The time it takes to complete a degree in business administration will vary, depending on one’s approach to gaining this credential. A degree in business administration can lead to a broad range of career options, and this is precisely the reason for its continued popularity even as other college majors have seen a declining interest. A degree in business is useful in virtually any industry as it is designed to develop competencies in verbal and written communications, leadership, management of available resources, strategic planning, financial management, business ethics and business-focused applications.
Associate’s Degree in Business
It is possible to jump-start a career in business by completing an associate’s degree in this field. This is typically a two-year curriculum that introduces key topics in management, communications and strategies. The program may require a capstone project to showcase the candidate’s skills and knowledge gained from completing the courses. Some high schools, in collaboration with partner colleges, may provide students with an option to complete an associate’s degree in business as a dual-enrollment program. Students complete the requirements as electives or dual-track courses, earning the degree as they complete the requirements for graduation from a secondary school. An associate’s degree may be credited as the first two years or at least the first year of a four-year degree program in business. For students considering this career track, make sure that the degree-granting college you plan to enroll in accepts these transfer credits.
A bachelor’s degree in business administration is usually designed as a four-year program that may be completed on campus at traditional colleges or online through an accredited online college. Some programs give students an option to do both online and on-campus classes, and completion of the degree program may take anywhere from three to five years.
The last two years offer a career track option where candidates can define their planned expertise more closely by concentrating on certain courses such as finance, organizational leadership, human resources management and similar course majors. Other students may opt for a generalist approach, taking as many varied business courses as possible for maximum exposure to business concepts. A bachelor’s degree in business may be a thesis or non-thesis program. In both cases, candidates are required to complete an end-of-program project that will be presented orally before a panel.
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Graduate Degree in Business
For those seeking higher level positions in the business world, a Master’s in Business Administration or a Master’s in Management provides an edge in a highly competitive field. Earning an MBA demonstrates the commitment to this career and very specific expertise in business. Earning this resource-intensive degree takes time and dedication. The program usually takes two years to complete for full-time students while part-timers can take as long as five years to earn this advanced business administration degree. A thesis is usually the culminating requirement for a master’s degree. An oral thesis defense in front of a panel of academicians is typically one of the graduation requirements.
Completing a business administration degree can take anywhere from two to eight years, depending on the level of expertise that one aspires to achieve. The progressive approach that entails starting with an associate’s degree as early as high school before moving on to business college may be the most sensible approach because one can tailor expectations, goals and career direction, of which there are vast choices according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.