The Top Business Degrees in Demand and their Potential Payoff
After years in the workforce paying your dues, you’ve been eyeing a promotion at your company. You know you have the work and life experience to bring to the table, but your resume never sparks an interview because you never earned your degree. You’ve thought about returning to school, but how do you know your tuition and time will pay off in the end?
Let’s get down to business — literally. Whether you are looking for the next step in your career path or hoping to lay the groundwork for a new direction, a college degree can provide the education you may need and make a significant difference in your earning potential. Enrolling in one of the top in-demand on-campus or online bachelor's in business administration degrees can give you the knowledge and skills needed to succeed in the ever-changing business world.
Is a Business Degree Worth It in 2023?
Findings from a Pew Research study show that employees who hold a bachelor’s degree or higher earn more than prior generations did with the same level of education and at the same age. Those with a high school diploma or some college earn less than their historical counterparts. The conclusion is clear: A degree is essential in the modern job-seekers toolkit.
Business degrees are popular pursuits at the bachelor's level, having claimed the highest number of degree conferrals in the 2019-20 school year, according to a May 2022 report by the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES).
You can become a more competitive candidate for jobs with the help of a bachelor's degree, especially if there is a sustained demand in the field you select for your study. Employment in business and finance, for instance, is expected to grow 7% through 2031 — adding approximately 715,100 new jobs, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS).
Business degree salaries are often attractive as well. The median wage in business and finance fields was $76,570 in 2021, BLS reported.
Zeroing in on the top business degrees in demand will help you fill the skill gaps employers seek as their companies and business needs evolve and make you a more marketable prospect among your peers.
What is the Best Major in Business Administration?
Part of the appeal of a business degree is its combination of practical focus and academic challenge, along with the diversity of opportunities upon graduation. So, how do you choose a major?
One of the most in-demand business degrees online is the bachelor's in business administration program. This broad business program focuses on developing leadership and managerial skills while also building a foundation in accounting, marketing and business law that can prepare you for a supervisory role in your choice of government, nonprofit or corporate environments.
There are many careers you can get with a business degree. Within a bachelor's in business administration program, you can choose from more than 12 concentrations if you'd like to focus on a particular area of business in your studies.
The best business administration major depends entirely on your interests and career goals. Some options you have include:
- Business psychology degree
- Entrepreneurship degree
- International business degree
- Organizational leadership degree
- Public administration degree
As a graduate, you should feel prepared to interpret trends, apply ethics to your decision-making and manage change, among other skills employers seek and value. A bachelor's in business administration builds a scaffolding of analysis, critical thinking and problem solving that hiring managers find essential to workplace success.
What Business Majors Are Most in Demand?
Today’s employers are looking for candidates who have leadership and project management skills. Employees who are comfortable with technology, understand data and how to interpret it, and can work collaboratively as part of a team are best positioned to succeed.
If your interests are in a particular aspect of business, you may opt for a degree program that centers on that instead of choosing a business administration concentration. For example, if you work in marketing or hope to break into that field, you could earn a bachelor's degree in marketing instead of a bachelor's in business administration with a concentration in marketing.
You can choose the option that best reflects your career goals in other areas such as:
- Fashion merchandising degree
- Finance degree
- Healthcare administration degree
- Operations management degree
- Sports management degree
The communication, supervisory and management skills you can acquire in any of these programs can be translatable in the corporate, nonprofit and government sectors. Additionally, the project management expertise woven into each of these focus areas is applicable in any field post-graduation.
Bachelor's in Project Management
If you’ve got a head for logistics and process control, you may even decide to focus your business administration degree on project management. This degree will provide the fundamentals of management with a deep dive into the planning and decision-making critical to resolving the complex issues of today’s workplaces.
You should walk away from the degree with a strong understanding of supply chain management and the key trade-offs and components necessary to keep things running smoothly in your choice of settings, from nonprofits to universities to the manufacturing world.
This program may also present the opportunity to learn the Six Sigma management methodology, a data-driven approach to eliminating defects and process improvement that is widely heralded for its usefulness in any application.
If you are changing your career to become a project manager, the option to take part in an operations/project management internship provides the chance to apply the techniques you have studied while earning credits toward graduation. Your course of study can also help prepare you for the Project Management Institute's (CAPM®) certification exam.
Bachelor's in Accounting
It should perhaps be no surprise that one of the top business degrees in demand is a bachelor's in accounting. The analytical skills, critical thinking and problem-solving capabilities you develop in an accounting course of study can be used in any industry and are highly sought by hiring managers. Moreover, as the economy grows, so does the demand for skilled workers to prepare and examine financial records.
BLS predicts that the employment of accountants and auditors will grow 6% through 2031, and, in 2021, they earned a median salary of $77,250.
If you already know you want to become an accountant or are hoping to advance in your current organization, an online program offering an accelerated degree program provides a quicker path to receiving both your bachelor’s and master’s degrees.
You can choose to specialize further, too. A bachelor's in forensic accounting, for example, allows you to focus on developing the skills necessary to identify and investigate fraud, introducing you to common schemes and scams and providing a foundation of the legal aspects of fraud investigation.
An accounting degree can also unlock career opportunities besides accounting if you're interested in using money management and financial planning skills.
The Bottom Line: Which Business Major is Best for the Future?
Business Insider recently reviewed career employment projects through 2031 and recent median salaries to determine some of the top careers to pursue. Half of the top 10 jobs can be achieved with the help of a business degree.
The five roles and suggested business program pairings include:
- General and operations managers: bachelor's in business administration and a Master of Business Administration (MBA)
- Financial managers: bachelor's in business administration with a concentration in finance, bachelor's in finance or bachelor's in accounting finance
- Management analysts: bachelor's in business administration
- Market research analysts and specialists: bachelor's in business administration with a concentration in marketing or a bachelor's in marketing
- Medical and health services managers: bachelor's in business administration with a concentration in healthcare administration
And, if you're already a member of the workforce or have other obligations filling your schedule, you can take advantage of online business schools and the flexibility they provide for busy learners.
When pursuing an online degree, you can still enjoy interactions and connections with fellow students. There are many opportunities to learn from each other and leverage those real-world experiences your classmates bring to the table. You may be online and sitting at your kitchen table, but you’re still part of a community.
Earning one of the top business degrees in demand is a significant first step toward reaching your goals. If your college or university has a career development team, you can take a step further by working on resume writing and mock interviews as well as learning how to translate your newly developed tangible skills into language that hiring managers prize.
In addition to the jobs you can get with a bachelor's degree, there are many options to earn your master's degree once you've completed your undergraduate program. For example, you might consider pursuing an MBA and choose from more than 15+ concentrations to give your career an extra boost.
Your education doesn’t have to stop there, either. You may decide to pursue a terminal degree in business. This may include a Doctor of Business Administration (DBA) or a business-focused Doctor of Philosophy (PhD), such as a PhD in International Business. Your path depends on your career goals and whether you wish to explore, examine and address business problems or move into academic or research roles.
In today’s fast-paced working world, every company needs business experts who can help them improve efficiency and productivity, think critically and collaborate effectively. The expertise and skills you will gain with any of the top business degrees in demand can help catapult your resume to the top of any hiring manager’s list.
A degree can change your life. Find the SNHU business program that can best help you meet your goals.
Jen O'Callaghan is a freelance writer and editor. Connect with her on LinkedIn.
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