25 Best Business Degrees for Career Advancement [2020 Guide]

Choosing between the best business degrees may not be an easy choice, especially if you’re interested in more than one area of business.

best-business-degrees

We’ll help you choose what to specialize in and give you a list of possible schools to attend, but no matter what you choose, you can be confident in your decision, knowing that business majors make about twice (on average) when compared to other occupations.

25 Best Business Degrees

Click on the subject area you’re interested in to jump to that section.

  1. Accounting
  2. Business Administration
  3. Business Intelligence
  4. Construction Management
  5. Data Analytics
  6. Digital Marketing
  7. E-Commerce
  8. Entrepreneurship
  9. Finance
  10. Hospitality Management
  11. Human Resources
  12. International Business
  13. Logistics
  14. Management
  15. Management Information Systems
  16. Marketing
  17. Nonprofit Management
  18. Operations Management
  19. Organizational Leadership
  20. Procurement
  21. Project Management
  22. Real Estate
  23. Retail & Sales Management
  24. Sports Management
  25. Supply Chain Management

Whichever area of business you choose to specialize in, you’ll be well-prepared to enter the growing job market.

Accounting

accountants having a meeting

Businesses and individuals rely on accountants to keep track of their financial matters. Accountants work in public, private, and government settings.

As an accountant, you might keep financial records, submit tax forms, and analyze financial data. Your area of professional focus could be cost accounting, management accounting, or taxation.

To prepare you for a career, your bachelor’s in accounting or accountancy program may include classes like Non-Profit Accounting, Auditing, Business Law, and Statement Analysis.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average salary for accountants is about $60,000.

Business Administration

professionals having a meeting in an office

For an overview of the business world, consider a degree in business administration. The topics your program covers may include taxation, finance, ethics, human resources, marketing, business law, leadership, and accounting.

Your program may also equip you with skills to evaluate business data so that you can make reasonable projections and reliable decisions. After completing your program, you could enter the business world with a job in management, sales, operations, or consulting.

Business administrations majors typically earn a yearly salary of $65,000 on average. The projected growth in business administration jobs for 2028 is 7%, which is faster than the average for all other occupations.

Business Intelligence

professionals having a meeting

Data can drive decisions. That’s the idea behind business intelligence programs. With a bachelor’s degree in this field, you’ll be prepared to perform data analysis and turn your findings into forecasts and models.

Business intelligence degrees may include classes like Applied Analytics, Operations Management, and Predictive Analytics. This program can prepare you to perform marketing analysis, provide consulting services, take responsibility for project management, or steer the operations of a company.

Business intelligence careers have an average salary of $87,000 per year.

Construction Management

construction supervisor talking to colleague

When you study construction management, you’ll learn principles from both construction and business.

On the building side of things, you may take classes like Construction Techniques and Safety Standards. Your business classes may cover topics like finance, economics, and management.

You’ll bring these two disciplines together in classes like Construction Law and Construction Business Operations. Construction management degrees can prepare you to become a property manager, a safety manager, or a construction supervisor.

The average salary for a construction management job is roughly $73,000.

Data Analytics

female data analyst working on her computer

Technology has made it easier than ever for businesses to collect large amounts of data.

A data analytics degree will teach you about the information technology systems that are used for data accumulation and organization. It will also equip you with the knowledge of how to put that data to good use.

The curriculum will cover spreadsheets, programming languages, statistics, big data, and visualization. Graduates often become researchers or analysts.

On average, the salary for a data analytics job is $60,000.

Digital Marketing

social media manager working on her iPad

Internet marketers use digital channels to promote brand recognition and drive business growth. For success in this area, you’ll need to understand social media, graphic design, and consumer behavior.

Digital marketing degrees may contain courses that cover topics like web design, data analytics, behavioral psychology, business law, and global marketing.

After graduation, you might become a social media manager, a copywriter, a brand manager, or a marketing strategist.

Digital marketing degrees can earn an average salary of $69,000, per year.

