Home » Business Administration

Business Administration Education and Career Guide

woman leads team business meeting on ipad
woman shows team business notes on tablet

What You'll Do

Here are just some of your duties when you choose a career in business administration:

  • Oversee day-to-day operations in business
  • Develop strategies for improving processes
  • Study economic and market trends
  • Implement principles of business ethics
  • Implement and train on best leadership practices
  • Manage budgets

Managing people is the tip of the iceberg in business. With a career in business administration, organized and motivated managers can keep every aspect of an operation running smoothly and efficiently. Day-to-day operations are as important as a plan for the future. If you've thought of working in business administration, learn which personal and professional traits you'll need to succeed in these careers.

You are…

  • Tech savvy
  • Enterprising
  • A team player
  • Goal oriented
  • Highly organized

You should have…

  • Strong people skills
  • Attention to details
  • An interest in organizational systems
  • Negotiation skills
  • The ability to focus

Financial Aid for Business Administration Programs

Financial aid is available from a variety of sources. Government financial aid is the most common, but before you can be considered for aid, you'll need to fill out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). Other types of financial aid include scholarships, grants, private loans and PLUS loans. Understanding the different types of aid is important to obtaining the help you need in your education as a future business administrator.

The two most prevalent types of financial aid are either based on student merit or need-based assistance:

  • Merit-based aid, such as scholarships or fellowships, is based on a student's accomplishments, and not solely on financial need. You do not need to repay merit-based aid.
  • Need-based financial aid is based on the student's ability to pay for his or her education. There are several options of need-based aid such as loans, grants, and work-study.

Federal loans are based on need and require repayment of any loans. Grants, such as fellowships and scholarships, can be based on both merit and need, but don't require repayment. Federal work-study is neither a grant nor loan, but a program that provides part-time student employment to help with college expenses, tuition and books. You should, to not miss out on any possibilities, apply for financial aid every year. Keeping up with current financial aid rules and carefully tracking your personal finances is important to ensure you can pursue your business administration degree goals.

Business Administration Degree Programs

A strong college preparatory high school education is a good start for your business administration degree program. Courses in English, communications and social sciences are recommended. Mathematics courses, at least through pre-calculus, are highly desirable.

If your school offers computer technology classes make sure you enroll, as these skills will be integral through college and into your career. Some high schools will have chapters of DECA or similar business clubs that will allow you to practice and test your business administration skills. It is also not too early to reach out to professional organizations, both local and national, for more information about your business administration career goals. These organizations can give you insight as to what sectors you may choose to specialize in as a business administrator or lead to administration internships in your chosen sector.

What accreditation is there for my program?

Accreditation shows that an institution or program meets standards of quality set forth by an accrediting agency, and that it is committed not only to meet those standards but to continuously seek ways in which to improve the quality of education and training provided. There are two types of educational accreditation: institutional and specialized or programmatic.

  • Institutional accreditation refers to accreditation for an entire institution such as a college or a university. While the institution may be accredited, this does not mean all the programs meet the same quality.
  • Specialized accreditation can refer to programs within the institutional body such as a nursing or other professional specialty program.

While saving money is always a concern for students, attending a college or university meeting state, federal, and specialized accreditation standards will give you a valid degree and better career prospects.

How do I advance in my business administration career?

The ability to spot trends and patterns and to conduct business within a code of ethics would at one time have taken you far. But with the world becoming smaller thanks to technological advances, business administration is more complicated and complex than ever.

You will need to continually retrain within the field of business administration, keeping up with best practices and trends not only with your specialization, but also  with general business administration trends such as marketing, technology, and accounting in order to be competitive as a business administrator in a global business market.

While you might be able to find an entry-level job—such as office administrator—with an associate's degree, you'll need to keep up with industry changes, and earn an advanced degree in order to climb the corporate ladder. Here are some tips to help you advance in your career:

  • Earning at least an MBA could increase your career options and give you access to management and administrative roles, but earning a doctorate will open avenues in areas such as academia and research.
  • Learn a new language—business isn't just confined to English-speaking countries. Places such as India and China are huge market opportunities.
  • Get computer savvy—take some IT and computer science classes, and learn the different software applications you'll need to do your job better and faster.
  • Earning certification or licensure shows potential employers that you are a qualified and accomplished professional in your chosen career, and may play a role in employment decisions or promotions.
  • Join professional organizations for business administrators to keep current with changes and trends in your profession. Professional organizations can offer you opportunities to meet other professionals, learn new skills through ongoing and often accredited training, and find employment possibilities.

While general  business organizations are useful, belonging to an organization in your specialization is essential to improving your skills, earning promotions, and finding employment possibilities within your chosen professional field.

Online Business Administration Programs

There are many online degree programs available for business administration as a major.The curriculum will essentially be the same as in a traditional program, so don't be deterred from considering online classes.

One classic criticism of online programs is that you're isolated from your teachers and classmates, but the opposite is often true. You may actually interact more with instructors and peers in online discussions, social media venues, and emails, than in a traditional classroom setting.

Some of the advantages to an online course are that many virtual courses offer classes where you can learn at your own pace and around your own schedule. This is especially useful if you are a busy parent, currently employed, or have other circumstances that would make it difficult for you to attend an onsite classroom.