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What to Consider Before Earning a Business Degree

What to Consider Before Earning a Business Degree

One of the most prevalent pieces of advice given to young adults soon entering the workforce is to go to college. Four-year universities have a lot to offer students like social and academic opportunities in leading career fields. The US Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) has consistently found that the higher level of education one has completed, the more money full-time salary workers earn. Business has stood the test of time as the most popular university major for decades. Almost 1 in 5 students were business majors in 2018-2019 out of approximately 20 million college students in the US. 

Whether you are just graduating high school or wanting to go back to school, you may be considering if a business degree is worth it for you. Business degrees are a tremendous asset when entering the business field. They prepare students for success in almost any industry with their highly adaptable coursework. But completing any college degree is a heavy workload, and just like in business, success will not come easy if you do not put in the effort. A business degree can be a top-notch investment into your future, but is it best for your needs?. Here are four things to consider before earning a business degree:

  • Career opportunities
  • Types of degree programs
  • Costs of a business degree
  • Tools business degrees offer

Career opportunities

A leading reason for earning a business degree is to expand possible career opportunities. Of course, no degree can guarantee a high-paying, competitive position but a business degree can broaden those prospects. An increasing number of in-demand jobs are looking for prospective employees with business degrees, including entry-level positions. Despite the commonality of business degrees, it is the greatest tool for a competitive edge when applying for jobs. The National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE) found that finance, accounting, and business administration were among the most in-demand bachelor’s degrees in 2019. 

You might be thinking that a business degree is only beneficial for people going into the business sector. The truth is that it can open doors to career growth in fields such as government, real estate, and healthcare. And graduate degrees like Master’s of Business Administration (MBAs) allow for leadership and management roles like marketing managers and chief operating officers. 

Types of degree programs

Nowadays, the path to earning a business degree is more diverse than ever. There are four aspects of a business degree to keep in mind when selecting a degree program. 

First is the level of education you choose to pursue. Lowest is an associate’s in business which typically takes two years to complete and teaches fundamental knowledge in accounting, management, and computer applications. Next, are bachelor’s degrees which most people consider. Skills become more specialized as we get to MBAs that can take as short as two years to complete. MBA holders display a higher level of commitment and stronger skillsets in concentrations such as international business or finance. 

That brings us to the second distinction of generalist vs specialist business degrees. An example of a generalist degree is a bachelor’s of business administration. It includes a well-rounded array of business knowledge that can be applied to various positions and fields. Specialist majors concentrate on a single area of specialization like finance. While these are less flexible programs, they make for clearer career trajectories. 

The third is the categorizations of business degrees such as BA, BS, and a BBA. Even though the differences may seem subtle, they act as determining factors of the type of coursework you’ll complete. Bachelor of Arts (BA) offers extra (focus) on liberal arts and humanities along with the required business courses. Bachelor of Science (BS) typically includes more math and science core courses that can be beneficial for business students who are more analytical. A Bachelor of Business Administration (BBA) includes a broad overview of business principles with opportunities to concentrate on a specialization. It demonstrates a strong commitment to your work that prepares students for several business roles. The type of degree you chose can depend on your talents or areas of interest within the business field. 

The last aspect of a business degree is where it is completed: online or brick and mortar universities. Even before factors led to an increase in online enrollment, business administration was the most popular major for online-only students. Affordability and accessibility are two of the leading reasons for earning a business degree online. Online students report being able to complete their schoolwork along with a full-time job or raising a family. On the contrary, brick-and-mortar schools offer hands-on work opportunities and increased connections between other students and professors. 

Costs of a business degree

As we previously mentioned, earning a business degree takes hard work and dedication. But what are the costs associated with a business degree? Tuition costs vary between types of degrees. According to US News, the cost of tuition in 2020-2021  is $9,687 for public, in-state universities and is $35,087 for private universities. FAFSA awarded financial aid to over 13 million college students, including through federal student loans. On average, college students graduate with approximately $29,000 in student debt, which can be a deterring factor for prospective students. Thankfully, there are plenty of last-minute ways to save for college other than taking out federal loans. 

Another cost to consider before applying for college is time. Most bachelor’s programs require completing at least 120 credit hours. To be considered a full-time student requires taking at least 12 hours per semester. This takes about four years to complete. Earning a business degree is a trying time commitment between lectures and homework. Nevertheless, a business degree’s return on investment is made in the experience and opportunities gained at a fine university. 

Tools business degrees offer

The value of a business degree is unquestionable. Students learn real-world knowledge to apply in the fast-paced world of business or any other industry. Besides lectures and textbook access, what does a business degree have to offer? There are several tools available to students to help find fruitful career opportunities. 

Firstly, pursuing a business degree comes with beneficial networking resources. Universities bring together like-minded professors, students, and professional recruiters to share industry knowledge and network for future connections. Universities may also offer job fairs, guest speakers, career counseling and related services, and most importantly internships. Internships connect students to business professionals that could one day hire them while being paid to learn real-world skills. 

Another tool available to university students is earning business certifications. Just like earning a business degree, certifications give graduates a competitive edge when applying for jobs. Microsoft, PMI, Cisco, and Google are just a few organizations that oversee business certifications. They often require a well-rounded knowledge of a particular software or skill set demonstrated by an exam with a fee. Hiring managers look for business certifications that display in-demand qualifications that make candidates stand out from the crowd. 

Lastly, business degrees teach important soft skills students can transfer to their long-term careers. NACE claims the top three attributes employers look for on candidate’s resumes are written communication skills, problem-solving skills, and the ability to work on a team. These three soft skills in particular are also taught in business classes that can be utilized in business careers such as marketing, management, and sales. 

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