There’s no doubt about it — the business field impacts everyone. Every business, from small mom-and-pop shops to billion-dollar corporations, contributes to the shifting of the economy, taxes paid and even the price of milk on the supermarket shelf.
A formal education in business can help prepare you for a wide variety of careers in this sector. So it’s no wonder you’re considering going back to school to study business management. But you’re not interested in committing up to four years to earn a bachelor’s degree.
Luckily for you, there is another option. An associate’s degree in business management can provide you with the foundational knowledge on which to build a career, and you can earn it in as few as 18 months.1 If this sounds like the winning scenario you’ve been searching for, keep reading to learn more about your career options with an associate’s degree in business management.
Is an associate’s degree actually worth it?
You may be thinking that this sounds too good to be true. After all, you can’t really land a decent business job without a bachelor’s degree, right? Wrong!
In fact, earning an associate’s degree in business management can improve your job prospects and your earning potential. We used real-time job analysis software to examine nearly 900,000 business job postings from the past year.2 The data revealed that associate’s degree holders were eligible for at least 50,000 more jobs than those with only a high school degree.
Not only will you be qualified for more jobs, you’ll have the opportunity to earn a higher income as well. Associate’s degree holders earn an average of $6,240 more annually than those with a high school diploma, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS).3
To help give you a better idea, we analyzed 125,000 job postings from the last year that called for an associate’s degree in business management.4 The data helped us identify the 10 most common positions for individuals with this credential.
It’s right there in the title — customer service associates are all about serving the customer. Whether it’s listening to a customer’s questions or concerns, placing orders, providing information about products and services or recording details of customer contact information, these business professionals are at their best when they’re helping those visiting or contacting their store. Patience and understanding go far in this position, because customer service associates are often listening to customer complaints and working to solve them.
These workers can be found in a wide range of industries, from clothing stores, coffee shops or specialty grocery stores to car dealerships or furniture stores. They greet customers, offer expertise on merchandise, answer customers’ questions and process transactions. Retail sales workers may also be responsible for stocking shelves, marking price tags, taking inventory and participating in a host of other store-related duties.
Assistant store managers have the best of both worlds. While they don’t have the entire responsibility and performance of the store on their shoulders as a head store manager does, they still have a lot of the privileges and duties that come with a management position. These professionals typically train employees, create work schedules, evaluate competing stores, order inventory, construct display windows and attend educational workshops. They also assist customers and set a good example for the rest of the team.
Administrative assistants have been known as secretaries for years, but these days the titles are interchangeable. They typically report to upper management, answering phone calls, scheduling meetings and appointments, preparing invoices and managing incoming and outgoing mail. These employees must be organized and detail-oriented, as they are responsible for a variety of clerical tasks that keep the business running smoothly.
As a store manager, the buck stops with you. Sales managers direct sales teams by setting sales goals, analyzing data and developing training programs for new and existing employees. They’re often the go-to when customers have complaints regarding sales and service, and they manage any employee issues as well. You can also find store managers overseeing budgets, determining discount rates and developing plans to attract new customers.
A relationship banker handles a client’s entire relationship with a bank. From loans and personal accounts to trust funds and investments, these bankers have a wide range of knowledge about the products and services a bank offers. They can provide great customer service by answering clients’ questions and helping them make the right decision for their finances. They are the central point of contact for clients, and they often work with businesses to help manage more complicated accounts.
Sales consultants seek out clients who may be interested in purchasing their company’s products. They’re generally assigned a certain territory and are then required to schedule meetings with prospective clients to explain the features and specialties of their company’s products or services. There’s typically some degree of travel involved in this position, although some sales consultants do work primarily via phone.
Unlike sales associates, sales support specialists focus specifically on sales-related issues, like providing help desk support in person, on the phone or via online chat. They update client records, assist with unique customer requests and help provide solutions to product issues. It’s important for these specialists to be patient and polite when dealing with clients — even if the conversation is wrought with frustration.
While a sales supervisor title covers a range of sales positions, the duties are generally the same. The goal of sales is to generate revenue for a company, so the sales supervisor’s job is to ensure customers’ needs are met, oversee the sales team and work through any problems that might arise between the customer and the product. Conflict resolutions skills, good communication and negotiation skills are a must for these business professionals.
Executive assistants aren’t just assistants. This is typically the right-hand man or woman to an upper-management professional. By handling clerical functions such as email correspondence, scheduling appointments, receiving visitors, preparing reports, booking travel accommodations and a host of other duties, the executive assistant is paramount to the success of other positions within the team.
As you can see, there is a variety of business careers out there. And now you know that an associate’s degree in business management could be the next step to landing the opportunity you’ve had your eye on.
Check out our business management program page to learn how we can help prepare you online or in the classroom.
1Time to complete is dependent on accepted transfer credits and courses completed each quarter.
2Burning-Glass.com (analysis of 895,368 business job postings by education level, November 01, 2015 – October 31, 2016).
3Salary data represents national, averaged earnings for the occupations listed and includes workers at all levels of education and experience. This data does not represent starting salaries, and employment conditions in your area may vary.
4Burning-Glass.com (analysis of 125,693 business management associate’s degree job postings, November 01, 2015 – October 31, 2016).