Types of Business Degrees

The ever-expanding business world is ripe with occupational opportunities that span nearly every industry and avenue. With the advent of new technology and the consumer-driven climate, the business landscape is evolving to make room for professional prospects on the horizon. From marketing and customer service, to accounting and human resources, careers in business have higher-than-average job projections well into the future.

Our guide is designed to be an informative resource for career opportunities projected to have significant job growth from 2014 to 2024 as reported by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics in the Occupational Outlook Handbook. The following 16 profiles include the job description, skills and education requirements, job options, salary averages, and career outlook for each in-demand profession.

Once you find a career of interest, research degree programs to find the higher education path best tailored to help you achieve your academic and career goals. Keep in mind, as you will learn when reading this guide, there are some opportunities to start a business career with an Associate’s degree, but earning a Bachelor’s degree is required for many positions and can open more doors for you in the future.

Types of business degrees to consider

ACCOUNTANTS AND AUDITORS

Accountants analyze and develop financial reports to help an organization determine and document assets, liabilities, revenues and expenses. From financial forecasting and tax preparation, to performing audits and financial advising, accountants are experts in finance and provide an essential service to organizations in a range of industries and business sectors across the globe.

CAREER OUTLOOK Accountants play a vital role in all industries and their service is in demand; the projected job growth for accountants is 11% from 2014-2024. From corporate accounting to management consulting, accountants are influential to maintaining a thriving business for Fortune 500 companies and family-owned small businesses alike.

EDUCATION REQUIREMENTS A Bachelor’s degree in accounting (or a closely related field) is the general education requirement to start most accounting professional positions. Earning a certified managerial accountant (CMA) credential can also lead to better salary— according to an IMA Global Salary Survey, CMAs earned 63% more in total compensation than non-CMAs.

SKILLS YOU NEED Analytical—Accountants need to be able to analyze a variety of data and financial reports to assess the value and significance of the content for audits and other organizational evaluations. Strong verbal and written communication—Working with a client to convey valuable information and listen to the needs and issues of the organization is essential to the day-to-day duties of a successful accountant. Problem solving—To keep accurate and concise records, accountants need to know how to solve problems and implement viable solutions.

JOB OPTIONS Government accountants record financial reports and evaluate budget data for federal, state, and local government offices, programs, and accounts. Certified public accountants (CPAs) are licensed professionals who work with corporations, governments, and individuals. They work with financial documents that clients are required by law to disclose—including tax forms and balance sheet statements. Certified managerial accountants (CMAs) earn their credential through work experience, a rigorous two-part exam and continuing education. They prepare information for internal business use rather than for the general public.

“Accountants work in virtually all industries, including music, sports, medical, criminal justice, and even Hollywood … Anywhere information must be analyzed and communicated effectively, you will find an accountant.”

ADMINISTRATIVE SERVICES MANAGER

Administrative services managers plan, direct, and coordinate the supportive services within an organization, which may vary and be more specific depending on the organization. They may be in charge of keeping records, buying and distributing supplies, hiring administrative staff, monitoring the facility, and numerous other tasks that ensure a company can run smoothly.

CAREER OUTLOOK As organizations grow to realize the importance of operating their facilities efficiently, they will likely continue to hire more administrative services managers. A large portion of these jobs that will be in demand are contract administrators, in specialized areas such as food services, grounds maintenance, and repair. With all of these factors considered, the role of the administrative services manager is expected to grow 8% from 2014 to 2024.

EDUCATION REQUIREMENTS Much of the education requirements depends on the field that the administrative services manager would be working in. For some areas, a high school diploma is sufficient, while for other areas, the candidate would need at least a Bachelor’s degree—typically in business, engineering, or facility management. JOB OPTIONS General and operations managers review financial statements, coordinate the organization’s financial and budget activities to fund operations, plan sales promotions, and obtain merchandise for resale. Contract administrators are in charge of buying, storing, and distributing equipment and supplies for the office, along with taking care of surplus and unclaimed property. Facility managers oversee supplies, but mostly the facilities—buildings and grounds. They are in charge of renovation projects, operations and maintenance, and deal with environmental factors.

SKILLS YOU NEED Analytical—Reviewing procedures, reports, and other documents in order to find ways to improve efficiency for the company is vital for an administrative services manager. Communication—Being able to communicate with co-workers and people outside of the organization, whether it be through email, phone, or face-to-face communications, is an essential skill. Leadership—A person entering this role must be comfortable with setting goals and deadlines for the department, as well as motivating employees.

JOB OPTIONS General and operations managers review financial statements, coordinate the organization’s financial and budget activities to fund operations, plan sales promotions, and obtain merchandise for resale. Contract administrators are in charge of buying, storing, and distributing equipment and supplies for the office, along with taking care of surplus and unclaimed property. Facility managers oversee supplies, but mostly the facilities—buildings and grounds. They are in charge of renovation projects, operations and maintenance, and deal with environmental factors.

COMPUTER SYSTEMS ANALYST

Computer systems analysts research, analyze and modify the computer systems of a client or organization to improve workflow and capabilities. From maintaining programs and software, to technical Problem solving and consulting with management, computer systems analysts play a valuable role in maintaining and optimizing computer systems for businesses across a variety of industries.

