With a population close to half a million people, Atlanta is a bustling, growing economic anchor of the Southeastern United States. Sixteen Fortune 500 companies call Atlanta home, including The Home Depot, UPS, The Coca-Cola Company, Delta Air Lines, Inc., The Southern Company and more. All told, 28 companies on the Fortune 1000 have a presence in the Atlanta metropolitan area, according to the Metro Atlanta Chamber of Commerce. In addition to being a regional transportation hub, Atlanta continues to track new investments in industries ranging from manufacturing to telecommunications, education to health care.
Some of the largest employers in the metro area in 2014 included Delta Air Lines (30,000 employees), AT&T (18,000 employees) and Emory University (23,000 employees). Atlanta's economic growth can be seen in its burgeoning technology and financial industries. Like major players such as Coca-Cola or the Home Depot, smaller, private companies are also taking advantage of the positive economic climate in the region.
As the economy continues to diversify and new industries emerge, new opportunities for business majors should appear each year, an attractive benefit for attending a business school in Atlanta. Some of the fastest growing companies in the country can be found in Atlanta, including several that made Inc.'s 2014 list of the top private businesses in Atlanta, a list that ranks the fastest growing companies in the area:
|Residential Capital Management||2,626%|
|Expert Technical Solutions||1,908%|
|StandBy Talent Staffing Services||1,179%|
Online Business Degree Programs in Atlanta
Whether the goal is to become a financial planner or a project manager, or even pursue a graduate-level education in business, an online business degree program can get the process underway. Today, business degrees can be completed entirely online, rather than through the traditional, brick-and-mortar-based settings.
Prospective business students in Atlanta may select from three central degrees in business at both the graduate and undergraduate levels: associate, bachelor's and master's. Depending on the student's future professional goals, these programs can be tailored in several concentrations, such as finance, marketing, business management, project management, accounting, and more.
Associate's Degree. An associate degree can be completed in as little as two years and serves as a starting point to entry-level positions across various business sectors.
Bachelor's Degree. The bachelor's is typically a four- to five-year program of study that traditionally focus on a more comprehensive curriculum in business, allowing students an opportunity to broaden and enhance their skill sets in areas like decision making, strategic planning and problem solving.
Master of Business Administration (MBA). The MBA is a professional degree, one designed to bolster the business skills of students, preparing them to pursue leadership positions within their respective fields.
According to the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES)**, 22 technical institutes, universities, and community colleges in Atlanta graduated more than 5,400 students with business degrees in 2013. Business, marketing and management were the three most popular majors for students in Atlanta in 2013. At the degree level, bachelor's degrees were most common with 2,662 degrees conferred, followed by master's degrees in business (2,047), and associate degrees in business (345).
Below is a list of the institutions of higher education that that awarded the most business degrees in Atlanta in 2013:
|Rank||Institution||Business Degrees Conferred|
|1||Georgia State University||2,096|
|2||Georgia Institute of Technology||788|
|4||Atlanta Technical College||291|
|5||American InterContinental University||160|
|6||Clark Atlanta University||154|
|9||The Art Institute of Atlanta||62|
**NCES does not report data for online degrees, instead includes them in an aggregate total of degrees conferred.
Source: National Center for Education Statistics, 2013
Career Opportunities for Business Graduates in Atlanta
Graduates of online business school programs in Atlanta can pursue a variety of career paths, ranging from financial services to marketing, sales to human resources. To get a sense of the overall employment potential, the chart below includes the 2013 average salaries for select business-related occupations in the Atlanta metro region:
|Occupation||2013 Average Salary in Atlanta Metro Area|
|Bookkeeping, Accounting, and Auditing Clerks||$37,580|
|Business and Financial Operations Occupations||$73,290|
|Accountants and Auditors||$76,040|
|Human Resources Managers||$115,160|
Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics, Occupational and Wage Estimates, 2013
According to the most recent data from the Georgia Department of Labor, the two-year, short-term projected growth of business and financial occupations in the Atlanta metro region was 5.5 percent between 2013 and 2015. Of the business-related occupations listed in the table above, the job with the best short-term outlook was credit analyst (6.9 percent growth). Below is a table of the projected, short-term job growth of business jobs in the Atlanta metro area:
|Occupation||2013-2015 Projected Growth Rate|
|Accountants and auditors||5.2%|
|Human resources managers||4.9%|
|Bookkeeping, accounting, and auditing clerks||4.1%|
Source: Georgia Department of Labor
"May 2013 State Occupational Employment and Wage Estimates, Georgia," U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, May 2013, http://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes_ga.htm
"Georgia State Occupational Projections," Projections Central, 2015, Projectionscentral.com
National Center for Education Statistics, 2015, http://nces.ed.gov/
"Occupational Trends," Georgia Department of Labor, 2015, http://www.dol.state.ga.us/em/occupational_outlook.htm
"The 2014 Inc. 5000," Inc., 2014, http://www.inc.com/inc5000/list/2014/metro/atlanta/
"Metro Atlanta Headquartered FORTUNE 500 and 1000," Metro Atlanta Chamber, 2014, http://www.metroatlantachamber.com/business/data/fortune-500-1000-hq
"Top 25 Employers in Metro Atlanta," Atlanta Business Chronicle, July 11, 2014, http://www.bizjournals.com/atlanta/subscriber-only/2014/07/11/top-employers-in-metro-atlanta.html