E-Commerce

female entrepreneur working on her phone

Online sales and business transactions have become standard practice. As a specialist in e-commerce, you’ll know how to make the most of digital technology for business growth.

An e-commerce degree can be useful if you want to operate your own store or manage sales for a larger company. Classes on information systems and digital marketing will equip you with practical skills that you can use when conducting online sales to consumers or businesses.

Business majors with a degree in e-commerce usually generate an average annual salary of $71,000.

Entrepreneurship

young entrepreneur talking to customer on the phone

A bachelor’s program in entrepreneurship can help you develop valuable skills for starting and growing businesses.

The courses may include Small Business Strategies, Product Innovation, and Building Customer Relationships. You’ll also study general business topics like marketing, accounting, economics, human resources, and data analysis.

You could use your entrepreneur skills to start your own businesses or to help other companies develop new and effective strategies for growth.

Jobs related to entrepreneurship saw an average salary of $58,000 in 2019. However, entrepreneurship careers are expected to see a job growth of up to 8% by 2026.

Finance

female accountant working in the office

Do you want to be a financial analyst, a stockbroker, a banker, or a financial advisor? If so, you might consider earning your bachelor’s degree in finance.

The coursework for finance degrees may include Introduction to Investments, Global Finance, Financial Law, and Portfolio Management. Other topics may be taxation, real estate, social responsibility, and non-profit finance.

After graduation, you might find a job in the financial sector or work in the finance department of hospitals, schools, businesses, or non-profit organizations.

With a job in the finance sector, you may earn an average yearly income of $68,000. As you grow throughout your career, you may seek a financial manager job which makes a median annual salary of $125,000, and is expected to increase by 19% in job growth.

Hospitality Management

front service personnel giving key card to guest

If you’re drawn to the hotel and tourism industry, think about making a career of this interest by majoring in hospitality management.

Professionals in this field run hotels, resorts, convention centers, and other facilities that welcome guests. You’ll learn to abide by lodging laws and oversee housekeeping, front desk, culinary, and maintenance staff.

Your courses will also develop your skills for planning events, increasing sales, and delivering high-quality customer service.

The average salary for hospitality management careers is $54,000.

Human Resources

people shaking hand during interview

Strong HR professionals are critical for an organization’s success; with good leadership in this department, employees may be more satisfied and productive.

You can prepare for this role with a bachelor’s degree in human resources. The university may offer classes like Workforce Recruitment, Benefits Packages, Training Programs, and Employment Law.

In addition, you’re likely to take core business classes in accounting, management, marketing, and communications. After graduation, these degrees could allow you to work as an HR professional in nearly any industry.

Entry-level human resources jobs usually earn an average total compensation of $50,000. In the later parts of their career, employees may see an average salary of $75,000.

International Business

diverse people in a meeting

With a major in international business, you can learn to conduct transactions with people around the world. You’ll learn about business topics like statistics, accounting, and marketing.

To get you ready for global interactions, you’ll also study political science, cultural practices, overseas trade, and supply chain logistics.

Graduates of international business programs may work for large corporations with global offices or conduct multicultural interactions in their jobs as sales, operations, or supply chain managers.

The average graduate with a business degree in international business earns usually $67,000 per year.

Logistics

manager checking company's inventory

People who work in logistics are in charge of coordinating the transportation and delivery of goods. They make sure that things get where they need to go in the safest, most economical, and most efficient ways possible. Logistics pros may also take care of warehousing and packaging.

In this degree program, you’ll study contracts, inventory management, transportation, purchasing, supply chain management, and international business.

After graduation, people with logistics degrees often find themselves working in retail, manufacturing, or transportation industries.

An average salary of $56,000 can be expected with entry-level jobs related to logistics. The outlook for job growth is changing and continues to look positive as the Bureau of Labor Statistics projected this career to grow by 5% by 2028.

Management

team of professionals in a meeting

Students in management programs learn skills that they can apply in business leadership positions.

