It’s hard to choose what to major in, map out your career growth, or consider a career change into the business world. You have to think about compensation, job security, and whether you’ll actually enjoy the path.
But there are plenty of high-paying and high-growth jobs out there, all of which have different day-to-day duties depending on where your passions lie. With plenty of opportunities to specialize with additional certifications and advanced degrees, you can laser-focus on a specific field and skill set.
Let’s explore the best jobs you can get with a business degree, with job descriptions, salary ranges, and education requirements for each. But before exploring employment options, discover what type of business degree you should get if you don’t already have one.
What business degrees can I pursue?
Depending on your time, budget, and short-term and long-term professional goals, there are several different majors in business and degree levels to choose from. Here are a few to consider:
An associate degree is a short undergraduate-level program that provides faster entry into the workforce. You can get a job with just an associate business degree, but it’ll likely be entry-level.
Lots of people use an associate degree as an affordable and flexible option to gain undergraduate credits before applying to a bachelor’s program. Some jobs require a bachelor’s, and an associate degree is a good palace to start.
Associate degrees usually take 2–3 years of full-time study at a community college. The College Board reported that the annual average tuition for associate programs was $3,800 in 2021, but programs at private universities or four-year institutions are usually more expensive.
Business associate degrees are often broad, but you can also find these more specific majors as well:
Business administration: This major focuses on strategy with courses like business analysis, business writing, ethics, or information systems.
Business management: This option explores work relationships, with courses like human resources management and customer service.
Specialized programs: Other degrees are available to specialize in several areas of business, like accounting management, agribusiness, and hospitality management.
A bachelor’s degree is an undergraduate-level program with options in general business or more specialized majors. Bachelor’s degrees typically take around four years of full-time coursework at a traditional college or university to complete. Nearly 40% of Americans over 25 have a bachelor’s degree, making it the most popular level of post-secondary education to have.
According to the College Board, the annual average in-state tuition for bachelor’s degrees is $10,740, and this varies depending on whether you attend a private or public school or decide to go out of state.
Business majors can be part of a bachelor of arts or bachelor of science (also known as BA and BS), with the former emphasizing the humanities and the latter focusing on math and natural science-related fields. Here are a few examples of bachelor’s degree majors that relate to business:
Although experience comes in handy for many senior managers and C-level executives, a master’s degree in business administration (also known as an MBA) is also a great option. This program lets you focus on building management and leadership core values.
On the other hand, doctoral and Ph.D. programs in business-related fields like finance or accounting are more research-based and can help you build analytical expertise.
An MBA takes 1–5 years of full-time study to complete, depending on the school and program. The College Board reports that, for graduate degrees, public universities cost about $9,000 per year, while private institutions average $29,670 per year. Going to grad school is an investment, but it’ll likely get you higher-paying jobs in the business world.
What does a business degree teach you?
At all levels, a business degree teaches you analytical skills, organizational skills, and business literacy. These programs give you the foundation for a successful career in the business world, and advanced degrees specialize even further to help you pave a career path you feel confident about.
Every school and program differs, but some skills are common across all business degrees. Here are some hard and soft skills you’ll learn:
Why get a business degree?
Whether you’re looking to enter the field, make a career change, or advance your career, here are eight reasons to pursue a business degree:
Advance your leadership skills
Gain a holistic understanding of business operations and strategy
Set yourself up to get promoted
Improve your skill set and job performance
Explore a new field to change your career path
Gain specialized knowledge of your chosen field
Build a professional network of colleagues, mentors, and industry leaders
Widen professional opportunities and earning potential
Best-paying jobs with a business degree
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), business and financial occupations have a strong job outlook.
The field is expected to grow by 7% from 2021 to 2031, with an estimated 980,200 job openings annually over the coming decade. Workers in the sector earn an annual median salary of $76,570 as of May 2021, higher than the $45,760 median salary of all occupations.
Here are nine business jobs with strong growth or earning potential:
Accountants create and analyze financial records, provide financial counsel to their clients, and audit organizations to identify opportunities and risks. For introverts or people who prefer to work from home, accountants have enormous flexibility in determining their work environments.
