Online Business Management Degrees

Earning a business management degree online or a business administration degree online will set you on the path towards a successful career in fields like sales, finance, and human resources. Business management degrees and business administration degrees cover the ins and outs of finances to managing employees, allowing you to work your way into executive positions, or even start your own business.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projects an 8% job growth rate in the field of business over the next decade. As startups continue to fuel business growth in many regions of the country, the need for qualified business leaders will continue to grow, making online business management programs and online business administration programs a practical and lucrative choice for college students.

Online programs are flexible, allowing working professionals to earn a degree as they advance their careers. If you have an interest in the way businesses work, and if subjects like finance and economics come easily to you, an online business degree may be the right choice for you. Read on to learn more about the career options available to you after earning your business administration or business management degree online.

Meet our expert

Read More

Jason L. Hotch Business Management

“It provided me the flexibility to attend from my somewhat remote location, as the nearest university is almost two hours away.”

Online Business Management Degree Overview

An associate degree in business management or business administration can provide you with the knowledge and skills you need to work as an HR or administrative assistant. Higher-level management jobs in business typically require a bachelor’s degree and often require some form of relevant career experience. Since many students work while they earn their online business management degrees/business administration degrees, they often have an advantage over recent business graduates who may have less work experience.

Online master’s in business administration (MBA) degrees allow for quicker advancement in the business world and open up opportunities for higher-level positions. Many business leadership positions do not require an MBA, but if you have a two-year or four-year online business degree, you may require several years of relevant experience to compete with MBA degree-holders for high-level jobs.

Degree Avg Degree Cost Avg Loan Default Rate Time Commitment Early Career Pay Mid-Career Pay Unemployment Rate
Associate $12,824 15.7% 2 years $45,600 $51,000 7%
Bachelor's $17,700 10.3% 4 years $41,000 $69,000 4.5%
Master's $19,104 8.5% 1+ years $64,000 $92,000 3.9%
Whether you are new to the field, or looking to advance in your current career, you should weigh the costs and time of getting a new degree against its benefits. There is no one-size-fits-all degree. The best choice for you will depend on your current educational background, financial standing, employment history, and area of interest. For instance, those with no experience may want to consider an associate degree, due to its shorter time commitment and lower cost. If finances are tight for you, then you should prioritize the student loan debt and default categories, as you will want to choose a degree that offers you the best chance of improving your financial standing with minimal risk. If your employer or someone else is paying for your education, then you might want to consider the degree that will offer you the highest salary. All salary information is sourced from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics and/or PayScale

Choosing Your Business Management Careers

Average Business Management Salaries

$104,440
$65,940
$81,320
$117,990
$102,690

Human Resources Manager

Salary: $104,440
Growth Rate 2014-2024 Number of Jobs: 2014 Degree Certifications
9% 122,500 Bachelor's None

Human resources managers are in charge of recruiting, interviewing, and hiring new employees. They also manage employee benefits, try to boost employee morale, identify ways companies can improve their hiring practices, and communicate with executives to assess business labor needs. Human resources managers also field employee complaints and develop growth plans for employees who are not meeting goals. These professionals are skilled communicators who enjoy working with people. They also are able to analyze business information to improve hiring practices, employee benefits, and employee retention. Job candidates with an online bachelor’s in business management or an online bachelor’s in business administration meet the requirements for this position.

Accountant

Salary: $65,940
Growth Rate 2014-2024 Number of Jobs: 2014 Degree Certifications
11% 1,332,700 Bachelor's Certified Public Accountant (CPA)

Accountants oversee the financial records of companies and make sure these records stay accurate. They file taxes for companies and ensure taxes are paid on time and correctly. They also help businesses identify ways to improve cash flow and cut costs. Accountants must have strong attention to detail, an interest in finance, and knowledge of tax laws and forms. Certified public accountants (CPAs) often start their own accounting firms to provide auditing, tax, and financial guidance to individuals and companies. They are experts in the field of accounting and dedicate themselves to staying current in terms of knowledge about tax laws and financial practices. Online bachelor’s in business management graduates are qualified for this position, as are students who earn a business administration degree online.

Management Consultant

Salary: $81,320
Growth Rate 2014-2024 Number of Jobs: 2014 Degree Certifications
14% 758,000 Bachelor's None

Management consultants typically work with multiple businesses to help them overcome obstacles, identify new ways to make profits, and become more efficient in general. A business hires a management consultant on a contract basis, and the consultant comes into the business to observe its practices and analyze its financial specifics to make recommendations based on observations. Management consultants have to sell their services to businesses, so this is a great career for someone who has a natural gift for selling. Management consultants are typically experts with finances and have exceptional communication skills. Graduates of online business management programs or online business administration programs at the bachelor’s level are prepared to work in this field.

