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What can you do with a business administration degree? Careers, tips and more

By Michael Feder
November 15, 2021 • 10 minutes

At a glance

  • According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the median annual wage for business and financial occupations was $72,250 in May 2020. This was higher than the median annual wage for all occupations, which was $41,950.
  • BLS projects that business and financial careers will grow about 8% from 2020 to 2030. This is comparable to the average growth of all occupations in the U.S.
  • Increases in globalization, digital transformation and complex tax regulatory systems are some of the main drivers behind increasing needs for auditors, accountants, strategists and market researchers. These are all jobs that you can get with a bachelor’s in business administration. 

Getting a business degree with a concentration in administration is designed to cover the foundations of several different aspects of business. Unlike a business management degree, which focuses more on business theory, a business administration degree focuses on the practical, everyday skills you’ll need to run a business. This degree can be used as a great building block for a career in several different industries.

If you’re someone who is interested in different aspects of business, is highly organized and recognizes the value of a well-rounded knowledge base rather than a single specialty, then a degree in business administration may be perfect for you.  

What is a business administration degree?

A business administration degree prepares aspiring business professionals for the everyday administrative needs of a business. This includes:

  • Finances and accounting
  • Project management
  • Human resources and personnel management
  • General administration
  • Marketing and market research
  • Business information and technology

Soft skills that you may learn with a business administration major can include cross-department communication, problem-solving and critical thinking. Business administration degrees are one of the more technical business majors available and are perfect for anyone who values hands-on knowledge.  

How do I start a career in business administration?

Most careers in business administration require at least a bachelor’s degree, which typically takes four years to complete. Some associate degrees are also designed to help you get started in a business career. While these degrees take less time to complete, they also cover less material, meaning graduates will have less expertise toward a job than those with a bachelor’s degree.

Some business roles may require Master of Business Administration (MBA). An MBA is an advanced degree that explores various processes of business administration, such as investment management, advanced data analysis and higher levels of problem-solving. Many C-suite professionals in the business world have MBAs, so this can be an important degree for business professionals looking to enhance their careers. 

 

What jobs can you get with a business administration degree?

There are many things that you can do with a business degree. What you ultimately end up pursuing will depend on your interests and career goals. A few examples of what you can do with a business degree include:

  • Analyzing business data: Data analytics is an important part of business administration. Businesses run on data — customer data, performance data, market data — and it may be a part of your job to collect, store and interpret this data for a variety of purposes. Business administration students may even concentrate in business analytics to further specialize in the field.
  • Creating marketing campaigns: One way you may leverage the data you collect is by creating new marketing campaigns. This is where an in-depth understanding of the market your business functions in, as well as the unique value it offers, becomes important. Successful marketing campaigns are instrumental in generating new leads, which is how many businesses create new customers. Marketing is another popular focus for business students.
  • Budgeting and balancing profits and losses for the company: To properly budget for a company, it’s important to understand how business economics work and to be able to accurately track and understand profits-and-loss data. This is why economics is a pillar of many business degrees, including both business administration and business management, and financial planning is an optional concentration for business students.

 

Another advantage to studying business administration? You can complement your degree with a variety of certificates.

For example, someone with a business administration degree could pursue a certificate in project management. If you have or are currently pursuing a business administration degree, certain credits may transfer over, making this certificate easier and faster to get. 

How to find a job in business administration

When looking for jobs that will suit your business administration degree, you may want to search for the specific tasks you want to do, as opposed to searching for “business administration jobs.” Because “business administration” is such a broad term that covers a lot of possible careers, searching instead for the experience or role you’d like to have — such as “executive assistant” or “resource manager” — will likely result in the postings you are interested in.

Many schools also offer career services to their students at no extra charge. This can be a great resource for learning how to write a resumé, gleaning interview tips and even understanding how to effectively apply for jobs. 

Business administration careers

Due to the versatile nature of a business administration degree, graduates can consider several career paths across a range of industries. If you’re unsure of which industry or facet of business you’d like to go into, you may consider pursuing certificates  or internships that align with your interests. These can act as an introduction to different types of possible jobs.

Below are just a few examples of what you can do with a business administration degree. 

Sales manager

Overview: Sales managers are in charge of directing the sales team for a business. This includes dealing with clients, developing sales goals, training for new processes and opening and closing accounts.

National Salary Range: Sales managers made between $63,170 and $208,000 in May 2020, according to BLS. Salaries depend on a variety of factors including experience and location.

Education Requirements: Sales managers typically need a bachelor’s degree. While you can get started as a sales representative and work your way up with experience, this may take more time than receiving your degree, and your employer may still prefer you to have at least an associate degree.

Job Outlook: According to BLS, sales manager jobs are projected to grow at 7%, which is about average across all industries, between 2020 and 2030. It is projected that about 37,000 sales manager positions will be available year-to-year until 2030.

Accountant

Overview: Professionals in the accounting field handle the financial planning, balances and tax affairs for businesses. Accountants can also work privately for individual citizens. They ensure that financial records are accurate and securely stored and that the company or entity they work for stays in good financial health.