Although an associate degree opens the door to entry-level and junior accounting positions, many accountants and auditors hold bachelor’s degrees in accounting or business.
Additionally, some need to become a Certified Public Accountant (CPA) in order to practice publicly. The average annual salary for accountants is $77,250, and it’s one of the most in-demand jobs in business.
Actuaries study a combination of math, financial theory, and statistics to build financial risk policies for financial institutions and insurance companies. A business or math bachelor’s degree lets them enter the field, and they have to earn up to nine certifications afterward.
The average annual salary for actuaries is $105,900, and their job growth is around three times the average. If you’re looking for a career with strong job security, becoming an actuary is a great choice.
An entrepreneur builds their own businesses from the ground up, starting everything from small family businesses to multinational corporations. Many well-known entrepreneurs never completed a degree, but a formal business program is a good idea. While entrepreneurship is one of the riskier career paths for business graduates, the risk can have a high reward.
Measuring how much business majors make with their own enterprises is difficult because businesses vary by size, industry, and unique needs. However, a 2017 nationwide analysis of business owners showed a median annual income of $51,419.
4. Financial analysts
A finance degree, or a business degree that specializes in finance, teaches you how to analyze data. You’ll determine the economic health of institutions and businesses, build policies to improve economic efficiencies and increase profits, and manage investment strategies.
Financial management graduates can work for large multinationals as financial managers or analysts. The former manages a business’s financial resources, while the latter builds a strategy for future growth opportunities. They have average salaries of $131,710 and $95,570, respectively.
5. Human resources (HR) specialists
Working in HR is a good choice for business majors who enjoy working with people. These professionals are often responsible for recruiting, and they also handle compensation and benefits, employee assistance programs (EAPs), and employee onboarding. But these duties vary depending on whether a company’s hiring team includes hiring managers and recruiters.
HR specialists need a bachelor’s degree in HR or a similar topic to excel in the job. However, further certifications from the Society for Human Resource Management, or a specialized MBA, can also boost their career prospects. According to the BLS, the median annual salary for HR specialists is $62,290.
6. Management analysts
Management analysts, sometimes known as management consultants, can work as full-time employees or contractors to help an organization better manage its resources. They counsel different leadership, like operations managers, accountants, and chief executives.
A bachelor’s degree in business is enough to enter the field, although an MBA or certification increases your competitive edge. The median annual salary for management analysis is $93,000, with an expected 11% growth through 2031.
7. Market research analyst
Market research analysts comb through market data and uncover opportunities for businesses to improve. They draw from a mixture of statistics, marketing, and consumer insights to help companies build innovative, creative products and accompanying advertising strategies and social media campaigns.
Market research analysts can enter the field with a bachelor’s degree in business, although a master’s or doctoral degree can widen job prospects. The median salary is $63,920, with 19% projected growth through 2031 — much faster than average.
8. Healthcare services manager
It might seem disconnected from business topics, but healthcare managers need business skills to do their jobs. Medical and healthcare services managers manage medical facilities and use business acumen to keep them running smoothly.
They make sure their facilities comply with laws and regulations, manage finances, and provide counsel at investor meetings or governing boards.
While health managers can enter the field with a bachelor’s degree in business or health administration, an MBA in healthcare management can increase job opportunities. According to the BLS, the median annual salary is $101,340, with an expected 28% growth through 2031, making it the fastest-growing career on this list.
9. Sales managers
Sales managers direct an organization’s sales team, which can range from a single office to a regional team across many locations. They’re skilled people managers who coordinate between senior leadership, project management teams, and sales staff to align their practices with the business’s goals.
Although most sales managers can work their way up with work experience and a bachelor’s degree in business, additional business law, management, finance, mathematics, and statistics courses can give them a competitive edge and increase their salary range. According to the BLS, the median annual salary for managers is $127,490.
Back in business
Business degrees have something for everyone: room for professional growth and development, opportunities for serial entrepreneurs and office workers alike, and salary ranges above the national average. The most challenging part is deciding which is the best job with a business degree for you.