Financial Manager

Salary: $117,990
Growth Rate 2014-2024 Number of Jobs: 2014 Degree Certifications
7% 555,900 Bachelor's Certified Financial Planner (CFP)

Financial managers make decisions to promote the financial vitality of the companies they serve. They analyze profits and expenses and identify ways to cut corners to increase profits and boost the amount of money going to the company’s bottom line. They also make decisions regarding the salaries of employees and how to minimize tax expenses. A career as a financial manager might be right for you if you love numbers, are interested in finance, and have a highly analytical mind.

Top Executive

Salary: $102,690
Growth Rate 2014-2024 Number of Jobs: 2014 Degree Certifications
6% 2,467,500 Bachelor's None

Top executives run companies. They manage finance departments, HR departments, and the managers who oversee production/service teams. They establish goals and a vision for the company’s growth, and they communicate their vision and goals to the rest of the company. Additionally, they monitor things like cash flow and logistics and identify ways to improve and increase the profitability of their companies. The most successful top executives thrive in a fast-paced environment, are financial gurus, and have excellent leadership and communication abilities. Students who complete four-year online business management programs are often times qualified to work as top executives, as are MBA graduates.

Online Business Management Degree in Action

Jason L. Hotch Business Management

Jason Hotch attended the University of Alaska Anchorage (UAA) while working full time. He attained over 90 credits at UAA before transferring into Colorado State University-Global Campus (CSU-Global), receiving an associate from UAA in 2013. He completed his remaining coursework online for a BS in business management at CSU-Global. He graduated with a 3.41 GPA and was chosen as student commencement speaker for the class of 2015. He manages millions of dollars in budgets and works closely with state and federal departments.

Why did you decide to pursue your business administration degree online?

I chose to pursue my business administration degree online because it offered me the ability to complete the degree I had already begun at a traditional brick-and-mortar university. It also provided me the flexibility to attend from my somewhat remote location, as the nearest university is almost two hours away.

I chose business administration because it is one of the most widely accepted bachelor’s degrees across many fields of employment, allowing me more freedom in terms of the sector of business I can work in.

What are the advantages of earning a degree online?

The greatest advantage of an online degree is the flexibility it provides one's schedule. My schedule needed maximum flexibility when I started my degree completion because I had just gotten married, and over the course of my classwork my wife and I welcomed our first child. In addition, an online program allows individuals to learn at their own pace and not be tied to a certain academic timeline.

What did you find most challenging about the online format?

The most difficult aspect of online learning for myself was the initial venture back into the online environment, but that faded quickly and I realized that I excelled within the online structure.

Do you feel that an online degree prepared you for your career in the same way that an on-campus program would?

I absolutely agree that an online degree prepared me for my career in the same manner as a brick-and-mortar university. I have had the luxury of attending both types of universities and believe that there is no difference. One really strong argument for online education preparing someone for their career is that you learn to communicate strongly over digital means. In today's world, most of our communication in the work setting is over the phone, email, video calling, or some form of digital communication. Digital communication is exactly what an online program hinges itself upon.

What advice would you give students who plan on earning a business administration/business management degree online?

Don't delay starting your degree, and take a broad range of classes for your electives. Business administration is a broad degree in itself, and opening your knowledge even further only aides your learning in the required coursework. Commit time every day to be 100% committed to your studies. Find a comfortable place to do your work, with the upside being you can work anywhere you wish!

Online Business Management Degrees

Associate

Associate business management degrees prepare graduates for entry-level positions in companies. This type of business degree program familiarizes students with the essentials of finance, business communication, and talent management. Students also study subjects like inventory management and supply chain management and learn to use business tools like spreadsheets and tax software. Associate business degrees may not qualify you to take on a business leadership position upon graduation, but it can help you land an entry-level job with possibility for advancement.

Sample Courses
Organizational Behavior, Marketing, Business Process Management, Business Finance
Common Majors
Sales, administrative service, accounting
Potential Jobs
Bookkeeper, administrative assistant, supply chain associate
Average Income
$37,250 for bookkeepers, $36,500 for administrative assistants, and $33,200 for supply chain associates
Employment Prospects
From 2014-2024: 8% decline for bookkeepers, 3% increase for administrative assistants, and 3% increase for supply chain associates

The Top 5 Online Associate Degrees in Business Administration

Rank School Name School Logo City Cost
1

Southeast Community College

Lincoln
  • in-state tuition: $2,554
  • out-of-state tuition: $3,139
2

Niagara County Community College

Sanborn
  • in-state tuition: $4,164
  • out-of-state tuition: $9,852
3

Lehigh Carbon Community College

Schnecksville
  • in-state tuition: $6,660
  • out-of-state tuition: $9,870
4

Genesee Community College

Batavia
  • in-state tuition: $4,050
  • out-of-state tuition: $4,650
5

Sinclair Community College

Dayton
  • in-state tuition: $3,432
  • out-of-state tuition: $6,600

See full rankings

Bachelor’s

An online bachelor’s in business administration or an online bachelor’s in business management will prepare you to enter the business world in either an entry-level or mid-level position, depending on your experience. Many management jobs and higher-level jobs at businesses require at least a bachelor’s degree. A bachelor’s in business is a marker of proficiency in finance, marketing, and general business operation. A four-year, online business degree can give you access to the challenging career you want in a variety of industries.