CAREER OUTLOOK As organizations increase their dependence on information technology (IT) across all industries, the job growth for computer systems analysts is expected to grow 21% by 2024, a higher-than-average employment projection. TechServe Alliance adds that IT jobs have an increasingly vital role in many industries, including business, and computer systems and design services employment is up 4.5% from 2011.

EDUCATION REQUIREMENTS Some analysts earn an Associate’s degree to enter the field, but generally computer systems analysts hold a Bachelor’s degree in computer sciences or a related technology degree. Depending on the specific role, business courses are helpful since they may work heavily on the business side of operations. Continuing their higher education path to earn a Master’s degree, taking advanced business courses, and earning technological certifications are recommended to help computer systems analysts advance and stay competitive in the computer field as it continues to evolve rapidly.

SKILLS YOU NEED Analytical—Analysts process complex computer systems data and interpret information to evaluate performance. Critical thinking—To identify strengths and weaknesses, computer analysts need to use logic and reasoning to process their findings productively and develop innovative solutions. Solid verbal and written communication—Computer systems analysts confer with clients, consult management, and work with staff regularly, so they must be able to convey information effectively. Research—Analysts should research emerging technologies to ensure the computer systems are optimized and efficient for their organization’s needs.

JOB OPTIONS Business analysts utilize both business and technology knowledge to identify business requirements around technology by collecting data from industry reports and evaluating opportunities for improvement. Programmer analysts design the system software for an organization with an emphasis on coding and programming, in addition to assessing the needs of the business and working one-on-one with management. Business systems analysts utilize their business knowledge and technical background to analyze and investigate current systems, identifying opportunities for improvement and providing recommendations accordingly.

CUSTOMER SERVICE REPRESENTATIVE

Customer service representatives are the liaison between companies and customers regarding their products and services. They provide service to customers in person, over the phone or via email, interacting with them to record complaints, process orders and address any other transactional requests pertinent to the organization they represent. Whether they are following up or responding to inquiries, customer service representatives are a pivotal component of the consumer experience and are often the primary contact for customer and client interactions for many companies.

CAREER OUTLOOK Customer service representatives play an important role in nearly every company by ensuring customer satisfaction. Businesses wouldn’t exist without customers, and as more emphasis is placed on building relationships and customer loyalty, the employment outlook for representatives is projected to grow 10% from 2014-2024. This office and administrative position is the primary communication channel to reach an organization’s target audience personally, so companies will likely continue to depend on this position to seek out customer demand and reactions to new products and services.

EDUCATION REQUIREMENTS Customer service representatives can start their career with a high school Diploma or equivalent education, but to advance into a management position or set themselves ahead of other candidates, an Associate’s or Bachelor’s degree in business or a related field is recommended.

SKILLS YOU NEED Customer service—An assumed skill set to accompany the job title, customer service representatives thrive from friendly and helpful interactions with emphasis on the customer’s best interest. Attentive listening—Paying attention to what the customer needs or wants is imperative to providing satisfactory service as a representative. Good communication—Customer service representatives operate on exceptional communication skills to relay important messages to customers and respond to their requests in a professional and productive manner.

JOB OPTIONS Call center representatives take customer phone calls for a company to process orders, respond to complaints, or generate sales. Account managers specialize in providing service to customers or clients regarding their individual accounts. Customer service specialists provide support to customers of a company or organization, on the phone or in person.

FINANCIAL ANALYST

Financial analysts interpret and investigate investment portfolios and forecast the financial climate of a business or industry. From studying financial statements, to meeting with investors and administration, financial analysts guide fiscal decision-making and evaluate the performance of stocks, bonds, earnings and expenses for a range of businesses, including insurance companies, credit institutions, banks and pension funds.

CAREER OUTLOOK As businesses become more dependent on financial services and investment portfolios become more complex, job growth for this position is increasing. The job outlook for financial analysts is projected to grow 11% from 2014 to 2024, which is higher than the average job growth for business careers.

EDUCATION REQUIREMENTS To start a career as a financial analyst, a Bachelor’s degree in finance is required for most positions across any industry. As the financial industry expands, career competition for financial analysts is expected to increase and, as a result, earning a Master’s degree is highly recommended to help gain a professional edge in the competitive workforce for these high-paying positions.

SKILLS YOU NEED Mathematics—Utilizing precise mathematical skills is crucial to analyzing financial documents and data. Critical thinking—Financial analysts need to possess exceptional logic and reasoning abilities to guide investment decisions and project the future earnings of an organization. Analytical—Beyond critical thinking, financial analysts need to process complex investment and earnings data and identify the underlying trends so they can make adequate recommendations. Advanced reading comprehension—Financial documents possess much more than numbers, so analysts must be able to comprehend the content within a variety of reports and portfolios to excel in their role.

JOB OPTIONS Risk analysts consult with clients to analyze financial statements and use the data, along with current investment trends, to identify innovative ways to reduce risk and increase profits. Fund managers are responsible for managing and implementing an investment strategy that exclusively pertains to mutual or hedge funds. Equity research analysts study the financial climate of an organization to identify potential investment opportunities. Real estate analysts research current real estate market trends and evaluate the investment data for a region, business or market based on the needs of the organization.

FIRST LINE SUPERVISOR OF OFFICE AND ADMINISTRATIVE SUPPORT WORKERS

The first line supervisors of office and administrative support workers support employees in an office by providing guidance, resolving disputes and implementing policies and procedures. They are a part of the recruitment and interviewing process, evaluate the performance of employees and are available to both employees and customers to answer questions or resolve issues.

