What Can You Do With a Business Administration Degree?

A business administration degree helps you develop the fundamental business skills you need to become an entrepreneurial thinker and decision-maker in a variety of settings. You may be able to make your career as an accountant, administrative services manager, financial analyst, health services manager, HR specialist, management analyst, market research analyst or marketing manager.
Get Down to Business

A professional with a business administration degree, standing in front of a laptop with the text What is a Business Administration Degree Good For?

A business administration degree prepares you to tackle today’s most demanding business challenges by teaching you the quantitative knowledge base and management skills you need to contribute to the bottom line of any organization.

Business administration refers to managing a company’s assets—including its properties, people and finances. To run an organization efficiently, profitably and ethically requires a variety of skills.

For example, you need strong analytical skills to make data-informed business decisions, and you need communications expertise to present those decisions effectively. A business administration degree can help you learn the business basics and develop your leadership ability at the same time.

What is a Business Administration Degree?

A blue infographic piece with the text Choose from 12+ business administration concentrationsA business administration degree helps you develop the fundamental skills you need to become an entrepreneurial thinker and decision-maker. Most programs include coursework in accounting, marketing, finance, human resources and information technology. According to National Center for Education Statistics, in the U.S. business continues to be the most popular undergraduate degree program. Of the 1.9 million students who received bachelor’s degrees in the 2018-2019 school year, 386,000 were business majors.

Business administration programs may be broader in scope than finance or accounting. Still, many allow you to specialize in a specific content area after completing a core of general education and business courses.

For example, at Southern New Hampshire University (SNHU), you can choose from more than a dozen concentrations, including:

Specializing in a particular business area can help you tailor your degree to the industry you plan to enter after you graduate.

If your goal is to move into a management role, you could pursue a master’s degree in business administration after earning your undergraduate degree. Often referred to as an MBA, this degree builds upon your foundational skills and helps you in roles that require critical thinking and problem-solving.

A blue infographic piece with the text GMAC reports MBA grads earned a median salary of $115,000 in 2020It can also earn you more money. According to the Graduate Management Admission Council’s 2021 Corporate Recruiters Survey, MBA graduates can expect to out-earn than their undergraduate colleagues. The survey found that at $115,000, the median salary of MBA grads in 2020 was 75% more than that of people who had a bachelor’s degree. Doctoral business administration programs are ideal for those interested in pursuing a career in academia and contributing to business scholarship.

Business administration degrees are popular because they can prepare you for jobs in business that capitalize on your strengths. So whether you enjoy analyzing numbers, motivating teams or developing sales strategies, earning a business administration degree can put you on the path to a rewarding career.

How Long Does It Take to Earn a Business Administration Degree?

Earning a bachelor’s degree in business administration might not take as long as you think. While bachelor's degrees are often referred to as "four-year degrees," the amount of time it takes for you to earn your bachelor's in business administration will vary.  For example, the number of courses you take each term, the number of terms your program offers each year, and the number of college credits you've already earned will all factor into how long it will take you to finish. Enrolling in an online program, for example, may allow you more opportunity to fit classes into your busy schedule.

You should also look for universities that will allow you to transfer previously earned college credits toward your business administration degree program. For example, SNHU will accept up to 90 transfer credits toward your undergraduate business administration program.

What is the Scope of Business Administration?

Depending upon your role at a particular company, you may use your business administration background to make contributions in the finance, sales, human resources or operations departments in a variety of sectors: including manufacturing, health care, government or non-profit agencies. You may also take part in long-range strategic planning or work on special projects to guide your company in making critical business decisions. According to Indeed, business administration professionals have responsibilities that include:

  • Working effectively both individually and as part of a team
  • Supervising and motivating team members
  • Recruiting new employees
  • Managing operations
  • Analyzing and overseeing key components of a business unit

A business administration degree doesn’t constrict you to an office setting, either. You can find professionals with business administration backgrounds working in hospitals, hotels, on construction sites or in the arts, to name a few.

What Types of Jobs Can You Get with a Business Administration Degree?