Sample Courses
Accounting, Statistics, Data Analysis for Business, Marketing, Organizational Behavior and Leadership
Common Majors
Accounting, finance, economics
Potential Jobs
Accountant, human resources manager, financial advisor
Average Income
$67,190 for accountants, $104,440 for human resources managers, and $89,160 for financial advisors
Employment Prospects
From 2014-2024, 11% increase for accountants, 9% increase for human resources managers, and 30% increase for financial advisors

The Top 5 Online Bachelor's Degrees in Business Administration

Rank School Name School Logo City Cost
1

University of Florida

Gainesville
  • in-state tuition: $6,263
  • out-of-state tuition: $28,541
2

East Carolina University

Greenville
  • in-state tuition: $6,143
  • out-of-state tuition: $20,256
3

Southern New Hampshire University

Manchester
  • annually: $28,884
4

Indiana Wesleyan University

Marion
  • annually: $23,628
5

Nova Southeastern University

Fort Lauderdale
  • annually: $25,430

See full rankings

Master’s

An MBA is probably the degree with the most clout in the business world. Graduate-level business degrees prepare students to lead, run, or start companies. They provide comprehensive, cutting-edge coursework about what it takes for a business to succeed in our increasingly globalized, high-tech society. Job applicants with MBAs often receive preference from hiring committees in comparison to applicants with bachelor’s degrees. MBAs from online business administration programs are indicators of dedication to business and advanced business knowledge.

Sample Courses
Economics, Business Law, Taxation, Business Strategy, Human Resources Management
Common Majors
Finance, healthcare, business leadership
Potential Jobs
Financial manager, human resources manager, executive
Average Income
$117,990 for financial managers, $104,440 for human resources managers, and $102,690 for executives
Employment Prospects
From 2014:-2024, 7% increase for financial managers, 9% increase for human resources managers, and 6% increase for executives

Doctorate

A business management degree online at the doctorate level is intended for students who are interested in highly specialized business knowledge. Doctorate business programs usually offer the PhD and/or the DBA. A PhD business degrees are ideal if you want to teach as a college professor in a business department and perform academic research regarding business trends and practices. A DBA is a good choice if you are already a seasoned business leader with an MBA who has an interest in expanding your base of knowledge to make yourself an even more capable executive.

Sample Courses
Business Economics, Business Research, Advanced Business Strategy
Common Majors
DBA and PhD
Potential Jobs
Business professor, CEO, Business researcher
Average Income
$72,470 for business professors, $102,690 per year for CEOs, and $62,150 for business researchers
Employment Prospects
From 2014-2024, 13% increase for business professors, 6% increase for CEOs, and 19% for business researchers

Professional Requirements

CPA Exam

In order to take the CPA exam, you have to have an online bachelor’s in business administration or a similar business degree from a four-year college or university. You also need to have taken at least 30 hours of undergraduate coursework in accounting/taxation. The computer-based CPA exam takes a total of 14 hours to complete and requires the completion of four sections: Auditing and Attestation, Business Environment and Concepts, Financial Accounting and Reporting, and Regulation. Each of these sections can be completed on a different day, based on your schedule. If you are interested in an advanced-level career in accounting or opening up your own accounting agency, this exam is a must.

Is it required?

Yes

How long will it take?

14 hours

GMAT

The Graduate Management Admission Test (GMAT) is a standardized test for those who wish to enroll in graduate school, similar to the GRE. The GMAT is intended for those who plan on enrolling in MBA programs or other master’s degree programs in business. Most graduate business programs, including graduate business administration degree online programs, require GMAT scores from applicants to assess their readiness for the study of business at a higher academic level.

Is it required?

Yes

How long will it take?

3.5 hours

Certified Financial Planner (CFP)

The Certified Financial Planner (CFP) exam tests your ability to apply financial planning knowledge to real-life financial scenarios. It presents you with these scenarios, and you have to choose what course of action you would take to increase the chances of financial success. The CFP exam is an essential step in building your credentials as a financial planner. A four-year college degree and the completion of specific college coursework outlined by the test’s facilitators are required before taking this test. Business administration degrees often give test-takers an edge because of their broad base of knowledge about finance, but no specific college major is required, as long as all the necessary courses are completed.

Is it required?

Yes for CFPs

How long will it take?

6 hours

Six Sigma

Six Sigma certification is offered through an employee’s company. It provides training and assessment to test competencies in different business areas. Depending on which Six Sigma package your company purchases and the number of training courses/assessments you complete, you can become certified as a Green Belt, Black Belt, or Master Black Belt. Each of these certifications demonstrates your expertise in certain areas of business.

Is it required?

No

How long will it take?

Varies