CAREER OUTLOOK The need for secretary and administrative support workers is on the rise, so the need for those supervising administrative workers is expected to rise as well. The job growth for first line supervisors of office and administrative support workers is projected to increase 8% between 2014 and 2024. Like other occupations, jobs within medical and technical fields are expected to see the most openings for qualified first line supervisors.

EDUCATION REQUIREMENTS Most professionals in this field have postsecondary education; usually an Associate’s degree is sufficient to start, but a Bachelor’s degree can help advance a career as a first line supervisor. Typical degrees for this field include business, facility management, business management and other related fields.

SKILLS YOU NEED Customer Service—The first line supervisor needs to be able to resolve customer complaints or answer a customer’s questions regarding policies and procedures, so the necessary customer service skills include both active listening and effective communication. Detail oriented—Being able to pay attention to detail is required in this position. There is a large range of tasks, from ensuring the organization meets environmental, health and security standards, to managing the process of buying supplies. Leadership—A first line supervisor manages workers and coordinates administrative duties; they must also motivate employees and help resolve problems that may occur.

JOB OPTIONS Office supervisors are part of the hiring and training of new employees and supervise staff to procedures are followed and deadlines are met. They review records and reports and resolve any problems that arise. Administrative supervisors hire, direct and train administrative personnel. They analyze internal processes and implement changes, if necessary, to improve the operations of the company. General and operations managers review financial statements, coordinate the organization’s financial and budget activities to fund operations, plan sales promotions and obtain merchandise for resale. Customer service managers/supervisors are customer-service focused, interacting with customers and clients over the phone and face-to-face to resolve any issues and address any concerns brought forth.

HUMAN RESOURCES MANAGER

Human resources (HR) professionals act as the liaisons between employees and managers to answer questions, coordinate requests and employer contracts and resolve employee conflicts that arise in the workplace. A human resources manager leads the HR team to oversee hiring and staffing processes, conducts training and orientation and maintains administrative duties, including payroll, benefits and employee evaluation.

CAREER OUTLOOK As businesses expand and new companies form, human resources managers are in demand. The job outlook for this HR leadership position is estimated to grow 8% through 2024 and is expected to adapt with likely more responsibility as employment laws and occupational procedures continue to evolve. According to the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM), as more emphasis is placed on cultural diversity and communication with the shift in employment demographics, the human resources role will continue to change with the workplace environment.

EDUCATION REQUIREMENTS To start a career as a human resources manager, a human resources or business administration Bachelor’s degree is often required and always highly recommended, along with human resources internship experience. Individuals who have a combination of an Associate’s degree and human resources work experience may also be qualified for a career in the field. In addition, advanced positions of leadership may require a Master’s degree. It is also encouraged to become a Certified Professional through the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM).

SKILLS YOU NEED Management—Human resources managers direct staff and coordinate a team to ensure all employees are maintaining their duties and responsibilities. Effective decision making—An effective HR professional can weigh the pros and cons of implementing solutions for workplace issues that arise and evaluate options to make important decisions. Negotiation—Strong interpersonal skills are needed to bring workplace employees together and listen to all sides to help resolve differences. Strong verbal and written communication—Human resources managers need to use strong verbal and written communication skills to convey their training techniques, staff processes and any policies or procedures to the entire staff or certain departments in an organization.

JOB OPTIONS Human resources specialists recruit, screen, interview and place workers. They often handle other HR work, such as employee relations, compensation and benefits, and training. This role often advances to the HR manager position. Payroll managers administer payments to employees for salaries and other wages, deductions or bonuses. They also communicate with management to implement or enforce payroll and benefit procedures and policies. Staffing managers oversee hiring responsibilities of an organization, from filling vacancies and interviewing job seekers, to developing a recruiting strategy to ensure the right candidates are informed about the appropriate open positions.

MANAGEMENT ANALYST

Management analysts work with managers within a company or organization to determine if changes need to be made and what solutions or alternative practices can be developed to benefit the company, as well as analyze numerous kinds of data, including revenue, expenditure and employment reports. After analyzing data, they make recommendations to management on new systems, procedures and organizational changes through presentations and written reports.

CAREER OUTLOOK Projected job growth for management analysts is expected to grow 13% from 2014 to 2024, which is partly due to companies interested in “going green” and hiring consultants who specialize in various ecofriendly initiatives, such as lowering energy consumption and costs. There is also a growth in international business, and companies will need management analysts to help organizations enter foreign markets.

EDUCATION REQUIREMENTS Typically, for an entry-level management analyst position, a Bachelor’s degree is required. In some cases, a Master’s degree, specifically an MBA, is preferable. Common majors for this job include business, management, accounting, marketing and other related fields. Many analysts work in roles such as human resources or IT before climbing the workforce ladder to management analyst. Along with a Bachelor’s degree, earning the Certified Management Consultant (CMC) certification through the Institute of Management Consultants USA, Inc. can give job seekers a competitive edge.

SKILLS YOU NEED Analytical—A management analyst must interpret a wide range of information using logic and reasoning in order to make proposals. Interpersonal—Aspects of this occupation involve giving full attention to fellow employees, understanding points being made, conveying information efficiently to others, and being aware of other’s reactions. Problem solving—Being able to identify and evaluate complex problems, and find a way to solve each challenge is essential to a company. Management analysts are hired for their ability to think creatively to solve a client’s issue. Time management—The role of management analyst is fairly high pressure, but with proper time management skills and being able to work under tight deadlines, the management analyst should be able to efficiently complete projects on time.

