Your Complete Guide to

Online Business Degrees

The best business programs, benefits, list of universities, rankings, FAQs and everything you ever wanted to know.
Grant Aldrich on March 13, 2023

Why We Love Them

  • Broad Career Options
  • Interesting Topics
  • High Salary Potential

Pursuing a college degree is an amazing as well as an important decision to improve life for you and your family. The degree you choose will not only dictate your college courses and what you learn, but it will also have a profound impact on your career trajectory and earning potential.

A business degree is a great option for prospective students because it teaches a multitude of vital skills that are always in-demand in the marketplace such as communication, leadership, critical thinking, management, and ethics. And, upon obtaining a business degree, you will have a well-rounded education that will help you develop a career in a variety of industries including public relations, finance, marketing, and human resources.

In this article, we’re going to explore everything you need to know about earning a business degree. We’ll cover the best business degrees that offer the biggest career potential, compare online programs with traditional programs, and take a look at the differences between Associates, Bachelor’s, Master’s, Doctoral, and PhD degrees.

But be sure to read this ENTIRE article because we’re also going to tell you exactly how could help you save THOUSANDS on your tuition!

Let’s get started…

7 Best Online Business Degrees

Before we get to the online business degrees we believe should be the focus of your efforts, let’s talk about WHY we believe these degrees are the best.

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They are Economically Viable

The following business degrees can set you on a lucrative career path. There will always be a demand for people with these skills, no matter what the economy is doing. Having a degree will open doors to various possibilities and opportunities helping accelerate professional development and success in a multitude of industries for young professionals. If you are interested in a career that has a lot of room for growth and advancement, we highly encourage you to consider these specific online business degrees.

Perfect for Changing Careers

Are you an adult who has been part of the workforce for a while? Are you looking for a new career that allows you to earn more for your family? Higher education in a field and profession that is high in demand has twofold benefits – not only is there a chance to earn more, but professionals also benefit from greater job security in their fields. While many fields do not come with this advantage, the following online business degrees are suited for those planning to make a change.

Flexible and Affordable

We’ve decided to focus on those business degrees that can be earned online because we believe they allow busy working adults the opportunity to make a positive change in their lives. An online program will allow you to study at your own pace and during those hours that are convenient for YOU, instead of having to go by a fixed schedule making it difficult to juggle between your future prospects and your current responsibilities.

Did you know a survey showed that 52% of graduate students in the U.S. found their online education provided a better learning experience than their college-level classroom education (Duffin, 2019)?

Now that you know why we chose the online business degrees we did, let’s dive in:


A bachelor of science in marketing is a dynamic degree that will provide you with the skills to help organizations across industries to grow and thrive. You’ll learn how to conduct market research, develop and launch print as well as digital campaigns and ads to help with customer acquisition and then measure the effectiveness of each of these campaigns.

Once you enter the workforce and gain some experience as a marketer, you’ll be able to climb the ladder to eventually become a marketing manager, marketing director or even chief marketing officer (CMO). No matter what leadership role you may eventually take on, the foundational knowledge and skills obtained from your bachelor’s degree program will continue to play an integral role in your success.

Career Outlook

Businesses have been advertising for 100s of years and that is something that will never change; in fact, it will only continue to grow and grow, allowing for more innovation to adapt and adjust to the new technologies and new ways people consume and perceive businesses. Additionally, marketing professionals, who understand the latest trends, have the right education are on top of their game, and are always in demand due to the changing nature of the industry and the need to always stay connected to the customers in innovative ways.

As more organizations come online, they will need marketers to help them with their social media marketing, e-commerce, and paid and organic search traffic. Because of this, the demand for skilled marketers will grow over the coming years. In fact, according to the BLS, the overall employment of advertising, promotions, and marketing managers is projected to grow 10% from 2020 to 2030, faster than the average for all occupations.

Business Administration

A bachelor of science in business administration is a fantastic generalist degree that prepares you to work in a wide variety of management and leadership positions in all industries. In this exciting degree program, you’ll learn effective leadership skills that will allow you to manage projects from start to finish. Coursework topics include human resource regulations, leadership skills, marketing, management strategies, writing business plans, and more.

A degree in business administration can definitely help set you apart from other candidates when it comes time to landing a job. Most corporations look for individuals who possess business administration skills. A solid background in business management will help develop expertise that applies to a variety of industries. Your professional and interpersonal progress will benefit from having access to such a variety of options, and you’ll stand out as a dynamic prospect in the employment market if you have this kind of knowledge.

Having the right skills and education will help stand out from others in this extremely competitive market. Your degree will also help you to one day step into director and chief executive roles if you so choose.

Career Outlook

All businesses, in every industry, need individuals who can effectively lead and manage projects. Because of this and the growing complexity of business operations, the demand for individuals with bachelor’s degrees in business administration should continue to grow in the coming years. Graduates have the option of owning and operating their own businesses or working in managerial positions in a variety of industries such as healthcare, hospitality, manufacturing, communications, and more.

