The Best Online Business Certificate Programs

by TBS Staff

Updated October 10, 2022

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Business certificates prepare students for administrative roles by covering fundamental financial planning, accounting, business operations, and financial reporting skills.

Earning a business certificate online builds key skills for careers in business. During business certificate programs, learners take courses in areas like entrepreneurship, financial accounting, and management. They also strengthen their analytical and decision-making skills through real-world case studies and projects.

With a business certificate, professionals can work as financial clerks, loan officers, and auditing clerks. They also pursue careers in administrative services and facilities management. These fields all offer entry-level opportunities for people seeking careers in business. Professionals can also pursue specialized certificate programs to move into new roles in their current careers.

Our list includes the top online business certificate programs to help prospective students find the best fit for their interests, budgets, and career goals. This article also covers common business certificate courses, career paths, and certifications.

The Best Online Business Certificate Programs

#1 The Best Online Business Certificate Programs

Chandler-Gilbert Community College

  • Chandler, AZ
  • 2 years
  • Online + Campus

The online business certificate at Chandler-Gilbert Community College offers career-focused training in a flexible format. From its Arizona campus, the public institution welcomes learners to 73 certificate training programs.

With career-focused classes, the business program covers core topics while also offering insights into professional roles and responsibilities. Certificate-seekers can also boost their career training with workshops, events, and internship opportunities. Flexible online classes and several enrollment options meet the needs of multiple learners. The business certificate program uses full-time and part-time schedules for distance learners. Busy students benefit from the flexibility to balance school with work and other obligations.

Prospective applicants can reach out to the financial aid office to learn more about opportunities to pay for a certificate. Learners at the school qualify for federal financial aid programs such as the Pell Grant. Currently, 57% of the student body receives some form of financial aid, and the school has a 23% graduation rate.

Average Tuition
In-state
$2,040
Out-of-state
$7,824
Retention Rate
71%
Admission Rate
Not provided
Students Enrolled
15,585
Institution Type
Public
Percent Online Enrollment
22% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Higher Learning Commission

#2 The Best Online Business Certificate Programs

Asnuntuck Community College

  • Enfield, CT
  • 2 years
  • Online + Campus

Asnuntuck Community College offers an online business administration certificate that provides a flexible route to training for the business field. Learners benefit from 25 certificate options offered by the public institution, located in Enfield.

The business curriculum draws on industry-relevant topics to provide participants a deep understanding of the profession. Certificate-seekers can also participate in experiential learning opportunities focused on their career goals. Flexible online classes and several enrollment options meet the needs of multiple learners. The online business administration certificate program offers full-time and part-time tracks. This flexibility appeals to busy students and working professionals.

The financial aid office provides more information about eligibility for aid and funding for certificate programs. The school qualifies for federal financial aid programs such as the Pell Grant. The institution reports that 72% of the student body receives financial aid, while the graduation rate is 37%.

Average Tuition
In-state
$3,984
Out-of-state
$11,952
Retention Rate
51%
Admission Rate
Not provided
Students Enrolled
1,600
Institution Type
Public
Percent Online Enrollment
27% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes New England Commission on Higher Education

#3 The Best Online Business Certificate Programs

Pima Community College

  • Tucson, AZ
  • 2 years
  • Online + Campus

Pima Community College offers an online basic business certificate for students interested in business careers. From its Tucson campus, the public institution operates 199 certificate options for learners.

The business curriculum covers industry-relevant topics while providing a deep insight into the profession. Certificate-seekers participate in experiential learning opportunities to gain relevant skills for their career path. Flexible enrollment options help learners make progress toward their certificate. The online basic business certificate program offers tracks for full-time and part-time students. These flexible options appeal to working professionals and busy students.

Learners can reach out to the financial aid office for more information about opportunities to pay for a certificate. The school's funding options include scholarships, internal aid, and federal aid programs. The institution reports that 68% of enrollees receive financial aid, and the overall graduation rate is 21%.

Average Tuition
In-state
$2,028
Out-of-state
$7,344
Retention Rate
65%
Admission Rate
Not provided
Students Enrolled
19,512
Institution Type
Public
Percent Online Enrollment
36% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Higher Learning Commission

#4 The Best Online Business Certificate Programs

Tulsa Community College

  • Tulsa, OK
  • 2 years
  • Online + Campus

The online business certificate at Tulsa Community College ranks high among programs of its kind. From its main campus in Oklahoma, the public institution operates 36 certificate programs.