JOB OPTIONS Business analysts utilize both business and technology knowledge to identify business requirements around technology by collecting data from industry reports and evaluating opportunities for improvement. Budget analysts work in public or private intuitions to organize finances, prepare budget reports and monitor institutional spending. Management consultants/analysts work with managers to evaluate collected data and make appropriate changes to forms and reports, prepare manuals, train workers and perform on-site inspection to determine positive methods and procedures used.

MARKET RESEARCH ANALYST

Market research analysts study consumer trends and analyze sales and market conditions to forecast marketing strategies. By collecting competitor data, monitoring effective advertising campaigns, and gauging the standings of a company or industry, research analysts evaluate statistics and devise the consumer reports companies use to determine their potential in the marketplace. This role is essential to the success of an organization and the marketing efforts of its products and services.

CAREER OUTLOOK Significantly faster than all other occupations, the career outlook for market research analysts is projected to grow an astounding 18% from 2014-2024 as almost all industries are seeking the expertise of market research analysts. Consumer behavior drives marketing strategies, and as more businesses seek research to dictate new products and services development, as well as their advertising efforts, the demand for this occupation is expected to continue to grow rapidly.

EDUCATION REQUIREMENTS To start a career as a market research analyst, a Bachelor’s degree in market research, statistics or a related field is generally required. Many positions in this profession encourage or require candidates to earn a Master’s degree, so an advanced education can help achieve greater career success.

SKILLS YOU NEED Analytical—Market research involves understanding large amounts of data and information to determine what strategy would work best for the organization and create applicable reports that provide insightful market trends. Communication—A marketing specialist researches data and communicates findings through verbal presentations and written reports, creating proposals and interacting with customers and clients. Detail oriented—There is very little room for error in this field; the research involved is meticulous and all the statistics and data need to be accurate and concise, so a detail oriented eye and mind are key to success.

JOB OPTIONS Client service and consulting managers specialize in researching market trends and conditions to gauge the current standings of their clients in the marketplace and identify campaign opportunities. Business development specialists focus on new product and market research to identify ways to drive new business, create new products and services, and gain new customers. Operations research analysts use advanced mathematical and analytical methods to help organizations investigate complex issues, identify and solve problems, and make better decisions. Market research managers oversee the efforts to conduct surveys and research market trends, study brand and advertising customer response data, and provide recommendations for management based on the results. Market research analysts prepare reports on industry trends and measure the effectiveness of marketing/advertising strategies and customer satisfaction. They may also create proposals for management concerning promotion of the products and services of the organization.

MARKETING MANAGER

Marketing managers develop marketing strategies for a business or organization and work to direct and coordinate marketing efforts to build awareness around a product or service. Marketing professionals should have expertise across a range of promotional platforms, including online, print and television, to plan for an effective advertising campaign. From directing staff to working with clients, marketing managers lead an organization’s marketing initiatives to reflect the needs of the market forecast and current trends.

CAREER OUTLOOK As businesses become more competitive and the channels to reach a consumer continue to increase with advancements in technology, the rate of employment for marketing managers is projected to grow 9% (2014–2024). The rise of digital media platforms and the emphasis on online marketing channels will likely contribute to this demand. As long as there are products and services to promote, companies will seek marketing managers to lead their strategies to market them.

EDUCATION REQUIREMENTS For most marketing management positions, a Bachelor’s degree is required. Earning a marketing, promotions or advertising Associate’s degree may help job candidates acquire an entry-level position in the industry; however, to advance into a marketing manager position and drastically increase employability, earning a Bachelor’s degree and gaining experience through an internship is strongly recommended.

SKILLS YOU NEED Analytical—Marketing managers need to know how to analyze the needs of a target audience and evaluate the market to determine an optimal marketing strategy that can effectively utilize the team’s resources. Persuasion—The art of persuasion lies in the ability to influence the right individuals to believe in a concept, product or service. Marketing managers must be able to determine how to convince a target audience to believe in their business or brand in every marketing task they execute or manage. Creativity—From generating marketing strategies to developing innovative ways to interact with an audience, successful marketing managers depend on their creative skills to help them generate fresh marketing ideas.

JOB OPTIONS Advertising managers oversee the strategy to promote the products and services of a business or organization through advertising across a range of platforms that vary based on the campaign and the target audience. Market development managers are responsible for developing and implementing sales and marketing plans specific to client accounts and brand strategies. Performing market research to determine relevant marketing opportunities is another analytical responsibility for this position. Marketing coordinators produce and maintain marketing proposals for an organization and are often responsible for various tasks, including planning promotional events, communicating with customers and analyzing the performance of the executed marketing plans.

MEDICAL AND HEALTH SERVICES MANAGER

Medical and health services managers work to improve efficiency and quality in delivering healthcare services by planning, directing and coordinating services across a variety of healthcare settings. They review activities, plan programs and services, train staff, create schedules, develop digital records and perform other managerial duties. Some specialize in one clinical area or department, while others manage an entire practice.

