What Can You Do With an Associate's Degree in Business Management?
There’s no doubt about it—the business field impacts everyone. Every business, from small, mom-and-pop shops to billion-dollar tycoons, contributes to the shifting of the economy, taxes paid and even the price of milk on the supermarket shelf.
A formal education can help equip you with the business skills and know-how needed for a wide variety of careers in this field. So it’s no wonder you’re considering going back to school to study Business Management. But you’re not quite sure if you’re interested in committing up to four years to earn a Bachelor’s degree.
Lucky 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 You can even complete the entire program online in your own time.
If this sounds like the winning scenario you’ve been seeking, then keep reading to learn more about the value of a Business Management Associate’s degree and the outcomes it could lead to.
Is an Associate’s degree in Business actually worth it?
You may be thinking 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! There are associate’s-level business degrees that can lead to good career outcomes, and one of them is Business Management.
The truth is that earning an Associate’s degree in Business Management can help improve your job prospects and your earning potential. We used real-time job analysis software to examine 1.6 million business job postings from the past year. The data revealed that associate’s degree holders were eligible for at least 100,000 more job postings than those with only a high school degree.2
Not only are there more jobs you can get with an associate’s degree, but you’ll generally earn a higher income as well. In 2018, associate’s degree holders earned an average of $6,864 more annually than those with only a high school diploma, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS).3
What will you learn in a Business Management Associate’s program?
If this is all sounding good to you, you’re probably curious about what type of knowledge and training you’ll acquire from an Associate’s degree in Business Management. This type of program is designed to equip you with the background and business acumen needed to pursue a variety of business positions.
Here is a taste of some of the common courses you can expect:
- Principles of Finance
- Intro to Business Analysis and Intelligence
- Intro to Human Resource Management
- Intro to Functional and Project Management
- Customer Service
This versatile curriculum helps students establish a well-rounded skillset that can serve as a solid foundation on which to build a business career. It’s up to you to decide how you choose to apply this practical knowledge in the business world. Keep reading to learn about some of your career options.
Jobs you could land with an Associate’s degree in Business Management
Now that you know there are shorter and viable educational paths to the workforce, you’re probably curious about what careers you could land with an Associate’s degree in Business Management. You’ll be happy to hear that there are several positions that call for the types of business skills taught in these programs.
To help give you a better idea, we analyzed more than 155,000 job postings from the last year that called for a Business Management Associate’s degree.4 The data helped us identify 10 common associate’s degree business jobs in this field.
1. Administrative assistant
Administrative assistants have been known as secretaries for years, but these days the titles are interchangeable. They typically report to upper-level management, answer phone calls, schedule meetings and appointments, prepare invoices and manage incoming and outgoing mail. These employees must be organized and detail-oriented, as they are responsible for a variety of clerical tasks that keep businesses running smoothly.
2. Relationship banker
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.
3. Customer service associate
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.
4. Assistant store manager
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.
5. Sales support specialist
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. In addition to helping with current clients, sales support specialists are often tasked with the “pre-work” of a sales cycle—market research, cold calling and preparing materials for the sales team are just a few examples. Additionally, they update client records, assist with unique customer requests and help provide solutions to product issues.
6. Store manager
As a store manager, the buck stops with you. Store 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 person 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.
7. Executive assistant
Executive assistants aren’t just assistants. This is typically the right-hand person to an upper-management professional—some of the busiest employees in any business. 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.
8. Retail sales workers
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, managing inventory and participating in a host of other store-related duties.
9. Sales consultant
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.
10. Sales supervisor
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-resolution skills, good communication and negotiation skills are a must for these business professionals.
Earn your Business Management Associate's Degree online
As you can see, there is a variety of business careers out there for those with an Associate’s degree in Business Management. Even better? Rasmussen University offers competency-based education programs that can allow you to earn your degree on your own time and at your own pace—perfect for anyone trying to balance a job and schooling.
Visit the Business Management Associate’s degree page to learn more about the exciting blend of learning options available to you.
1Time to completion is dependent on the number of transfer credits accepted and courses completed each term.
2Burning-Glass.com (analysis of 1,624,155 business job postings by education level, Jan. 01, 2019 – Dec. 31, 2019).
3Bureau of Labor Statistics, Employment projections – Unemployment rates and earnings by educational attainment, [accessed January, 2020] https://www.bls.gov/emp/chart-unemployment-earnings-education.htm Salary 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 155,856 business management associate’s degree job postings, Jan. 01, 2019 – Dec. 31, 2019).
EDITOR’S NOTE: This article was originally published in December 2016. It has since been updated to include information relevant to 2020.