Exploring Your Options with a Bachelor’s Degree in Business

Getting a bachelor’s degree can make a crucial difference in the type of job and salary you can acquire, and with the ease of online colleges, it couldn’t be easier to obtain one. Even if you don’t have the time or financial means to attend a brick-and-mortar university, online colleges offer the same accreditation, with degree programs catering to virtually every interest. If you’re interested in getting your bachelor’s degree in business, but have trouble balancing college classes with a job or other responsibility, online colleges may be right for you. You can get the same kind of formal education from anywhere with a stable internet connection, allowing you to pursue the career in business that you always wanted. A bachelor’s degree in business may be the credential that helps you stand out amongst other candidates for a job that don’t have a degree or have a degree in a different, less applicable field.

Types of Business Degrees

You may know you want a degree of some sort in business, but have no clue as to which degree route to take. You have the choice of obtaining an associate degree, a bachelor’s degree, or acquiring your master’s in business. Each degree path has varying levels of focus in business and requires a different amount of course hours. There are also slight variations for each type of degree with nuanced plans for each. For example, you could get a bachelor’s degree as a Bachelor of Business or a Bachelor of Business Administration. The differences will rest in the type of classes you wish to take par your individualized interests, but both are typically a four-year academic program in the school of business at your selected university. However, if you are taking online classes, you may be able to complete your degree much more quickly.

An associate degree in business is an undergraduate academic degree that typically takes two years or around 60 credit hours to obtain. An associate degree will set you apart from those who only have high school diplomas and can be a launching point for more specialized career choices without having to commit to a four-year program. The National Center for Education Statistics states that over half of all degrees earned online are associate degrees. Should you decide later on that you want to get a bachelor’s degree, your associate degree can be counted as the first two years of your bachelor’s degree. There are two types of associate degrees you can get — transfer degrees and occupational degrees. Transfer degrees are associate degrees pursued with the goal of working towards more advanced degree paths, with the credit hours applying towards a bachelor’s degree. If you’re seeking an associate degree in a specific field, the sky is the limit with an occupational degree. Some of the common fields for occupational associate degrees include accounting, business administration, communication, early childhood care and education, and psychology. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, workers with an associate degree averaged an extra $128 a week in 2001 compared to their counterparts with only a high school degree. Thus, having an associate degree can raise your earnings.

If you’ve completed you associate degree and are seeking something a little more advanced, getting your bachelor’s degree is the next step. Of course, many students set out on the goal of completing their bachelor’s degree program directly after receiving a high school diploma. In the business field, having your bachelor’s degree is probably a little more crucial than some other fields, as the job market is decidedly competitive. While an associate degree is faster, many jobs desire a four-year degree over a two-year program. A bachelor’s degree is the highest goal you can achieve with an undergraduate degree. There are a multitude of bachelor’s degrees you can get, such as a Bachelor of Business Administration (BBA), Bachelor of International Business Economics (BIBE), Bachelor of Commerce (BCom), Bachelor of Business (BBus), or Bachelor of Business Science (BBusSc), to name a few. The various programs are designed to cater towards different career goals.

A master’s degree in business can be obtained after you receive your bachelor’s degree and generally takes two to four years to receive. It is a postgraduate degree. A master’s degree doesn’t have to be concentrated in the same subject as studied in your undergraduate years. The two most common master’s degrees are the Master of Arts (MA) and Master of Science (MS). However, some master’s degree subjects have specialized programs. For business, a master’s degree in business administration is a valuable credential to have. According to results of the M.B.A. Career Services Council’s Fall 2011 Recruiting Trends Survey, on-campus recruiting activity for M.B.A.s is up 70% for full-time positions from the previous year. Master’s degree courses require the student to delve deeper into analysis and theory pertaining to a particular subject, with many fields requiring a thesis. Occasionally, a master’s degree program is offered in tandem with an internship to help the student get experience and hone their knowledge within the field.

