What Is a Business Degree?
A business degree is a type of academic degree awarded to students who have completed a college, university, or business school program with a focus on business, business administration, or business management.
Types of Business Degrees
There are five basic types of business degrees that can be earned from an academic program. They include:
Not everyone who works in the business field earns a business degree. However, it is easier to enter the field and climb the career ladder if you have earned college credits or taken business classes. In some cases, a degree may be required. For example, if you would like to become a Certified Public Accountant (CPA), you will need at least a bachelor's degree in most states. Some jobs, particularly leadership positions, require an MBA or another type of graduate business degree. If, on the other hand, you would like to work as an administrative assistant, bank teller, or bookkeeper, an associate's degree may be all you need to secure an entry-level position.
Choosing a Business Degree Program
Choosing a business degree program can be tricky--there are tons of different business programs to choose from. Business is one of the most popular college majors. There are also a number of schools devoted entirely to business. You can earn your business degree online or from a campus-based program. Some schools offer either option--in most cases, the only difference is the learning format--courses and the resulting degree are the same.
When choosing a business degree program, it is important to consider accreditation. An accredited program has been reviewed and deemed "quality education." Accreditation is also extremely important if you hope to transfer credits, earn an advanced degree, or increase your chances of employment after graduation.
Some of the other things you may want to think about include the location of the program, class sizes, professor qualifications, internship opportunities, career placement statistics, program reputation, program ranking, and networking opportunities. Finally, don't forget to ponder tuition costs. Some business degree programs are very expensive. Although financial aid is often available, it takes time to find and could even be sparse for graduate level study. You may have to borrow money to finance your business education--and pay it back after you graduate. If your student loan payments are overwhelming, it can create financial difficulties in the future.
Other Business Education Options
A formal business degree program is not the only option for aspiring business students. There are a number of seminars and other training programs that can be taken. Some are available through colleges, universities, and business schools; others are offered by various business organizations and associations. You may also be able to receive business training on the job or through an internship or vocational program. Other education options include diploma and certificate programs, which are available through many different technical and vocational schools.
After earning a business degree, completing business training, or working in the business field, you can seek a business certifications. There are many different types of business certifications available. Most of them are professional certifications that relate to a specific position or area of business. For example, an experienced project manager could earn the Project Management Professional certification from the Project Management Institute; a business manager could earn the Certified Manager designation from the Institute of Certified Management Professionals; and a small business owner can get a Small Business Certification for their business from the SBA. Some business certifications are voluntary, others are considered mandatory under federal or state law.
What Can I Do with a Business Degree?
People who earn a marketing degree tend to work in marketing, while people who earn a human resources degree often seek work as a human resources specialist. But with a general business degree, you are not limited to one particular area of expertise. Business majors can hold many different positions in many different industries. A business degree could lead to a career in finance, marketing, public relations, management, sales, production--the list is almost endless. Your employment opportunities are limited only by your knowledge and experience. A few of the most common career paths for business degree holders include:
- Advertising Executive
- Business Manager
- Corporate Communications Manager
- Corporate Recruiter
- Finance Officer or Financial Manager
- Financial Analyst
- Hotel or Motel Manager
- Human Resources Director or Manager
- Management Analyst
- Management Consultant
- Marketing Director or Manager
- Marketing Research Analyst
- PR Specialist
- Product Manager