Earning an Online Business
Administration Bachelor’s Degree

Earning a business administration degree online prepares graduates for careers in accounting, marketing, finance, human resources, and management. During their degree, business majors learn fundamental business principles, including data analytics, leadership skills, and business strategy. These skills help graduates pursue careers in any area of business.

This article explains what students learn in a business administration program, how to choose the best business program, and how to transition the skills gained from a business degree to the workforce. It also explores professional organizations and job opportunities for business administration graduates.

Overview of Business Administration Degrees

A bachelor’s degree in business administration trains graduates for careers in business. Business administration majors build core skills in management and leadership while learning how to conduct business research, design business plans, and implement business strategies. Within business administration, majors often cover a subfield of business, such as accounting, finance, human resources, or project management. Business majors take advanced courses in their concentration, gaining valuable skills that translate to the workforce.

Prospective students considering an online business administration degree can expand career prospects by enrolling in a business program. Online programs particularly appeal to working professionals seeking to balance a degree with work and family obligations. Professionals pursuing a career change also benefit from an online business degree. Graduates pursue careers in high-demand areas. For example, the Bureau of Labor Statistics projects positions for accountants and auditors to grow 10% by 2026. Many career paths offer lucrative salaries, including financial analysts, who earn an average of over $84,000 a year.

Application Process

Each school sets its own application process, so students should carefully research the requirements for their potential programs. In general, schools require high school and college transcripts from applicants. Candidates with a GED or other high school diploma equivalent may need to provide additional evidence of their schooling. Transfer students often need to submit transcripts from all institutions attended, which schools use to determine credits that can apply toward the bachelor’s degree. Many schools set a minimum GPA for admission and transfer credits.

In addition to transcripts, schools may require standardized test scores, usually the SAT or ACT. Transfer students with a certain number of college credits may not need to submit test scores. Schools may also request resumes, essays, and letters of recommendation. These letters, typically from academic and professional references, should speak to the applicant’s qualifications for a bachelor’s program. Online programs may conduct interviews with applicants to determine their fit for the program, and some online institutions assign an admission adviser to walk candidates through the admission process.

What Will I Learn?

Students earning an online business degree typically complete 120 credits, including general education classes, foundational business courses, and specialized classes in a concentration. The degree usually takes four years for a full-time student to complete, with around 50 credits of general education courses, 30-40 credits of business courses, and the remainder of credits for electives. Transfer students with an associate degree or significant college credits may complete their degree in under two years.

Business administration learners gain skills in management, leadership, and business. Many programs let majors specialize in an area, such as accounting, marketing, human resources, or entrepreneurship. Each program determines its own curriculum and graduation requirements, which may include classes in core business fields and advanced courses in business strategy, supply chain management, or operations management. Business majors may also complete a capstone project or internship to build real-world experience.

  • Introduction to Business Administration

    Students build foundational knowledge in business administration, including management, marketing, accounting, and strategic decision making. The course may also cover economics, statistics, and leadership skills. Many introductory courses involve analyzing case studies, reading research, and studying various leadership styles.

  • Marketing

    Business administration students learn the tools behind marketing, including making managerial decisions, analyzing consumer behavior, conducting marketing research, and implementing marketing plans. Students may also complete advanced classes that cover product or service pricing, marketing analytics, and new product strategies.

  • Accounting

    While earning an online business administration degree, undergraduates build core accounting skills and take advanced classes in financial accounting, managerial accounting, and public accounting. Introductory accounting courses provide an overview of different accounting fields and build fundamental accounting skills.

  • Finance

    Finance courses introduce business majors to financial markets, financial institutions, and their roles in the economic system. Students learn about monetary policy, the banking industry, and financial regulations. They also build managerial finance skills, including financial analysis for decision making, cash flow assessment, and risk analysis. Finance courses may cover budgeting, financial structures, and financial strategy.

  • Operations Management

    In operations management classes, business administration online students explore business environments, operational challenges for different sectors of business, and systematic planning. They also study how to analyze operations management plans, design operations solutions, and implement an operational plan. These skills benefit professionals in any industry that delivers goods and services.

  • Business Strategy

    Often an upper-level class, business strategy classes build on the managerial, analytical, and decision-making skills gained during the beginning of an online business program. Business strategy courses teach business majors how to apply their knowledge to strategic decision making. Students may study domestic and international business strategy, competing strategy analysis, and how to improve the decision-making process.

What Can I Do with an Online Bachelor’s Degree in Business Administration?

After earning a business administration degree online, graduates can pursue careers in all areas of business, including management, human resources, accounting, and marketing. One of the most versatile degrees, business administration graduates apply their knowledge of business to a variety of career paths. This section introduces the core skills and knowledge gained during a business administration degree, including business and leadership principles, research, and data analysis. It also covers potential career options with an online business degree, including salaries.

