cleary University is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC).
3. Northwood University–Michigan
Founded as Northwood Institute, Northwood University was established in 1959 in Alma, Michigan. Now based in Midland, NU is a private school known for its strong emphasis on business education. The school supports the values of the American free enterprise system through its undergraduate and graduate programs. Bachelor of business administration students can choose from 21 concentrations, including franchising management, innovation marketing, and entrepreneurship.
The entrepreneurship program is comprised of 126 semester hours and is typically completed in four years. The curriculum introduces students to fundamental business topics such as management, economics, and finance, but also includes some unusual courses for business majors. All undergraduates must take speech, ethics, and introduction to American government. While not directly related to business, the concepts students learn in these courses nonetheless can be useful in their careers.
Some interesting courses within the entrepreneurship concentration include new venture finance and successful business models, in which students analyze business plans of renowned entrepreneurs like John D. Rockefeller and John Jacob Astor. In addition, students can choose to complete an internship in the second semester of their junior years. Students can learn even more about the business world by speaking with Northwood's Entrepreneurs-in-Residence, who serve as mentors to entrepreneurship students. Students considering an online entrepreneurship degree from NU may be interested in the four year BBA/MBA program. This accelerated track enables ambitious students to complete a BBA degree in three years and an MBA degree in one additional year.
Northwood University is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC).
4. Gardner-Webb University
Boiling Springs, North Carolina
Founded in 1905 as Boiling Springs High School, Gardner-Webb University is a private institution located in Boiling Springs, North Carolina. The school is Baptist-affiliated and was established through a partnership between two local Baptist associations. The school remains committed to Christian principles. Its mission is to prepare young people for fulfilling lives of service.
Through its five professional schools and two academic schools, Gardner-Webb offers more than 80 undergraduate and graduate fields of study. The school accommodates all types of distance learners by offering many of these programs in hybrid or distance-only formats. Gardner-Webb also provides special training to professors who teach online courses in order to give its distance learners the most worthwhile experience possible.
Gardner-Webb's BS in entrepreneurship program is nationally accredited by the Association of Collegiate Business Schools and Programs. The program teaches learners how to make a social impact through business. Students working toward the online degree in entrepreneurship learn to bring ethics, faith, and service to the business field. To this end, entrepreneurship students complete traditional business courses in enterprise creation, growth, and funding, but are also required to take courses in biblical studies. The entrepreneurship program is made up of 33 major credits, 15 of which must be completed at Gardner-Webb. This relaxed policy makes the school extraordinarily accommodating to transfer students.
Gardner-Webb University is regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACS).
5. University of Minnesota Crookston
The University of Minnesota-Crookston is a public baccalaureate institution that has been in operation since 1966. The school prides itself on its small size of just 1,800 students, which gives it an incredible student-to-faculty ratio of just 16 to 1. The school's small class sizes allow professors to provide special attention and mentorship to each and every student. In addition, the school is attentive to its online learners, who make up half of the student body. The university has been offering online programs for 20 years, and its online programming includes 15 majors, nine minors, and five certificates.
The BS in entrepreneurship degree, available on campus or online, emphasizes learning through practice, and encourages students to take a hands-on approach to their studies. The 52-credit curriculum includes a course on field studies in entrepreneurship, where students consult with local small businesses to develop real world experience. In addition, all students, including those completing their entrepreneurship degree online, must participate in an internship.
The University of Minnesota Crookston charges in-state tuition to all of its students, making it an affordable option for out-of-state learners. More than 93% of graduates find employment within six months of graduation.
The University of Minnesota is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC).
6. Columbia College
Established in 1851, Columbia College is a private institution rooted in more than 160 years of academic tradition. The school was founded as a Christian school for women, but became coeducational in 1970. CC has retained its ties with the the Christian Church, but encourages students of all faiths to apply. The school serves 29,000 students each year through its 35 campus locations and online programs.