The business program offers industry insights and career-focused training throughout its curriculum. Certificate-seekers work with faculty mentors to individualize their program and pursue experiential learning opportunities. Learners can modify the program based on their schedule. The business certificate program uses full-time and part-time schedules for distance learners. This flexibility makes it easier for working professionals and busy students to enroll in the program.

Individuals can reach out to the financial aid office to learn more about opportunities to pay for a certificate. The school administers federal financial aid programs such as the Pell Grant for qualifying students. Currently, 89% of the student body receives some form of financial aid, and the school has a 20% graduation rate.

Average Tuition
In-state
$2,701
Out-of-state
$8,101
Retention Rate
62%
Admission Rate
Not provided
Students Enrolled
16,407
Institution Type
Public
Percent Online Enrollment
40% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Higher Learning Commission

#5 The Best Online Business Certificate Programs

Northwest Technical College

  • Bemidji, MN
  • 2 years
  • Online + Campus

Northwest Technical College offers an online business foundations certificate for students interested in business careers. Located in Bemidji, Minnesota, the public institution offers 52 certificate options.

The business program offers industry-tailored classes that help participants deepen their knowledge of the field while gaining industry insights. Certificate-seekers can also participate in hands-on learning opportunities relevant to the field. Flexible enrollment options help learners make progress toward their certificate. The online business foundations program offers tracks for full-time and part-time students. Working professionals and busy students rely on this flexibility.

The accredited institution meets federal requirements for distance learners to submit the FAFSA and receive aid. The school connects students with financial aid information and provides guidance for applying to scholarships. Out of the total student body, 81% receive financial aid, and the school reports a 31% graduation rate.

Average Tuition
In-state
$5,346
Out-of-state
$5,346
Retention Rate
64%
Admission Rate
Not provided
Students Enrolled
947
Institution Type
Public
Percent Online Enrollment
69% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Higher Learning Commission

#6 The Best Online Business Certificate Programs

Phoenix College

  • Phoenix, AZ
  • 2 years
  • Online + Campus

Phoenix College’s online certificate in business administration is an attractive option for students seeking flexible training relevant to the business field. The public institution offers 120 certificate programs, supporting distance learners from its main campus in Arizona.

With career-focused classes, the business program covers core topics while also offering insights into professional roles and responsibilities. Certificate-seekers prepare for the workforce by pursuing experiential learning opportunities. Learners can adapt the schedule to fit their needs with flexible coursework options. The business administration program offers part-time and full-time tracks for distance learners. This flexibility appeals to busy students and working professionals.

The financial aid office helps learners identify funding sources for certificate programs. Qualifying students can cover the cost of their certificate program with funding sources like the Pell Grant. According to the most recent data, 80% of enrolled students use financial aid, while the school has a 16% graduation rate.

Average Tuition
In-state
$2,040
Out-of-state
$7,824
Retention Rate
63%
Admission Rate
Not provided
Students Enrolled
11,109
Institution Type
Public
Percent Online Enrollment
37% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Higher Learning Commission

#7 The Best Online Business Certificate Programs

Normandale Community College

  • Bloomington, MN
  • 2 years
  • Online + Campus

Normandale Community College offers an online small business management certificate that appeals to students seeking flexible career training. The public institution, located in Bloomington, Minnesota, offers 25 certificate programs.

The business curriculum draws on industry-relevant topics to provide participants with a deep understanding of the profession. Certificate-seekers gain hands-on experience and career-specific training. Enrollees can choose classes based on their schedule and needs. Full-time and part-time students participate in the online small business management certificate program. This flexibility benefits working professionals and busy students.

The financial aid office works with distance learners to find scholarships, grants, and other funding sources. Qualifying students can cover the cost of their certificate program with funding sources like the Pell Grant. The institution reports a graduation rate of 26%, with 76% of enrollees receiving financial aid.

Average Tuition
In-state
$4,990
Out-of-state
$4,990
Retention Rate
61%
Admission Rate
Not provided
Students Enrolled
9,743
Institution Type
Public
Percent Online Enrollment
41% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Higher Learning Commission

#8 The Best Online Business Certificate Programs

Rio Salado College

  • Tempe, AZ
  • 2 years
  • Online + Campus

Rio Salado College’s online certificate in general business is an attractive option for students seeking flexible training relevant to the business field. The public institution offers 100 certificate programs from its main campus in Tempe, Arizona.