Accounting or Finance

A bachelor of science in accounting is a flexible degree that allows individuals to work as an accountant in a number of industries with plenty of future career prospects. Not only can an individual with this degree help people and businesses keep proper financial records and follow tax regulations, but they can eventually become a certified public accountant (CPA), taking on more responsibility and earning more.

Should you choose to become a CPA, you can decide to either work as an independent accountant, or you can work as an accountant for one of the big four accounting firms Deloitte, PricewaterhouseCoopers, Ernst & Young, and KPMG. After you gain some critical experience, you can decide to climb the ranks to become an auditor, business intelligence analyst, or even chief financial officer (CFO). There is so much agility with plenty of room to grow and experiment. 

Career Outlook

Every type of business in every industry requires accountants to help them manage their finances and adhere to tax regulations. And, with many businesses now leveraging data-driven insights to make better business decisions, the future for accountants is more and more promising. The BLS has projected that the employment of accountants and auditors is projected to grow by 7% from 2020 to 2030.

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International Business

Does the thought of traveling the world, learning other languages, and experiencing different cultures excite you? Do you also have a keen mind for business? If so, a bachelor of science in international business may be the perfect degree for you!

While a general business administration degree is suitable for those individuals who wish to work within the United States, those candidates who wish to live and work abroad will need to learn additional skills to help them succeed on an international level. With an international business degree, you’ll learn the cultural, ethnic, and linguistic skills needed to work anywhere in the world! 

International business students typically choose to focus on one specific international region during their studies. These regions include Asia, Europe, Latin America, and the Middle East, among others. Once the student has selected their region, they would then take a deep dive into the interworking of business in that region, learn to speak the language, get familiar with applicable laws, and study the religion, culture, and customs of that region. This study program combines the best of both worlds!

Career Outlook

A broad knowledge of the field of international business can open up some of the best employment opportunities. Working in a diverse environment offers exposure to a range of experiences and cultures as well as helps build professional connections that can add to future career prospects. For this reason, individuals with an international business degree are expected to be in high demand.

Healthcare Administration

While doctors and nurses are on the frontlines of healthcare, it is the administrators working tirelessly behind the scenes that are really the unsung heroes in this industry. This COVID 19 pandemic truly showed what a team effort in the healthcare industry looks like. With a Bachelor of Science in healthcare administration, individuals are prepared for a career overseeing the operations of healthcare facilities such as hospitals, nursing homes, doctor’s offices, etc. With this program, students will focus on a curriculum that instills leadership skills. Topics typically cover a mix of administration, regulatory, and healthcare such as HIPAA laws, ethics in healthcare, human resources, payroll management, and handling of PHI.

Graduates of a healthcare administration program are well-prepared to manage and take on leadership roles within facilities, handling the staffing needs of the facility as well as ensuring exemplary service is given to each and every patient.

Career Outlook

Did you know that jobs in the healthcare industry are among the fastest-growing? This is due in large part to an aging baby boomer population, who require more medical services. The field of healthcare is also a constantly evolving one, with advancements in medicine as well as technology along with the rise in chronic diseases. This means that the need for professionals that are well-trained and up-to-date with technological developments is always going to be in demand. To meet these growing needs, hospitals, nursing homes, and doctor’s offices will require the help of healthcare administrators with the right qualifications, skills, and experience.

Sports Management

Are you a talented athlete? Or do you simply love watching sports and want to be a part of the action that takes place on the fields? If so, a degree in sports management can help you turn your passion into a lucrative career! This degree will teach you how to apply finance, marketing, business, and law to sports organizations. An individual with this degree can choose to become a sports scout, an athletic director, or a sports coach in both grade school teams as well as professional teams, and within any type of sport including baseball, football, basketball, tennis, soccer, hockey, and others.

Career Outlook

Sports have been a part of humanity for thousands of years and will continue to be part of our lives. Modern sports are just as big a part of the entertainment industry as movies and music. Whether it’s a junior high baseball team or the NBA, there will always be a need for talented coaches, agents, scouts and administrators.

Online Vs Traditional Campus Business Degrees

If you are an 18-year-old recent high school graduate, chances are that the idea of moving away from your family and living on a college campus is very appealing to you. You’ve just spent 12 years attending classes all day long, so spending a few more years doing the same won’t interrupt your life in any way.

But if you are an adult who currently has a full-time job and family responsibilities, going to traditional classes on campus can be very difficult. Even if you look for a local community college that offers classes at night or on the weekend, chances are that with a fixed schedule you can still end up missing important family outings like your kids’ recitals and little league games.

Here are 3 reasons why an online degree makes a LOT more sense!

