The 2020 Guide to Online Bachelor’s in Business Administration Programs

Getting an online business degree is a convenient way to further your education—wherever you are, on whatever device you choose to use. An online Bachelor of Business Administration program can enable you to expand your business knowledge on a flexible class schedule that works for you.

What is Business Administration?

Wondering what is a business administration degree? The business administration field of study analyzes how a business is managed and operated. In a business administration degree program, you’ll learn about:

  • Management
  • Accounting
  • Marketing
  • Finance
  • Project management
  • Leadership
  • Sales
  • Human resources
  • Management information systems
  • Logistics and supply chains

Once you complete an online bachelor’s degree in business administration, you can apply your knowledge to a variety of roles. Positions you may look for include entry-level roles at start-ups, small-to-midsize businesses and corporations, as well as jobs in a variety of industries, like retail, auto and food service. Some people with a bachelor’s in business degree may even start their own business. What you do with your online bachelor’s degree in business administration depends on your interests and goals.

Can You Earn Your Business Degree Online?

Yes. Online programs, like online business school, are increasingly common. The National Center for Education Statistics reports that 16.6% of postsecondary students took exclusively online courses in 2018. An undergraduate business administration online degree, no matter where you get it from, typically provides business management foundation skills. Some bachelor’s degree business programs enable students to choose a concentration, like finance, marketing, accounting or entrepreneurship. In a business degree program with a concentration, you’ll take extra classes related to the concentration.

When you earn a business degree online, you receive a diploma equivalent to what you’d earn if you had attended school on campus. Online bachelor’s in business programs may have similar features as on-campus classes, like:

  • Live instruction, which may be recorded so you can access it on your own schedule
  • Group work
  • Quizzes and exams
  • Textbooks and study materials

A business program online has the same amount of credit hours, typically around 120 credits, as an on-campus program. With online programs, there may be accelerated options for students, as well.

Accredited Online Business Bachelor’s Degree Programs

Accreditation is a voluntary process postsecondary schools go through to confirm the quality of their programs. An accrediting board sets bachelor’s degree accreditation standards for business school programs and then evaluates programs based on the set criteria. When a business school meets the criteria for accredited bachelor’s degrees, the school is awarded with a designation from the accrediting association.

Look for acronyms like AACSB (Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business), ACBSP (Accreditation Council for Business Schools and Programs) and IACBE (International Accreditation Council for Business Education) to see if a school is accredited.

Online Bachelor’s Degrees in Business Admissions Requirements

An online bachelor’s degree in business administration’s admissions requirements vary by school. Typically, what you’ll need to apply includes:

  • Secondary education documents: You may need to send your official high school transcripts. It’s also typical to show proof of your high school diploma, GED or equivalent certificate.
  • Test scores: Some schools have test score requirements. To apply to online undergraduate business schools, expect to send either your ACT or SAT scores. If you want, you can submit scores from both tests.
  • Application: The Common Application is an undergraduate admissions application you can use to apply to multiple schools. However, some schools instead have their own application. Either way, a typical business school application may require your personal information, a college essay, personal statement and/or letters of recommendation, depending on the school. Application fees are also common. Read your application instructions carefully to find out if there’s an associated fee—or a fee waiver if you apply early.

Some students applying for business bachelor’s degrees may already have received college credits through community college or Advanced Placement courses. If you’ve received college credit, submit proof of your course completion(s) to the program you’re applying for. If the school accepts your credits, this could shorten your degree program and lower the cost.

Online Bachelor of Business Administration Curriculum

Many online bachelor’s of business administration degree programs will require students to complete a certain amount of liberal studies credits for classes such as English, foreign language, math, science and history. For the business-focused part of your curriculum, your program may cover topics like:

  • Organizational behavior: By studying organizational behavior, you’ll learn how individuals and groups behave in larger systems, like businesses and corporations. This type of course may cover conflict resolution, group dynamics and performance management.
  • Leadership: Leadership studies focus on how to create a compelling vision and motivate others to follow it. A leadership course may cover persuasion, influence and interpersonal relationships.
  • Data analytics: Data analytics studies focus on how businesses gather, analyze, report and use data to inform decisions. You’ll learn about common business data analytics tools and methods.
  • Public speaking: Public speaking is often a part of online undergraduate business schools’ curriculums. Public speaking covers how to format presentations, how to capture and retain attention, and how to gain the desired outcome from a speech. You could take a public speaking class or might have elements of public speaking, such as giving presentations, incorporated into your business courses.
  • Business writing: Written communication is an indispensable skill. In a business writing course, you’ll learn how to effectively communicate through various methods of writing, including emails, letters and reports. Courses may also cover writing organization, formalities and grammar.