Students at CC can choose from nine different online programs of study. CC is unique in that it offers career advising to its students for life. Online courses last eight weeks, and there are six sessions each year. As a result, students can complete a bachelor's degree in under three-and-a-half years.
Columbia College offers two tracks for bachelor's in entrepreneurship students: a BS in business administration and a BA in business administration. Both tracks require a minimum of 120 credits of coursework, 39 of which are advanced level courses. The entrepreneurship major is comprised of 18 credits, including six credits of electives. Students pursuing the business entrepreneurship degree online can opt to take courses such as e-marketing and social media, which will them succeed in today's technology-oriented business world.
Columbia College is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC).
7. Lamar University
Located in Beaumont, Texas, Lamar University is a public college that was founded in 1923. The school has expanded dramatically in the last 90 years, growing from just 125 students to more than 15,000. A member of The Texas State University System, LU is recognized as one of the fastest growing institutions of higher education in the state. LU offers more than 100 bachelor's, master's, and doctoral programs of study, 23 of which are available online. Courses are offered in accelerated 8-week semesters or traditional 15-week semesters.
The bachelor of business administration degree in entrepreneurship is made up of 48 core courses, 27 lower level electives, and 45 advanced level electives, for a combined total of 120 credit hours. What makes Lamar's entrepreneurship curriculum unique is its focus on modern business technology. Students complete coursework in data analysis, business analysis, and strategic analysis. Distance learners can expect to complete the online degree in entrepreneurship in 48 months.
Students must have a GPA of at least 2.0 in order to be considered for the entrepreneurship program. The online tuition rate is law, making receiving an education affordable. Transfer students from two-year colleges may apply up to 66 credits.
Lamar University is regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACS).
8. University of Maine at Machias
The University of Maine at Machias was founded in 1909 as a teachers college. Over the last 108 years, the school has stayed true to its roots, priding itself on its small class sizes and impressive student-to-faculty ratio of just 12 to 1. The tiny student population of just 800 facilitates a more intimate classroom environment than one might find at a larger university. As a result, the school is a good fit for students who prefer a more personalized learning experience.
Three of the school's 11 programs of study are available online, which means that students can get all the perks of a small school without ever setting foot on campus. Plus, Machias limits online cohort groups to ensure that distance learners get the same one-on-one experience that on-campus students get.
The bachelor of science in business and entrepreneurial studies teaches students the specific skills and talents they need to succeed in any facet of a new enterprise. Students can choose from five concentrations: accounting, management, marketing, business sustainability, or sports and fitness management. Alternately, students have the flexibility to design a concentration that is tailored specifically to their career aspirations. Some interesting and unusual courses include social media analytics, international marketing, and business spreadsheet applications. The curriculum is comprised of 120 credits, and students must maintain at least a 2.0 GPA to graduate.
The University of Maine is regionally accredited by the New England Association of Schools and Colleges (NEASC-CIHE).
9. Bluefield College
Bluefield College, founded in 1922, is a Baptist-affiliated college located in the Appalachian Mountains of Southwest Virginia. Though it serves under 1,000 students, the school offers more than 40 programs. On-campus and online students benefit from 15-person class sizes and a student-to-faculty ratio of 11 to 1. In 2011, the school made all of its accelerated programs accessible online. Today, more than 300 working professionals are enrolled in one of Bluefield's online programs.
One of Bluefield's notable distance programs is its online management and leadership major. Through its 126-credit curriculum, the program helps students master important skills such as strategic planning, team building, and contemporary leadership. Management students may choose to pursue the e-business and entrepreneurship minor. The minor introduces students to the basics of entrepreneurship, and then teaches them how to build and grow a business. Courses such as e-business and franchising teach students growth techniques for the modern era.
Students who enter the program with transfer credits can complete the accelerated bachelor's in entrepreneurship in as few as 13 months. Applicants must have a GPA of at least 2.0 to qualify for Bluefield's online programs.
Bluefield College is regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACS).
