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Education and Career Overview for Business

Are you interested in pursuing a career in business? The business field may be ideal for individuals who enjoy critical thinking and problem solving, as well as data analysis and communication. Depending on the specific occupation, research may also integral.Those who seek a career in business will have many opportunities open to them, including:

  • Business Analyst
  • Financial Analyst
  • Office Manager
  • Marketing Manager
  • Sales Manager
  • Financial Services Sales Agent
  • Hospital and Health Services Administrator

Degree Options

A business degree offers almost limitless possibilities because it will prepare you for success in a variety of business, government, and nonprofit organization settings. As one of the most popular college majors, there are many programs levels to choose from, including associate degrees, undergraduate degrees, certificates, graduate degrees, and doctoral degrees.

Associate Degree

While most people who intent to pursue a career in business apply for an undergraduate degree, associate degrees are available. These programs are ideal for those interested in some entry-level positions or who want to prepare for future coursework.Typically, associate degrees are comprised of 60 credit hours of coursework that full-time students complete over a two year period.

Undergraduate Degree

Associate degrees may provide a good foundation, but most business employers expect candidates to have an undergraduate degree. Most people who plan to pursue an extended career in business start with a bachelor’s degree in business or business administration. This degree provides a better understanding of basic marketing, organizational, finance, and negotiation concepts. An undergraduate degree in business generally consists of 120 credit hours of coursework and can be completed within four years.


Because techniques important in the business world are easily transferred to other professions, many colleges and universities offer non-business undergraduate students an opportunity to earn certificates in the field. Course content is generally basic and meant to complement other degree programs.Certificate programs vary in length depending on the specialization sought.

Graduate Degree

A graduate degree in business or business administration is required for most mid and upper-level positions. Master’s degree recipients often make more money, advance faster, and are qualified for jobs that require advanced business concepts. While programs can be general or specialized, they usually consist of 30 to 60 credit hours of coursework and are completed by full-time students in two years.

Doctoral Degree

Professionals who enjoy advanced study and research may also want to complete a doctoral degree in business administration or management. Coursework is advanced, rigorous, and heavily focused on research. Programs vary, but are generally made up of 60 to 120 hours that students can complete in four to five years.

Fields of Study

Business is a broad area of study that encompasses many different career paths. As a result, there are several different business-centered degree programs to choose from. Common fields of study within business are:

  • Accounting
  • Finance
  • Business Management Administration
  • Marketing
  • Sales
  • International Business
  • Business Communications
  • Real Estate
  • Human Resources Management

Career and Salary Outlook

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the career outlook for business and financial occupations is good. Factors like globalization, tax complexities, and a growing economy will likely drive the demand for business professionals up, resulting in a 10 percent growth of employment between 2016 and 2026. While salaries vary greatly, the median annual wage for business professionals in 2017 was $67,710 in 2017, which is significantly higher than the median wage for other occupations. (Based on national data, not school-specific information. Conditions in your area may vary)


Health Occupations. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Retrieved on August 9, 2018 from:

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