CAREER OUTLOOK Rapid job growth is expected for medical and health services managers—16% from 2014 to 2024— primarily due to the large number of aging babyboomers. The domino effect of this job growth is a result of an increase in patients, which leads to a need for more physicians and facilities, and therefore, a demand for more healthcare managers.

EDUCATION REQUIREMENTS Typically, a Bachelor’s degree or higher is required for the role of medical and health services manager. Most commonly, these professionals have a Bachelor’s degree in health administration, business administration or a related field. The Professional Association of Health Care Office Management (PAHCOM) offers a certification—the Certified Medical Manager (CMM) Certificate—to help set any job seeker apart from their competition and show career dedication to prospective employers.

SKILLS YOU NEED Critical thinking—A medical and health services manager must be able to use logic and reasoning to find the appropriate solution when considering the relative costs and benefits of potential actions. Time management—Being able to manage multiple responsibilities simultaneously, all while managing the time of others, is a juggling act that every medical and health services manager performs on a daily basis. Technical—New medical laws are constantly put into place and a medical and health services manager needs to adapt to new laws, on top of following current regulations. They also must follow the advances in healthcare technology to keep facilities updated. Communication—This job is meant for a person with strong interpersonal skills. Each day, a medical and health services manager speaks to their personnel, listens to the needs or concerns of clinicians, and is required to give their full attention to what others are saying, along with being able to convey information effectively.

JOB OPTIONS Medical office managers are in charge of the day-to-day office operations. They manage inventory of office supplies, medical supplies and marketing materials, provide executive assistance as-needed and coordinate payments to vendors. Human resources managers plan, direct and coordinate the administrative functions of an organization—they oversee recruiting, interviewing and hiring of new staff. They serve as a link between and organization’s management and its employees. Social and community service managers have similar roles to an HR manager but within a community outreach organization or a social service program. They also oversee budget, policies, program requirements and benefits—working with counselors, social workers or probation officers.

SALES REPRESENTATIVE WHOLESALE & MANUFACTURING

Sales representatives sell goods or services to a business, government agency, various organizations and sometimes directly to a consumer. An everyday aspect of the job includes contacting regular and potential customers to solicit orders. Contacting customers involves every form of communication—over the phone, via emails and even face-to-face interactions. On the marketing side of the job, a sales representative examines market conditions and monitors the products, prices and sales of the competitors.

CAREER OUTLOOK The employment growth for sales representatives will largely follow growth of the overall economy and will be strongest for sales representatives working at independent sales agencies. The required face-to-face communication with clients allows little to no opportunity for outsourcing. As a result of this and increasing opportunities in other developing markets, employment for this field is expected to grow 7% from 2014-2024.

EDUCATION REQUIREMENTS In most cases, an Associate’s degree is sufficient to qualify for a sales representative position, but in cases where the products or services are scientific or technical, a Bachelor’s degree is typically required. Along with having a degree, there will most likely be an on-the-job training program, which may include seminars on sales techniques for those just breaking into the field.

SKILLS YOU NEED Sales and marketing—The biggest part of this job is sales, and this is where college courses benefit a sales representative the most; being able to use marketing strategies and tactics to promote and sell products or services is a key aspect of this job. Customer service—Much of sales representative role revolves around calling regular and potential clients, listening to their needs to determine the product or service to meet those needs, answering questions and following up to ensure their needs are met. Interpersonal—Similar to customer service skills, interaction with others—not just clients—is a staple in the career. Building relationships with other members of the sales team is essential in providing an exceptional sales force. Active learning—Being able to understand various work documents, using logic and reasoning to identify the strengths and weaknesses of alternative solutions, conclusions or approaches to problems is important to continued career success.

JOB OPTIONS Outside sales representatives travel to current and potential clients to discuss the needs of the client and how those needs can be met. They are able to inform a client about price, availability, and if applicable, may need to know how to install new equipment. Inside sales representatives make “cold calls” to prospective clients, while also taking incoming calls from a customer or organization that may be interested in their product. Account managers have knowledge of business and management principles involved in strategic planning and production methods, and they are able to lead and coordinate people and resources.

SECRETARY AND ADMINISTRATIVE ASSISTANTS (EXCEPT LEGAL, MEDICAL AND EXECUTIVE)

Secretaries and administrative assistants support an office by performing clerical and organizational tasks, such as filing, drafting messages, scheduling appointments and supporting other staff. They play a key role in every office and organization and can adapt to a wide range of industries and work environments. Some who work as receptionists or at the front desk are responsible for duties that emphasize customer service, while administrative assistants often operate internally for the organization.

CAREER OUTLOOK The growth of this field varies between occupational specialties, but on average, employment for secretaries and administrative assistants is expected to grow 3% from 2014 to 2024. One area in particular that is expected to see higher growth for administrative assistants is medical offices because of the rapid growth within the healthcare field.

EDUCATION REQUIREMENTS Most industries, especially specialized fields, such as medical or legal, require the job candidates to have an Associate’s degree and knowledge of industry-specific terminology. There are often opportunities for promotion for those who are qualified. Most secretaries and administrative assistants learn on the job and gain skills to help them move up to office manager or other administrative positions with more responsibilities.

