Business is the reigning champion when it comes to popular undergraduate majors, according to the National Center for Education Statistics. Of the nearly 1.8 million bachelor degrees conferred in 2011-2012, the last year for which data is available, 367,000 were in the field of business. That's more than double the 179,000 degrees conferred for social studies, the second most popular field.
- There's good reason for the subject's popularity. Earning a business degree can set up graduates for a wide variety of job opportunities and may also give a firm foundation for those planning to go on to an MBA program or other advanced studies.
- Traditionally, a bachelor's degree is earned in four years although some students are now stretching their studies over five or six years. On the other hand, some schools will let you earn a business bachelor's degree online in as little as three years.
A shortened study time is one benefit of online colleges, but it's not the only reason people are firing up their computers for education. An online bachelor's degree in business can be a convenient way to complete your education and may allow students the opportunity to maintain their job and keep a regular schedule despite being enrolled in school.
Why Get a Bachelor's Degree in Business?
All business bachelor's degrees share a common core of preparing students to work in the world of commerce, and students may major in business administration, finance, accounting and international business among other specialties.
While these same subjects may be studied through associate degree or certificate programs, those who earn a four-year degree may find they have significantly better job and income prospects. The chart below compares common occupations within the same business field. As you can see, those with bachelor's degrees earn more income and are in higher demand than those who have less education.
|Area of Study||Education||Potential Occupation||Average Income (2014)||Expected Job Growth (2014-2024)|
|Accounting||Some Postsecondary Education||Bookkeeping, Accounting or Auditing Clerk||$38,070||-8%|
|Accounting||Bachelor Degree||Accountant or Auditor||$73,670||11%|
|Finance||Associate Degree||Financial Clerk||$41,180||6%|
|Finance||Bachelor Degree||Financial Analyst||$92,250||12%|
|Marketing/Sales||High School Diploma||Advertising Sales Agent||$60,910||-3%|
|Marketing/Sales||Bachelor Degree||Public Relations and Fundraising Managers||$115,400||6%|
Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics
Although a bachelor's degree is no guarantee of any specific job placement or income level, a four-year degree may be preferred by many employers and is standard for many of the highest earning business occupations.
How do you enroll in an online bachelor's degree program?
- The first step to earn a business bachelor's degree online is to submit an application. U.S. News & World Report found the average application fee paid by prospective students in 2015 was $41. However, actual fees may be more or less, and some schools may not charge anything at all. For instance, Strayer University discontinued its application fee in 2014.
- After applying, students could receive a determination in as little as 4 weeks from schools with rolling admissions. Colleges and universities with a defined enrollment period could take applications as early as November and not finish sending out acceptance letters until March.
- As with on-campus programs, students may want to send applications to several online programs in the event they are not accepted to their first choice institution.
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What is the Difference Between Online and Campus-Based Degrees?
Of all the degree subjects, none may be quite as conducive to online learning as business. Most business degree programs don't have lab requirements or any similar hands-on instruction component. Therefore, the same material taught in campus classrooms can be taken and easily transmitted through digital means, such as video lectures, interactive applications and discussion boards.
As a result, students get the same level of education online as they would on-campus. What's more, their diploma is exactly the same, and it says nothing to indicate it was earned online.
But Why is Online College Good for Bachelor's Degrees in Business?
By pursing an online bachelor's degree in business, students can often still work or maintain family commitments. Although each school will have its own format, these programs usually allow students to log-in and complete class activities and assignments at whatever time is convenient for them.
Finally, online colleges offer students access to degree programs they may otherwise be unable to attend. Those living in rural areas or who are located far from the college of their choice can complete the education they want without having to relocate.
Does Location Matter for Online Bachelor's Degrees in Business?
Although students may be able to enroll in online degree programs from schools anywhere in the country, they may still want to take an institution's geographic location into consideration.
- Some programs may have on-campus requirements, even for online students. Even if they don't have requirements, colleges and universities may host networking events and job fairs, and students may want to be within traveling distance of the campus to attend those activities. Plus, it may be easier to find a local internship opportunity if a college has a campus nearby.
- That's not to say students should dismiss the prospect of studying at a distant college or a fully online school. However, before enrolling, you may want to check and see what opportunities -- whether that be online job fairs or local in-person events - may be offered by the school to help students gain real-world experience and move into the workforce.
Earning an online bachelor's degree in business can be a smart career move for many people. Contact the schools of your choice to learn more about how to get your business bachelor's degree online.
1. Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2016-17 Edition
2. Most Popular Majors, National Center for Education Statistics, https://nces.ed.gov/fastfacts/display.asp?id=37
3. Bachelor of Business Administration, The University of Georgia Online Learning, https://online.uga.edu/degrees-certificates/bachelor-business-administration
4. Top 10 Reasons to Earn a Bachelor's Degree in Business Administration, American Intercontinental College, http://www.aiuniv.edu/blog/october-2012/top-10-reasons-to-earn-a-bachelor-of-business-administration
5. Colleges that Charge Students the Most to Apply, Susannah Snider, U.S. News and World Report, December 1, 2015, http://www.usnews.com/education/best-colleges/the-short-list-college/articles/2015/12/01/colleges-that-charge-students-the-most-to-apply