Business Management Degree Career Paths
A degree may open the door to a variety of opportunities and diverse career paths. The degree programs offered at CTU will not necessarily lead to the featured careers. This collection of articles is intended to help inform and guide you through the process of determining which level of degree and types of certifications align with your desired career path.
If you’re researching business degree programs, you may have come across two similar-sounding types—business management and business administration. There is often some overlap between these programs since both are designed to help you prepare to pursue opportunities in the business world.
Business management degree programs cover a versatile set of management principles and skills that can be applied across various career paths in a range of industries. These programs typically have a focus on management and leadership. This is in contrast to business administration degree programs, which may cover management and leadership but also focus on general business skills and knowledge.
With that in mind, let’s take a deeper dive into what you might expect from a business management degree program and the different types of business degree career paths you might choose to pursue after completing your education.
What Is a Business Management Degree?
Business management degree programs provide coverage of general business, management, and leadership topics. At the undergraduate level you may find both associate and bachelor’s in business management degree programs. Likewise, at the graduate level you may find both master’s and doctoral degree programs in management.
Associate in business management degree programs are typically designed to provide introductory coverage of business and management concepts. These programs could be well-suited for anyone who isn’t sure whether they want to pursue a future in management or who simply isn’t ready to commit to a more in-depth four-year degree program.
At the bachelor’s level and above, management degree programs typically may consist of a mix of core management courses plus concentration or elective courses. Marketing management, strategic management, operations management, and human resources management may be among the topics covered as part of the core curriculum. It’s often possible to choose a concentration, such as information systems security, IT and project management, public administration, or homeland security, among others.
Business Management Associate Degree Courses vs. Business Management Bachelor’s Degree Courses
The main difference between associate and bachelor’s in business management degree programs comes down to depth of coverage. While some associate and bachelor’s degree in business management courses will overlap, a bachelor’s program will generally pick up where an associate in business management program leaves off.
In a Bachelor of Science in Management program, you may find courses covering principles of finance, marketing, operations and international business that are designed from a managerial perspective. Such courses will explore business management theories, functions and practices with the goal of helping you prepare to pursue a management career path.
At Colorado Technical University, the Associate of Science in Management program aligns with the first two years of the Bachelor of Science in Management program. (Much like our online business administration associate degree program aligns with the first two years of the online BBA program.)
What Potential Career Paths Can You Pursue with a Business Degree?
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics projects 7 percent employment growth in business and financial occupations from 2021 to 2031. Most if not all business career paths in this category require at least a bachelor’s degree.1
So, what can you do with a business degree? There are a number of business management and business administration degree-related career paths you might be able to pursue after completing your business education. The following are some examples of career paths you might pursue with a business degree:*
- General and Operations Manager
- Sales Manager
- Administrative Services Manager
- Industrial Production Manager
- Transportation Manager
- Storage and Distribution Manager
- Construction Manager
- Social and Community Service Manager
- Cost Estimator
- Management Analyst
* CTU cannot guarantee employment, salary, or career advancement. The list of career paths related to this program is based on a subset from the Bureau of Labor Statistics CIP to SOC Crosswalk. Some career paths listed above may require further education or job experience.
The Business Degree Job Market
Keep in mind that depending on several factors—including but not limited to the individual career path you choose to pursue, your level of education, your relevant work experience, your geographic location, etc.—the amount you earn may vary. As a general matter, earning a degree can lead to higher earnings, according to the BLS—this could mean that the more advanced the business management or business administration degree you pursue, the higher potential earnings you may be able to realize down the line.
Other Potential Business Degree Career Paths
Business analysts, also known as management analysts or consultants, gather information about a problem or process, interview personnel, conduct on-site observations and analyze financial data to develop solutions and make recommendations designed to improve an organization’s efficiency. Their strategy recommendations can help organizations enter into and/or remain competitive in the marketplace.2
Human Resources Specialist
Human resources specialists recruit and train employees. They may handle benefits administration, payroll and training, and they are there to answer employee questions about company policies and procedures. HR specialists must also ensure that human resource functions comply with federal, state and local regulations.3
After developing extensive knowledge of their organization and its regulatory compliance needs (often in addition to completing voluntary human resources certification programs), human resources specialists may advance to human resources manager roles. Human resources managers plan, coordinate and direct an organization’s administrative functions—for example, recruitment and hiring, employee benefits and employee disputes.3
Sales managers direct the activities of sales teams. Most sales managers assign sales territories and set sales quotas and goals. They monitor customer preferences, analyze sales statistics, project sales and profitability and develop strategies to acquire new customers via various types of sales techniques.4
Sales managers also recruit, hire and train new sales team members and also advise existing sales representatives on performance improvement. They tend to work closely with their organization’s marketing managers, research and design departments, and warehousing departments.4
Choosing a Business Degree Program
If you’re interested in business, deciding whether to pursue a business administration degree or business management degree program may not be easy. Taking an inventory of your aspirations could help inform your choice—would you prefer to focus more on developing management skills and knowledge, or are you more interested in studying the “nuts and bolts” of general business operations? For some, the choice might come down to which program’s curriculum “speaks” to you, as both types of business degrees can help you prepare to pursue many of the same career paths.
Interested in learning more? Explore the full list of Business and Management degree programs CTU has to offer.
1 Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, “Business and Financial Occupations,” https://www.bls.gov/ooh/business-and-financial/home.htm (visited 3/20/2023). This data represents national figures and is not based on school-specific information. Conditions in your area may vary.
2 Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, “Management Analysts,” https://www.bls.gov/ooh/business-and-financial/management-analysts.htm (visited 3/20/2023).
3 Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, “Human Resources Specialists,” https://www.bls.gov/ooh/business-and-financial/human-resources-specialists.htm (visited 3/20/2023).
4 Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, “Sales Managers,” https://www.bls.gov/ooh/management/sales-managers.htm (visited 3/20/2023).
Colorado Technical University cannot guarantee employment, salary, or career advancement. Not all programs are available to residents of all states. REQ1887611 3/20/2023