Earning a bachelor's degree in business administration is a great way to prepare for a myriad of careers, from marketing to finance to sales. These four-year degree programs train students for the realities of the modern workforce by teaching subjects such as accounting principles, business ethics, and organizational communication -- which provides graduates with the knowledge and skills that employers are looking for. Also, the leadership skills taught in business administration programs help lay the foundation needed to climb up the corporate ladder and obtain coveted managerial positions.
In addition, bachelor's degree programs can help workers increase their earning potential and the amount of job opportunities available to them. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average annual salary of those with a high school diploma was $33,852 in 2013, while salaries jumped to an average of $57,616 for those who had bachelor's degrees. Additionally, in 2015, high school graduates faced a 5.4 percent unemployment rate, yet the rate was only 2.8 percent among those with their bachelor's.
When pursuing a bachelor's degree in business administration online, students get all of the advantages of an on-campus program with added convenience. Whether they're just graduating from high school and live in a rural area that makes commuting to campus every day difficult, or they're older students with full-time jobs and children looking to advance their education to explore a new career path, these programs help students reach their goals while allowing them to take classes in the way that best suits their lifestyles.
Why Get a Bachelor's Degree in Business Administration?
An online bachelor's degree in business administration can open graduates up to many different job opportunities that they may not be able to qualify for with only an associate's degree or undergraduate certificate. The following are examples of these jobs and the median salaries associated with each, according to PayScale:
- Advertising and Promotions Manager: $95,890
- Financial Analyst: $80,310
- General and Operations Manager: $97,730
- Market Research Analysts and Marketing Specialist: $62,150
- Medical and Health Services Manager: $94,500
For comparison, the following is a sample of some jobs that those with associate's degrees and certificates in business administration may qualify for. In many cases, the median salaries are significantly lower than what bachelor's degree holders might earn.
- Accounts Payable Clerk: $34,789
- Bookkeeping, Accounting, and Auditing Clerk: $37,250
- Customer Service Representative: $31,720
- Insurance Claims and Policy Processing Clerk: $37,530
- Real Estate Sales Agent: $43,370
- Secretary and Administrative Assistant: $33,910
Not only do those with bachelor's degrees typically make more money, some positions they can pursue have more job growth than those available to graduates with lower-level degrees. For example, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that market research analysts and medical and health services managers will see 19 and 17 percent job growth, respectively, between 2014 and 2024. On the other hand, jobs for secretaries, administrative assistants, and real estate sales agents will only see a three percent increase during that time, which is much slower than the national average for all occupations. Also, bookkeeping, accounting, and auditing clerk jobs will actually decline by eight percent in the coming years.
How Do You Enroll in an Online Bachelor's Degree Program?
When deciding on a degree program, cost is always a big factor in the decision. Like traditional programs, the tuition and fees associated with earning an online degree can differ from one school to the next. However, according to U.S. News & World Report, the average per credit cost of an online bachelor's degree is $277, while traditional degree programs charge $243 on average.
Even though online students do not pay for room and board like their on-campus counterparts, there are still fees involved in their education. For instance, schools may charge technology fees that can range from about $100 to $300 to cover the technical support that is provided to students, as well as the online learning management systems that schools use to deliver course content. And like traditional students, those enrolled in online degree programs may be charged fees for class materials.
Once prospective students have narrowed down their list of schools, it's time to start sending out applications. Although every school has its own process, the following outlines what applicants can generally expect to do when being considered for an online business administration program:
- Complete an application. Make sure the application is filled out correctly and completely, and that the applicable fee is enclosed.
- Earn a high school diploma or equivalent. Arrange to have transcripts sent to the online school.
- Take standardized tests. In most cases, schools will consider students' SAT or ACT scores during the admissions process. Students whose first language is not English may be required to submit TOEFL scores.
- Recommendations. Be sure to ask for recommendations from teachers as soon as possible in order to make the application deadline. If possible, get recommendations from educators who teach business-related classes.
- Personal essay. Students are generally required to submit a personal essay about why they want to enroll in the program and how it will help them reach their career goals.
- Take relevant courses. Some schools may weight applicants more heavily if they have already completed courses in business during their time in high school.
- Extracurricular activities. Schools are always interested in well-rounded students who have participated in activities outside of the classroom. Joining business clubs can go a long way toward impressing a school and demonstrating interest in the discipline.
Filling Out a Request Form
Finding the right school can feel like a daunting process, so it's important to get as much information as possible before enrolling. To learn more about online business administration degree programs, contact any of the schools listed on this page.
What's the Difference Between Online and Campus-Based Degrees?
The course content of an online program is generally the same as its on-campus counterpart, so students who pursue a business administration degree online can be confident they're receiving the same quality education as traditional students. However, the delivery and structure of these programs are different.
For example, online programs may be synchronous or asynchronous, depending on the school. Those who are enrolled in synchronous programs are expected to log on to the school's course management system during specific times in order to watch or listen to class lectures. Similarly, course assignments may also follow a strict schedule. In an asynchronous program, students have more flexibility and are able to watch lectures during times that are convenient for them, and can often hand in homework assignments at their own pace.
Students in online programs typically have easy access to their professors, the same way they would if they were taking classes on campus. The only difference is online students rely on email, chat rooms, message boards, and teleconferencing programs to get in touch with their instructors. Additionally, courses that rely heavily on class participation provide spaces online where students can discuss course material and connect with one another.
Why Is Online College Good for Bachelor's Degrees in Business Administration?
Bachelor's degrees in business administration help give students a solid foundation to build their career on. When they pursue these degrees online, they also utilize and become familiar with a wide range of technology -- a quality that is attractive to employers. In addition, online programs may expose students to classmates from around the world. This can help budding professionals learn how to interact with people from different cultures, which is a must in the global economy.
Does Location Matter for an Online Bachelor's Degree in Business Administration?
Location does not necessarily matter when it comes to earning an online degree, but it depends on the program. Hybrid degree programs require that students complete some elements of their courses on campus, so they may need to travel to their school to participate in things like lectures or class projects.
- "Earnings and unemployment rates by educational attainment, 2015," U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, http://www.bls.gov/emp/ep_chart_001.htm
- "Is Attending College Online Cheaper Than Attending a Traditional College?," Best Value Schools, http://www.bestvalueschools.com/faq/is-attending-college-online-cheaper-than-attending-a-traditional-college/
- Occupational Employment Statistics, 2015, U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, http://www.bls.gov/oes/
- Occupational Outlook Handbook 2016-17 Edition, U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, http://www.bls.gov/ooh/
- "Online Business Administration and Management Bachelor's Degree," U.S. News & World Report, http://www.usnews.com/education/online-education/business-administration-management-bachelors-degree
- Salary Data & Career Research Center (United States), PayScale, http://www.payscale.com/research/US/Country=United_States/Salary