Accredited Online Business Management Degree Guide for 2018

Management professionals plan, organize, manage resources, and lead people to meet the goals of their organization, in addition to defining those goals. Business management professionals use these skills in companies focused on producing goods and services and selling them to the public for profit. In addition to working in all levels of any large business, business management graduates also manage entire small businesses on their own, and some use their skills to start their own business.

Outside of business activities, the management training and experience you gain from studying business management applies to any field where you must organize resources and lead people toward a common goal. Business managers often pursue careers at nonprofit and charitable groups, as well as other organizations such as hospitals, schools, and large firms. Business management even leads some into careers as lawmakers or politicians.

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Best Online Business Management Degree Programs of 2016


To rank the Best Online Business Management Degree Programs of 2016, we gathered data for every college in our database of nearly 1,000 schools that offered a fully-online business degree. We then graded each using the same methodology that we used to rank the Best Accredited Online Colleges and Universities. That methodology consisted of 14 sub-metrics divided into four core metric categories:

  1. Institutional Characteristics
    • Quality of Accreditation
    • Diversity of Online Programs
    • Institutional Resources
  2. Affordability and Student Debt
    • Tuition and Debt
    • Student Loan Default Rate
    • College Financial Aid
    • Percentage Change Across Three Years
  3. Enrollment, Graduation, and Retention Rates
    • Distance Education Enrollment Rates
    • Graduation Rates
    • Retention Rates
  4. Student and Institutional Success
    • Salaries of Graduates
    • Student and Alumni Awards
    • Other Institutional Rankings
    • Strength of Faculty

We averaged the grades for each core metric to determine a program’s overall grade. We then ranked each degree program according to that final score. For more information on our methodology, you can read a full explanation here.

Degrees in business management are available at all levels and can be pursued through traditional on-campus programs or online programs. There are also hybrid courses, which combine regular online study with periodic in-person meetings.

Check the Guide to Accreditation in Higher Education to learn more about accreditation and how to determine if the program you select meets the necessary standards.


Associate Degree in Business Administration

  •  Credit hours/length of study: 2 years
  • Coursework: mathematics, microeconomics, accounting, business law and management theory
  • Employment prospects: managers and administrators of small businesses or branches of larger enterprises, manage properties such as small hotels or apartment buildings

Bachelor’s Degree in Business Administration

  • Credit hours/length of study: 4 years
  • Coursework: mathematics, microeconomics, accounting, business law and management theory
  • Employment prospects: wide range of entry-level management positions in most industries, with promotions usually based on experience and performance

Master’s Degree in Business Administration

  •  Credit hours/length of study: 2-3 years with some accelerated one-year programs
  • Coursework: mathematics, microeconomics, accounting, business law and management theory
  • Employment prospects: a wide range of professional and management positions

Doctorate in Business Administration

  • Credit hours/length of study: 4-7 years
  • Coursework: mathematics, microeconomics, accounting, business law and management theory
  • Employment prospects: professor or researcher


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A business management degree trains you to lead people toward a goal and manage an organization’s operations. These skills are in wide demand in all kinds of organizations, including private companies, nonprofit organizations, government and even healthcare. Combining skills in another field, such as hospitality or information technology, unlocks other rewarding career options in business management, whether heading a department, consulting, or founding your own business.

The job outlook for business and management careers is encouraging, based on the projections of the Bureau of Labor Statistics, which tracks information on many categories of management professionals. BLS anticipates job growth across most business fields, although the rate of growth will vary. For example, the job market for financial managers is competitive, with an estimated 9 percent growth rate through 2020 (below the national average), whereas the job market for construction managers is stronger, with an estimated 17 percent  growth through 2020 (slightly higher than the national average). Some management fields are expected to see job loss by 2020, particularly in food service and agriculture and ranching. You should keep in mind, however, that these are projected trends for the entire nation and don’t necessarily mean that you won’t be successful in these types of management careers.

Business management careers are well compensated. BLS statistics indicate that many fields have median pay over $100,000 per year, with the highest averages coming from the architecturalinformation technology and natural resources fields. Management jobs that require less training and those in the nonprofit fields have lower pay. For example, the median salary for a social service manager is $57,950 per year. If you are considering starting your own business, your income will vary but your business management skills will help you market company and organize and delegate work to maximize productivity.

Some possible career paths include:

  • Consultant
  • Entrepreneur
  • Human Resources Professional
  • General Manager
  • Non-Profit Management
  • Operations Management
  • Strategic Planning

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