Types of Business Degrees
Students can launch their business careers in a few short months by enrolling in a certificate or diploma program. A certificate program offers the lowest cost of all degree options, but the resultant career choices can be relatively limited because the curriculum focuses on specific skills. Associate degrees provide a foundation in all areas of business education, while students enrolled in bachelor’s or master’s degree programs can further specialize their course of study.
Two-year community colleges often have the lowest tuition costs, and accredited two-year programs allow students to transfer their work to four-year colleges or universities; this helps learners save thousands of dollars compared to enrolling in a university for four years. Students who want to continue their education at the master’s or doctorate level need to remain in school for two to seven more years. Many schools also have online degree programs that allow working students to further their education under more flexible conditions; however, part-time students take more time to complete degree requirements.
A certificate provides focused instruction on job-related technology or skills. Some schools offer certificate programs in business for students who have a bachelor’s degree in another major. These programs provide a brief overview of major areas of study including economics and management.
- Administrative Assistant
- Associate Degree
A two-year associate degree in business covers general education courses, such as English and history, as well as foundational business courses like management, marketing, and human resources. Degrees may be an associate of arts or an associate of science. Accredited programs allow students to transfer credits from an associate degree program to a bachelor’s degree program.
- Human Resources Generalist
- Executive Assistant
- Bachelor's Degree
Colleges and universities offer four-year bachelor’s degrees in business management and business administration. Courses cover a range of areas including finance, marketing, and management. Specialty courses can prepare students for careers in music or sports management, digital marketing, or real estate, among many others.
- Sales Manager
- Master’s Degree
A master’s of business administration (MBA) provides an all-around education in business. Students with an undergraduate degree in another subject may seek an MBA to prepare for a career in business or to start a new business venture. Students can also choose a master’s degree in specific subject areas such as accounting or finance.
- Financial Manager
- Marketing Manager
- Doctorate Degree
Doctorate degrees focus on original research and data analytics. The doctorate is the highest level of education available. Some schools offer industry-specific doctorate degrees such as in health care or international business. Programs require students to complete a dissertation or original research project.
- Business Consultant
- University Professor
Business Degree Concentrations
A degree in business provides a general education that prepares students for any number of career paths. Students can choose to specialize their education with a degree concentration, such as international business or health care administration. Through in-depth coursework, internships, and capstone projects, students become expert in their field of study. Different specializations may qualify students for additional business scholarships. These business student scholarships can include awards from professional organizations, honor societies, and/or student clubs.
- Marketing: Students learn about consumer behavior and why people buy certain products instead of others. The curriculum may include statistics, writing, and visual design. Courses prepare students to enter the field of advertising, digital marketing, e-commerce, or market research.
- International Business: Boundaries between countries don’t stop commerce. With this in mind, international business students learn how to manage business operations around the world. Students often study foreign languages and benefit from studying abroad. Graduates can find work as international bankers or import-export compliance specialists.
- Finance: Mathematics comprises the foundation of a degree in finance, teaching students how to track funds and analyze financial data. Finance graduates can also choose careers in investment planning, particularly if they enjoy working with people. Counseling and interpersonal relationships are critical in this field. Graduates who prefer to work with numbers often find work in corporate or government accounting offices as auditors or appraisers.
- Economics: Economics students evaluate how changes in areas such as laws, regulations, or even the weather affect consumer behavior and supply and demand for goods. Economists use statistics to analyze data and explain what has happened or predict what may happen in various sectors of the economy. Graduates often find careers in banking, government agencies, and manufacturing corporations.
How Much Does a Business Degree Cost?
Students pursuing a degree in business typically obtain a master's degree. The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that individuals with a master's in business earn $20,000 to $80,000 more each year than workers who hold a bachelor's degree. Many schools charge a premium for business degrees because of this. The cost of a degree in business varies depending on the type of degree chosen. An associate degree from a community college can save students thousands of dollars on their education. Alternatively, private colleges are viewed as more prestigious but typically have the highest cost among four-year degree programs. However, attending an out-of-state public college can sometimes cost more than attending a private school, although some schools let students from certain other states pay in-state tuition; these agreements vary from school to school and from state to state. On-campus students face additional costs for housing, food, and transportation.
Financing Your Business Degree
Scholarships for business students can help defray the cost of a college education. These financial awards, including grants, do not have to be repaid. All students should file the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). Schools and scholarship programs use the FAFSA to determine a student’s financial need, which is often a primary consideration for business school scholarships. The information on the FAFSA also determines an individual’s eligibility for federal and state student grants. Many business scholarships also consider a student’s academic achievement. Additionally, individuals with significant volunteer activity may qualify for scholarships. Students can typically use scholarships and grants to cover tuition and fees as well as the cost of books, housing, or food costs. However, it is prudent to always check the specific requirements for different business school scholarships, including how and where students may use funds. If necessary, loans can help finance college costs. Federally-subsidized loans are attractive because they do not accrue interest until after a student has left school.
Types of Scholarships
Students seeking business scholarships may be concerned about their chances to receive aid if they failed to score straight A's throughout high school. While academic scholarships are often competitive awards, there are numerous scholarships programs available. Some scholarships focus on a student’s financial need, while others consider extracurricular activities and other special talents. A family member's employer may also offer additional scholarship opportunities. Furthermore, some schools reserve specific scholarships for business students.