The business curriculum introduces participants to key industry topics while providing insights into the profession. Certificate-seekers participate in experiential learning opportunities to gain relevant skills for their career path. Enrollees can adapt the program based on their unique needs and schedule. The online business program enrolls students full time and part time. Busy students benefit from the flexibility to balance school with work and other obligations.

The financial aid office works with distance learners to identify financial aid opportunities. The school's financial aid options include institutional aid, external scholarships, and federal financial aid programs. The institution reports a 7% graduation rate, and 77% of enrollees receive financial aid.

Average Tuition
In-state
$2,040
Out-of-state
$7,824
Retention Rate
31%
Admission Rate
Not provided
Students Enrolled
19,103
Institution Type
Public
Percent Online Enrollment
53% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Higher Learning Commission

#9 The Best Online Business Certificate Programs

Edison State Community College

  • Piqua, OH
  • 2 years
  • Online + Campus

The online business certificate at Edison State Community College offers a flexible route to business career training. From its Piqua campus, the public institution operates 44 certificate options for learners.

With career-focused classes, the business program introduces participants to industry-relevant topics while providing insights into professional roles. Certificate-seekers can also prepare for the workforce with workshops, events, and experiential learning opportunities. Flexible enrollment options allow learners to fit school into their schedule. The online business certificate program offers full-time and part-time tracks. This flexibility makes it easier for working professionals and busy students to enroll in the program.

Learners can contact the financial aid office for information about assistance and eligibility guidelines for certificate programs. Qualifying students enrolled in certificate programs can submit the FAFSA and pay for school with the Pell Grant. The institution reports that 89% of the student body receives financial aid, while the graduation rate is 37%.

Average Tuition
In-state
$4,060
Out-of-state
$8,119
Retention Rate
48%
Admission Rate
Not provided
Students Enrolled
3,888
Institution Type
Public
Percent Online Enrollment
40% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Higher Learning Commission

#10 The Best Online Business Certificate Programs

DeSales University

  • Center Valley, PA
  • 4 years
  • Online + Campus

The online business administration certificate at DeSales University provides business training in a flexible format. Located in Center Valley, Pennsylvania, the private institution offers 12 certificate options.

The business curriculum covers industry-relevant topics while providing a deep insight into the profession. Certificate-seekers can work with faculty members to pursue experiential learning opportunities relevant to their career goals. Flexible online classes and several enrollment options meet the needs of multiple learners. The business administration program offers full-time and part-time options for distance learners. Busy students benefit from the flexibility to balance school with work and other obligations.

The financial aid office helps learners identify funding sources for certificate programs. The school administers federal financial aid programs such as the Pell Grant for qualifying students. Currently, 100% of the student body receives some form of financial aid, and the school has a 69% graduation rate.

Average Tuition
In-state
$37,200
Out-of-state
$37,200
Retention Rate
80%
Admission Rate
79%
Students Enrolled
3,460
Institution Type
Private
Percent Online Enrollment
36% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Middle States Commission on Higher Education
Best Online Certificate

Online Business Certificate Programs Ranking Guidelines

We ranked these degree programs based on quality, curricula, school awards, rankings, and reputation.

Our Methodology

Here at TheBestSchools.org, we take the trust and welfare of our readers very seriously. When making our school and program rankings, our top priority is ensuring that our readers get accurate, unbiased information that can help them make informed decisions about online education. That's why we've developed a rigorous ranking methodology that keeps the needs of our readers front and center.

Our proprietary, multi-criteria ranking algorithm analyzes key data indicators — as collected by the federal government — for each school or program. What data we use depends on the focus of each specific ranking, but in all cases, our ranking methodology is impartial: Schools cannot buy better rankings at TBS.

While specific criteria under consideration can vary by ranking, there are a few data points that we value most highly. They are affordability, academic quality, and online enrollment. Below, we break down our algorithm to help you understand what you're getting when you use one of our rankings.

  • Academics
  • Affordability
  • Online Enrollment

Data Sources

The data used in TBS rankings comes primarily from the federal government, and much of it is provided by the schools themselves. We aggregate and analyze this data to build our rankings.

The Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS) is our primary source. Its data comes from annual surveys conducted by the U.S. Department of Education's National Center for Education Statistics (NCES). Every college, university, or technical school with access to federal financial aid must participate in these surveys, which include questions about enrollment, graduation rates, finances, and faculty qualifications. This is publicly available data, which you can access yourself through the College Navigator.

Additionally, because we value a personal touch and the professional experience of our staff and Academic Advisory Board, we vet all results and adjust rankings as necessary based on our collected knowledge of schools and degree programs. Depending on the ranking, we may obtain additional input from AcademicInfluence.com, subject matter experts, prior TBS ranking lists, or other sources we deem relevant to a particular ranking.

