20 Best Online Business Intelligence Degree Programs [2020 Guide]

If you’re good with both numbers and computers, you should consider getting an online business intelligence degree. It’s a fast-growing field with a lot of job opportunities, and when you do your learning online, you can become fully qualified from the comfort of your own home.

 

What Is a Business Intelligence Degree?

Business intelligence (BI) turns raw data into actionable data. Whether it’s facts, figures, incomes, statistics, demographics or sales percentages, business intelligence is about analyzing the information and converting it into useful tools and technologies.

Many private companies employ BI professionals to help them improve their business’s bottom line. There are also firms and government agencies that hire BI professionals to work with data for the public good.

As a subject, business intelligence has similarities to things like business analytics and data analytics. Some people even use the terms interchangeably. However, most experts agree that they’re separate disciplines with separate functions:

  • Business intelligence is about analyzing information. It looks backwards into a company’s history to interpret the data that came from various decisions and operational strategies.
  • Data analytics looks at data as well, but it doesn’t stop there. It can also be used for things like predictive analytics which makes models and forecasts for the future.
  • Business analytics combines both business intelligence and data analytics, and it’s sometimes used as an overarching term for everything related to a business and its data.

As you can see, all of these subjects are closely related, and there can be an overlap in everything from their coursework to their employment prospects. Don’t be surprised if you see the terms criss-crossing each other in degree programs, job descriptions and academic journals.

Courses for an Online Business Intelligence Degree

A business intelligence degree can teach you everything from basic business principles to advanced skills for developing software and troubleshooting computer networks. A lot of your coursework will depend on whether you’re obtaining a “general” BI degree or if you’re specializing in something specific like cybersecurity, digital marketing, information systems or project management.

Standard degree requirements usually look a bit like this:

Data Mining

Data mining is an essential skill for business intelligence professionals, and you’ll probably take multiple classes in it before you’re finished with your degree. It will teach you how to identify causes, effects, trends and statistical patterns in large chunks of data. This is how you’ll “mine” systems and networks to extract useful information for your employers.

Mathematics

You’ll need to be good with numbers to excel as a business intelligence expert. Algebra is a must; calculus may or may not be. Statistics is usually required. Geometry is encouraged. In addition to outright math courses, you could also benefit from taking classes in math-adjacent subjects like logic, probability and number theory.

Information Systems

Information systems is a broad topic that can cover everything from databases to computer networks. You’ll learn about both software and hardware, and if you choose to specialize in something, you can become an expert in a particular aspect of information systems. For example, if you’re skilled at troubleshooting, you could become an IT technician for information systems.

Programming

Programming is another broad and wide-ranging topic that can take you in many different directions depending on your interests. For example, you can learn programming languages like JavaScript, or you can learn how to build information systems from the very first line of code. Programming courses aren’t a requirement for every business intelligence degree program, but they’re usually expected in specializations relating to software and web development.

Strategic Decision Making

This is a class for future business leaders. If you’re eyeballing careers that have “manager” in the title, you’ll need to know how to take the data that you interpret and transform it into actionable plans and strategies for your company. Classes in strategic decision making can enable you to take charge of a situation and give yourself the best probabilities for success.

What Does a Business Intelligence Analyst Do?

According to Payscale, the average salary for business intelligence professionals is $87,000 per year. It’s a lucrative industry, but what jobs does it actually offer?

Many people become business intelligence analysts. These professionals look at data from reports, networks and software systems to identify problem areas or figure out trends in sales and markets. Depending on their exact job duties, they might compile the data to hand off to others, or they might take the data and form actionable business plans themselves.

Another common job for BI majors is business intelligence developer. These professionals work primarily with software, and they spend their time coding, programming and debugging the various networks and systems that businesses run on.

You can also find work outside of the “business intelligence” label. Every industry needs data specialists, so you can become an analyst for companies focused on finance, retail, marketing, accounting, healthcare, technology and more.

You can work within a company or act as a consultant. You can stay local or go international. You can join just about any field that you desire. Whether you’re considering a certification or online business analytics degree, you’ll definitely have options when you go into business intelligence.

