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What Is a Bachelor's Degree in Business Administration?
A bachelor's degree in business administration is the most common entry-level degree for business professionals. There are two degrees at this level: a Bachelor of Science and a Bachelor of Business Administration. The primary difference between the degrees is that the bachelor of science will include more advanced math and science coursework, but you'll be qualified for the same jobs with either degree.
Why Earn a Bachelor's in Business Administration?
A bachelor's degree, one of three degrees in business administration, will prepare you to enter the field with a strong foundation. You'll be eligible for a wide range of careers with opportunities for advancement.
One reason this degree is so versatile is that you can choose from many concentrations, which allow you to focus on one aspect of business administration while also completing core business coursework.
The right concentration for you depends on your career goals. Popular concentrations include:
If you're not sure about which concentration to choose, one related to finance could be a good choice because it's a broad field and can lead to several careers.
"Undergraduate programs tend to be very straightforward," says Ralph Griffith, associate professor of entrepreneurship at Lenoir-Rhyne University. "You're learning the fundamentals of operating a business. You learn management skills at the undergraduate level. You focus on controlling the situation, looking at the analytics, understanding the company, and looking at financials. You learn the transactional stuff in undergrad."
If you're not sure which to choose, a finance-related concentration can be a strong option because finance is a broad field and can lead to several careers.
What Is Required to Earn a Bachelor's Degree in Business Administration?
A bachelor's is a four-year degree program. As you research degrees, make sure to look at their prerequisites to determine if you're qualified and prepared for a program. Also, be prepared for number-crunching classes like statistics and accounting.
What Prerequisites Are Required to Enter a Bachelor's Degree Program?
Prerequisites vary by school but common ones include:
- A high school diploma or GED
- 11th- and 12th-grade math and science with grades of a C or higher
- A GPA of at least 2.5
- SAT or ACT scores might be required, but they are not always heavily weighed in admissions decisions. Some schools don't require any standardized testing scores at all.
- Letters of recommendation
- An admissions essay
Students who've already earned an associate degree might be able to transfer some of the credits they earned during their associate program toward their bachelor's degree.
What's in the Curriculum?
No matter what concentration you choose, your program will also have a core business curriculum. This will include math, statistics, economics, accounting, and other foundational subjects.
Where a two-year business admin associate program prepares you for an entry-level role in business administration, the coursework for a bachelor's of business administration also covers management principles and practices such as:
"You'll learn finance, you'll learn marketing, you'll learn management leadership. You get a wide spectrum of various classes," says Griffith.
Should I Complete an Internship?
An internship usually isn't a graduation requirement, but many programs offer them to interested students and help them connect with businesses with internships. Internships can be valuable because they provide hands-on experience that you can add to your resume. They can also help you make connections who may be able to help you in your job search after you graduate.
The most useful internships will relate to your degree concentration and your career goals. For instance, if your concentration is healthcare administration, you may want to pursue an internship at a hospital or a skilled nursing facility. This would give you the opportunity to work with an administrative team and see firsthand how healthcare facilities operate.
Internships provide hands-on experience that you can add to your resume and valuable connections who could help you in your job search after you graduate.
Which Certifications Should I Consider?
Earning a certification is a smart career move. It's a way to demonstrate to employers that you have the expertise and knowledge you need to succeed in a business administration role.
A certification can help you get hired, earn a promotion, and even boost your salary. Business administration professionals who've earned bachelor's degrees are eligible for several certifications. Here are three.
Certified Business Analysis Professional (CBAP)
Who grants it: International Institute of Business Analysis (IIBA)
Who it's good for: This advanced certification is designed for business analysts and data analysts who are experts in their field.
Basic requirements: You'll need to have worked at least 7,500 professional hours as a business analyst in the last 10 years. IIBA also requires 35 hours of professional development coursework in the past four years and two professional references.
Test format: Online exam consisting of 120 multiple-choice questions
Project Management Professional (PMP)
Who grants it: The Project Management Institute (PMI)
Who it's good for: The PMP is a top industry certification for project managers. Professionals such as business managers and logistics managers can also benefit from this certification.
Basic requirements: Three years of professional experience leading projects and 35 hours of education in project management. If you don't have enough hours, you can take project management courses online from PMI.
Test format: Online exam consisting of 120 multiple-choice questions
APICS Certified Supply Chain Professional (CSCP)
Who grants it: The Association for Supply Chain Management (ASCM)
Who it's good for: The CSCP is designed to help supply chain and logistics managers improve their skills with new technology and global strategies.
Basic requirements: If you have a bachelor's degree, you're eligible to enroll in the CSCP learning modules required to take the certification exam.
Test format: Online exam consisting of 150 multiple-choice questions
Advancing Your Career with a Master's
A bachelor's degree will open the door to a wide range of business administration careers. If you want to move into leadership, executive, or other top-level roles, you'll most likely need a Master of Business Administration (MBA). An MBA will provide in-depth knowledge that can not only boost your career but also your salary.
"Most people will go into a master's program," says Griffith. "The master's of business administration is easily one of the most sought-after and universal degrees in the world. It's a very, very valuable degree to have. So that typically is the next step."