A blue infographic piece with the text BLS reports employment in business and financial operations is projected to grow 8% from 2020-2030Earning a degree in business administration can pay off, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). BLS reports employment in business and financial operations occupations is projected to grow 8% from 2020 to 2030. In addition, the median annual salary for those employed in business and financial occupations in 2020 was $72,250—much higher than the median annual wage for all occupations of $41,950.

Here are a few popular jobs you might expect to enter with an undergraduate degree in business administration.

  • Accountant: If you enjoy crunching numbers, you can find work as an accountant in a wide variety of industries. Accountants examine a company’s financial statements, review accounting systems, ensure regulatory compliance and analyze ways to reduce costs and increase revenue. According to BLS, accountants earned a median salary of $73,560 in 2020 and the field is expected to grow by 7% through 2030.
  • Administrative Services Manager: As an administrative services manager, your job could include supervising a team of the administrative staff or overseeing a department such as printing services or facilities. Administrative service managers analyze company operations and recommend changes to increase efficiency and ensure compliance. According to BLS, administrative services managers earned a median salary of $98,890 in 2020. Jobs for administrative services managers are projected to grow 9% through 2030.
  • Financial Analyst: As a financial analyst, you look at financial data and economic forecasts to help your organization make key business and investment decisions. Financial analysts will increasingly look at global investment opportunities as the economy grows and companies continue to expand internationally. Employment of financial analysts is projected to grow 6% through 2030, faster than the national average, and financial analysts earned a median salary of $83,660 in 2020, according to BLS.
  • Health Services Manager: If you pursue a concentration in healthcare administration, you may be prepared for a medical and health services manager role.  Individuals in these roles may manage an entire facility, a specific clinical area or department, or a medical practice on behalf of a group of health care providers. According to the BLS, medical and health services managers earned a median salary of $104,280 in 2020. The job is projected to grow 32% through 2030 – much faster than the national average for all occupations.
  • Human Resources Specialist: As a human resources specialist, you could help shape your organization's future by recruiting and retaining workers essential to the growth of your organization. Human resources specialists may also develop and communicate company policies, ease employee conflicts and administer benefits. According to BLS, human resources specialists earned a median salary of $63,490 in 2020. Additionally, jobs for human resources specialists are projected to grow 10% through 2030.
  • Management Analyst: Management analysts or consultants look for ways to improve an organization’s efficiency and profitability. By interviewing people, analyzing data and making recommendations, they help companies stay competitive and enter new markets. According to BLS, management analysts earned a median salary of $87,660 in 2020. Jobs in this field are projected to grow 14% through 2030.
  • Market Research Analyst: Market research analysts examine and evaluate market conditions to determine how products or services will perform. According to BLS, market research analysts earned a median salary of $65,810 in 2020, and jobs for this position are projected to grow 22% through 2030–much faster than the national average for all occupations.
  • Marketing Manager: As a marketing manager, you can help define a company’s target market, build its brand and set the stage for increased sales. Marketing managers plan promotional campaigns and oversee social media development and engagement, email marketing and website content development and analytics. According to BLS, marketing managers made a median salary of $141,490 in 2020, and the field is expected to grow by 10% through 2030.

Are Business Administration Majors in Demand?

If you are wondering, “Is a business administration degree worth it?", consider this. Eight of the 10 top undergraduate majors in demand by employers were business majors, according to results on a recent Job Outlook survey published by the National Association of Colleges and Employers. Of those majors, business administration/management ranked among the top three.

In addition to financial and analytical insight, today’s employers seek professionals who thrive in a team setting, exhibit strong interpersonal skills and can quickly adapt to changing situations, according to Indeed. These are all soft skills you can expect to develop in a business administration program further.

Whether you’re looking to enter the job market or step up to a management role, a business administration degree is versatile enough to equip you with the knowledge and skills today’s hiring managers are seeking.

Krysten Godfrey Maddocks '11 is a writer and marketing/communication professional. Connect with her on LinkedIn.

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