Business Degrees | Complete Guide to the Types of Business Degrees

Discover the diversity of specializations available in a business degree program. Explore career options in business, degree levels and requirements, and course topics to help you discern the right business degree for you.

What is a Business Degree?

A business degree opens the door to a wide variety of careers in a number of growing fields, including finance, human resources, marketing, and even in international business. There are many different types of business degrees available, from the associate level to the doctoral level.

While undertaking a business degree or certificate program, you can expect to engage in multidisciplinary coursework covering a wide variety of topics, including economics, organizational management, and entrepreneurship. Earning a business degree will give you the interpersonal, financial management, and leadership skills that will benefit you in your career.

When considering a business degree, you should look at several factors, including:

  • The amount of time you can commit to a program
  • The specific skills you are hoping to learn from a program
  • Your career goals and the degree which will best help you achieve the goals

What Can You Do with a Business Degree?

Business careers span many growing fields in nearly every industry. Depending on the business degree you pursue, you could engage in multidisciplinary coursework that might make you more marketable and qualify you for a diverse range of business career options. You can also gain practical and interpersonal business skills to increase your employability in any job market.

To help you get started, let’s look at the different careers in business:

  • Financial Advisor
  • Accountant
  • Project Manager
  • Marketing Manager
  • Actuary
  • Logistician
  • Bookkeeper
  • Business Development Manager
  • Human Resources Manager
  • Business Operations Manager

Is a Business Degree Worth it?

There are a few major factors to consider when deciding whether or not a business degree is right for you:

  • Career and salary potential
  • Cost of the degree
  • Degree program length

Business degree holders have several career options open to them. Some of these careers include very high salaries. In fact, the National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE) reported that in 2018 the average salary for business bachelor’s degree holders was $56,720.

Each business degree level varies in cost and program length. These are also important factors to consider when deciding whether a certain degree, such as an MBA, is right for you.

Degree Average Cost Per Year* Typical Program Length
Associate’s $3,570 2 years
Bachelor’s $9,970 4 years
MBA $8,670 (master’s programs) 1-3 years
Doctorate $10,830 At least 4 years

* College board 2017-2018 tuition

Business Degree Requirements

To earn your business degree, you must fully complete a degree program. Requirements for each program vary in terms of professional experience, final projects, and internships, but at the most basic level you’ll need to earn enough credits to graduate from the program.

Degree Credit Requirements*
Associate’s 60-70 credits
Bachelor’s 120 credits
MBA 50-70 credits
Doctorate Program required coursework including a thesis or dissertation

* Credit requirements depend on program

How to Get a Business Degree

The steps to achieve a business degree will vary depending on your personal career goals. However, no matter your goal, there are a few necessary steps to take.

To earn an associate’s or bachelor’s degree:

  1. Step Earn a high school diploma or GED
  2. Step Enroll in an associate’s or bachelor’s degree program
  3. Step Complete your degree program

If your career goals require an MBA, you’d need to continue in your degree path to earn that degree. These steps include:

  1. Step Earn a bachelor’s degree
  2. Step Take the GRE or GMAT exams
  3. Step Apply and enroll in an MBA program
  4. Step Complete your degree program

Types of Business Degrees

Business degree programs at accredited colleges, universities, and vocational schools are available at every degree level, including associate, bachelor’s, master’s, and doctorate levels. There are multiple types of degrees within each degree level, and you may opt to obtain unique degree specializations (such as in finance, business policy, economics, or insurance) in order to achieve your career goals within the field of business.

Is a Business Degree a B.A. or B.S.?

A business degree can either be a B.A. or B.S. degree. The main difference between the two degrees is the coursework focus. Bachelor of Arts programs will typically require more humanities courses to emphasize building student’s ‘soft skills’, whereas a Bachelor of Science degree program is more focused on technical skills with coursework heavier in math and science.

Both B.A. and B.S degrees are considered equally valuable and will prepare you for an MBA program. Deciding between the two just comes down to what strengths you have and which you want to build upon. Those who want improve their writing and communication skills may find a B.A. degree program to be a better fit while those who hope to better their analytical skills may find a B.S. program to be better.

Online Business Degrees

If you are looking to obtain a business degree online, you can do so at the associate, bachelor’s, and master’s levels. Associate degrees and MBA programs, in particular, are often designed to be taken partially or primarily online.

When looking for an online degree program, you should begin your search by identifying schools accredited by reputable accrediting bodies. Accreditation ensures that the school and program adhere to high educational standards. Additionally, if you’re planning on transferring credits, pursuing an advanced degree, or leveraging your completed coursework when you enter the workforce, you can feel confident that the credits and degrees you obtained from an accredited institution will be recognized.

Business Degree Specializations

Within the field of business, there are many different degree specializations. Choosing to undertake a specialized degree will prepare you for more niche positions within the business industry that set you apart from general business majors. Check out some popular business degree specializations below.

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