2023 Best Online Business Degrees
|Rank||School||Salary Score||Median Starting Salary|
|# 1||Golden Gate University||$67,879|
|# 2||City University of Seattle||100||$79,719|
|# 3||Alvernia University||100||$66,259|
|# 4||Northeastern University||100||$65,635|
|# 5||Capella University||99||$63,636|
|# 6||Lynn University||99||$61,513|
|# 7||University of Management and Technology||98||$60,399|
|# 8||Lipscomb University||98||$59,514|
|# 9||Colorado State University Global||98||$59,425|
|# 10||Thomas Edison State University||98||$59,206|
Overview of Online Business Degrees
Bachelor's degrees in business are designed to be completed in four to five years of full-time study or possibly six years of part-time study. Most online bachelor's degrees require 120 credit hours of general education, business classes, and electives to graduate. However, students who have earned previous credits or already have an associate degree may be able to finish sooner by transferring credits or enrolling in a degree completion program.
Many schools also require business majors to complete an internship to gain valuable, real-world work experience. Engaging in one or more externships may also help you zero in on the type of business or management role you want to pursue.
What Is a Bachelor's in Business Degree?
Business is one of the most widely available online degree options, in part because it is a highly popular major. Data from the National Center for Education Statistics shows business majors have dominated the graduating classes of U.S. colleges and universities for 40 years.
The term "business degree" can be somewhat confusing because it is used in different ways. Most often, it refers to a generalist degree in business administration or business management, which includes coursework in many aspects of the business field. Undergraduate degree programs are designed to give students a foundation in business functions by introducing them to essential topics, such as management, accounting, finance, and economics.
However, the term can also refer to any specialty degrees students may earn in a College of Business at most colleges and universities. These include bachelor's degrees in HR management, organizational leadership degrees, finance degrees, economics degrees, and accounting degrees. If you're not sure which type of business degree you want, you may consider earning a general business management degree with a concentration or perhaps a minor in one of these specialties.
Before submitting your application to any online business degree program, you'll want to check the school's application deadline. Deadlines vary depending on the type of school and admissions format, but some schools start accepting applications as early as one year in advance of the academic year in which students plan to start attending classes. Most of the more competitive schools notify students regarding acceptance on March 1.
To apply to most colleges, you'll need to submit an online application along with some or all of the following:
Official high school or GED transcripts, usually with a minimum GPA of 2.5-3.0
Your scores on college entrance exams, such as the SAT or ACT
A personal essay or statement
One to three letters of recommendation from teachers, coaches, and other mentors
A resume or list of extracurricular activities, jobs, and volunteer activities, including awards or honors
Types of Business Degrees
Looking for the most budget-friendly business program? Explore our rankings of the most affordable online bachelor's degrees in business.
Whether you're studying business administration, international business, project management, or another area of focus, degrees in business have a core set of classes to prepare graduates for success in the industry. Coursework often requires students to work in groups or teams to help develop their communication and collaboration skills. Business students can expect to take some of the following core courses:
Business Degree Concentrations
Business programs typically allow students to concentrate on coursework in a particular subdiscipline. Specializations may benefit students who want to complement their general business training with specific knowledge and prepare for entry-level positions in a given business area. Those looking to continue their online studies in a certain business discipline may also consider focusing their coursework at the undergraduate level. While degree concentrations vary by program, below is a list of common options for business majors:
What Can You Do With a Business Degree?
A bachelor's degree in business opens the door to a wide range of occupations and career paths. You might find yourself working in technology, real estate, manufacturing, healthcare, entertainment, or any of the other industries that drive the U.S. economy. What they all have in common is the need for trained professionals who understand management, commerce, and marketing.
As a graduate with a bachelor's degree in business, you can work in the private sector, employed by all types and sizes of business organizations. You can also work in the public sector, employed by a nonprofit organization or government agency. Another option is to become a business consultant, guiding many different types of businesses. Truthfully, you have almost unlimited opportunities to work in the type of environment pursuing the business mission you choose.
This degree can prepare business graduates for business career opportunities in a range of industries. According to Burning Glass Technologies, these often include finance and insurance, healthcare, and professional, scientific, and technical services. Within these sectors, business majors may find jobs with well-known employers — such as Deloitte, Anthem Blue Cross, Amazon, Humana, and Wells Fargo. Given these potential employment outcomes, it's no surprise that graduates with a business degree work in states that have large economies and densely-packed population centers.
Wondering what you can do with a business degree? Learn more about your options with our business career guide.
Is an Online Business Degree Worth It?
Higher education is an investment of time and money, so it's important to determine whether it will pay off in the long run. As with other programs, the value of an online bachelor's in business will ultimately depend on a student's particular situation — including their personal commitments, familial responsibilities, and financial resources.
Additionally, individuals should determine whether pursuing a business degree through distance learning is the best option for them. Distance-learning programs can be challenging, as students are expected to take the initiative and complete courses and assignments without the support of a structured timeline. Alternatively, this flexibility may suit nontraditional students, who may work or have other commitments and need to fit classes around their busy schedules.
In addition to these considerations, individuals may also want to consider the following potential advantages and drawbacks when deciding whether a bachelor's in business is right for them:
Individuals in business and financial occupations are often well compensated. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), these professionals earn a median annual salary of $76,850, which is significantly more than the U.S. median of $46,310 for all occupations.
A business degree is a versatile credential. Individuals typically graduate with a transferable skill set, which prepares them to land an entry-level position in different industries and/or pursue a graduate degree in various disciplines. Graduates are not limited to starting their own businesses. Instead, their general understanding of business allows them to move into a variety of management roles.