SKILLS YOU NEED Computer and electronic—A great amount of a secretary’s or administrative assistant’s work revolves around completing forms, replying to emails, database management, as well as operating a fax machine, multi-line phones, copy machine and other office equipment. Clerical—Being well-versed in administrative procedures, such as word processing, managing files and records (either hard copy or electronically), stenography and transcription (most jobs require an impressive words-per-minute typing ability), and other office procedures, is critical to success as a secretary or administrative assistant. Customer service—In most offices, the secretary or administrative assistant is the first person a customer or client speaks to, so they must be able to direct the customer/client to a person or department to resolve their issue, while being pleasant and attentive. The customer service skills necessary include both active listening and speaking skills.

JOB OPTIONS Receptionists perform various administrative tasks, such as answering phones, greeting walk-in visitors and directing them to specific destinations, keeping appointment calendars, and other clerical duties across nearly every industry. Executive secretaries and executive administrative assistants provide high-level support for an office and for top executives. They handle more complex responsibilities than receptionists and may supervise clerical staff. Medical secretaries transcribe dictation, prepare messages, keep track of extensive medical history files, arrange for patients to be hospitalized, and order office supplies, along with other clerical duties. This role requires knowledge of medical terminology, insurance and billing practices, medical records, and hospital or clinic procedures

SUPPLY CHAIN LOGISTICIANS & WHOLESALE AND RETAIL BUYERS

Most logisticians and purchasing agents work in warehouses and manufacturing facilities. Logisticians plan and track the movement of products by using software systems and manage logistical functions such as procurement, inventory management and other supply chain planning and management systems. The purchasing agent is in charge of buying items to help the organization, such as industrial equipment or office supplies needed for the facility.

EDUCATION REQUIREMENTS Education requirements vary between organizations—a high school diploma may be sufficient for some positions—but many employers require buyers and purchasing agents to have a Bachelor’s degree along with on-the-job training for entry-level positions. A Bachelor’s degree is typically required for logisticians, along with industry certification and work experience in a related field.

SKILLS YOU NEED Communication—Both careers in this field need strong communication skills to collaborate with colleagues, do business with suppliers and customers. Critical thinking—Logisticians develop and execute logistical plans and find ways to reduce costs and improve efficiency. Purchasing agents evaluate suppliers and analyze their options to choose a supplier with the best combination of price, quality and service. Negotiating and Problem solving—Being flexible and handling situations on the fly is a critical skill for both careers. Purchasing agents negotiate terms of a contract with a supplier, while logisticians handle unforeseen issues and adjust plans to resolve the issues.

JOB OPTIONS Purchasing Managers plan, direct and coordinate the buying of materials, products or services for wholesalers, retailers or organizations. They oversee the work of procurement-related occupations including buyers and purchasing agents. Management analysts propose ways to improve an organization’s efficiency. They advise managers on how to make organizations more profitable through reduced costs and increased revenues. Cost estimators collect and analyze data in order to estimate the time, money, materials and labor required to manufacture a product or provide a service—often specializing in a particular product or industry.

TAX PREPARER

Often employed by small businesses or individuals, tax preparers review financial documents and records to formulate the appropriate tax returns for clients. A successful tax preparer completes accurate and concise tax returns, reviewing all the applicable income, deductions and expenses documents to help keep the client’s taxes to a minimum.

CAREER OUTLOOK The job outlook for tax preparers is estimated to grow 2% throughout the decade (2014-2024) as the tax laws continue to become more complex and more individuals and businesses depend on tax services to file their returns. The demand for tax preparation services is typically seasonal due to the U.S. tax deadline of April 15. However, tax professionals can advance their education to expand their career into other finance and accounting expertise as demand for their services fluctuates throughout the year.

EDUCATION REQUIREMENTS While the minimum education requirement for many entry-level tax preparer positions is a high school Diploma, an Associate’s degree in business, accounting or finance is recommended to help gain a competitive edge in the workplace and increase the scope of of a tax preparer’s opportunities when tax season is finished. To help advance this career even further and pursue a managerial role, earning a Bachelor’s degree can be a valuable investment.

SKILLS YOU NEED Problem solving—Tax preparers need to know how to identify problems or complications in important tax documents and create accurate solutions to ensure tax returns are filed efficiently. Customer service—Engaging in productive communication with clients to understand their needs is important for tax professionals as it allows them to provide quality service and encourage customer satisfaction. Math—Preparing optimal tax returns requires solid mathematical skills to ensure all the financial data is accurately documented.

JOB OPTIONS Tax consultants specialize in federal and state tax laws and advise businesses and individuals on tax preparation. Income tax preparers help individuals prepare the appropriate federal and state income tax return or claim tax refunds based on the appropriate tax laws. Tax specialists are responsible for providing tax preparation for corporations and other businesses with specific regard to complying with tax requirements and fiscal liabilities or policies.

TRAINING AND DEVELOPMENT MANAGER

Found in almost every industry, training and development managers plan, direct and coordinate programs to improve the knowledge and skills of employees at a company or organization, often by conferring with managers of each department to identify training needs. They direct training courses and also administer the work of training and development specialists, which may include instructional designers, program developers and instructors.

CAREER OUTLOOK Baby boomers make up a very large portion of the workforce, and with so many starting to retire, organizations will need to hire training and development staff capable of training new replacements. As a result, employment for training and development managers is expected to grow 7% from 2014 to 2024. The span of opportunities across industries will likely also contribute to the job growth for this management position.

EDUCATION REQUIREMENTS Most commonly, employers expect job candidates to hold a Bachelor’s degree, but some training and development manager positions require a Master’s degree. The most common degrees to help land a position in this field are human resources and business administration. To become more credible when entering the workforce, the American Society for Training and Development suggests earning a Certified Professional in Learning and Performance Certification.