10. Northwood University–Texas
Cedar Hill, Texas
Northwood University-Texas is a private college located in Cedar Hill. It is a satellite location for Northwood's main campus, which is located in Michigan. Northwood established its Texas location during its push to expand in the late 1960s. In 2014, NU closed its residential buildings at the Texas campus and began putting more resources towards distance and adult education. Now, NU serves as a hub for the school's online students in the Southwest.
NU is a business-only school committed to supporting the American capitalist system. The school's BBA program allows students to choose from more than 20 concentrations. The program is accredited by the Accreditation Council for Business Schools and Programs, ensuring that it consistently provides a high-caliber business education.
The school's online bachelor's in entrepreneurship program is distinguished by its emphasis on case-based education. As part of the degree's 126 credits, students are required to take courses that go beyond theory and teach students to analyze real-world scenarios. Courses include strategic management, risk analysis, and entrepreneurial business model. In addition, NU encourages students to gain hands-on experience through an internship. During the internship, students work alongside a CEO or manager in a new venture.
Northwood University-Texas is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC).
The Advantages of a Entrepreneurship Education
Selecting the online entrepreneurship program that best fits your needs can be difficult. For example, an associate degree typically prepares learners for entry-level positions in the field and often leads to further study in the form of a bachelor's degree. Meanwhile, a bachelor's degree can open graduates to more positions in the field and can also lead to work on a master's degree.
In a field that holds many self-starters and business owners, gaining the most skills and guidance possible before launching into a career is incredibly important. Not only does an online bachelor's degree in entrepreneurship provide a deeper education than an associate program, but it also prepares graduates to begin careers where they can leverage these skills. Our guide below explores some of the careers available to those with a bachelor's degree in entrepreneurship, providing information about aspects like salaries, typical coursework, and what to expect from an entrepreneurship program.
Entrepreneurship Degree Salary Information
Graduates with a bachelor's degree in entrepreneurship can choose from many career opportunities. Entrepreneurs work in almost every industry, so these professionals are in high demand across all sectors. Graduates qualify for a variety of roles, like salesperson or positions in management.
- Small Business Owner: Almost every industry features small businesses, meaning entrepreneurs can work in any field or sector that interests them. Some small businesses offer products like clothing or food, while others offer services such as auto repair or lawn care. If you have a dream and there's a demand for your product, you can achieve almost anything.
- Realtor: A realtor helps people buy and sell their houses for the best possible price. These professionals have a strong knowledge of sales and how to help people in a variety of situations. Realtors may work privately or through a firm and usually must possess licensure in addition to their degree.
- Salesperson: Salespeople work in a variety of industries, and their jobs depend heavily on the company they work for. Some professionals make sales over the phone, while others may make visits to potential clients. This career provides plenty of opportunities for employees to work their way up in their field.
- General/Operations Manager: A general/operations manager maintains and supervises the day-to-day operations of a business. By working closely with employees and management, they ensure a business runs smoothly and is growing its bottom line. This position can vary depending on the industry, but most managers must have strong leadership skills and a vision for the business.
- Business Consultant: Business consultants serve as a sounding board for any organization that needs advice or guidance on a particular issue, including ways to move ahead in their industry. They can specialize in a certain field or work as general consultant for a variety of businesses. This job suits those who love business but aren't interested in managing a company's day-to-day operations.
Salary by Experience for Entrepreneurship Careers
|Small Business Owner||$43,000||$51,000||$63,000||$70,000|
Choosing an Online Entrepreneurship Degree Program
Prospective students should take into account several factors as they search for the right online entrepreneurship program. Variables such as a program's price, time commitment, requirements, and class size can all have an impact on one's experience. So take your time and be selective during the process. Below, we've outlined some elements that students should consider as they research potential online bachelor's degrees in entrepreneurship.