Business degrees give students specialized knowledge. By opting for a degree in business, especially with a concentration, students gain a deeper understanding of what it means to start and run a business. Course materials focus on the financial, legal, and strategic aspects of business operations.
Entrepreneurs have one of the highest job satisfaction rates in the nation. Data from an ongoing survey shows that entrepreneurs have a satisfaction rating of 4 out of 5, placing them in the top 10% of occupations in terms of career happiness.
This degree is not always necessary to begin a career in business. For instance, students with degrees in STEM, the humanities, and social sciences may qualify for the same positions as business graduates. STEM graduates may even have an advantage over business majors when it comes to attaining jobs in finance.
Business professionals have higher rates of burnout. Business executives report being overworked, which can lead to fatigue, demotivation, and high turnover.
Competition between business majors can be fierce. Since it has consistently been the most popular undergraduate degree, business majors may find it difficult to show employers what differentiates them from their peers and those with specialized degrees.
Online students may have to put more effort into building relationships with peers. Business students rely on their networks of fellow professionals to grow and manage their businesses, and many start establishing these connections in college. In the online environment, some students may find it challenging to reach out to others.
FAQs About Bachelor's in Business Programs
What Can You Do With a Business Administration Degree?
With a degree in business administration, you can direct your career in any number of directions, including management, marketing, sales, human resources, and more. You'll find business jobs in virtually every industry, in everything from small startups to large multinational corporations. At some point, you may even decide to become an entrepreneur.
Is a Business Degree a BA or a BS?
A business degree can be a Bachelor of Arts (BA) or a Bachelor of Science (BS), and both types of degrees provide a solid foundation in finance, marketing, and management. A Bachelor of Arts typically includes more liberal arts courses and often helps students develop soft skills like communication and teamwork. A Bachelor of Science, conversely, often includes more math and statistics courses and helps students develop critical-thinking and problem-solving skills.
How Much Does a Business Degree Cost?
According to Data USA, the median in-state public tuition rate for a business degree is around $7,000, while the cost for out-of-state learners at private institutions is almost $33,000. Compared to on-campus students, distance learners typically spend less per year overall for their programs. This is partly because online students can avoid paying relocation, transport, and other on-campus costs.
How Long Does It Take To Get a Business Degree?
A bachelor's in business requires 120-124 credits and can be completed in four years of full-time study. Part-time or online learners who complete classes at their own pace may take longer, while those enrolled in accelerated programs can finish in as little as two years.
Can I Get a Business Degree Online?
Yes, it is possible to earn a business degree fully online. Given the rising popularity of online degrees, many schools offer BA, BS, and BBA degrees that are either fully remote or offer a mix of on-campus and distance learning options.
Online degree programs can be more accessible for students, allowing them to fit courses around work, family, and other responsibilities. Online programs are especially popular with military service members, as moving frequently makes it difficult to enroll on campus. Choosing an online degree also means you have access to a wider range of program options rather than being limited to what's offered in your area.
While there are many benefits to earning a business degree online, students should also consider the potential drawbacks of online college. Some learners may struggle to network with peers and professors or stay on track in a distance learning setting.
Is a Business Degree a Good Fit For Me?
A business degree may suit detail-oriented individuals who are creative, enjoy collaborating with others, and hope to develop their leadership potential — as these are often the proficiencies needed to excel in business professions, according to Burning Glass Technologies. Overall, an undergraduate education in business can introduce students to a diverse and challenging field while also providing entrepreneurially-minded individuals with a chance to hone their professional expertise.
What Else Should You Consider?
Naturally, one of the most important factors to consider when you're selecting a business degree program is whether it will equip you for the career you have in mind. You may want to research the many business career options available and the highest paying business degrees, as well as the top employers. You may also want to think about degree levels for your dream job. For example, it's possible that only an associate degree in business is needed, as opposed to a bachelor's degree or master's degree.
It's also important to choose a school that is accredited. Accreditation is a process that colleges and universities undergo to make sure their programs meet high academic standards. Selecting an accredited business program helps students ensure their education meets industry standards and that their degree will be recognized by employers, colleagues, and other business professionals. Accreditation is also necessary for students to qualify for federal financial aid and makes it easier to transfer credits and pursue further education.
Programmatic accrediting agencies evaluate specific programs, such as business degree programs, based on their ability to meet established industry standards. The two main accreditors for business degrees are the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB) and the Accreditation Council for Business Schools & Programs (ACBSP). Both of these agencies are recognized by the U.S. Department of Education and the Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA) as independent accrediting bodies for academic business programs.
Prospective business majors can explore the following resources for more information on hiring trends, educational needs, and professional development in the field.
Beta Gamma Sigma is a network of business students and alumni that aims to promote excellence in the field. The organization offers several training, educational, and work experience programs to help individuals advance in their careers.
Business Professionals of America is a co-curricular organization that students can join for professional growth. Members take part in community service projects, civic activities, and conferences to further develop their business skills.
The American Marketing Association offers certification programs for aspiring marketers. This professional association routinely publishes research on best practices in the field and provides virtual seminars and training programs.
Future Business Leaders of America-Phi Beta Lambda is a student organization that aims to support individuals through regular conferences and training opportunities. It helps students identify their career goals, develop management skills, and promote socially beneficial business practices.
The Society for Human Resource Management is the premier development organization for HR professionals. In addition to offering certification programs and publishing information on labor market trends, it also advocates for diversity and inclusion in the workplace.