SKILLS YOU NEED Critical thinking—These skills are essential when assessing classes, materials and programs. Managers must identify training needs within the organization and decide where changes and improvements can be made. Learning strategies—A very important aspect of the training and development manager role is selecting and implementing training/instructional methods and procedures suitable for the situation when learning or teaching new concepts. Interpersonal—Being a manager is not exactly a one-person job; there is a lot of teamwork involved, including collaborating with staff, trainees, subject matter experts or other leaders in the organization. Public speaking—Giving instructions, providing information and performing presentations are a few of the ways that make speaking skills an essential part of the job of a training and development manager.

JOB OPTIONS Compensation and benefits managers are in charge of planning, directing and coordinating either the pay for employees or retirement plans, health insurance and other benefits an organization offers its employees. Human resources managers oversee employee relations, regulatory compliance and employee-related services, such as payroll, training and benefits. They are in charge of the hiring process, manage staffing issues and plan and coordinate an organization’s workforce to best use employee talent. Marketing managers determine the demand for products and services offered by a firm and its competitors, and identify potential customers. They oversee product development or monitor trends that indicate the need for new products and services.

As evidenced by the number of growing professions outlined in our guide, there are a variety of business careers available in nearly every industry, and these occupational opportunities are all projected to increase throughout the next decade. Whether you are interested in becoming a marketing manager or computer systems analyst, earning an Associate’s degree can be a great way to start a career in business, but earning a Bachelor’s degree is often required and provides more opportunities for you on the path to becoming a successful business leader.

List of Types of Business Degrees:

Accounting

Overview: Love numbers? Have an eye for detail? When studying accounting you will develop your understanding of generally accepted accounting principles, tax law, the process of managing financial documents and how it impacts business operations. The accounting field has several potential career pathsand this degree will equip you to pursue different types of accounting, audit or tax-related positions within a variety of organizations.

Advertising
Overview: Think you have the creativity to develop an ad that cuts through the clutter and sticks in the mind of a potential customer? With an advertising degree you’ll learn how to make a message stand out from the crowd by learning about what makes an audience tick and how to best reach them. This is a great choice if you’re looking for a way to leverage your creative ability in the world business.

Business management
Overview: There’s a lot to learn about managing a business or department. A business management degree will give you a solid comprehensive foundation in important business areas like accounting, sales, operations and organizational leadership. You’ll also be better equipped to manage and lead a team of people, which is beneficial if you have hopes of advancing your career into leadership positions. 

Economics
Overview: If you choose to study economics, you can expect to learn about economic principles and theory, including the use of math and data analysis.  An economics degree can help prepare you for analyzing and forecasting economic trends in order to improve business operations and performance.

Entrepreneurship
Overview: If you want to start, build and manage a business of your own, an entrepreneurship degree can help you to develop the necessary skills to succeed. However, don’t be fooled into thinking this degree is only for aspiring business owners. Most of the principles and courses can be applied in any business setting.

Finance
Overview: If you choose to study finance, you’ll learn a broad range of concepts and skills including financial analysis, economics, statistics and portfolio management. Majoring in finance will help you pursue opportunities in finance sectors as well as accounting or investment areas.

Healthcare management
Overview: It takes a lot of business acumen to keep a healthcare facility running smoothly and profitably. This major prepares you for providing business management leadership strategies designed to address the unique challenges and intricacies within the growing healthcare industry. You will learn about many of the proven management techniques with a focus on the nuances found within the healthcare industry.

Hospitality management
Overview: If you have a passion for working with people and a knack for making sure everyone is taken care of, then a hospitality management degree may be right for you. Hotels, event venues and other similar establishments have unique management needs that are different than other businesses. Utilizing a variety of management and communications skills is important for making sure operations run smoothly and guests leave happy.

Human resources
Overview: This field is all about people. Whether it’s helping employees with navigating benefits enrollment or helping secure the top talent needed for business growth, this field relies on impeccable interpersonal skills.  With a human resources (HR) degree, you will learn the skills necessary for managing business and labor practices in addition to learning about organizational development, resources planning and training.

International business
Overview: International business focuses on – you guessed it – global business organizations. Multinational corporations need employees who are well-suited to deal with the unique challenges presented by doing business across multiple countries.

Marketing
Overview: Want to help grow and maintain a business by attracting and retaining customers? This is a great option. By majoring in marketing, you’ll be focused on learning the fundamentals of areas such as market research, communication and marketing strategies.  The marketing department of a business helps accomplish tasks such as product promotion or consumer research in order to achieve business goals like increasing sales, building brand awareness and improving customer retention.

Project management
Overview: Are you a natural planner and organizer? If so, project management may appeal to you. A degree in project management will help you acquire the skills needed to oversee projects of all sizes. You will learn how to keep all elements of a project accounted for, on-time, (hopefully) under budget—and if all of that fails, what to do when things go wrong!

Public relations
Overview: Public relations (PR) professionals interact with the public on behalf of the organization they represent. To do this, you must be an excellent communicator and business strategist. Majoring in PR will teach you the principles of strategic communication, community event planning and how to manage relationships with news media.