  1. Flexibility

Online education offers busy adults the flexibility they need to successfully complete their higher education. You’re able to study during those times that are most convenient for YOU and never have to miss an important work or family function or never have to stop from taking a break when most needed. With online programs, students do not also have to give up on their work. In fact, this offers a chance for the students to put their learning into practice in their existing jobs and improve their chances for success.

  1. Affordability

Online programs are typically far more affordable than traditional brick and mortar classes. On top of these savings, online degrees also don’t require the cost of room and board or even gas money to get to campus! As an added bonus, you don’t have to compromise on your work while you pursue your degree.

  1. Business Degrees Fit Online Learning Perfectly!

These days, just about any degree can be earned online barring some degrees, such as those in certain science fields that require lab work. But a degree in the field of business is perfect for online learning. The courses are mostly theory based and discuss concepts which is something that can be taught online quite conveniently.

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Benefits of a Business Degree

Here are just a few benefits of getting a bachelor’s degree in the business industry:

Market Demand

As we saw with our business degree examples, there is huge market demand as well as opportunities for individuals who have obtained a specific set of skills. This job security is invaluable as we continue to face an uncertain global economy. During these times of great economic instability, all around the world, professionals look for professions that offer security and a sense of well-being. This job ensures that.

Candidates who have taken the time to earn their business degree will also have a competitive advantage over those without a degree when it comes time for job hunting. That’s because recruiters and employers value a specific skillset that comes with some training. If you have that skill set and the training, you’ll stand apart from the crowd.

Greater Earning Potential

Upon graduation, many students who have earned a BB or BSBA can enjoy a higher than average salary. According to the Bureau of Labor and Statistics, the median income for a career related to degrees in business begins at around $65,000 annually. That’s right out of the gate. After a few years of gaining valuable experience, you have every chance of advancement and even greater earning potential.

Job Versatility

A degree in business offers individuals a wide array of skills that allows them to then choose between a wide array of career paths. From business administration to accounting to PR and marketing, the world of business offers dynamic possibilities for just about anyone with the right skills.

Cost and Tuition of Obtaining a Business Degree

The cost of higher education is a significant financial challenge for the majority of Americans. According to a US News and World Report, the average yearly cost of a traditional public college is $10,423. That same education at a private college will cost $39,723.

Do those figures make your heart stop? Don’t worry, there are ways you can save on your education. Read our article on 5 ways you can save on college tuition, and also use our free Smartplan to find ways to save at various schools across the country by taking advantage of free courses, discounts, and more. In fact, that’s why we created so that everyone could have access to affordable education.

Choosing the Right Type of Business Degree

What is the best choice for you? Undergraduate or graduate? Let’s walk through the options.

Business Major or Minor?

If you’ve read this far, then you already know that obtaining a business degree is a great way to obtain skills; people who understand business are ALWAYS in demand and there are many pathways to a lucrative career. But now the question is, what TYPE of business degree should you pursue?

For instance, should you major in business or is it enough to have a minor in business? And what about an associates degree vs bachelor’s degree vs master’s or PhD? Keep reading because we’re going to explain everything. 

To start, if you want to reap the many benefits we’ve listed about obtaining a business degree, then it’s a good idea to major in business. Students with multiple interests sometimes minor in subjects that support their major. So they may major in a general field but use their minor to specialize in a certain area. For example, a business major may choose to minor in marketing or finance.

Associates in Business

Students with limited time and/or budgets often choose to obtain an associates degree. Moreover, the good news about a diploma is that it enables professionals to enter the job market quickly, which is what is needed in these difficult economic times. But that’s not all. Professionals also enter the industry fully trained and qualified for a stable income stream. These degrees can generally be earned in just two years as opposed to a 4-year bachelor’s degree, saving time and a lot of money.

There are associate-level business degrees that can lead to satisfying career outcomes, such as business management. Having said that, many people also choose to get their associates degree in business so they can enter the workforce quickly and begin earning. Usually, these people will set money aside toward finishing their education and eventually obtain either a bachelor’s or master’s in business.

Bachelors in Business

While no degree comes with a guarantee you’ll likely quickly and easily land a job, the reality is, that recruiters and employers typically look for candidates who possess a bachelor’s in business. This 4-year degree is standard and what many refer to when they say, “college degree” or “4-year degree.”

As we mentioned a little bit earlier, there are ways you can save toward your 4-year degree, and if you’re interested in obtaining your bachelor’s in business, then be sure to check out our Smartplan to find ways to save.

Masters in Business (MBA)

A masters in business (MBA) degree is definitely not mandatory for landing a great job. But an MBA will usually be required if your goal is to one day become a C-suite executive at a large corporation. Take a look at any resume of a Fortune 500 executive and you’ll see the MBA credential there.

