What Is Business Administration?

Ready to start your journey?

When choosing to study business, you may be wondering what is business administration and if is it right for you. For college students with a passion for leadership and excellent organizational skills, a degree in business administration may be a rewarding career path.

What is Business Administration

If you are looking for a degree program that will open doors to a variety of career options and has long-term staying power in the job market, then considering a degree in business administration can be a good choice for a successful future.

Editorial Listing ShortCode:

Below is your ultimate guide to business administration and all that the degree program encompasses to help you on your career path journey.

What Is Business Administration?

colleagues working on a project together

Business administration is a program of study offered by colleges and universities that closely examine business practices, management, theory, and related business disciplines. This degree program will prepare you for the world of business teaching you about various real-world applications and theories.

Editorial Listing ShortCode:

The study of business administration deals with more than just the everyday accounting and paperwork that goes into running a business. When working in the business administration field, you are responsible for assisting a company in managing the daily operations of their business to ensure the success of reaching their targeted goals.

Business administration topics of study include:

  • Business Ethics
  • Finance
  • Health Services Administration
  • Hospitality and Tourism
  • Human Resources
  • Management
  • Marketing

There are several areas of business administration that you can pursue, and your choice depends on your skill set and interests. For example, if you have a creative mind, you may find a business administration degree with a focus on marketing is the right path for you.

For students who love working with people, human resources may be a good path. If you enjoy numbers and math is a top subject of yours, you may want to research accounting or finance business administration programs. Business administration offers a variety of specializations and opens the door to a wide range of career possibilities.

Online Business Administrations Programs

operations managers checking reports

If you are an adult student heading back to school or someone who needs to take classes that fit around your work schedule, pursuing your business administration degree online might be worth considering.

It’s can be helpful to understand the different business administration degree programs available and where each one can take you career-wise.

Online Associate’s in Business Administration

Woman taking Online Associate’s in Business Administration

There are several accredited colleges that offer an associate degree in business administration online program. An associate’s degree in business administration typically takes about 2 years to complete. You will likely study various subjects including economics, project planning and management, and accounting.

This degree helps you establish a strong foundation of the skills you will need to enter the business field after graduating. With an associate’s degree in business administration, you may be able to pursue careers in banking as a relationship banker, in a business office as an administrative assistant, or as a customer service manager.

Online Bachelor’s in Business Administration (BBA)

Man taking Online Bachelor’s in Business Administration (BBA)

A bachelor’s degree in business administration typically takes about 4 years to complete and goes beyond the foundational subjects of an associate’s degree.

Editorial Listing ShortCode:

You will likely study economics, project planning and management, marketing, and accounting while also learning how to apply the skills being taught to real-world problems. With a bachelor’s degree in business administration, some of the careers you may be able to pursue include a market analyst, marketing manager, sales manager, or accountant.

Online Master’s in Business Administration (MBA)

Woman pursuing Online MBA

An MBA program is a graduate-level degree program that takes an additional 1 to 2 years after earning your bachelor’s degree in business administration. This degree program focuses on teaching students the skills required to be successful in business, management, and entrepreneurship.

The program takes the foundations taught in an associate’s or bachelor’s program and expands to teach business ethics, critical thinking, and analytical skills. Graduating with an MBA offers the opportunity to achieve career success as a vice president (VP) of finance, chief financial officer, data analyst, VP of marketing, and more.

Online Doctorate in Business Administration (DBA)

Man pursuing Online Doctorate in Business Administration (DBA)

An online doctorate in business administration is a rigorous program designed for professionals to take their careers to the next level.

A DBA is a research-based program that focuses on the various theories that can be applied to business-related fields and business management. Graduates of a doctoral business administration (DBA) program qualify for top executive positions in corporate management, finance, and marketing. It allows professionals to continue working while taking the next step in their education.

With a DBA, you could qualify for top positions within a company like a corporate executive, an economist, a professor, or a consultant.

Business Administration Specializations and Concentrations

People with Business Administration Degree, Specialized in Accounting

Business administration itself is a broad field covering the skills necessary to lead a business. Most programs allow students to choose an area of concentration to help tailor their education to meet their career goals.

Here are some common concentrations for business administration majors:

  • Accounting
  • Corporate Management
  • Entrepreneurship
  • Finances, Investments, and Banking
  • Health Administration
  • Human Resources
  • Information Systems
  • International Business
  • Marketing
  • Real Estate
  • Risk Management and Insurance

When choosing a concentration, it can be helpful to keep in mind your skillset and passions. Whether you enjoy working with people, numbers, or creative options, there are many business concentrations to choose from. As you compare schools and degree programs, take a look at what concentrations they offer that may complement your degree and help guide you into the career path you’re considering.