Statistics
Overview: We live in an era where more data is being collected by businesses than ever before. But what good is that data if there’s no one around to collect, organize and make sense of it all? Statisticians are trained in the collection, organization, analysis and interpretation of numbered data sets. They use these skills to help improve the decision-making ability of businesses by uncovering and planning for trends or patterns on which to act.

Supply chain management
Overview: Ever wonder how the products you order online ends up on your doorstep within days? To steal a line from UPS: That’s logistics! A supply chain management degree will prepare you to handle the intricacies of managing a global supply chain (and all of the moving parts that come with it) to ensure a business’ operations are running efficiently.
 

Business Management Degree Specialization

Understanding the core values of business is the first step toward opportunities in management, and if this is of interest to you, then a business administration degree in management may be an option to consider. This degree is designed to provide students with a b foundation in business fundamentals and a focused study of business management principles and their application in real-world work environments. In this curriculum, students explore current operations and marketing management practices and principles to create efficient, productive systems; evaluate the various methods of personnel selection; implement standards for performance evaluation; and analyze cases that focus on key marketing management tasks, such as marketing research, sales forecasting, product and brand management, distribution channels, pricing, promotion and branding strategies.


Finance Degree Specialization

For those who are numbers-minded, there is an opportunity to take this route into business with a Bachelor of Business Administration (BBA) with a specialization in Finance. Such programs cover relevant areas in finance, including investment, capital planning, international finance and financial analysis. Courses also may explore how to assess and solve issues in a business environment by applying the principles of finance and accounting, use quantitative tools to analyze contemporary business functions and practices, recognize the connection between financial concepts and their use in the global markets, and use current marketing management practices and principles to increase efficiency and productivity.


Marketing Degree Specialization

Marketing is a dynamic area of business, and a marketing degree specialization may be an obvious choice for those interested in the field. The key principles of marketing are covered, focused around planning, implementation, controlling and evaluating marketing strategies to achieve an organization's goals. Students also can study how to measure market demand and segment the market effectively to achieve competitive advantage, as well as analyzing cases that focus on key marketing management tasks, such as marketing research, sales forecasting, product and brand management, distribution channels, pricing and promotion.


Entrepreneurship Degree Specialization

If you have the drive to start a business or are leading your own already, then a business degree focusing on entrepreneurship could be for you. In this type of program, students can become familiar with real-world issues relevant to entrepreneurs, such as employment law and budgeting, as well as develop key managerial skills such as team leadership and management tactics. Classes also may focus on examining the legal environment and the various challenges of managing modern organizations, employing negotiation tactics and strategy, knowing the factors that ensure legal compliance, and understanding contracting and procurement.


International Business Degree Specialization

International business specializations can take you across the world and open up global opportunities. These programs explore how international trade and finance policies and relations affect business decisions and analyze the real-world practices of international marketing, global financial markets, international trade operations and many other relevant areas. Students also can study how to adapt marketing strategies for international markets, construct management practices and processes in an international environment while recognizing global differences, and manage operations and production on a global scale.


Human Resource Management Degree Specialization

Nearly every industry includes human resource management, and this specialization offers a different path for those who want to work in business. The BBA with a Specialization in Human Resource Management is designed to provide industry-focused courses on topics from human asset management to conflict resolution. The curriculum also may include learning how to develop a personnel selection process for a specific position, establish performance standards for a job and select methods of performance appraisal, evaluate the relative worth of a set of jobs and determine a compensation structure, as well as covering disciplinary actions and change strategies.


Operations Management Degree Specialization

Operations management quite simply means following the transformation processes involved in the creation of goods and services in today's modern business and managing supply chain networks and personnel. A Business degree with a specialization in operations management can equip students with the skills to do this through coursework focusing on the various real-world factors that affect the success of operations, from cost-control management to industrial labor relations. Analyzing the behavior of supply chain networks and drivers and identifying methods for improving work design may also be covered.


Project Management Degree Specialization

Are you interested in leading and managing diverse teams within an organization and understanding all the steps and processes necessary to successfully completing projects on time and on budget in real-world business environments? If this area of business appeals to you, then a Business degree with a specialization in project management could be the right choice. The degree typically covers how to develop and use Gantt Charts, CPM and PERT techniques as well as create project plans that include cost, scheduling and risk assessment.

 

Check out all of these business concentrations you can pursue online:

  • Accounting
  • Advertising
  • Business Information Systems
  • Business Management
  • E-Commerce
  • Economics
  • Entrepreneurship
  • Finance
  • General Business Administration
  • Healthcare Management
  • Hospitality Management
  • Human Resources
  • Information Systems Management
  • International Business
  • Internet Marketing / e-Marketing
  • Marketing
  • Operations Management
  • Organizational Leadership
  • Project Management
  • Public Administration
  • Public Relations
  • Sales
  • Statistics
  • Supply Chain Management

 

 References:

[1] The Beginner's Guide to Different Types of Business Degrees http://www.rasmussen.edu/degrees/business/blog/types-of-business-degrees/

[2] 8 Types of Business Degree Specializations You Can Pursue https://www.aiuniv.edu/degrees/business/8-types-of-business-degree-specializations-you-can-pursue

[3] Business careers with high pay - Bureau of Labor Statistics https://www.bls.gov/careeroutlook/2016/article/high-paying-business-careers.htm

[4] Most popular majors - Fast Facts - U.S. Department of Education https://nces.ed.gov/fastfacts/display.asp?id=37