When studying management, you may take classes on human resources, technical writing, finance, business law, and organizational dynamics.

With this degree, you may be able to skip entry-level employee positions and instead go straight into a management role. Then, as you gain experience, you may advance further up in your company’s hierarchy.

Management occupations are projected to grow by 7% by 2028, which is faster than the average job growth for all careers. A job in this business sector can earn an average annual salary of $67,000.

Management Information Systems

team of developers working in the office

Thriving businesses need technology that works for their needs. As a specialist in management information systems, you’ll learn to assess an organization’s unique needs and build or maintain systems to address them.

Your classes may include Programming Fundamentals, Data Management, and Cyber Security. You’ll learn about fostering strong client relationships, managing projects, and matching needs to solutions.

People with this degree often become system analysts, software developers, or IT project managers.

Graduates with management information systems degrees can earn an average of $79,000, per year.

Marketing

marketing team meeting in a cafe

When you study marketing, you’ll be ready to help companies with their advertising, branding campaigns, sales, and market research.

Typically, the college coursework for marketing degrees will cover sales relationships, analytics, pricing, and consumer behavior. The classes may include Visual Marketing, Maintaining Customer Relationships, and Marketing Through Social Media.

With this degree, you could become a sales manager, a digital media specialist, a market researcher, or a public relations coordinator.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the overall field of marketing is expected to increase by 10% by 2026 in job growth. In addition, marketing jobs can generate an average annual salary of $62,000.

Non-Profit Management

team of volunteers cleaning

For a fulfilling career, you may want to pursue a degree in non-profit management. Like many business students, you’ll study finance, organizational leadership, marketing, and business law.

Leadership in the non-profit sector often requires a unique set of skills, and your studies can help you develop the strengths you’ll need.

Classes like Grant Writing, Working with Volunteers, and Resource Development will prepare you for working in public and private non-profit organizations.

The average salary is $64,000 for a job in non-profit management.

Operations Management

manufacturing supervisor talking to his team

A bachelor’s degree in operations management will teach you how to oversee the activities and processes that go on in a business. The skillset that you develop will help you manage the work that takes place and the people who are involved.

You’ll learn to evaluate efficiency, make operational decisions, and manage the supply chain. As a manufacturing supervisor, a purchasing manager, or a transportation dispatcher, it will be your job to maintain or improve operations.

Typically, the average annual income for an operations management career is $68,000.

Organizational Leadership

professionals having a meeting

Studying organizational leadership will prepare you to head up teams, businesses, or other groups. In classes like Principles of Organizational Change, Team Dynamics and Industrial Psychology, you’ll learn how to head up groups of people.

You’ll develop skills for communication, motivation, and conflict resolution. In addition, you’ll practice critical thinking, vision casting, and decision making.

This degree is helpful for business leaders in many departments, including human resources, sales, and administration.

Graduates with this business degree can earn an average salary of $65,000, per year.

Procurement

male procurement specialist talking to customer on the phone

The more complicated a company’s supply chain is, the more vendor relationships it must maintain. A procurement specialist is responsible for keeping in contact with vendors and placing or adjusting orders.

To earn a procurement degree, you’ll study warehousing, negotiations, accounting, communications, and management information systems. Procurement degrees may also focus on the closely related areas of logistics and supply chain management.

Procurement jobs generate an average annual salary of $66,000.

Project Management

team of professionals in a meeting

As a project manager, you may be responsible for overseeing business initiatives from beginning to end. You may have to coordinate people, procure supplies, manage the schedule, stick to a budget, and communicate with interested parties.

The college coursework for a project management degree may include Risk Management, Project Scheduling, and Supply Chain Fundamentals.

Project management degrees create opportunities to find work with manufacturers, government agencies, corporations, non-profits, schools, hospital systems, and other organizations.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports an average salary of $75,000 for project managers. In addition, they projected a growth rate in project management jobs of 6% by 2024.

