Several paths can lead to bachelor's degrees in business administration. You can enter directly from high school or complete an associate degree program in business at a community college that has a transfer agreement with a four-year institution. Or, if you're already working, you can earn a degree online. Although entry-level business administration positions do not always require a bachelor's degree, employers, particularly in large organizations, often give preference to candidates who have them. Administrators with solid business skills are needed everywhere -- in industry, government, academia and nonprofits.
Coursework for bachelor's degrees in business administration
General education requirements -- such as English, speech, arts, humanities, mathematics and sciences -- offer communication and analytical skills that you can use in the corporate world. Bachelor's degrees in business administration cover topics like these:
- Business law and public policy
- Human resources and labor relations
- Marketing and sales
Additional subjects include customer service, information systems, operations management, organizational behavior, social responsibility, statistics and supply chain management. Programs may offer concentrations such as criminal justice administration, e-business, health systems, human resources, international business, marketing, new media, project management or technology.
Business administration career options, outlook and salaries
Salaries vary by industry. Here are two examples of careers that you could seek with a bachelor's degree and some work experience. The Bureau of Labor Statistics provides employment projections for the decade ending in 2020, with median annual wages for 2010:
- Administrative services manager: 14.5 percent growth, $77,890 salary
- Management analyst: 21.9 percent growth, $78,160 salary
Most administrative services managers are found in local government or colleges and universities, while most management analysts work in consulting services.
Additional business administration education options
Once you have a bachelor's degree under your belt, a Master of Business Administration, or MBA, is most often the next step, with most students selecting a concentration in their area of interest. An MBA generally nets higher salaries and considerably more job responsibilities. The ultimate degrees in the discipline are the Doctor of Business Administration, which is generally concerned with applied research, and the Ph.D. in Business Administration, which is most often theoretical in nature.
If you're currently employed, an online bachelor's degree in business administration provides the opportunity to study at your convenience and apply what you learn to real-world situations at your current job.