The world of business is constantly changing, so in order to keep up, many professionals choose to advance their education by earning a master's degree in business administration. Some students are managers who want to sharpen their skills, while others aspire to work their way up to managerial positions. No matter what their goals are, students in MBA programs can expect to gain valuable knowledge and skills in areas ranging from advanced economics to marketing to human resources management.
Earning a master's degree, which generally takes about two years to complete, can go a long way toward helping graduates increase their earnings and career opportunities. Just as the National Center for Education Statistics reports that workers with bachelor's degrees earn over 60 percent more than those with only a high school diploma, master's degree graduates typically see higher earnings than those who end their education at the undergraduate level. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), people who hold master's degrees earned a median weekly salary of $1,341 in 2015, while those with bachelor's degrees made $1,137.
Prospective students interested in a master's degree in business administration may be concerned that they cannot fit a graduate program into their already busy schedules. However, earning a degree online can alleviate these concerns. By enrolling in an online MBA program, students have the flexibility to juggle their studies with other activities in their lives -- whether they are working a full-time job or raising a family. Continue reading to learn more about these programs and their benefits.
Why Get a Master's Degree in Business Administration?
Earning a master's degree in business administration may position graduates to land higher paying jobs than they might get if they ended their education with a bachelor's or associate degree. The following are a sample of just some of the jobs that workers with MBAs can pursue, and the median annual salaries these positions command (according to PayScale):
- Chief Executive Officer: $159,891
- Chief Financial Officer: $121,942
- Finance Director: $104,842
- Human Resources Manager: $104,440
- Information Technology Manager: $80,810
- Senior Financial Analyst: $75,194
Conversely, those who earn bachelor's or associate degrees in business administration have a number of job openings available to them, but they typically don't make the salaries that their counterparts with master's degrees earn. For comparison, following are some examples of the jobs and median salaries that those with lower-level degrees qualify for:
- Advertising Sales Agent: $48,490
- Bookkeeper: $39,510
- Credit Manager: $61,810
- Public Relations Specialist: $56,770
- Real Estate Sales Agent: $43,370
In addition to increased salaries, the positions available for MBA graduates also have a brighter outlook than positions for those with lower-level degrees. For example, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that there will likely be a 15 percent increase in available jobs for IT managers between 2014 and 2024, while the growth for human resources managers will likely be nine percent during that period. However, real estate agents will only see three percent growth during that time frame, and advertising agents and bookkeepers will see no increase in jobs at all. In fact, these professions are expected to decline by three and eight percent, respectively, in the coming years.
How Do You Enroll in an Online Master's Degree Program?
Those who enroll in an online master's degree program in business administration should be confident that they're getting the same quality education that their on-campus counterparts are receiving. This is in part because the requirements for admission are typically the same for both traditional and online students. Although every school has its own unique standards for admission, they generally look for those who have earned at least a 3.0 grade point average in a bachelor's degree program and a good score on the GMAT or GRE examinations. In addition, programs may prefer candidates who took classes in accounting, statistics, or economics during their undergraduate years.
Application process. Online students can expect to undergo the same application process as traditional students. The following are some of the steps that may be required to be considered for admission:
- Fill out an application. It's imperative to make sure the application has been filled out completely and correctly.
- Arrange to have transcripts from completed undergraduate program sent to the school.
- Arrange to have GRE or GMAT scores sent to the program.
- Submit a resume. Some programs consider an applicant's work history, so resumes should highlight business experience and accomplishments.
- Recommendations. Applicants should get recommendations from professors, but in some cases, schools will accept letters from employers if the work experience is relevant.
- Statement of interest. These essays should outline what hopefuls want to get out of the program, what their career goals are, and what they bring to the table as a student if they're admitted.
- Interview. Some departments may require prospective business administration students to participate in an interview with a professor and/or student in the department. Even if this is not required, in some cases, an interview can help boost an applicant's chances of being admitted.
- Pay the application fee.
Program cost. Tuition costs for online graduate programs vary, and in some cases, online MBA programs may cost about the same as traditional programs. However, on average, schools charge in-state students $690 per credit for online programs and $803 for traditional programs, according to U.S. News & World Report. Similarly, average out-of-state tuition is $748 and $1,063 per credit for online and traditional programs, respectively.
Filling Out a Request Form
Are you interested in earning a master's degree in business administration from an online school? Request information from any of the schools listed on this page to learn more.
What's the Difference Between Online and Campus-Based Degrees?
Students who enroll in an online MBA program can expect to receive the same quality education as their on-campus peers. However, the way courses are conducted make it easier for busy students to complete their required classwork. For example, online schools may make classes available on an asynchronous basis, which means that although students have access to the same lectures that on-campus students do, they can log on to the content any time day or night, rather than at a set time every week.
Online business administration programs also provide convenient ways to communication with professors. Depending on the program, students may be able to contact instructors via e-mail, instant message, or videoconferencing programs. Similarly, online schools create ways to make it easy for students to connect with each other through message boards and online chat groups.
Why Is Online College Good for Master's Degrees in Business Administration?
Online schools allow students who want to earn an MBA to conveniently reach their goals as they still keep up with their other responsibilities. Students learn advanced business concepts, along with real-world solutions to organizational problems, which train them to work in demanding managerial positions.
Does Location Matter for an Online Master's Degree in Business Administration?
Busy students enrolled in online MBA degree programs may be concerned that they'll be required to travel to campus. In some cases, students are able to complete all of their requirements online and are never expected to do work in a physical classroom. However, other programs do have components that need to be completed in person -- such as lectures, group projects, or tests. It's important for students to find out about any on-campus obligations before enrolling in a program.
- "The Cost of Your MBA," OnlineMBA.com, http://www.onlinemba.com/guide/the-cost-of-your-mba/
- "Earnings and unemployment rates by educational attainment, 2015," U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, http://www.bls.gov/emp/ep_chart_001.htm
- Occupational Outlook Handbook 2016-17 Edition, U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, http://www.bls.gov/ooh/
- Salary Data & Career Research Center (United States), PayScale, http://www.payscale.com/research/US/Country=United_States/Salary
- "Study: Income Gap Between Young College and High School Grads Widens," U.S. News & World Report, http://www.usnews.com/news/articles/2014/02/11/study-income-gap-between-young-college-and-high-school-grads-widens
- "U.S. News Data: Online MBA Not Always a Cheaper Option," U.S. News & World Report, http://www.usnews.com/education/online-education/articles/2015/03/30/us-news-data-online-mba-not-always-a-cheaper-option
- "What Are the Benefits of Earning an MBA Degree?," Learn.org, http://learn.org/articles/What_are_the_Benefits_of_Earning_an_MBA_Degree.html