The length of an MBA program will vary as no two schools will offer the exact same curriculum. There are full-time traditional MBA programs that take 2 years to complete. This is the traditional timeframe to complete an MBA. There are also accelerated courses that can be completed in less than two years as well as part-time curriculums that will take longer than two years to complete. 


Doctoral degrees provide students with advanced practices and sophisticated skills. Why would someone continue their education to earn their doctoral degree? To start, someone with a doctoral degree in business is going to command a MUCH higher salary. Beyond earnings, this degree will lead to top-level positions and future promotions. Doctoral degree programs not only provide comprehensive training but also excellent networking opportunities to expand professional networks.

Also, the knowledge and training acquired with a Ph.D. in business can enable professionals to survive during these difficult economic and financial times. This ultimately contributes to higher job stability and profitability for these professionals.


A PhD degree is really for someone who wishes to have an academic career in education and research. So, if you are interested in one day either teaching business skills to others or conducting theoretical research, then a PhD will be required.

The bottom line is if you want an in-demand career in business, a bachelor’s degree is all you really need. Once you get this you can always choose to go back to school to get your MBA or doctoral with your earnings potential increasing exponentially!

Choosing the Correct University or College for Business

Now that you have a good idea of which online business degree interests you,, the next step is to find the right school for you to get a degree…as quickly and painlessly as possible while gaining the most benefit. Here are a few things that we think are important for adults when making a decision about the right university to continue with their educational journey: 

  • Online Programs
  • $0 in application fees
  • Doesn’t require SAT/ACT testing
  • Faculty and professors that understand adult students’ needs
  • Offer discounts or scholarships
  • Convenient enrollment dates year-round (so you don’t have to wait for Spring or Fall)
  • Accredited

Finding adult-friendly schools that match these can certainly be challenging! 

BUT, that’s why we created our Smartplan.  

We realize that every student has unique circumstances and goals. When you use our Smartplan, we could help you find the right school you’re looking for AND have these crucial criteria to make pursuing your degree that much easier.

Register today to get your free Smartplan and compare different colleges! >>

Salary Data for Business Professionals

As we’ve mentioned, a business degree can lead to a wide variety of career paths in just about every industry. But to give you an idea of the kind of earning potential this degree offers, let’s take a look at some of the salaries for occupations in the business field, according to data from the BLS:

  • Financial analysts: $91,580
  • Market research analysts: $63,920
  • Sales managers: $127,490
  • Human resource specialists: $62,290
  • Accountants and auditors: $77,250
  • Management analysts: $93,000
  • Personal financial advisors: $94,170

Keep in mind, that these are the average salaries for non-management positions. Once you’ve been in the field for a few years, you can begin to move up the ladder and earn more. According to the BLS, the median business management salary was $102,450 in 2021.

Here are some examples of the median income for those individuals in management positions:

  • Financial: $131,710
  • Human resources: $126,230
  • Sales: $127,490
  • Training: $120,130
  • Advertising and marketing: $133,380
  • Computer systems: $159,010
  • Engineering: $152,350

And don’t forget, should you choose to continue your higher education and earn your MBA, you can boost your earnings even more. According to the Financial Times, the average salary for an MBA three years after graduation was $151,951 in 2023. A doctoral degree will have you commanding an even higher salary.

You could say that once you earn your initial business degree, the sky really is the limit! It all depends on how far you want to go.


Q: What careers can I have with a business degree?

A: A business degree can lead to a wide variety of career paths in numerous industries. Some careers include:

  •         Business analyst
  •         Account manager
  •         Financial analyst
  •         Marketing manager
  •         Project manager
  •         Sales manager
  •         Sales representative

Q: Why should I major in business?

A: A business degree will provide you with the skills that are considered highly valuable by most employers and recruiters. That means no matter what economy we find ourselves in, you will have job security and a good salary.

Q: What business major is right for me?

A: Everyone has their own interests and skills. But what we can tell you is that the business majors we listed in this article can set you up for a rewarding and lucrative career path. Having said that, there are a lot of dynamic and interesting business degrees available, so you may want to do some research of your own.

How to Get Started 

Wow, we’ve just covered a LOT of information. You may be wondering what you should do next.

We highly recommend you take a few moments to use’s Smartplan to find the right school that offers all of the criteria you’re looking for.   We’ve provided this helpful and free tool for you to help you make the right decision, and find ways that could end up saving you THOUSANDS of dollars toward your business degree!

Register today for free >>

About the Author
Grant Aldrich
Grant founded with a purpose-driven mission: make college accessible and affordable for everyone. After graduating college with an overwhelming amount of debt, he was determined to change how students embark on their education. He's a frequent speaker and author in higher education, and has been featured in Forbes, Bloomberg Businessweek, Business Insider, American Express, AOL, MSN, Thrive Global, Reader's Digest, Inside Higher Ed, Evolllution, EducationDive, and nearly 100 radio shows and podcasts.

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