Business Administration Careers & Salaries

Business Administration Careers & Salaries

A major draw for earning a business administration degree is the high level of flexibility within the field. Due to this, the salaries can vary widely depending on the type of position you accept, and those who earn a four-year degree have a greater chance of reaching the higher end of the salary range.

Editorial Listing ShortCode:

While you may start in entry-level positions, there is potential to reach high-level management jobs in the business world with higher salaries, including CFO, CEO, or even business owner. The career opportunities open to business school grads are impressive.

Below is a list of 10 careers and their annual median salaries according to data provided by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Careers Annual Median Salaries
Marketing Managers $135,030
Financial Directors $131,710
Human Resource Managers $126,230
Economists $105,630
Operations Managers $97,970
Business Administration Professors $94,360
Accountants $77,250
Marketing Analysts $63,920
Human Resource Specialists $62,290
Executive Administrative Assistants $62,060

Is a business administration degree worth it? Yes! The job market for those who hold a business administration degree continues to grow.

Human resource manager positions are expected to see a 7% growth over the next 10 years, while accountants will enjoy a 6% job growth over the same period. If you’re looking to dive into the creative world of business, marketing managers will see a 10% job growth over the next decade.

Whether you enjoy the financial aspects of business or have the people skills necessary to excel in human resources, there are numerous jobs for business administration major students.

Business Administration Curriculum & Courses

two staff members organizing company's data

Beyond the standard general education credit courses that you will be expected to complete as part of your degree plan, a few of the common courses found within the business administration major include:

  • Finance and Accounting: Finance and accounting will study of the various financial principles of business.
  • Human Resources: Human resources is the study of how employees and businesses interact. You’ll learn key aspects to keep your employees engaged and content.
  • Business Ethics: Business ethics focuses on how to develop policies and adhere to them including bribery, discrimination, and other topics that can be unethical in the workplace.
  • Business Management: Business management focuses on the skills required to properly manage a business.
  • Marketing: Marketing courses will teach you how to be an effective advertisement for your business and the various aspects that go into the overall marketing plan of a business.
  • Global Business: Global business focuses on the sales of goods and services between countries.
  • Project Management: You’ll likely learn how to effectively and successfully organize and implement large projects for businesses.
  • Public Relations: Public relations dives into communications. Students will discuss how to issue statements and press releases to the public.
  • General Business: This course discusses a variety of business areas related to entrepreneurship, the basics of running a business including day-to-day operations,
  • Computer Information Systems: Students will learn the broad basics of computer systems for business use.

The specific courses that you will be required to take will be influenced by your chosen concentration within the business administration degree.

How to Know if a Degree in Business Administration is Right for You

 administrative assistant making online reports

Now that you know a little bit more about the field of business administration and the types of business degrees you could pursue, you are probably wondering if it is a good fit for you. So, what skills do you need in order to succeed in this career path?

Editorial Listing ShortCode:

While there are many skills that you will learn through the course of your business education, here are some basic personal characteristics that are important when considering if a degree in business administration is right for you:

  • Excellent communication skills
  • Detail-oriented and strong work ethic
  • Flexibility and ability to adapt
  • Great multi-tasking skills
  • A passion for leadership and management
  • Innovation and creativity
  • Strong computer skills

Does this sound like you? Then pursuing a degree in administration in business may be an excellent fit for turning your current skills and strengths into a well-paying career.

What Does Business Administration Do?

business colleagues having work conversation
Business administration is the overseeing of a business, including operational, organizational, and managerial aspects. Quite literally, it involves administering a business.

If you work in this field, no matter what your job title may be, you may take on some or all of the following roles:

  • Establishing policies and procedures to streamline business
  • Analyzing data about costs, operations, productivity
  • Handling finances and budgets
  • Setting goals and developing strategies to meet them
  • Hiring, promoting, and overseeing employees and management

Of course, the responsibilities will vary depending on your position and industry, and may also evolve and change over time. Business administration is all about organizing and overseeing business operations. This is a career field that will best suit someone who is highly organized, goal-oriented, and has leadership skills but also works well in a team environment.

Do I Need an Associate’s or Bachelor’s Degree in Business Administration?

office manager managing company operations

With all of the options within the business administration field, we are often asked about the best way to go about earning your degree. Luckily for you, when it comes to business administration, you’ve got a number of options.