Real Estate

real estate agent talking to a couple

Whether you’d rather work with commercial or residential properties, a bachelor’s program in real estate will teach you how to get started with buying and selling.

The coursework may cover finance, economics, assets, property rights, and appraisals. You may also learn about property development, community planning, architecture, and construction.

With this degree, in addition to brokering property sales and purchases, you could be a property manager, an appraiser, or a mortgage specialist.

A job in real estate can earn an average annual salary of $63,000.

Retail & Sales Management

retail manager talking to a customer

With a degree in retail and sales management, you’ll be ready to conduct transactions with customers, clients, and businesses.

Through classes like Consumer Behavior and Sustainable Pricing, this degree program can equip you to connect buyers with products and services. Additional courses, such as Quality Management, will help you maintain long-term relationships with consumers.

After graduation, you may coordinate sales for retail stores, online shops, or service providers.

Business degrees in retail and sales management can earn a yearly average income of $56,000.

Sports Management

basketball coach talking to his team

People who study sports management have the skills to handle many of the behind-the-scenes operations that are involved with athletics. These may include team finances, facility upkeep, player development, and game schedules.

Sports managers can work with teams at all levels, including community recreation programs, collegiate athletics, and world-famous professional teams. In preparation, Sports Management degrees often offer classes like Sports Marketing, Fundamentals of Coaching, and Sports Psychology.

Jobs as sports managers make $50,000 per year as an average salary.

Supply Chain Management

logistics team checking supplies on tablet

When shopping, you don’t necessarily think about what raw materials went into a product, how they were brought together, and how the item ended up at the retail store.

A supply chain management professional, on the other hand, understands the many steps that go into this process.

To become an operations manager, a logistics supervisor, or a supply chain coordinator, consider studying supply chain management and taking classes like Transportation, Purchasing, and International Business.

Entry-level jobs in supply chain management earn an average annual salary of $68,000. Senior-level supply chain managers can make about $105,000 on average. The job growth for this career is on average with the growth rate for all occupations at 7%.

Curriculum for Business Majors

Curriculum for Business Majors

No matter which major you choose in college, there is some required curriculum that comes with it. In many cases, these include a mix of general classes and specific classes to prepare you for a career in your chosen field. When it comes to business degrees and their curriculum, there are certain classes you will need to take. Some of the general education courses you may be expected to take include the following:

  • History
  • English
  • Creative Arts
  • Life and Physical Sciences
  • Social and Behavioral Sciences

In addition to these general education courses, you will also be expected to take classes that are related to your major. These will start out general, but as you progress through the program, they will become more focused and specific. Some of the classes you can expect to take include:

  • Accounting
  • Macroeconomics
  • Microeconomics
  • Principles of Management
  • Principles of Marketing
  • Professional Writing
  • Public Speaking

As for the math requirement for your business curriculum, the required classes will depend on your major. You may be required to take business math, college algebra, or calculus.

Salary & Job Growth

Business Degrees Salary & Job Growth

Earning a degree in business can lead to a lucrative and rewarding career. In the next few years, you can expect a 7% growth rate in this sector. On average, the median wage for business degree holders is approximately $68,000. The average salary for most other occupations is around $38,000! That’s almost twice the salary.

Here is the latest breakdown of a few business occupations and associated salaries published by the U.S Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Occupation Median Wage
Personal Financial Advisors $88,000
Financial Analysts $85,000
Management Analysts $83,000
Financial Examiners $80,000
Budget Analysts $76,000
Logisticians $74,000
Accountants and Auditors $70,000
Human Resource Specialists $60,000
Fundraisers $56,000
Tax Examiners $54,000

All of these jobs allow for upward movement in their industries, especially for those who pursue a master’s degree at some point in their career.

Business Certifications and Licenses

professional receiving a certificate

Having a certificate or license will make you compliant with state and/or federal regulations or more appealing to employers.

