The Beginner's Guide to Different Types of Business Degrees

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Take a look around your home. Nearly every item you own has an entire industry based around it, and each of those industries has multiple business functions within them. Because of this complexity, there is a huge variety in the different types of business degrees available to you.

With so many specializations within business degree programs, it can be a bit daunting when trying to decide which best fits your interests or career aspirations. To help you decipher the diversity, we're breaking down the most popular options so you can decide which best aligns with your interests and aspirations.

Check out this video to learn about 10 common types of business degrees and the courses and outcomes associated with each. Then scroll below to get a more detailed overview of what to expect.

10 Types of Business Degrees: The Beginner's Guide

Curious which type of business degree is right for you? In this video, we examine 10 popular business majors and the courses and outcomes you can expect from each.

10 Types of business degrees to consider

Accounting

Overview: Love numbers? Have an eye for detail? When studying accounting you will develop your understanding of generally accepted accounting principles, tax law, the process of managing financial documents and how it impacts business operations. The accounting field has several potential career paths and this degree will equip you to pursue different types of accounting, audit or tax-related positions within a variety of organizations.

Potential Career Paths

COMMON COURSE SUBJECTS: POTENTIAL JOB TITLES:
Accounting Accountant
Financial analysis Auditor
Taxation Payroll manager

Advertising

Overview: Think you have the creativity to develop an ad that cuts through the clutter and sticks in the mind of a potential customer? With an advertising degree you’ll learn how to make a message stand out from the crowd by learning about what makes an audience tick and how to best reach them. This is a great choice if you’re looking for a way to leverage your creative ability in the world business.

Potential Career Paths

COMMON COURSE SUBJECTS: POTENTIAL JOB TITLES:
Market research Account executive
Consumer behavior Copywriter
Brand management Media planner

Business management

Overview: There’s a lot to learn about managing a business or department. A business management degree will give you a solid comprehensive foundation in important business areas like accounting, sales, operations and organizational leadership. You’ll also be better equipped to manage and lead a team of people, which is beneficial if you have hopes of advancing your career into leadership positions. 

Potential Career Paths

COMMON COURSE SUBJECTS: POTENTIAL JOB TITLES:
Accounting Sales manager
Marketing Account manager
Organizational leadership Project manager

Economics

Overview: If you choose to study economics, you can expect to learn about economic principles and theory, including the use of math and data analysis.  An economics degree can help prepare you for analyzing and forecasting economic trends in order to improve business operations and performance.

Potential Career Paths

COMMON COURSE SUBJECTS: POTENTIAL JOB TITLES:
Macroeconomics Budget analyst
Microeconomics Contract specialist
Business statistics Economist

Finance

Overview: If you choose to study finance, you’ll learn a broad range of concepts and skills including financial analysis, economics, statistics and portfolio management. Majoring in finance will help you pursue opportunities in finance sectors as well as accounting or investment areas.

Potential Career Paths

COMMON COURSE SUBJECTS: POTENTIAL JOB TITLES:
Financial modeling Risk manager
Portfolio management Portfolio analyst
Business law Financial analyst

Healthcare management

Overview: It takes a lot of business acumen to keep a healthcare facility running smoothly and profitably. This major prepares you for providing business management leadership strategies designed to address the unique challenges and intricacies within the growing healthcare industry. You will learn about many of the proven management techniques with a focus on the nuances found within the healthcare industry.

Potential Career Paths

COMMON COURSE SUBJECTS: POTENTIAL JOB TITLES:
Policy management Health services manager
Healthcare operations Patient care associate
Healthcare law Medical director

Human resources

Overview: This field is all about people. Whether it’s helping employees with navigating benefits enrollment or helping secure the top talent needed for business growth, this field relies on impeccable interpersonal skills.  With a human resources (HR) degree, you will learn the skills necessary for managing business and labor practices in addition to learning about organizational development, resources planning and training.

Potential Career Paths

COMMON COURSE SUBJECTS: POTENTIAL JOB TITLES:
Business management HR generalist
Organizational behavior Recruiter
Employment law Benefits specialist

Marketing

Overview: Want to help grow and maintain a business by attracting and retaining customers? This is a great option. By majoring in marketing, you’ll be focused on learning the fundamentals of areas such as market research, communication and marketing strategies.  The marketing department of a business helps accomplish tasks such as product promotion or consumer research in order to achieve business goals like increasing sales, building brand awareness and improving customer retention.

Potential Career Paths

COMMON COURSE SUBJECTS: POTENTIAL JOB TITLES:
Consumer behavior Marketing manager
Digital marketing Marketing coordinator
Communications Marketing specialist

Public relations

Overview: Public relations (PR) professionals interact with the public on behalf of the organization they represent. To do this, you must be an excellent communicator and business strategist. Majoring in PR will teach you the principles of strategic communication, community event planning and how to manage relationships with news media.

Potential Career Paths

COMMON COURSE SUBJECTS: POTENTIAL JOB TITLES:
Communications Public relations manager
Advertising Event coordinator
Public speaking Communications specialist

Supply chain management

Overview: Ever wonder how the products you order online ends up on your doorstep within days? To steal a line from UPS: That’s logistics! A supply chain management degree will prepare you to handle the intricacies of managing a global supply chain (and all of the moving parts that come with it) to ensure a business’ operations are running efficiently.

Potential Career Paths

COMMON COURSE SUBJECTS: POTENTIAL JOB TITLES:
Inventory management Logistician
Supply chain risk Logistics analyst
International business Operations manager

Choose your business career path

Now that you have a better understanding of the different types of business degrees and the career opportunities associated with each, it’s time for you to do some self-evaluation. Do any of the specializations above match your skills and interests? Going forward, your best bet is to find a few areas that appeal to you and dig deeper to learn more about the ins and outs of each focus-area.

For more information about specific business-related career fields, download the Business Career Outlook guide.

AUTHOR’S NOTE: This article was originally published in October 2013. It has since been updated to include information relevant to 2018.

Will Erstad

Will is a Sr. Content Specialist at Collegis Education. He researches and writes student-focused articles on a variety of topics for Rasmussen College. He is passionate about learning and enjoys writing engaging content to help current and future students on their path to a rewarding education.

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This piece of ad content was created by Rasmussen College to support its educational programs. Rasmussen College may not prepare students for all positions featured within this content. Please visit www.rasmussen.edu/degrees for a list of programs offered. External links provided on rasmussen.edu are for reference only. Rasmussen College does not guarantee, approve, control, or specifically endorse the information or products available on websites linked to, and is not endorsed by website owners, authors and/or organizations referenced. Rasmussen College is a regionally accredited private college and Public Benefit Corporation.

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