The cost of an online entrepreneurship program can vary widely. For example, some schools charge higher tuition rates for out-of-state students, while other programs may offer in-state tuition rates to online learners regardless of their location. Additionally, some schools may feature flat tuition rates. No matter which program you select, be sure to inquire about any hidden costs, such as technology or graduation fees, and the cost of books and other required materials.
Students transferring from other institutions should pay careful attention to which prior credits will transfer to their intended school, as this can dramatically reduce the time they need to earn their degree. Universities typically assess student transfer credits to determine how many can apply to one's small business and entrepreneurship degree.
School Size and Type
No two students learn the same; different programs may fit different students' needs. Some learners may prefer the small class sizes and easy interaction with faculty typical of small liberal arts schools, while others may seek the larger class sizes and more affordable tuition often available through a public school. Because public schools receive state and federal funding, they sometimes provide additional opportunities for students.
As you search for an online entrepreneurship degree that fits your needs, pay careful attention to a program's length. Most schools offer many different options for students, including part-time, full-time, and accelerated learning. Part-time students take fewer courses than full-time students and usually take longer to complete their degree. However, part-time learners can often maintain personal or professional responsibilities more easily. For students who would like to quickly complete their degree, full-time -- or even accelerated -- learning may serve as a better option.
Even if a program markets itself as an online program, learners may still be required to spend some time on campus. This could include a short orientation for a weekend or it could last an entire semester or year. Before committing to an online program, familiarize yourself with a degree's on-campus requirements to avoid schedule conflicts and costly travel.
Accreditation for Online Entrepreneurship Degrees
Any search for an online school should begin with accredited institutions. Accrediting bodies evaluate each school to ensure that it meets all required standards in their teaching, and most schools earn either regional or national accreditation.
Regionally accredited schools typically enjoy more prestige and allow students to transfer credits to another institution more easily. Additionally, future employers generally view degrees from regionally accredited schools as more rigorous and legitimate. Regional accrediting agencies to look for include the Higher Learning Commission,the Middle States Commission on Higher Education, and the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities. In contrast, national accreditation is reserved for vocational or trade schools; students might have difficulty transferring credits earned at these institutions to regionally accredited schools.
Students should also look for programmatic accreditation from industry-specific accrediting bodies, such as the Accreditation Council for Business Schools and Programs or the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business. These organizations' stamps of approval indicate that programs deliver rigorous degrees that embrace the industry's best practices.
Just as schools are subject to evaluations to ensure quality, accrediting agencies also undergo assessments to make sure they keep standards high. The United States Department of Education (ED) and the Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA) both grant accrediting bodies permission to assess institutions. Some accrediting bodies receive permission to accredit schools in a particular region, while others can accredit schools all across the country. These two organizations must remain consistent and keep standards high as they evaluate colleges and universities in the United States.
An online bachelor's in entrepreneurship can encompass a variety of different subjects, so students may want to add a concentration to prepare for a specific career path or further study. The following list contains a few of the most common concentrations, but note that options vary from school to school.
This specialty prepares graduates to manage and operate an organization. Through courses in leadership, business planning, and finances, students learn the particulars of running a successful business. Those who hope to work their way up in a business or open their own business may consider this concentration.
- Careers this concentration prepares for: General/operations manager; small business owner
Students who love fashion and plan to work in the industry may consider focusing on this discipline. This concentration introduces students to how the fashion industry works, including trends and the clothing-making process. Students gain a strong knowledge of business principles and the latest styles.
- Careers this concentration prepares for: Salesperson
Real Estate Licensure:
Often, students can receive their real estate license by completing a course and passing the minimum requirements of an official exam. This prepares learners to pursue a career in real estate, help others find and sell their homes, or own properties to rent and/or flip them.
- Careers this concentration prepares for: Realtor
This concentration prepares graduates to support an existing company. Learners explore ways to help a business increase its efficiency and profitability, develop strategic business plans, and find ways to bring new products to market.
