Online business degrees are specifically designed to help students develop a firm understanding on the most important areas of business, including marketing strategies, organizational issues, finances, risk management, business leadership/management, and global implications of the marketplace. As one of the most popular degree options available, business degrees are renowned for boosting career prospects, commanding a higher salary, and realizing goals in a specific business field. Since online business degrees provide flexibility and convenience to study at one’s own pace, it is a particularly exceptional learning environment for adult learners, career changers, busy working professionals, and anyone who thrives in an independent setting.
Instead of being limited to simply what is available at your local schools, online education opens up plentiful diverse business programs at top schools across the country and world to suit all of your individual career interests. Depending on a particular school’s offerings and your previous education experience, you can earn a business degree at the associates, baccalaureate, masters, and doctoral levels online from the comfort of home. More than just the traditional majors in Business Administration, online students also have the freedom to focus their studies in Marketing, Human Resources, Economics, Finances, Accounting, Entrepreneurship, Information Systems, Management, International Business, and many other topics of interest.
How to Find the Top Online Business Degree Programs
Although there are an increasing number of schools offering business degree programs online, it is essential that you confirm the background of the college or university to ensure it will be the best business program match for your education. Thorough research is paramount to choosing the top online business degree for you. Once you have selected the degree and specialization that fits your interests and career goals, start searching through various schools’ website to find detailed information about their business programs. Make sure to take special notes of crucial facts about the length of the program, how the course will be delivered, overall tuition costs to attend, and graduate job placement rates. If any of this information is not available on the website, do not hesitate to pick up the phone to inquire more about the program’s value.
When you have formed a list of the programs that interest you, one of the most important next steps is checking to be certain that the program has been accredited by recognized accrediting agencies. Not only does accreditation guarantee that you will be receiving a high-quality education, it also makes you eligible to receive federal financial aid and increases the likelihood of attracting employers after completion. If information on accreditation is not found on the school’s website, it is suggested that you visit the US Department of Education Database of Accredited Postsecondary Institutions and Programs. Furthermore, be on the lookout for degrees that are accredited by the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB) to find the best of the best online business programs that are held to the highest standards.
The other main factor that you should consider when finding one of the top online business degree programs is its ranking. Each year, US News and World Report survey compiles a ranked order list of the business schools in the nation that offer bachelor’s and master’s degree programs online. Graduation rates, teaching practices, program level accreditation, average class sizes, freshmen retention rates, acceptance rates, faculty credentials, student support services/technologies, and student engagement levels are all factored into the rankings. Therefore, it is highly recommended that you check through the US News and World Report database to find the schools with the best reputation within the business world and beyond.
If you are struggling through your search to locate the best online business degree programs, the following are three of the most well-known and highest ranked in the United States that you may want to consider and further investigate.
• Washington State University – Within its Global Campus, Washington State University provides students with an online Bachelor of Science in Accounting, Bachelor of Science in Management Information Systems, Master of Business Administration, Executive Master of Business Administration, and a Master of Science in Strategic Communication. Students can also choose from three concentrations in Finance, Marketing, and International Business. Accredited by the AACSB, the WSU College of Business is ranked as 1st among the best online business schools in the nation. As an excellent indicator of student satisfaction, WSU has an average new student retention rate of nearly 100 percent and a high graduation rate over 88 percent.
• Arizona State University – Arizona State University offers an accredited Bachelor of Arts in Business and Communication, a unique Bachelor of Interdisciplinary Studies in Organizational Studies, Master of Business Administration, and a Master of Information Management online. Ranked as the 2nd best online business school in the nation, the ASU W.P. Carey School of Business is fully accredited by both the Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association (NCA) and the AACSB. Not only has ASU been ranked by the Wall Street Journal as the fifth best in the nation for top corporate recruiter preference, graduates from the school have one of the highest average starting salaries at $49,287 within the first year.
• Indiana University at Bloomington – Indiana University Bloomington offers online distance students access to earning a Bachelor of Science in Business, Master of Business Administration, Master of Science in Finance, Master of Science in Global Supply Chain Management, Master of Science in Marketing, and Master of Science in Strategic Management. Ranked as the 3rd best online business school in the nation, the IUB Kelley School of Business is accredited by the AACSB to provide top business programs through the innovative and flexible virtual campus known as Kelley Direct.
Careers and Salaries for Graduates with Online Business Degrees
Within an online business degree program, you will gather valuable skills, including effective communication, problem solving, critical thinking, decision making, organizational, leadership, and management skills. Therefore, these extremely marketable skill sets will help you open many career doors throughout the business sector after graduation. Depending on degree type and concentration of studies, some of the popular and highest-paying career choices for individuals with an online business degree include:
• Accountant – Accountants are business professionals who have a solid knowledge of finances in order to prepare, evaluate, maintain, and report financial records for their employer in accordance with the various regulations by the federal government. Those who take the efforts to become certified as a CPA earn an average annual salary of $71,040, or an hourly wage of $34.15.
• Financial Examiner – Financial examiners ensure compliance with specific laws by reviewing business balance sheets, evaluating the risk level of loans, and assess the financial condition of bank management. Financial examiners typically need to have a bachelor’s degree and earn an average annual salary of $84,220, or $40.49 per hour.
• Human Resources Manager – Human resources managers and specialists are responsible for recruiting, interviewing, and placing qualified job candidates. Some may also be involved in improving current employee relations, handling payroll and benefits, and conducting new employee orientation/training. Human resources managers must have at least a bachelor’s degree in business with a concentration in human resources to earn the average salary of $109,590, or an hourly wage of $52.69.
• Management Analyst – Often called management consultants, management analysts are hired to help businesses improve their efficiency and increase their profits by interviewing personnel, recommending new procedures, analyzing financial data, and developing alternative solutions. Management analysts earn an average yearly salary of $88,070, or a mean hourly wage of $42.34, but usually must have a Master of Business Administration.
According to the US Department of Labor, the business sector is going to continue to be one of the top three industries in the United States to add more employment positions by 2020. A report from a study conducted by Georgetown University also indicates that the business field will be the fourth largest provider of new jobs through 2018. The National Association of Colleges and Employers have included the Business Administration degree as one of the most advantageous degrees to hold in the current job market. Therefore, it is an excellent time to receive an online bachelor’s or master’s degree online to prepare you for the demands of this fast-paced and highly in-demand business world.