Time and time again, business consistently tops the list of the most in-demand and popular degree paths for undergraduates. In fact, in the last decade, the number of students pursuing a bachelor’s degree in business increased by eight percent, making business now the most prevalent field of study for bachelor’s degree holders. It’s no wonder why so many students are pursuing this path: Employers place a high value on business competencies. Candidates who major in business and specialize in a dedicated area of business are likely to stand out in a competitive job market.
However, as you may know, the field of business is vast. There are many different types of business degrees you can pursue during your studies. Some schools also offer business degree specializations, in which students can choose a concentrated area of focus within their program.
So, how do you decide which area of study is right for you? Which type of business degree will bring you the most success and align best with your professional goals?
Whether you are looking to advance within your company, start your own business, or gain a foothold in the world of business, you can rest assured that there is a business degree that will help you attain your goals. The right type of business degree, however, will depend on your interests and aspirations.
Let’s take a look at some of the most popular types of business degrees and specializations.
3 Popular Types of Business Degrees
1. Accounting Degree
If you are a natural number-cruncher and have a data-driven mindset, accounting may be the career path for you. Accounting is an essential component of any business – It is needed to keep finances in order, maintain compliance, ensure employees are paid, inform financial decisions, and manage all business transactions. Without accountants or accounting expertise, businesses would simply not run as effectively. Some would not be running at all.
There are several different degrees you can earn in accounting. If you would like to work as a private or public accountant, you will need to earn your bachelor’s degree and eventually become certified. If you would like to work as a bookkeeper, payroll professional, or accounting assistant (all of which require less time in school) in a business, you can go for an associate degree in Accounting. In both program types, you can expect to learn the principles of accounting, taxation, finance, and economics.
2. Marketing and Advertising Degree
Advertising and marketing are two areas of business that are critical to a company’s success. Advertising involves creating ads—online, or in the media—that appeal to potential customers. Marketing is also focused on attracting customers to help grow business profits. Some business schools will offer a Marketing degree, others offer an Advertising degree, and some may offer a combined communications program covering both topics. If you are seeking a more creative type of business degree, the advertising and marketing pathway may just be for you.
In both business degree specializations, students learn how to build brand awareness for companies with the goal of driving more profits. Those focused on marketing will conduct market research to understand what their customers are seeking, and which competitors already dominate in their space. Advertisers will develop creative ads that help to cut through the noise and reach prospective customers. Both will develop strategies to improve a brand’s visibility and presence in the media. Classes might include digital marketing, marketing communications, buyer behavior, and more.
3. Business Administration Degree
When you think about all the types of business degrees out there, business administration is likely at the top of your list. This is because business administration is an all-encompassing major, covering every fundamental aspect of a successful business. Rather than focusing on one particular area like accounting or advertising, a Business Administration degree teaches students the ins and outs of business management. This includes strategic planning, budgeting, marketing, leadership, development, ethics, economics, finance, and more. Students also learn about contemporary topics in business, such as social media marketing, e-business, and multi-cultural relations.
If you have a business mind and a vision of success, you should consider earning a Business Administration degree as an undergraduate student. Business administration majors can pursue a variety of different business careers after graduation and are valued in just about every industry. This is a direct result of the comprehensive, versatile skillsets developed in their business program.
Perhaps the best part of business administration is that it’s one of the most flexible types of business degrees out there. In a great business school, you will be able to tailor your degree to meet your specific career goals. If you want to start your own business, you can choose an Entrepreneurship concentration. Or, if you are interested in a specific industry, you might pursue electives to learn about the profession.
Different Business Degree Specializations Available
As described above, certain types of business degrees, like the business administration pathway, can be customized to align with your interests and goals. Below are some of the different business degree specializations you can pursue (many of which are available at Goodwin University):
Human Resource Management
Human Resources (HR) is a segment of business that’s dedicated to hiring, training, and retaining employees. HR professionals often oversee the hiring process for businesses, recruiting top talent and ensuring workers are trained and onboarded successfully. However, this is just the start of what they do. HR managers also work to keep employees happy—coordinating benefits, rewards, and resource planning, as well as mitigating conflicts that arise within the workplace. With a business degree specialization in HR management, students learn about workplace staffing, workforce planning, organizational behavior, and more.
For those who seek to start their own business ventures, entrepreneurship is a great business degree specialization to consider. Entrepreneurship is all about bringing a business concept to life and seeing it to success. In other words, it’s about developing, organizing, and running a business from the very start.