Certified Financial Planner

In this position, you will be dealing with people’s money and their livelihood. To obtain this certification, you will have to pass an exam.

Certified Public Accountant

This is one of the most challenging certifications to obtain, but it is a gold standard in the industry. You’ll have to pass an exam and meet the state’s requirements for college credits.

Certified Trade Show Marketer

You don’t have to have a certification to represent your company or brand at a large event, but having one can help you stand out from the others who hold the same degree.

Chartered Financial Analyst

Being certified in this position requires you to complete a course at the CFA Institute as well as pass the accompanying test.

Project Management Professional

This is another profession where you don’t need a license or certificate to be hired, but having one can let employers know that you have the drive and ambition to see projects through to completion.

Accreditation

logos of Regional accreditation boards

When it comes to finding a school that offers the best business degrees, you want to make sure that you pick one that is accredited. This means that you will be going to a school that adheres to high-quality standards that focus on the latest research and professional practice.

You will also be able to get federal and state-funded financial aid.

There are organizations that monitor and grant accreditation on both the national and regional levels. Regional accreditation is the gold standard, so look for accreditation by one of these boards:

  • Higher Learning Commission (HLC)
  • Middle States Commission on Higher Education (MSCHE)
  • New England Commission of Higher Education (NECHE)
  • Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities (NWCCU)
  • Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC)
  • WASC Senior College and University Commission (WSCUC)

The school must adhere to specific criteria and continue to demonstrate those qualities over time to earn accreditation from the governing bodies.

Financial Aid

screenshot of FAFSA website

As you’re looking into specializations and schools to attend, you’ll also want to explore your funding options. You may be eligible for:

  • Grants
  • Scholarships
  • Work-Study
  • Payment Plans
  • Deferred Loans

Start by filling out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid. Then, add to this by applying for scholarships offered by private organizations and universities. Your employer may also offer tuition assistance in return for your continued service.

Can You Get a Business Degree Online?

Yes, you can get a business degree online. Many universities and colleges are aware of the changing needs of their students, so they will offer the opportunity to obtain business degrees either online or in the classroom. This can be a great way to get a degree from an accredited school without having to leave the comfort of your home or change your schedule.

Is Business Administration a Good Major for You?

It depends on your goals and interests. You may be able to get an entry-level job in the business industry having a high school diploma or an associate’s degree. You also have the option of getting higher degrees, such as an accelerated MBA or PhD in Business Administration, and finding a job that will pay more.

The route you take will depend on personal preference and the requirements of the job.

What Can I Do with a Bachelor’s in Business?

male businessman working in the office

This is one of the most flexible degrees that you can get. The courses you take will give you a broad range of business knowledge, and you can apply your skills to a variety of different companies and industries. You even have the opportunity for focusing on more specific topics, which will give you specialized skills to find a job.

The world is your oyster when you have a bachelor’s degree in business, and many different companies like to hire individuals who can do a little bit of everything to help make their company a success.

How Long Does It Take to Get a Bachelor’s in Business Administration?

In general, it will take you 4 years if you get your degree on campus. There are some accelerated online courses you can take which is the fastest way to get a degree. You may also be able to test out of classes or prove that your related work experience counts toward your degree requirements.

How Much Does a Bachelor’s in Business Cost?

The cost of business degrees depend on the college or university you want to attend and whether or not you will be paying in-state or out-of-state tuition.

The tuition cost is often published on the college’s website, along with information about room and board and any fees. There should also be a section on scholarships and financial aid. These will also have an impact on how much you will have to pay for your degree.

Should I Get a Bachelor’s Degree in Business?

male professional working in the office

Yes, in almost every case, it would be advantageous to get your bachelor’s degree in business. Many companies require that their employees have a minimum of a bachelor’s in business. So, your degree can be incredibly beneficial in helping you find a job.

If you are looking for ways to grow and move up in the industry, having any one of these degrees can help with that endeavor.

Start by choosing your concentration and narrowing down which universities offer that particular degree.

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