National Salary Range: In May 2020, accountants earned between $45,220 and $128,680, according to BLS.  Salaries depend on a variety of factors including experience and location.

Education Requirements: You need a bachelor’s degree to become an accountant. Some states may also require accountants to be certified public accountants (CPAs) to work publicly.

Job Outlook: According to BLS, accounting jobs are growing at a rate of 7% between 2020 and 2030, which is comparable to the growth rate of most other occupations. The BLS projects that about 135,000 job openings for accountants will be available year-over-year until 2030. 

Market research analyst

Overview: Market research analysts use data analytics tools and skills to study market trends to identify sales opportunities and new demographics for their company’s product or service. Market research analysts often work closely with the sales team, as well as the marketing department to create a holistic approach to generating, onboarding and retaining clientele.

National Salary Range: According to the BLS, market research analysts earned between $35,380 and $127,410 in May 2020. Salaries depend on a variety of factors including experience and location.

Education Requirements: You will need a bachelor’s degree in business administration or another business-related field to become a market research analyst. Additional professional certifications to consider include:

While these are recommended, they are not absolute. Many private organizations offer similar certifications as well.

Job Outlook: Job growth for market research analysts is projected to grow 22% between 2020 and 2030, according to BLS, which is well above the average growth rate of 7% to 9%. 

Human resources manager

Overview: Human resource managers plan, coordinate and direct the administrative functions of an organization. They oversee things like payroll, new-hire onboarding and recruiting, and they often act as the communication link between upper management and employees.

National Salary Range: According to BLS, human resource managers earned between $71,180 and $208,000 in May 2020. Salaries depend on a variety of factors including experience and location.

Education Requirements: You need a bachelor’s degree to become a human resource manager. Professional HR certifications are not required but those in the following categories may help enhance your career:

  • Organizational development
  • Diversity and inclusion
  • Digital learning and development

Job Outlook: Jobs in human resource management are projected to grow 9% between 2020 and 2030, according to BLS, and that is comparable to the average growth rate. About 14,800 job openings for human resources managers are projected to be available year-over-year until 2030. 

Entrepreneurship

Going into business for yourself is another opportunity business administration graduates may consider. According to BLS, self-employed workers in business management, manufacturing and related fields enjoyed a median annual income of $60,000 in 2016 .

Beyond the comfortable salary, self-employment in business contains a wide variety of options, such as:

  • Opening and running your own start-up company: One of the most classic examples of entrepreneurship is starting your own business from the ground up. A business administration degree will give you the foundational tools you need to understand what goes into this process — including how to create a budget, perform market research for your product or service and create business goals.
  • Becoming a consultant: Starting a consulting company is another way you can be your own boss with a business administration degree. Consultant opportunities run the gamut from economics and finances to marketing and industry trends.
  • Buying a franchise: If you still want to own your own business, but don’t have an idea for a new product or service, you could buy a franchise. When buying a franchise, there are often specific regulations that need to be followed concerning branding, marketing and personnel training. A business administration degree ensures you have the necessary skills for meeting those challenges.
  • Licensing a new product: Licensing a new product is another way to create a new and scalable business. You can choose how many businesses you work with, how much you manufacture and how much your product sells for. This can be done on a large scale, such as selling your product to big-box stores, or a much smaller scale, such as creating an e-commerce site.

The salary ranges are not specific to students or graduates of University of Phoenix. Actual outcomes vary based on multiple factors, including prior work experience, geographic location and other factors specific to the individual. University of Phoenix does not guarantee employment, salary level or career advancement. BLS data is geographically based. Information for a specific state/city can be researched on the BLS website.

How to get a business administration degree

Several accredited universities offer business administration degrees. You can pursue this degree at a traditional university, or you can pursue your degree online.  There are pros and cons to both. At a traditional university, you’ll enjoy social opportunities such as Greek life, sporting events and more. At an online school, you can benefit from a flexible schedule, to help better manage school with work and life responsibilities.

Once you’ve decided on how you’d like to pursue your degree in business administration, you can start researching schools that offer the program you seek. Make sure to review the entry requirements carefully, especially if you’re going for an advanced degree like an MBA.

Bachelor’s degrees in business administration typically take four years or 120 credit hours. You may need to complete additional credit hours if you’re getting a certificate, endorsement or double major. An MBA will typically require another 33 credit hours, depending on the program requirements.

Getting a degree in business administration can give you the hands-on knowledge you need to help any office run smoothly. You can pursue special interests, such as research and analysis, or cultivate a well-rounded approach to business administration with this degree. Advanced opportunities, such as pursuing your MBA, help you be prepared to explore new ways to be challenged and to excel in this field.

 

Don’t be afraid to dream big! Our blog explores what’s involved with earning your MBA and what career outcomes you can expect.

Ready to start your business administration degree? Explore the Bachelor of Science in Business at University of Phoenix!