Many colleges offer both an associate’s and bachelor’s degree in business administration. Once you have a degree under your belt, opportunities will open up with a wider range of businesses seeking professionals to help them with the management and operation of their company. If you decide to pursue a bachelor’s in business administration, the next step is to choose your concentration within the degree program.

Editorial Listing ShortCode:

Some colleges allow the flexibility to change concentrations or choose one at a later time, so be sure that you check with your school to understand their policy.

What Is a Business Administration Degree?

Group of Professionals with Business Administration Degree

A business administration degree is a program that provides you with the skills and tools needed to take on administrative or managerial roles in business. This degree program may also allow for additional training in your specialized career field.

As a student, you will take general education courses, and learn the fundamentals of business. You can expect to take classes like the following:

  • Management Theory
  • Principles of Microeconomics
  • Business Research
  • Computer Applications
  • Global Business Strategies
  • Principles of Accounting
  • Financial Management
  • Marketing Principles

In addition to these general business courses, most colleges will allow you to choose an area of concentration. Some common concentration choices include healthcare administration, human resources, and information systems.

What Is Business Administration Degree Good for?

Loan Officer managing company's budget

A business administration degree is good for someone who wants to work in the business world, constantly challenging him/herself and growing professionally.

The skills you gain as a business administration major may help you to:

  • Communicate more effectively
  • Speak in public
  • Manage time effectively
  • Self motivate / discipline
  • Think critically
  • Problem solve
  • Make difficult decisions
  • Analyze and interpret data
  • Manage personnel
  • Manage resources
  • Understand economic principles, finance, etc.
  • Understand how organizations operate

These skills can help you succeed in any number of other lucrative, in-demand positions in business.

What Can You Do With a Business Administration Degree?

finance manager presenting reports during meeting

If you are asking yourself what job can you get with a business administration degree, the opportunities are abundant.

Editorial Listing ShortCode:

With a degree in business administration, you will develop the leadership and managerial skills needed to work in an entry- or mid-level position in nearly any industry. You could be a CEO, manager, analyst, advisor, or another top executive in workplaces such as:

  • Banks, Credit Unions, Loan Offices
  • Real Estate Brokerages
  • Schools
  • Hospitals
  • Retailers, Sales Organizations
  • Distribution Centers
  • Non-Profit Organizations
  • Government Agencies
  • Manufacturing Firms
  • Transportation Agencies
  • Trade/Labor Institutions

According to the BLS, employment in the business and financial fields is expected to grow 7% over the next decade, faster than the average. This can make business administration an excellent choice with a secure future.

What Does a Business Administrator Do All Day?

HR manager planning staff's schedules

When wondering exactly what does administration do in a business, it’s important to know you will be responsible for a number of important tasks within the company.

Common responsibilities that you may see in a business administrator job description include:

  • Planning, organizing, and leading duties of your assigned department
  • Overseeing staff members
  • Assisting in financial aspects of the business
  • The handling required reporting and data-entry
  • Hiring new employees
  • Working as a team leader

The responsibilities you will have throughout your career vary based on your chosen specialization and the type of job you choose. As a business administrator, it will be your job to oversee a business and its operations to ensure that goals are being met.

Editorial Listing ShortCode:

Whether you are a CEO, manager, analyst, advisor, or hold another important title, you may be responsible for the following:

  • Establishing and evaluating long- and short-term goals
  • Implementing policies and procedures to improve efficiency
  • Analyzing market trends
  • Making decisions about finances and budgets
  • Consulting with other executives and managers in and outside of the company
  • Negotiating contracts
  • Identifying ways to cut costs and/or improve performance
  • Overseeing purchasing, hiring, training, and quality control

The responsibilities listed above may fall on you or on other individuals, depending on the size and type of the company you’re leading. Your role may also evolve and change as you climb the corporate ladder. In this field, you will have almost unlimited opportunities for career growth and can expect to be constantly challenged and rewarded.

What are the Most Popular Business Administration Degree Jobs?

Most Popular Business Administration Degree Jobs

The most popular careers in business administration may include positions as top executives, accountants, financial managers, and more. Because it is such a broad field, graduates can choose from high-paying positions in almost any industry.

