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.
Business is among the most commonly sought-after degree fields in the United States. According to the National Center for Education Statistics, in 2019–2020, the most recent year for which data is available, 500,000 business degrees were awarded at the associate and bachelor’s levels.1
But what is a business degree, and are there different types? Which career paths can a business degree program help you prepare for? Let’s explore these and other questions to help you decide whether pursuing a business degree program is right for you.
What Is a Business Degree?
To understand what a business degree program is, let’s begin by defining “business.” According to Merriam-Webster’s first definition of “business,” it is:
- a usually commercial or mercantile activity engaged in as a means of livelihood
- a commercial or sometimes an industrial enterprise
- dealings or transactions especially of an economic nature2
It makes sense, then, that business degree programs cover principles, practices and skills relevant to commercial, industrial and even non-profit enterprises. There are a few different types of business degrees to choose from—management, accounting, finance and business administration degree programs are among the more common ones you might find at colleges and universities. Online business degree programs have become widely available and can offer more flexibility and convenience than traditional part-time and full-time on-campus programs.
And the good news for anyone who majored in an unrelated undergraduate subject — Master of Business Administration and Master of Science in Management programs typically do not require that you hold a bachelor’s degree in business or a business-related field.
Types of Business Degrees
Depending on the type of business degree you decide to pursue, you may be able to choose a concentration. Business administration and business management degree programs, like other types of degree programs, are comprised of mandatory core courses and elective courses.
Students who want to choose their own electives can opt for a generalist track. However, students with an interest in a particular subject—say, business development, entrepreneurship, or accounting—might choose a concentration based on that interest. Essentially, when you select a concentration, you’re choosing to take a predetermined set of elective courses related to a particular subject instead of picking them out a la carte.
For example, Colorado Technical University’s online bachelors’ degree program in business administration offers concentrations in:
- Business Development
- Data Analytics
- Digital Marketing
- Healthcare Management
- Human Resource Management
- Information Technology
- Logistics and Supply Chain Management
- Project Management
We also offer a Bachelor of Science in Management degree program that can be taken as a generalist track or with a concentration in food service management.
CTU offers different types of graduate business degree concentrations as well. Our master’s degree program in management has concentrations in:
- Information Systems Security
- IT and Project Management
- Organizational Leadership and Change
- Project Management
- Public Administration
What Can You Do with a Business Degree?
Often people are attracted to business degree programs because they want to develop skills that can be applied across various industries. Gaining familiarity with the fundamentals of marketing, finance, operations, accounting and human resources can be useful whether you’re an aspiring entrepreneur, healthcare manager, management analyst, or something else entirely.
What you can do with a business degree may also depend on the type of business degree you earned and whether you have relevant professional experience, among other factors. The potential career path opportunities that may come with an associate degree in business could differ from those you might pursue with a bachelor’s or master’s degree in business.
Potential Business Degree Career Paths
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics projects a 7 percent employment growth rate in business and financial occupations from 2021 to 2031. In particular, the BLS projects a strong demand for financial analysts and market research analysts.3 But there are other career paths with a job growth rate higher than the current overall average that you might consider pursuing with a business degree education, such as the following:
Human Resources (HR) Specialist
Human resources specialists recruit, hire and train employees. They are often trained to handle tasks in all areas of an HR department. Their typical duties include:4
- Consulting with employers to identify hiring needs
- Interviewing job candidates and conducting reference and background checks
- Hiring or referring qualified applicants
- Conducting or assisting with new employee orientation and training
Education/Experience: Human resources specialists typically need a bachelor’s degree in human resources, business, communications, or related field. Some employers or positions may require relevant work experience.4
Job Outlook: The BLS projects employment of human resources specialists to grow 8 percent from 2021 to 2031.4
Management analysts (also referred to as business analysts or business consultants) make recommendations to organizations on how to improve their efficiency. Typical management analyst duties include:5
- Gathering and organizing information on the problems or procedures in question
- Interviewing personnel and conducting onsite observations to determine the methods, equipment and personnel needed
- Analyzing financial and other data
- Developing solutions or alternative practices, making recommendations to management and conferring with managers to ensure that recommended changes are working
Education/Experience: Management analysts typically need at least a bachelor’s degree and several years of work experience. Some employers prefer candidates with a Master of Business Administration.5
Job Outlook: The BLS projects employment of management analysts to grow 11 percent from 2021 to 2031.5
Why Get a Business Degree?
Maybe you’re still wondering whether earning a business degree is for you. Put simply, it all depends on what matters to you. For example, if job growth is important to you, then the projected 7 percent employment growth rate3 might make you consider pursuing a business degree. The possible versatility of a business degree education could be another factor. But you might also want to consider other factors, such as: How long it will take to earn a business degree? What will a business degree program cost? How much work experience is needed to enter your desired field? And how competitive is your desired field?
Thinking about pursuing a business degree? Explore CTU’s full range of Business and Management degree programs.
1 National Center for Education Statistics (NCES), “Undergraduate Degree Fields,” https://nces.ed.gov/programs/coe/indicator/cta (last visited 3/20/2023).
2 Merriam-Webster Dictionary, s.v. “business,” https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/business (last visited 3/20/2023).
3 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 (last visited 3/20/2023). This data represents national figures and is not based on school-specific information. Conditions in your area may vary.
4 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 (last visited 3/20/2023). This data represents national figures and is not based on school-specific information. Conditions in your area may vary.
5 Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, “Management Analysts,” at https://www.bls.gov/ooh/business-and-financial/management-analysts.htm (last visited 3/20/2023). This data represents national figures and is not based on school-specific information. Conditions in your area may vary.
Colorado Technical University cannot guarantee employment, salary, or career advancement. Not all programs are available to residents of all states. REQ1887614 3/20/2023
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