Breakdown of Our Rankings Methodology

About Our Ranking Factors

Here at TBS, we value what you value: quality education, affordability, and the accessibility of online education. These factors guide all of our program rankings.

Each of these factors are further broken down into weighted subfactors. For example, retention rates are weighted more heavily than availability of program options because they are a better indicator of student success.

We chose the following factors for our rankings because of their influence on learning experiences and graduate outcomes. However, students should always balance our rankings against their personal priorities. For instance, a learner who needs a fully online program may prioritize online flexibility more than our rankings do. Our rankings are designed to help you make a decision — not to make a decision for you.

Academics - 75%
Affordability - 15%
Online Enrollment - 10%

In all our school rankings and recommendations, we work for objectivity and balance. We carefully research and compile each ranking list, and as stated in our advertising disclosure, we do NOT permit financial incentives to influence rankings. Our articles never promote or disregard a school for financial gain.

If you have questions about our ranking methodology, please feel free to connect with our staff through contact page.

We thank you for your readership and trust.

Featured Online Business Certificate Programs

What Is an Online Business Certificate?

An online business certificate offers focused training in core business areas, such as finance, accounting, and management. During a business certificate, learners study strategic planning, organizational behavior, and business decision-making. A certificate also teaches enrollees to create business plans, analyze financial reports, and manage staff.

In addition to gaining foundational knowledge in business, learners strengthen their analytical, problem-solving, and decision-making skills through projects and assignments. A business certificate also covers communication and research abilities.

Many colleges offer online business certificate programs, and earning a business certificate online offers more flexibility than a traditional degree. Learners can complete coursework around their other responsibilities, which appeals to working adults seeking career advancement. After gaining foundational training through certificate programs, graduates can pursue business degrees or enter the workforce.

​​

What's the Difference Between a Business Certificate and an Associate Degree in Business?

Business certificates and associate degrees in business both train students in foundational business areas, like entrepreneurship, accounting, and management. However, a certificate offers more focused coursework without general education requirements. A certificate also takes less time than an associate degree.

Most certificate programs take around one year or less, while an associate degree typically requires two years. With an associate degree, graduates can work as financial clerks, account managers, and administrative assistants, and they can transfer directly into bachelor's programs.

After completing a certificate, graduates can transfer into associate programs. Many schools offer both certificates and associate degrees in business.

Choosing an Online Program

When choosing an online business certificate program, students should consider factors like enrollment options, course schedules, and certificate specializations. Each student has unique goals and needs, so which business certificate is the best fit will be different for everybody. Learn more about choosing an online program at the links below.

Accreditation for Business Programs

Prospective students should always choose accredited schools for their business certificates. Accredited colleges meet the highest standards for educating students. Accredited colleges also meet the requirements for federal financial aid awards. For business education, regional accreditation is the gold standard.

In addition to school accreditation, applicants should also seek out accredited business programs. Several accrediting agencies evaluate business programs, including the Accreditation Council for Business Schools and Programs. Accreditation demonstrates that a business program follows the best practices for training business professionals.

What to Expect From a Business Certificate

During a business certificate, online learners build foundational skills in accounting, management, and marketing. They also take courses in business ethics, strategic decision-making, and entrepreneurship. Some certificates offer focused coursework in a particular area, like finance, public accounting, or leadership. Below are a few common courses in online business certificate programs, though the exact curriculum varies by school.

Business Curriculum

  • Accounting: Basic accounting skills help professionals in every field. This course covers financial accounting systems, creating financial documents, and evaluating accounting statements. Students learn about inventory, revenue, income statements, and balance sheets.
  • Business Strategy: Business decision-makers use a variety of strategies to solve problems. In this course, learners consider strategic alternatives, learn to implement business strategies, and assess strategic plans for their effectiveness.
  • Business Ethics: In this course, learners examine ethical obligations and problems for businesses. The course introduces students to ethical decision-making, company responsibility conflicts, and personal integrity in a business environment.
  • Entrepreneurship: Entrepreneurs launch businesses. This course covers the business planning process, marketing for new companies, and expanding organizations. Students also learn core principles needed for success in new ventures.
  • Fundamentals of Marketing: Marketing courses introduce learners to core principles and concepts in marketing. Topics include market research, pricing strategy, and competitor research. Coursework blends lectures with case studies and real-world projects.
  • Principles of Management: Learners explore theories and best practices for managers. The course covers organizational needs, corporate responsibilities, and management roles. Students also learn about planning, management analysis, and decision-making.