Other topics you may study in bachelor’s degree business programs are economics, spreadsheets, quantitative analysis, human resources, and business law and ethics.

Which Online Business Major is Right for You?

Choosing a major that aligns with your career goals can help you specialize in a particular field of business. Are you still wondering, should I major in business? Keep reading to learn about online business majors that may spark your interest. 

Business Degree with a Finance Major

Are you wondering, “What can I do with a finance major”? With a major in finance, you’ll learn about economics, market analysis, banking and financial markets. A business degree with a finance major could prepare you for roles as a financial analyst or financial examiner.

Business Degree with an Accounting Major

Have you ever asked, “What can I do with an accounting major?” A major in accounting is the study of a specialized area of finance. You’ll learn about financial statements, budgeting, auditing, tax regulations and reporting. This type of degree could lead to an auditor or accountant role.

Business Degree with a Marketing Major

A business major in marketing focuses on using market research and analysis to determine how to position products and services to customers. Are you wondering, “What can I do with a marketing major”? You might pursue a role like social media manager, market research analyst or content marketing manager.

Business Degree with a Management Major

A major in business management emphasizes the practice of managing individuals, teams and operations in business. If you’ve asked, “What can I do with a business management major?”, you might pursue a role as a general manager for a company or work as a sales manager.

Business Degree with an Entrepreneurship Major

A business major in entrepreneurship could benefit those who want to open their own businesses and those who want to contribute to start-up businesses. Have you considered, “What can I do with an entrepreneurship major”? You might create your own company, contribute to new product development teams or help new businesses grow.

Business Degree with an Operations Major

Are you wondering, “What can I do with an operations major”? A major in operations focuses on the systems, equipment, processes and employees necessary to run a business and how they interact successfully. You might be interested in roles like supply chain specialist or logistics manager after you earn this degree.

Other Business Administration Majors to Consider

Other possible business administration majors to consider include:

  • Project management
  • Human resources
  • Real estate
  • International business
  • Taxes

If there’s a particular business area you’re interested in, research online undergraduate business schools to see what courses are taught, what concentrations are available and how the programs align with your goals.

Is a Business Administration Degree a BA or BS?

The answer to the BA vs. BS in business question depends on the school and the program. A bachelor of arts in business administration focuses more on humanities and communication, while a bachelor of science in business administration focuses more on operational skills and applications. Neither is necessarily better. You’ll learn core business principles in both types of degree programs. What you choose depends more on what you want to specialize in during your program.

How Long Does it Take to Get an Online Bachelor’s in Business Degree?

Typically, an online bachelor’s degree in business administration takes four years of full-time school, just like on-campus programs. If you have qualifying credits, you may be able to shorten your program. There are also accelerated business degree programs online that enable students to complete coursework quicker than a typical program. If you’re interested in a particular school, ask about accelerated bachelor’s degree options.

How Much Does an Online Business Administration Bachelor’s Degree Cost?

Online bachelor’s in business tuition costs vary. Typically, online bachelor’s degree tuition is less expensive if you attend a school that’s in the same state in which you reside. When considering your online bachelor’s degree program cost, take into account the cost of books and supplies.

What Kind of Jobs Can You Get With an Undergraduate Business Degree?

With an undergraduate business bachelor’s degree, you can qualify for many jobs in various settings. You might pursue jobs in: Budgeting to help businesses and organizations create and stick to budgets. Fundraising to help raise money for organizations; Management to help coordinate teams and find ways to improve efficiency; Finance to advise businesses on investment and fiscal decisions; Accounting to help track and prepare financial documents; or Marketing to contribute to strategies that drive the sales of products and/or services.

What is the Bachelor’s in Business Salary and Career Outlook?

Employment in financial and business operations occupations is projected to grow 7% from 2018 to 2028, the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projects. The median annual wage for financial and business occupations was $69,820 in 2019, the BLS reports. The BLS expects 591,800 new business and financial jobs from 2018 to 2028. If you want to pursue a career in business after graduation, you may also want to consider an online master’s in business administration to help you gain additional business knowledge and expertise.

Why Pursue an Online Bachelor Degree in Business?

If you’re interested in getting an online bachelor’s degree in business administration, the online education component can offer flexibility. You can work part time or even full time as you complete your degree. Online learning also teaches relevant skills for the business world, like collaborating with others and completing work online. Online bachelor’s degrees can prepare you for real work in the business world.

Last Updated July 2020