Skip to main content

Is a Business Degree Worth It?

A business degree could be worthwhile if you’re trying to meet certain educational and skill qualifications or advance into a leadership or management role.
A professional with a business degree, holding a tablet and reviewing information on a laptop, to the left of a briefcase icon

Understanding the Numbers
When reviewing job growth and salary information, it’s important to remember that actual numbers can vary due to many different factors — like years of experience in the role, industry of employment, geographic location, worker skill and economic conditions. Cited projections do not guarantee actual salary or job growth.

Many people earn a business degree with hopes of landing an in-demand job or following a dream of entrepreneurship. But in today’s evolving workforce, is a business degree really worth it?

The value of a business degree depends on your professional goals, the investment you can make in your education and the type of job you want. If you hope to work in sales, business administration, operations or other related fields, a degree in business could be a good place to start. 

Dr. Jennifer Teague, executive director of business at SNHU“Employers appreciate the versatility and strategic thinking skills that business graduates bring to the table, making them suitable for a variety of roles within corporations, from entry-level positions to executive roles,” said Dr. Jennifer Teague, the executive director of business for Southern New Hampshire University’s (SNHU) Global Campus.

So, is a business degree right for you? To decide, you’ll need to explore the types of degrees available and how they align with your career goals.

What is a Business Degree?

A business degree is a higher education credential that provides foundational knowledge and skills in key areas of business, such as accounting, finance, human resources, marketing and project management.

According to Teague, business degrees also teach students in-demand soft skills, including:

  • Analytical thinking
  • Communication
  • Leadership
  • Problem-solving
  • Strategic planning 

Types of Business Degrees

Depending on your goals and previous education, there are different types of business degrees you could pursue. The most common degree programs include:

Within each degree program, there are often opportunities to concentrate your studies on a particular area of business, such as marketing, finance, human resources or operations.

The best business degree depends on the professional path you want to take.

“The demand and benefit of each degree can vary based on market trends and individual career goals,” said Teague.

Find Your Program

How Hard is a Business Degree?

Earning any undergraduate or graduate degree takes time and effort. A typical bachelor’s-level business degree takes about four years to complete. Depending on the school you attend, there may be options to earn a bachelor’s degree online or in person. 

Business degree coursework can vary, but most include a combination of general education courses and business classes, such as:

  • Accounting and finance 
  • Business law
  • Management and leadership
  • Marketing
  • Statistics and economics

These courses are meant to challenge you and teach you new skills, but it doesn't mean a degree program will be too difficult to complete, said Teague.

“Earning a business degree involves dedication and effort, but it's designed to be accessible for motivated students,” she said.

Do Business Degrees Pay Off?

An icon of the globe with a yellow graduation cap resting on top of itAccording to Teague, earning a degree in business can improve your future employment prospects.

“A business degree can significantly accelerate career growth by equipping graduates with the skills and knowledge demanded in leadership and management roles,” she said. “Over time, the investment in a business degree tends to pay off through increased earnings and promotion opportunities.”*

Data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) and other organizations backs this up, demonstrating benefits such as increased earning potential and advanced learning opportunities.*

In-Demand Credential

According to BLS data, jobs requiring a bachelor's degree are on the rise across many industries, with 3.3 million openings projected annually from 2022 to 2032.*

This growth includes 14,700 new jobs for general and operations managers, 11,700 new jobs for market research analysts and marketing specialists and 9,600 new jobs for management analysts each year, according to BLS projections.*

Higher Earning Potential

Completing a business degree could also boost your earning potential. BLS data shows that bachelor’s degree holders earned a median weekly income of $1,493 in 2023, compared to just $899 per week for workers with a high school diploma.*

Graduating with a master’s degree in business could help you earn even more.* Master’s degree holders brought home a median weekly income of $1,737 in 2023, according to BLS.*

Lower Unemployment Rates

More stable employment is another potential benefit of earning a business degree. BLS data from 2023 shows that master’s degree and bachelor’s degree holders had unemployment rates of 2% and 2.2%, respectively.* Workers with a high school diploma, on the other hand, had unemployment rates of 3.9%.*

Advanced Education Opportunities

Earning an undergraduate business degree can also open up opportunities for advanced education that could further your career, such as an in-demand MBA degree.

According to the Graduate Management Admission Council (GMAC) 2023 Corporate Recruiters Survey, 90% of recruiters planned to hire MBA graduates in 2023 (GMAC PDF Source).* The estimated median starting salary offered to new employees with an MBA was $125,000 that same year, GMAC said.*

Personal and Professional Growth

Luis Nieto Benitez, a 2023 SNHU graduate who earned his bachelor’s degree in business administrationOne of the biggest benefits of earning a business degree, however, is the personal and professional growth you can experience throughout your education. 

Luis Nieto Benitez '23 earned his bachelor’s degree in business administration online from SNHU while working multiple jobs, including a full-time role for a small construction company. He said the knowledge gained through his business classes aligned perfectly with his real-world work experiences.

