Online Business Degree Programs

Are you ready to start a new career in business, excel at work, or earn a promotion? If so, the sign on your door of opportunity might read “Click!” More and more employers are showing respect for online business degree programs. Many are willing to hire graduates who trained online, and some even pay employees’ online tuitions in order to enhance productivity.

Which business degrees can be earned online?

All levels of business degrees – associate’s, bachelor’s, master’s, and doctorate – can be earned through online programs.

  • In the United States, associate degrees typically involve two years of study. Before online learning became popular, these were mostly awarded by junior colleges. Associate’s degrees are a step above a high school diploma, but they do not involve as much training as bachelor’s degrees.
  • Bachelor’s degrees are standard college degrees. They generally involve four years of study, but some online business degree programs enable students to earn the bachelor’s more quickly.
  • The most popular master’s degree in business is called the MBA for “Master of Business Administration”. Students must already hold a bachelor’s degree to enroll in an MBA program, but that bachelor’s needn’t be in business.

A master’s degree in business can be earned online in just one year through an accelerated program, but many busy professionals choose part-time programs that last a few years.

Businesspeople with extensive experience may enroll in executive MBA programs. These programs are sometimes intensive month-long retreats, but more frequently they are spread out over several months or a few years.

  • The doctoral degree in business is rarely pursued. The DBA (Doctorate of Business Administration) or Ph.D. may enhance a business executive’s résumé, but most doctors of business work as professors and researchers. Doctoral programs in business generally require four or five years of study.

In addition to these degree programs, certificate programs are available as stand-alone options and as complements to business degrees. Certificates may only require passing a few online courses, but they can enhance a résumé. For example, a person could earn a Master’s in Business Administration (MBA) plus a certificate in Human Resources Management or Finance.

Which online business degree programs are respected by employers?

Fortunately for business students, online business programs have already gained widespread acceptance. Perhaps this is because the day-to-day activities of a businessperson are similar to those of a distance learner: a businessperson talks with clients who are in another state; sends information by email, fax, or mail; and videoconferences with people in distant boardrooms.

Most employers are more concerned about the reputation of a school than the mode of learning. To evaluate the reputation of a school, take the following steps:

  • Ensure that the school is accredited by CHEA, the Council for Higher Education Accreditation. The council approves distance learning programs as well as brick and mortar schools in six geographic regions, and it’s recognized by the US federal government. Don’t be fooled by other associations; you’ll waste your tuition on an almost worthless degree! Wikipedia maintains a list of unrecognized accreditors to help you avoid scams.
  • Check the school’s acceptance rate. If almost everybody who applies is accepted by the school, then the school might not be considered challenging. Consider applying to more selective schools.
  • If you need further guidance, consult with your employer or a prospective employer. Ask which online degrees are valued by their organization.

Which schools offer online business degree programs?

Here is a small selection of accredited online business programs. Links to more programs can be found at BusinessWeek.com.

Online bachelor’s degree programs in business

  • The University of Massachusetts offers an online program in business administration to undergraduates who cannot attend classes in Amherst. This highly regarded program is accredited by CHEA as well as the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business.
  • Florida Tech University Online features undergraduate programs in business administration with a variety of concentrations. As of 2009, Florida Tech has waived its application fee. Apply for free! Applications are accepted throughout the year.

Online MBA programs

  • Arizona State University offers a 22-month online MBA program. Only one campus visit is required, and 95% of students graduate within two years.
  • Ball State University in Muncie, Indiana accepts about 50% of the applicants to its online MBA program. The average student graduates within 20 months.
  • Carnegie Mellon University, a prestigious private school in Pittsburg, Pennsylvania, offers an online MBA program. Prospective students can chat with current students and read through their MBA tips.
  • Western Governors University offers an online Certified MBA for experienced business professionals. Specialized programs are available for those interested in managing information technology and healthcare.

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