Associate degrees in business management teach you the basic concepts and principles of business management and organizational operations. Coursework can include accounting, marketing, finance, e-commerce, organizational behavior, leadership, business law and ethics, math for business and finance, and communications. Requirements typically include general education such as the arts and humanities, English composition and the psychology of motivation, as well as computer fundamentals.
Associate degrees in business management, and beyond
The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that office manager positions increasingly require an associate degree, although a high school diploma and experience may suffice for smaller businesses or lower-level roles. Administrative services managers in larger companies typically need at least a bachelor's degree.
An associate degree provides a solid foundation if you plan to pursue a bachelor's degree in a related field such as business administration. Concentrations are available in general management or specific areas such as health systems and public relations. Master's degrees often feature specializations such as accounting and financial management, global management, public administration, and HR; a Master of Business Administration with a concentration in management is also a popular choice.
Advanced options include the Ph.D. in Management or the Doctor of Business Administration, DBA, with concentrations such as management for the global supply chain, health care or information systems. A DBA can lead to a non-academic career as an industry leader. If you want to pursue academic research or a teaching career at the postsecondary level, a Ph.D. may be your best choice.
Business management career options, outlook and salaries
Job growth for administrative services managers is forecast at 14 percent between 2010 and 2020, right in line with the average growth rate that the BLS expects for all U.S. occupations. The BLS projects a higher employment growth rate of 20.5 percent for human resources, training and labor relations specialists, who commonly enter the workforce with a bachelor's degree. The BLS reports the following 2010 median salaries for related business occupations:
- Administrative services manager: $77,890
- General business operations specialist: $62,450
- Compensation, benefits and job analysis specialist: $57,000
Because competition could be keen for available jobs, having an associate degree could be a deciding hiring factor for employers. Working toward an online associate degree in business management allows you to learn while you earn and can put you in line for a rewarding management career.