Core Skills

Through an online business degree, students build core skills and competencies that prepare them for careers in business. Business majors learn how to analyze data, create business plans, and implement strategies. Data analytics comprise a central part of a business administration degree, as business professionals need to analyze data to design and implement their plans.

Most business programs offer concentrations, such as finance, accounting, marketing, management, and human resources. Within a concentration, students build core skills for that specialty, such as financial accounting, managerial accounting, and auditing for an accounting concentration. A marketing concentration may include coursework on advertising strategies, persuasive communications, and competitor research. Within a human resources concentration, majors study the rules and regulations governing human resources, learn recruitment strategies for different industries, and gain managerial skills. In each of these areas, business administration majors build skills that translate to the workforce.

Potential Careers and Salaries

A business administration degree offers diverse career opportunities. Many programs let business students concentrate in an area to build skills for a particular career, such as human resources, marketing, accounting, or supply chain management. Graduates can find work in every sector, including private corporations, nonprofit organizations, and government agencies.

Many business fields offer lucrative salaries for candidates with a bachelor’s degree. HR directors and marketing managers, for example, earn over $110,000 a year on average, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Other career paths in accounting, finance, and business analysis offer above-average salaries for professionals who earn an online degree in business administration.

Human Resources (HR) Director

Human resources directors, also known as HR managers, oversee an organization’s human resources department. They recruit and hire new staff, educate employees on benefits, and work with executives on strategic planning. HR directors also manage a team of HR specialists.

Senior Business Analyst

Senior business analysts assess an organization’s strengths and weaknesses to improve profits. They may conduct research, analyze data, and design plans to address problems within the company. Senior business analysts may also create processes to implement their plans.

Accountant

Accountants create and review financial records. They may work for corporations, individuals, or government agencies, ensuring the accuracy of financial records. Accountants may also prepare or review tax filings, assess a company’s financial operations, or make recommendations to improve an organization’s financial health.

Marketing Manager

Marketing managers design marketing policies and programs for an organization. They may analyze data to determine demand, craft marketing strategies to increase consumer satisfaction, and develop pricing strategies to maximize profits. Marketing managers often oversee a team of specialists.

Financial Analyst

Financial analysts help businesses and individuals make investment decisions. They research the performance of stocks and bonds, recommend investment strategies, and oversee investment portfolios. Financial analysts may also examine financial statements, recommend financial strategies, and study business trends.

Will I Need a Graduate Degree for a Career in Business Administration?

With a bachelor’s online business degree, graduates are qualified for entry-level business careers. These careers include positions as accountants, marketing specialists, project managers, and human resources specialists.

Professionals who want to advance their career to managerial or leadership roles benefit from earning an advanced degree. In business, an MBA qualifies professionals for advanced positions, including manager and director. Professionals with a bachelor’s degree can also advance their careers without enrolling in a graduate program. Completing a certification shows advanced skills without additional schooling.

Accreditation for Business Administration Bachelor’s Programs

Accredited institutions follow the highest standards for education. Colleges and universities earn accreditation by voluntarily undergoing review from an independent, nonprofit accrediting agency. Regional and national accreditation assess an entire institution, measuring student learning outcomes, graduation requirements, and faculty qualifications. Programmatic accreditation reviews a specific program within a school.

Three accrediting agencies grant programmatic accreditation to business programs: the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business, the Accreditation Council for Business Schools and Programs, and the International Accreditation Council for Business Education. Accreditation benefits students in several ways. Federal financial aid is only granted to students at accredited schools, and accredited degrees meet more requirements for certifications and licenses. Additionally, credits earned from an accredited institution transfer to more schools, and some graduate programs only accept bachelor’s degrees from accredited programs. Prospective students should only consider accredited online business degrees.

Business Administration Professional Organizations

Professional organizations help business administration students build a professional network, gain valuable skills, and increase their competitiveness in the job market. Many provide webinars and training materials, host annual conferences and events, and publish updated business research and articles. Students also benefit from career services offered by professional organizations, including job boards, career counseling, and scholarship opportunities.

Project Management Institute

Members of PMI benefit from the organization’s training opportunities, professional development resources, and networking events. PMI also offers certifications in project management, helping business administration professionals increase their competitiveness in the job market.

American Marketing Association

Specialists in marketing receive benefits by joining AMA, including members-only articles and research, a marketer’s toolkit, and live webcasts. The association also hosts a job board with career resources for students and professionals, publishes research in the field, and hosts events.

American Management Association

Members of the American Management Association access professional development tools including webcasts, webinars, and seminars. AMA hosts an annual conference with networking opportunities, publishes research on management philosophies and approaches, and runs a women’s leadership center for women in business.