Here are some popular choices, along with their annual median salaries, according to the BLS:

Careers Annual Median Salaries
Advertising, Promotions, and Marketing Managers $133,380
Financial Managers $131,710
Sales Managers $127,490
Human Resources Managers $126,230
Medical and Health Services Managers $101,340
Administrative Services Managers $99,290
Top Executives $98,980
Financial Analysts $95,570
Personal Financial Advisors $94,170
Management Analysts $93,000
Accountants / Auditors $77,250
Insurance Underwriters $76,390
Purchasing Managers, Buyers, and Purchasing Agents $75,410
Market Research Analysts $63,920
Loan Officers $63,380
Property Appraisers and Assessors $61,340
Tax Examiners, Collectors, and Revenue Agents $56,780

The occupations listed above are all in high demand, and that is likely to remain the case. The BLS reports that the field as a whole is expected to grow 7% over the next decade. This means choosing business administration as your major is very likely a wise investment that will lead to a secure future.

What Is a Business Administration Major?

Executive Assistants doing a project together

A business administration major is a program that builds your comprehensive understanding of business fundamentals, as well as offers the specific training necessary to pursue the career of your choice.

As a student in this major, you will likely take courses in:

  • Accounting
  • Economics
  • Finance
  • Management
  • Marketing

In addition to these core business classes, most colleges will allow you to choose an area of concentration, tailoring your education to suit your future career path. Some popular concentrations include human resources, entrepreneurship, corporate management, and healthcare administration.

Should I Major in Business Administration?

Group of People with Major in Business Administration Degrees

A business administration major can be a good fit depending on your career goals. If you are looking for a degree program that will enable you to pursue a wide variety of challenging, lucrative occupations in business, this may be a good choice for you.

Editorial Listing ShortCode:

While some majors pigeonhole graduates into a career they may grow out of, a major in business is both flexible and adaptable. You will be qualified to work in finances and accounting, as well as directly overseeing personnel.

A few career options include:

  • Accountant or Auditor
  • Financial Analyst
  • Human Resources Manager
  • Top Executive

Skilled administrators are needed in all sectors, all around the world. According to the BLS, employment in the business and financial fields is expected to grow 7% over the next decade, faster than the average. Whether business administration is right for you truly depends on your career goals, passion, and skills.

Is Business Administration a Good Major?

businesswoman giving presentation to business team

Yes, business administration is a good major for many undergraduate students. As a business administration student, you will have opportunities to meet other successful business people including professionals, professors, and peers.

In this competitive field, having a network of contacts and a degree in business administration from an accredited school. According to the BLS, with this degree, you could pursue positions and potentially earn the following annual median salaries:

  • Advertising, Promotions, and Marketing Managers: $133,380
  • Sales Managers: $127,490
  • Human Resources Managers: $126,230
  • Top Executives: $98,980
  • Personal Financial Advisors: $94,170

Depending on the employer, you may need additional education or work experience to qualify for some of these jobs. The education path for a business administration major is highly customizable and can lead to exciting business careers in nearly any industry. You can climb any corporate ladder, or start a business of your own.

What’s the Difference Between Business Administration vs. Business Management?

People with Degree in Business Administration, working in marketing field

Business administration and business management are so similar that they are sometimes used interchangeably, but the two are not identical.

If you are comparing the programs, here is the information you will need in order to choose which is best for you:

  • Business Administration: Focuses on the overall operations of the business. Students are able to specialize in one area by taking elective courses or choosing an area of concentration
  • Business Management: Focuses on interpersonal aspects of the business. This degree program can be ideal for those who want to supervise or manage people.

The core curriculum for both degree programs is similar and includes business fundamentals like marketing, law and ethics, economics, and finance.

Getting Your Business Administration Degree Online

Business colleagues in a meeting

A business administration degree is a versatile degree that can open the door to challenging and rewarding jobs in nearly any industry.

You may be a CEO, a financial analyst a marketing specialist, or hold another important title. You may work in a large corporation, private business, financial institution, distribution center, school, hospital, retailer, non-profit organization, or any number of other businesses.

The field is also very rewarding. You will be able to evolve and grow, set goals for yourself, for others, and for the company, and climb the ladder to achieve greater success. If this sounds like something that may fit with your passion and skills, you can start researching accredited online business administration schools to get started!

Ready to start your journey?
Elizabeth Abner
WRITTEN BY Elizabeth Abner

Elizabeth is pursuing a Doctor of Philosophy in Foreign Policy and earned her master's degree in business administration. For her undergraduate studies, she earned a Bachelor of Arts in Business Administration with a concentration in international business. Elizabeth's research is focused on universities offering online degree programs.