Business Management Degrees: Everything You Need to Know

Thinking about a degree in business? Next to a Master of Business Administration (MBA), business management degrees are some of the most popular in the country right now because they offer flexibility when it comes to careers and they’re available at almost every level of higher education.

To help you decide if it’s the right choice for you, we’ve put together a comprehensive guide to the degree including length, common courses, cost and potential careers. Let’s get started.

Business Management Degree Overview

Business management degree programs are designed to teach students how to plan, direct, manage and assess business operations from top to bottom. Curriculum typically dives into leadership, supply chain, accounting, law and even a bit of psychology. Many can be completed online though some programs may have on-campus or on-site requirements like residencies, seminars and internships. Graduates go on to all sorts of careers across a wide range of fields, from retail and hospitality to sales and international finance.

Length of Business Management Degrees

The amount of time it takes to complete a business management degree will vary based on the degree level. At the associate’s degree level, you can expect to complete about 60 credit hours, which takes about 2 years on average. Bachelor’s degrees often include about 120 to 125 credits and schools expect students to complete them in around 4 years. Finally, master’s degrees in business management usually have about 30 credits. These degrees usually offer accelerated, full-time and part-time options so they can take around 1 to 3 years to finish.

DegreeCredits RequiredTime to Complete
Associate602 Years
Bachelor’s1204 Years
Master’s301-2 Years

Cost of a Business Management Degree

The cost of a degree in business management can vary significantly based on a variety of factors including the school, residency, financial aid and transfer credits. Some schools offer a per-credit rate. So let’s say your school charges $225 per credit (which is inexpensive). For an associate’s you’d be looking at $13,500; a bachelor’s would set you back $27,000 and a master’s would come in around $6,750.

Other institutions might just charge a flat rate per semester or a flat rate for the entire program. Some schools also charge a different rate for in-state students than out-of-state students (this can be double or triple the cost).

Keep in mind that this is just tuition. Schools often charge fees on top of this including technology fees, materials fees, enrollment fees and more. These can add up to thousands per semester. You’ll also need to consider ancillary costs like food, living arrangements and books.

All of this can make getting a degree prohibitive for many people but there is plenty of financial aid available — you may find federal aid through FAFSA, student loans, grants, scholarships and work-study programs, all of which can help make a business management degree more affordable.

Common Courses in a Business Management Program

The courses you take might depend on your school, degree level and concentrations but there are some that are common to most programs including:

  • Business Principles. Courses like these provide a 50,000-foot view of business, touching on skills in human resource management, accounting, marketing, finance and operations.

  • Organizational Behavior and Management. These classes get into the psychology of people inside organizations. Students look at human behavior, team-building, communication and conflict resolution.

  • Managerial Accounting. Managers need to know their way around books so courses like these teach them how to balance ledgers, stay compliant with federal taxation laws, prepare budgets, do cost analyses and use software to track income and expenditures.

  • Business Leadership. As a manager, you’ll be asked to take the lead on projects and guide teams of people to success. Courses in business leadership help students understand how to take authority without alienating, offer direction and provide supervision while still allowing team members the freedom to thrive.

  • Data Analysis. Business is all about numbers. Knowing how to interpret and act on them is the main goal of data analytics courses. They’ll teach students to gather, organize and visualize data as it relates to their business.

  • Law for Managers. Nothing can trip up a business quite like running afoul of the law. Law and ethics courses teach aspiring business managers the legal guidelines that govern businesses and how to stay within them.

Careers with a Degree in Business Management

There are all sorts of business management careers you can pursue with a degree like this one. Here are some ideas for career paths at each degree level.

Associate’s Degree in Business Management Careers

Bookkeeping, accounting, and auditing clerks use software to keep track of transactions, expenses and income and produce financial reports for a company. Typically, they need an associate’s degree with coursework in accounting, math and computers.

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), bookkeeping, accounting, and auditing clerks made a median salary of $40,240 in 2018. Jobs in the field are expected to decline by 3 percent between 2018 and 2028.

Bachelor’s Degree in Business Management Careers

With a bachelor’s degree in business management, your options go up considerably. Some common careers include account managers, sales managers, business analysts and financial analysts.

Financial analysts study trends in the market to offer advice to individuals and businesses on investment opportunities. They typically need a bachelor’s degree that includes coursework in finance, economics and statistics. The BLS reports that these professionals brought home $85,660 in 2018 and were expected to see a growth of 6% from 2018 to 2028.

Master’s Degree in Business Management Careers

Those with a master’s degree in the field also have a wide range of choices, from investment banker and business consultant to management analyst and HR manager.

Human resource managers are in charge of a company’s personnel — they hire, fire, train and supervise employees and manage benefits plans. In 2018, the BLS reported that HR managers took home a median salary of $113,300 while professionals in a related sub-field, operations specialties managers, made $118,580 per year. Between 2018 and 2028, HR managers’ job outlook is 7%, which is higher than the average for all occupations.

There you have it — business management degrees offer a diverse array of courses and can be a great investment in your future.