Business Intelligence Degree Salary

A career in business intelligence can really pay off. Here are a few common jobs and their salaries from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics:

  • Computer and Information Research Scientist ($118,370)
  • Business Intelligence Manager ($102,310)
  • Financial Analyst ($85,660)
  • Management Analyst ($83,610)
  • Operations Research Analyst ($83,390)
  • Information Technology Project Manager ($83,362)
  • Business Intelligence Developer ($80,294)
  • Business Consultant ($73,630)
  • Business Intelligence Analyst ($69,696)
  • Market Research Analyst ($63,120)

An important thing to note is that these salaries are just averages. Your actual pay will depend on things like location, educational level, years of experience, industry demand and more.

For example, an entry-level business intelligence developer makes just $59,797 per year. With five years of experience, the average jumps to $88,957 per year. A senior developer with 20 years of experience can take home as much as $102,448 per year.

Average salaries are meant to balance out these figures. Rather than saying that a business intelligence developer can make between $57,000 – $102,000 per year, which is such a broad range that it’s almost useless, we say that a business intelligence developer makes around $80,294 per year.

Professional Organizations for Those with a Business Intelligence Degree

Professional organizations can offer a lot of resources to both students and post-grad employees. If you think that you could benefit from a community dedicated to business intelligence, here are just a few names to consider.

  • Business Information Industry Association: Connecting more than 4,000 professionals all around the world, the BIIA offers one of the largest networks for business intelligence. It has many resources for members, including newsletters, conferences and a volunteer support network that’s available for advice and guidance.
  • International Institute of Business Analysis: In addition to its academic resources, the IIBA offers several certification exams if you want to become something like a Certified Business Analysis Professional (CBAP). You’ll need to meet several prerequisites, but if you’re still working on them, you can utilize the educational materials of IIBA.
  • Strategic and Competitive Intelligence Professionals: While not exclusively devoted to business intelligence, SCIP has thousands of articles and videos in its digital library that can help you with your studies. They also host an annual conference where you can meet like-minded professionals.

These are just a few of the biggest names in business intelligence. You can find plenty of other organizations dedicated to analytics, data management, business development and information technology, so don’t be afraid to do a little research of your own.

What Is the Best Business Intelligence Certification?

A bachelor’s degree is usually enough to qualify you for a job in business intelligence. However, some employers might ask for a master’s degree or professional certification. There are a few different titles that you can pursue.

TDWI Certified Business Intelligence Professional

The Certified Business Intelligence Professional (CBIP) is offered by Transforming Data with Intelligence. It’s meant for senior-level business personnel with at least two years of experience and a four-year degree. You won’t be eligible as a student, but you can obtain your certification after you graduate.

DAMA Certified Data Management Professional

The Certified Data Management Professional (CDMP) is administered by the Data Management Association. It could be valuable if you’re interested in analytics, databases, administration or other jobs related to information systems.

NASBITE Certified Global Business Professional

Offered by the National Association of Small Business International Trade Educators, the Certified Global Business Professional (CGBP) will prove your knowledge and experience in international trade. It’s suitable for a wide variety of professionals who work in global business relations.

PMI Certified Associate in Project Management

You might be interested in becoming a Certified Associate in Project Management (CAPM) if you’re still a student. Offered by the Project Management Institute, it’s open to any high school graduate who has taken a certain number of hours in project management education. It’s an entry-level certification.

IIBA Business Analysis Certification

The International Institute of Business Analysis offers many different options for business intelligence certification, including the Entry Certificate in Business Analysis (ECBA) and the Certified Business Analysis Professional (CBAP). You’ll have to decide for yourself which title best suits your career goals.

Accreditation for Online Business Intelligence Degrees

Accreditation is a process that colleges go through to prove their educational standards. It’s voluntary, so some schools choose not to pursue accreditation, but it’s expected by most employers and is a critical part of qualifying for financial aid. You’ll want to choose an accredited school for your business intelligence degree.

The Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA) is a good resource to look up colleges and their accreditation. Regionally, there are six accrediting boards in the United States:

  • Western Association of Schools and Colleges
  • North Central Association of Colleges and Schools
  • Northwest Association of Schools and Colleges
  • Southern Association of Colleges and Schools
  • New England Association of Schools and Colleges
  • Middle States Association of Colleges and Schools

However, there are other accrediting boards out there, and you can research them through CHEA. Some boards are more reputable than others, so it’s worth doing your homework about this.

Financial Aid for a Business Intelligence Degree Online

If you can’t afford college on your own, financial aid can help.