If you have a business plan that you’d like to bring to fruition, consider a specialization in entrepreneurship. You will learn how to launch a small business, market your product or service, plan the operations of the business, develop a business plan, and handle the accounting along the way. This concentration is available through Goodwin’s associate degree in Business Administration program.
Manufacturing is a critical part of our economy, and an industry that’s in dire need of qualified managers. This is because the field is advancing quickly, with AI and automation at the forefront of production today. If you have a business brain and a passion for innovation and technology, this business degree specialization is a great fit for you. Manufacturing management courses cover current topics like manufacturing logistics, green manufacturing, lean manufacturing, and advanced manufacturing technology—all of which would be coupled with your core business administration classes.
Perhaps you are more interested in helping people in need and making an impact on the healthcare system. You might consider a healthcare administration role. Healthcare administration is a type of business specialization that you can pursue during your time in school. Healthcare administrators, at a high level, are the professionals who keep medical facilities running efficiently. They ensure compliance standards are met, quality patient care is provided, clinicians are staffed and supported, and the facility as a whole is profitable. While some employers within this field may require a master’s degree, you can find the healthcare administration specialization within bachelor’s degree programs, too.
Maybe you love to crunch numbers and have a passion for helping small businesses. However, the time it takes to become an accountant is not realistic for you at this time. In this case, you may consider specializing in bookkeeping, an important area of business that takes only several months in school to master. Some business schools offer bookkeeping as a specialization within a degree program, while others might offer it as a separate certificate program. In either case, bookkeeping courses will teach you the basics of accounting, taxation, and information systems, so that you leave well-prepared to help businesses manage their financial statements and payroll processes.
Like many business-minded professionals, you may aspire to climb to the top of the career ladder. You may desire the executive title of Director, VP, or CEO. The question is, without putting years and years into a company, how can you get to this level fast?
A business degree that offers a specialization in leadership will be your best bet. For example, at Goodwin University, the Master’s in Organizational Leadership degree is designed to propel professionals to become top-of-the-line leaders. This degree program covers coursework in organizational change, foundations of leadership, data-driven decision-making, performance management, conflict response, leadership training and development — and this only scratches the surface. MSOL graduates gain the tools and competencies needed to reach their highest goals.
Different Levels of Business Degrees
Now that you understand the different business degrees and specializations out there, you may be wondering which is most realistic for you. Which offers a timeline that you can commit to, while still supporting your career goals? Here are the potential degree types for business majors.
- Certificate: Typically takes one year to complete
- Associate Degree: Two years to completion
- Bachelor’s Degree: Four years to completion, with some accelerated programs available
- Master’s Degree: Can typically be completed in less than two years’ time
Please note that these timelines can vary depending on the specific degree you are pursuing. Be sure to reach out to your prospective business school for more insight into the program length.
Different Types of Business Degree Formats
Just as there are different levels of business programs, there are also different formats you might consider while working towards your degree. The type of business program you choose will depend on your individual needs, obligations, and preferences. Here are some of the types of business programs available at Goodwin University.
- On-Campus: Students gather in-person to complete their courses and internships.
- Online: Students have the flexibility of taking classes entirely online, at their own pace.
- Hybrid: Students benefit from a blend of hands-on, on-campus learning and online education.
Find a Business Degree Program that is Right for You
Business is no longer all about the suit-and-tie, nine-to-five office job. It’s no longer “just business.” Today, the business field is colorful, innovative, and open to everyone looking to launch a career. Whether you wish to create a new product, manage business finances, run an entire department, or hire the next generation of workers, there is a place in business for you.
And, there is a business degree or specialization that aligns with your career goals.
As a respected leader in entrepreneurial education, Goodwin University knows business well. We know what today’s employers are looking for in candidates, as well as how to make a business plan that will make it in today’s competitive business arena. We can help you choose the type of business degree that best aligns with your goals and your vision for success.
If you are ready to learn more, please request more information online here. You may also contact Goodwin at 800-889-3282 to learn more about our business programs.
Goodwin University is a nonprofit institution of higher education and is accredited by the New England Commission of Higher Education (NECHE), formerly known as the New England Association of Schools and Colleges (NEASC). Goodwin University was founded in 1999, with the goal of serving a diverse student population with career-focused degree programs that lead to strong employment outcomes.