How Long Does It Take To Get a Business Certificate Online?

Earning a business certificate online typically takes around one year. Program length depends on several factors, including the number of required credits, the student's enrollment status, and the program format.

Short certificate programs may only take a few months, while a longer certificate can exceed one year. Part-time enrollment extends completion timelines. Some online business certificate programs offer an accelerated schedule, where learners complete coursework in shorter terms.

What Can You Do With a Business Certificate?

A business certificate trains students for entry-level roles as financial clerks, bookkeepers, and accounting clerks. Graduates also use their business training to launch new companies, run small organizations, or work as office managers.

Training in accounting, management, and finance helps professionals in a variety of careers. In addition to the following fields, earning a business certificate can lead to opportunities in marketing, accounting, and financial services.

Entrepreneurs

Entrepreneurs develop business ideas and establish new companies. They research demand for new products and services to identify potential customers and gaps in the market. An entrepreneur can then create a business plan, raise capital, and launch a business venture.

A business certificate with a focus in entrepreneurship helps prospective business owners gain the necessary knowledge to form a business plan and launch a business.

Office Managers

Office managers oversee support services within an organization. They manage administrative needs and coordinate services like mail distribution, record filing, and printing. In some organizations, office managers plan budgets, purchase office supplies, and manage facilities.

Some employers prefer office managers with bachelor's degrees, but most will hire office managers with administrative experience or certificates. Similar titles include administrative services manager, business unit manager, and records and information manager.

Financial Clerks

Financial clerks perform administrative tasks in brokerage firms, accounting offices, and other business settings. They manage financial records, calculate charges, and assist customers. Some financial clerks also carry out transactions for customers or clients.

This career path typically requires a high school diploma, plus college-level business courses, like those offered in a business certificate program. Many financial clerks complete on-the-job training to strengthen their specialized knowledge.

Business Certifications

The Project Management Institute (PMI) offers the CAPM credential for entry-level project managers. Each candidate must hold a high school diploma or associate degree and complete 23 hours of project management education. A business certificate meets the latter requirement. PMI requires a three-hour, 150-question certification exam. CAPM professionals maintain the credential by earning 15 professional development units every three years. PMI also offers the PMP credential. Education and work experience requirements vary depending on whether the candidate holds a bachelor's degree. CAPM certification fulfills the project management education requirement. Each prospective PMP then takes a certification exam. PMI reports that PMP-certified individuals earn 25% higher salaries than those without certification. The CBAP credential recognizes experienced business analysts. An aspiring CBAP must have at least 7,500 hours of work experience in business analysis, including at least 900 hours each in four of the credential's knowledge areas. The certification also requires 35 hours of professional development, two references, and passing scores on an exam. Professionals experienced with Salesforce, a customer relationship management platform, can pursue certification to demonstrate their expertise. Candidates take a 60-question exam on configuration options, user management, and Salesforce functions. The certification offers proctored exams at testing centers or online environments. Professionals can pursue Oracle certification in multiple areas, including cloud infrastructure, enterprise performance management, and human capital management. Candidates start by choosing their certification and meeting requirements, then selecting a recommended training or specialized exam. Individuals earn certification after passing the exam at a Pearson VUE center.

Business Careers

A business certificate prepares graduates for entry-level roles as accounting clerks, bookkeepers, financial clerks, and administrative assistants. Professionals who add business certificates to their college degrees can advance into administrative and management roles. For example, the specialized training in a certificate can lead to a career as a general manager, management analyst, or human resources manager.

The following median salary data pertains to business careers for individuals with certificates but no degree.

Career Median Salary (2020)
Bookkeeping, Accounting, and Auditing Clerks $42,410
Financial Clerks $41,520
Secretaries and Administrative Assistants $40,990
Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics

Frequently Asked Questions

What Are the Best Certifications To Have in Business?

Voluntary certifications — like PMP, certified supply chain professional, and chartered financial analyst credentials — help professionals demonstrate specialized skills on the job market. Which certification is the best depends on your field.

Are Business Certificates Worth It?

Business certificates offer a fast, less expensive route to specialized training in business. A certificate helps professionals transition into business careers or advance their careers.

What Jobs Can You Get With a Business Certificate?

After completing a business certificate, professionals can work as entrepreneurs and small business owners, financial clerks, and office managers. Current business professionals can also move into specialized roles using graduate certificates.


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