The first step is filling out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). It doesn’t cost anything, and depending on your income level, you could qualify for several types of aid:

  • Grants don’t have to be paid back, so they’re essentially free tuition money. The most common grant is the Pell Grant. It can be applied to almost any undergraduate degree program from an accredited school.
  • Student loans have to be repaid, but if you qualify for a subsidized loan, the government will pay the interest while you’re in school. You can also apply for unsubsidized loans. They have higher interest rates, but their eligibility requirements are less strict.
  • Work-study programs will connect you with part-jobs as a student. They’re usually campus jobs, however, so you might need to be physically close to your school even if you’re enrolled as an online student.

You can also look into scholarships for a little relief from college costs. You don’t have to be an all-star student to apply; there are scholarships for age, race, gender, major and degree type. There are even scholarships devoted solely to data science. As a business intelligence major, you’ll usually qualify for these.

Another option is getting financial aid through your employer. They might offer tuition reimbursement, or they might partner with a local college to give students discounts on job-related training or certification programs.

Is an Online Degree in Business Intelligence Worth It?

A business intelligence degree is a wise investment for the future. The industry is booming, and the salaries for qualified professionals can climb quite high. If you’re interested in data, computers, numbers or analytics, this might be a nice career path for you.

List of 25 Best Online Business Intelligence Bachelor’s Degree Program

#1  American Military University

American Military University campus

  • BS in Business Analytics

American Military University is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.

#2  American Public University

American Public University campus

  • BS in Business Analytics

APUS is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.

#3  Arizona State University

Arizona State University campus

  • BS in Business Data Analytics

Arizona State University is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools.

#4  Bay Path University

Bay Path University campus

  • BS in Business – Business Analytics

Bay Path University is accredited by the New England Commission of Higher Education.

#5  Bellevue University

Bellevue University campus

  • BS in Business Analytics

Bellevue University is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.

#6  Capella University

Capella University campus

  • BS in Business – Business Intelligence

Capella University is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.

#7  Colorado State University

Colorado State University campus

  • BS in Management Information Systems and Business Analytics

Colorado State is accredited by The Higher Learning Commission.

#8  DeVry University

Devry University campus

  • Bachelor’s in Business Intelligence and Analytics Management

DeVry University is accredited by The Higher Learning Commission.

#9  Drexel University

Drexel University campus

  • BSBA in Business Analytics

Drexel University is regionally accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education.

#10  Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University

Embry Riddle Aeronautical University campus

  • BS in Business Analytics

Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.

#11  Florida International University

Florida International University campus

  • BBA in Business Analytics

Florida International University is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.

#12  Golden Gate University

Golden Gate University campus

  • BS in Business – Data Analytics

Golden Gate University is accredited by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges.

#13  Grand Canyon University

Grand Canyon University campus

  • BS in Business Analytics

Grand Canyon University is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.

#14  Liberty University

Liberty University campus

  • BBA in Data Analytics

Liberty University is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.

#15  Oregon State University

Oregon State University campus

  • BS in Business Analytics

Oregon State University is regionally accredited by the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities.

#16  Purdue University

Purdue University campus

  • BS in Analytics

Purdue University is accredited by The Higher Learning Commission.

#17  Regent University

Regent University campus

  • BS in Business Analytics

Regent University is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.

#18  Saint Mary’s University of Minnesota

Saint Mary's University of Minnesota campus

  • BS in Business Intelligence and Data Analytics

Saint Mary’s University of Minnesota is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.

#19  Southern New Hampshire University

Southern New Hampshire University campus

  • BS in Data Analytics

Southern New Hampshire University is accredited by the New England Commission of Higher Education.

#20  Thomas Edison State University

Thomas Edison State University campus

  • BS in Data Science and Analytics

Thomas Edison State University is accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education.

#21  Villanova University

Villanova University campus

  • Bachelor’s in Business Analytics

Villanova University is accredited by the Middle States Association Commission on Higher Education.

#22  Washington State University

Washington State University campus

  • BS in Data Analytics

Washington State University is accredited by the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities.

#23  Webster University

Webster University campus

  • BS in Data Analytics

Webster University is accredited by The Higher Learning Commission.

#24  Western Governors University

Western Governors University campus

  • BS in Data Management/Data Analytics

Western Governors University is accredited by the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities.

#25  Wilmington University

Wilmington University campus

  • BS in Business Analytics

Wilmington University is accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education.

 

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