Scholarships and Grants

If you need a little financial help before you can pursue a bachelor’s degree in business, scholarships and grants may be your ticket. Scholarships are awarded to students in the form of a financial aid, and the student never needs to pay them back. They can be merit-based, need-based, demographic-specific scholarships, career-specific, or college-specific. A merit-based scholarship is awarded based on the student’s skill in a particular field, be it a certain art contest, athleticism, or academic success. They may be awarded by private organizations or the college itself, and often factor directly into the tuition without the student actually obtaining the money in person. A need-based scholarship is intended for those in financial distress, and requires the student to fill out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) which helps calculate the extent to which the student needs financial assistance. Some scholarships take demographics into consideration, requiring qualifications such as a specific gender, race, religion, family, and medical history. Career-based scholarships are awarded to students by colleges as a means to provide a student entry into a specific field, particularly one that is in high demand. Lastly, college-specific scholarships are scholarships that provide full or partial tuition to a specific college, and typically target the students’ academic achievements.

Grants are similar to scholarships in that they are given based on certain criteria such as need or merit, but they are usually given to fund a particular project with frequent updates as to the project’s status to the donor. To obtain a grant, a proposal is often written, and the money for the grant is provided by a tax-exempt non-profit organization. They are not always used for college financial aid, but can also be given for non-academic purposes. In the college aid setting, the Pell Grant can be especially useful as a source for financial assistance. Currently, the maximum amount you can be awarded with the Pell Grant is $5,550. Pell Grant eligible students starting with the 2012-2013 award year can only receive a Pell Grant for up to a maximum of 12 semesters or the equivalent.

Career Options

Having a bachelor’s degree in business opens the door for many different career paths. Given that business is such a broad field, many graduates may feel overwhelmed by the ways in which they can apply the skills they learned while obtaining their bachelor’s degree. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ Occupational Outlook Quarterly, business is the most popular field studied by undergraduates. This may be because it is so well-rounded, imparting skills in business strategy, statistics, accounting, finance, management, and analysis, among other specialized skills. Business majors tend to do a lot of group projects which prepare them for the real business world in which they are expected to work cooperatively with their coworkers.

Accounting majors may work in the field of tax preparation, book-keeping, and payroll services, with an average salary of $47,050, according to the National Association of Colleges and Employers’ Salary Survey for January 2012, while accounting majors who go into securities, commodities, and financial investments earn an average salary of $53,910. Business management and administration majors most often go into the field of retail trade with an average salary of $43,600. Economics majors tend to gravitate towards investment firms, and thus make one of the highest salaries of $54,400 per year. Meanwhile, finance majors working in banking receive an average salary of $48,300, while finance majors that make their way into financial investment firms earn a respected $68,770 as a starting salary. Marketing majors have the most opportunity with retail trade and manufacturing companies, earning $35,680 and $45,550, respectively. However, for the lucky few that sign on with computer system design companies, the average salary is $57,300.

Top Online Business Schools

Kaplan Online University is not only one of the most accredited online universities, but also offers an excellent Business and Management program. Kaplan University is a subset of Kaplan Higher Education and prides itself on being a unique take for an online college. Each student receives individualized attention, with a personal advisor and educators working in the field where they can be of best use to their students. Learning takes place in lieu of interactive seminars, online quizzes, constant conversation with your instructor, student discussion boards, and web field trips. Additionally, Kaplan has an extensive online library catalogue at students’ disposal. Kaplan’s online school has a special offer in which students may use the online facilities and participate in an actual class for five weeks before they must decide whether they want to continue the program. They simple must pay the application fee to access this benefit. A Bachelor’s degree in Business Administration at Kaplan costs $54,900.

Jones International University was the first fully online university to be granted the highest form of accreditation in the industry, boasting its alleged Gold Standard model which is designed specifically with the demands of online learning in mind. Obtaining a bachelor’s degree in business at Jones International involves looking at current business trends and applying them within the learning environment. A graduate of this program should have top notch business management skills, leadership skills, and a penchant for communications. Aside from the cost of books and fees, tuition is $62,400.

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