Should I Get a Business Degree? The Data You Need to Decide
You’re ambitious and passionate about building a better future for your family and you’re ready to take the next step to make that happen. But first, you have some important choices to make.
Your mind may be racing with thoughts like: Is going back to school worth it? Should I get a business degree? Are there better options out there for me?
You, like so many others, have an inkling that a business degree just may be the ticket to creating a better life for you and your family. But when it comes to a degree or career, there’s no one clear path for everyone.
That being said, business-related degrees are some of the most popular options in the US—and for good reason!1 A business degree can set you up for a successful future in an array of fields.
Let’s explore the many fields a business degree can cover and learn more about some of the most common roles seeking business-related degrees.
Why pursue a business degree?
One of the biggest benefits of a business degree is its versatility. While it’s true there are subspecialties like Accounting, Marketing and Finance under the umbrella of “business” that can cater to a more focused range of careers, the “generalist” business degrees like Business Administration or Business Management can cover a lot ground with a well-rounded mix of skills that are easy to translate to a professional setting.
That practical versatility can be a boon to job seekers—in fact, there were more than 1.5 million job postings in the U.S. seeking applicants with a business degree in the past year.2
Of course, a degree alone is only part of the equation. Employers are seeking well-rounded applicants, and you can’t rely solely on the degree to get you where you want to be professionally. Hard work, professional development and an excellent mix of transferable skills are key components as well.
“A business degree is not a golden ticket,” says Sean Higgins, CEO of BetterYou. “At the end of the day the thing that determines your success isn't a piece of paper—it’s you!”
Business careers across the board
Business is a broad field—there’s no denying that. One of the great things about a degree in business is the wide variety of opportunities you can pursue. A business undergraduate program combines multiple disciplines into one, which can help open the door to a variety of roles.
To give you an idea of your potential options, we used real-time job analysis software to examine more than 1.5 million job postings seeking candidates with a business degree to identify ten of the most common job titles:2
- Business analyst
- Financial analyst
- Account manager
- Human resources (HR) manager
- Sales manager
- Marketing manager
- Sales representative
- Administrative assistant
- Project manager
As you can see, a business degree isn’t a one-way street. It unlocks the potential for a plethora of positions in a variety of fields, and with plenty of room for growth and career advancement. Marketing, HR, sales, accounting and finance fields are all common landing spots for business majors.
What is the job outlook for business degree careers?
No one wants to go back to school only to find limited employment options. The long-term outlook of a field is important not just for securing employment after graduation, but also for advancement and opportunities down the line. Fortunately, common fields for business degree holders are projected to grow in the coming years. The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reports that employment of business and financial operations occupations is projected to grow by 7 percent from 2018 to 2028—that translates to about 591,800 new jobs.3
For example, employment of marketing managers is projected to grow by 8 percent from 2018 to 2028, while business and management analysts are projected to grow by 14 percent—both eclipsing the 5 percent average growth projection for all occupations nationwide.3
These top fields for business students are growing—and they’ll need people like you to fill that demand in the coming years.
Is a business degree worth it?
It’s true that school takes time. It takes dedication. It’s expensive. But there’s plenty of evidence that this investment is worth it. In fact, a report from the Social Security Administration found that a bachelor’s degree results in a median annual lifetime earnings increase of $630,000 for women and $900,000 for men when compared to high school graduates.4
For business degree holders, the array of common positions you can pursue offers a robust range in earning potential. Let’s see how some of the top business-degree roles stack up based on the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ 2019 median annual salary information:3
- Business and management analysts: $85,260
- Financial analyst: $85,660
- Accountant: $71,550
- Human resources manager: $116,720
- Sales manager: $126,640
- Marketing manager: $135,900
- Administrative assistant: $39,850
- Human resources specialists: $61,920
Should you get a business degree?
This is obviously a question only you can answer. But now that you’ve learned a little more about the benefits of a business degree and the potential opportunities tied to furthering your education, you should be getting closer to an answer.
If you’re motivated by career versatility in many vibrant fields, you probably already know your answer. A business degree can help you unlock a world of professional possibilities, while providing you the immense satisfaction of supporting your family and creating a better life for yourself.
If you want to learn more about business degrees, check out our article, “The Beginner’s Guide to Different Types of Business Degrees,” to explore your options and start turning those dreams into reality.
1National Center for Education Statistics, Fast Facts: Most Popular Majors [accessed June 2020] https://nces.ed.gov/fastfacts/display.asp?id=37
2Burning-Glass.com (Analysis of 1,565,450 job postings requiring a business degree, Jun. 01, 2019 to May. 31, 2020.)
3Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, [accessed June, 2020] www.bls.gov/ooh/. Information represents national, averaged data for the occupations listed and includes workers at all levels of education and experience. This data does not represent starting salaries. Employment conditions in your area may vary.
4Social Security Administration, Research, Statistics & Policy Analysis: Education and Lifetime Earnings, [accessed June, 2020] https://www.ssa.gov/policy/docs/research-summaries/education-earnings.html
EDITOR'S NOTE: This article was originally published in November 2013. It has since been updated to include data relevant to 2020.