- Careers this concentration prepares for: General/operations manager; CEO
Much of sales involves communicating to others the value of your product or inspiring workers to do the same. Through a social entrepreneurship concentration, students learn the rhetoric of their field and how to form relationships with others that propel their business forward.
- Careers this concentration prepares for: Small business owner; general/operations manager
How Long Does It Take to Get a Degree in Entrepreneurship?
The time it takes to complete your online degree can depend on various factors. On average, a bachelor's degree in entrepreneurship requires 120 credits, which can be completed in four years if taken full time. However, students can significantly reduce this timeframe if they can apply any transfer credits.
Learners who enroll on a part-time basis can take fewer credits per term but usually take more time to earn their degree. Meanwhile, students who complete coursework on an accelerated basis take more credits in a shorter amount of time. Ultimately, the time it takes to finish a degree depends on the student, but most degrees allow for significant flexibility for their online learners.
Courses in an Online Bachelor's in Entrepreneurship Program
The curriculum of an online entrepreneurship degree introduces students to fundamental business topics. Coursework may include advertising, developmental planning, management, microeconomics, macroeconomics, statistics for business, business policy, basic information systems, and organizational behavior. Students also learn to obtain and organize resources that aid in the creation and growth of a business. Owners must know how to hire employees, manage finances, and distribute services, goods, and information.
One of the most important skills that students learn is management. Degree candidates learn to formulate a mission, goals, and vision for a business and how to productively identify strengths and weaknesses. They also learn about human resource management.
Specific requirements, program structure, and electives vary by school. Some offer certain concentrations or electives that students may find useful as they embark on business ventures. If you are interested in a particular industry, you might want to consider a program with classes in management for that field.
Introductions to Operations Management
This course introduces students to the fundamentals of operations management, such as the role of operations and techniques to ensure quality work. Topics may include management techniques, product and service design, finances, inventory management, or supply chain management.
Principles of Finance
Students earning a small business and entrepreneurship degree online must have a strong background in finance. This course introduces the concepts of making financial decisions involving statistics, economics, and accounting procedures. Learners also discover the value of money and how to invest in smart and profitable ways.
Entrepreneurship and Venture Creation
Students learn to create a vision for their new business and how to navigate as an entrepreneur in the early stages, gaining skills to successfully transform an idea into reality. Some courses include a project that involves pitching a business idea and taking the first steps to bring it to life.
Technology for Entrepreneurs
This course showcases useful technology for entrepreneurs to make the daily practice of operating a business more productive and efficient. Students explore ways to keep technology usage cost-effective and risk-free. This can include computer programs, products that speed up manufacturing, or other simple solutions to the problems faced by entrepreneurs.
Case Study in Management
Many programs culminate in a large research project, often a case study of a business or corporation. Students in this course use data and analytics to determine management strengths and weaknesses of a company and figure out how those practices could be useful for their own ventures.
Entrepreneurship Membership Associations
- Entrepreneurs' Organization: Founded in an effort to help entrepreneurs succeed and grow, the Entrepreneurs' Organization is a nonprofit association that offers networking events, benefits, and an online marketplace where business owners can engage with others in their field.
- Young Entrepreneur Council: For entrepreneurs under the age of 40, this invite-only organization features peer-to-peer forums, member benefits, and opportunities for publication.
- Social Enterprise Alliance: Since 1998, this organization has provided entrepreneurs with networking opportunities and tools for success. Members of this organization receive a monthly newsletter, the chance to participate in an extensive web seminar, and access to forums and consultation seminars.
- Startup Grind: With chapters in over 150 countries and almost 100 events a month, Startup Grind is one of the largest entrepreneur organizations in the world. The organization even hosts a worldwide event every year, allowing members to become connected with some of the biggest names in entrepreneurship on a global level.
- United States Association for Small Business and Entrepreneurship: The International Council for Small Business launched in 1957 and expanded to include the United States Association for Small Business and Entrepreneurship in 1981. Focusing on education, research, outreach, and public policy, this group supplies members with networking events as well as an online career center.