Choosing the right degree is vital for pursuing a successful career with plenty of growth opportunities. This is true for management careers, which represent the highest wage of all major occupational groups, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). Management occupations earn a median annual wage of $100,790 and are projected to grow 9 percent by 2026.
The following sections outline different types of business degrees along with example career outcomes. All employment figures are from the BLS.
Types of Business Degrees
AS in Business
An Associate of Science in Business is a two-year degree that includes general education requirements, such as math, social sciences, English and history, along with business courses. Graduates are prepared for a number of entry-level roles in business. Many will use this degree to transfer into a bachelor’s program and expand on what they’ve learned.
Bachelor’s Degrees in Business
There are several types of bachelor’s degrees in business that provide students with a strong foundation. A common degree type is the Bachelor of Arts or Science in Business Administration (BABA/BSBA). The former may have more liberal arts courses than the latter, which may be more math-oriented and analytical. However, the distinction between the BA and BS can differ by school.
Another similar degree type is the Bachelor of Business Administration (BBA). Generally, this can signify more courses in business than in the general education requirements of a BA or BS degree. Once again, however, this can vary by school.
There are other less common bachelor’s degrees in business. Degree types include “applied” and “technical” programs, which can signify a more focused program on a certain field in business.
A bachelor’s degree in business is a common requirement for management positions. It is also necessary for many advancement opportunities within specific business fields like marketing, sales and more. For instance, market research analysts require at least a bachelor’s degree. They earn a median annual wage of $62,560 and employment is projected to grow 23 percent by 2026.
A Master of Business Administration degree is often seen as the gold standard in business for employees who want to expand their careers. As Fortune reported, more employers are hiring MBA graduates and the median salary has entered the $100,000 mark.
An MBA expands on students’ knowledge and experience to provide them with advanced theory and application in business. An ideal step for many career tracks, MBA programs often offer concentrations in general business as well as specific fields. MBA graduates can pursue career growth in management as well as in specialty positions.
For instance, the BLS notes how an MBA is common among top executives of large corporations; top executives earn a median annual wage of $103,950 and have a projected employment growth of 8 percent. A master’s degree is listed as a way to improve a financial analyst’s ability to advance to a fund manager who oversees large investment portfolios for individual investors. Financial analysts earn a median annual wage of $81,760, with the highest 10 percent earning more than $165,100. Employment is projected to grow 11 percent by 2026.
Here are some common concentrations offered in business programs, especially in MBA programs. Sample careers will help illustrate salary and growth potential.
- Accounting: Curriculum often focuses on accounting principles, tax law, how to prepare financial documents, assessing financial operations and more. A graduate program can help with becoming a Certified Public Accountant (CPA), which boosts salary and employment options. Accountants and auditors earn a median annual wage of $68,150, with the highest 10 percent earning more than $120,910. Employment is projected to grow 10 percent by 2026.
- Advertising: Curriculum helps students understand how to appeal to potential customers and the relationship between brands and customers. Advertising, promotions and marketing managers earn a median annual wage of $127,560, with the highest 10 percent earning more than $208,000. Employment is projected to grow 9 percent by 2026.
- Economics: Curriculum includes consumer behavior, global and local markets, and pricing and purchasing. Sample careers include financial analysts and, as the BLS notes with an MBA, leadership positions or those who perform more technical research in market research analysis. The highest 10 percent of market research analysts earn a median annual salary of more than $121,720.
- Entrepreneurship and Innovation: Curriculum helps students understand how to grow new and established businesses. Career options include management or entrepreneurial opportunities.
- Finance: Curriculum includes financial and portfolio analysis, statistics, economics and managerial finance. Financial managers earn a median annual wage of $121,750, with the highest 10 percent earning more than $208,000. Employment is projected to grow 19 percent by 2026.
- Healthcare Management: Curriculum focuses on unique challenges that healthcare facilities face. Medical and health services managers earn a median annual wage of $96,540, with the highest 10 percent earning more than $172,240. Employment is projected to grow 20 percent by 2026.
- Hospitality Management: Curriculum focuses on unique challenges that hotels, event venues and other establishments face. Lodging managers earn a median annual wage of $51,840, with the highest 10 percent earning more than $96,570. Employment is projected to grow 6 percent by 2026.
- Human Resources: Curriculum includes business and labor practices, legal topics and more needed to recruit and help secure talent needed for business growth. Human resources managers earn a median annual wage of $106,910, with the highest 10 percent earning more than $193,550. Employment is projected to grow 9 percent by 2026.
- Information Systems: Curriculum focuses on how managers can become more effective and efficient when assisted by computer-based information systems. Computer and information systems managers earn a median annual wage of $135,800, with the highest 10 percent earning more than $208,000. Employment is projected to grow 12 percent by 2026.
- International Business: Curriculum focuses on how businesses can produce, market or perform other business practices in countries outside the United States. Career options include several management and specialty roles.
- Management: Curriculum stresses what’s needed to help meet business goals and work with direct reports successfully. Career options include several management roles.
- Marketing: Curriculum focuses on the theory and practice involved in various marketing practices. Career options include market research analysts and advertising, promotions and marketing managers.
- Sport Management: Curriculum focuses on unique challenges that professional sports, collegiate and preparatory athletics, and health-related fitness organizations face. Career options include management opportunities within these fields.
Pursuing a Career in Business
Start or advance your career with an online business degree from the University of West Alabama. Develop the skills and knowledge needed for management and specialty roles in business, in a convenient online format from one of Alabama’s oldest and most prestigious universities.