“Every single one of my courses lined up with everything I need to do for that company,” Benitez said. “It was the most incredible thing I’ve ever experienced.”

Looking ahead, Benitez said he hopes to use his business education to advance his current role and one day open a nonprofit.

“The program really helped me understand that this world is not just about myself,” he said. “I’m really looking forward to seeing what I can do and what kind of impact I can have on the world thanks to the education I received.”

Is a Business Degree Actually Useful?

Earning a degree in business can help you build critical communication, leadership and problem-solving skills that are valued in jobs across many industries. Whether you want to pursue a career in marketing, human resources, finance or another field of business, a business degree can help.

According to Teague, some of the careers you could pursue with a bachelor’s level business degree include:

  • Financial Analyst: Financial analysts help businesses and individuals make investments and other financial decisions. Financial analysts earned a median salary of $99,010 in 2023, according to BLS.* Jobs for financial analysts are projected to grow 8% by 2032.*

  • Human Resources Specialist: As a human resources specialist, you could help recruit, screen and interview candidates and manage employee compensation and benefits. According to BLS, human resources specialists earned a median salary of $67,650 in 2023.* Jobs in the field are expected to grow 6% by 2032.*

  • Management Analyst: As a management analyst you could help organizations find ways to boost efficiency, reduce costs and increase profits. According to BLS data, management analysts earned a median salary of $99,410 in 2023.* Jobs in this field are projected to grow 10% by 2032.*

  • Marketing Manager: Marketing managers help businesses promote their products and services to a target audience to maximize sales. Marketing managers earned a median salary of $157,620 in 2023 and jobs in the field are projected to grow 6% by 2032, according to BLS.*

  • Operations Manager: As an operations manager, you could overuse the daily operations of a business, including creating policies, managing personnel and overseeing other departments. According to BLS data, operations managers earned an average salary of $129,330 in 2023.*

What is the Highest-Paying Job with a Business Degree?

Your earning potential as a business degree holder depends on many factors, including your past professional experience, the type of degree you have and the field you’re working in.

But Teague said there are many high-earning jobs available to business degree holders, including:

  • Financial manager*
  • Investment banker*
  • Management consultant*
  • Marketing director*

Pursuing entrepreneurship is another way to use a business degree to boost your earning potential, Teague said.*

“Entrepreneurs benefit significantly from the foundational knowledge a business degree provides,” she said. “Understanding business planning, financial management and market analysis can be critical for successfully launching and sustaining a startup.”

Is a Business Degree Right for Me?

If you’re considering a business degree, it’s important to reflect on your career goals and the skills you’ll need to achieve them.

It’s also a good idea to spend time researching the various business degree programs available and the benefits they would each provide toward your ideal career, said Teague.

“Investigate the curriculum, faculty expertise, alumni network and partnership with industries to ensure the program meets your expectations and career aspirations,” she said.

A degree can change your life. Find the SNHU business program that can best help you meet your goals.

*Cited job growth projections may not reflect local and/or short-term economic or job conditions and do not guarantee actual job growth. Actual salaries and/or earning potential may be the result of a combination of factors including, but not limited to: years of experience, industry of employment, geographic location, and worker skill.

Danielle Gagnon is a freelance writer focused on higher education. She started her career working as an education reporter for a daily newspaper in New Hampshire, where she reported on local schools and education policy. Gagnon served as the communications manager for a private school in Boston, MA before later starting her freelance writing career. Today, she continues to share her passion for education as a writer for Southern New Hampshire University. Connect with her on LinkedIn.

Explore more content like this article

A woman sitting behind a laptop speaking to a man about HR

Should I Get an HR Certificate Before a Degree in Human Resources?

If you aspire to play a significant role in the development of an organization’s workforce, then a career in human resources could be right for you. But when you’re preparing for the HR field, should you get a human resource certificate before a degree in human resources?
An accountant pointing to her laptop to show an accounting degree major information about the career field.

Is an Accounting Degree Worth It?

A bachelor’s degree in accounting can prepare you for a career in public accounting, financial analysis, auditing and more. If you're considering the degree program, you might have questions about what the classes are like and whether you have the foundations to become a good accountant.
A woman goes through paperwork in an office setting while someone works in the background

What is Public Administration?

Public administration is a broad field that covers the administrative services needed to help build and strengthen society at the local, state and federal levels. Many job roles fall under public administration, and they aim to initiate positive change in local communities and society as a whole.

About Southern New Hampshire University

Two students walking in front of Monadnock Hall

SNHU is a nonprofit, accredited university with a mission to make high-quality education more accessible and affordable for everyone.

Founded in 1932, and online since 1995, we’ve helped countless students reach their goals with flexible, career-focused programs. Our 300-acre campus in Manchester, NH is home to over 3,000 students, and we serve over 135,000 students online. Visit our about SNHU page to learn more about our mission, accreditations, leadership team, national recognitions and awards.