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The world of business is competitive, demanding, and constantly evolving. As a result, businesses and corporations need individuals who are savvy and understand core business concepts. An associate degree in business administration helps teach students business theory and practices, offering skills such as communication and critical thinking that are essential in the business world.

As the competitiveness of the job market increases, so does the importance of having some level of postsecondary education related to one’s intended career. Students often choose to pursue an associate degree in business administration because it is less of a time commitment than a bachelor’s degree program. Most associate degree programs can be completed in two years of full-time study. In addition, these programs teach students fundamental business skills needed to enter the workforce sooner. Depending on the school, students interested in the field of business may pursue an Associate of Arts (AA), Associate of Science (AS), or Associate of Applied Science (AAS) in business, business administration, or business management. Programs include major-specific courses as well as general education courses in order to give students a well-rounded education.

Online Associate Degree in Business Administration: Coursework and Training

Although courses vary by school, there are several major and general education courses common to most business administration associate degree programs. Below are some examples:

Business Degree Courses

  • Microeconomics: Students study the effect of such concepts as supply and demand, taxes, and subsidies on price and also learn about the different market structures, such as monopolies and perfectly competitive markets.
  • Macroeconomics: In macroeconomics, students learn about a variety of topics regarding monetary and fiscal policy, such as national deficit and interest rates, and also learn how consumer and government spending behavior affect the economy.
  • Accounting: Students gain skills in bookkeeping and draft financial statements such as balance sheets, income statements, and cash flow statements.
  • Business Law: Students learn about the laws and procedures regarding business-related legal issues, including contracts, property, employment, and bankruptcy.
  • Marketing: Introductory marketing courses teach students about the different aspects of marketing, including consumer behavior and product promotion.

General Education Courses

  • English: Students in English courses develop writing skills by reading, analyzing, and writing essays on various pieces of literature and can improve their verbal communication and critical thinking skills through class discussions.
  • Mathematics: Business students must have a strong foundation in math for core business classes such as accounting and economics. The level of math required often varies by school.
  • Communications: Communications courses teach students about and give them an opportunity to improve their interpersonal and presentation skills. Some schools may offer specific business communications courses, which teach students how to negotiate or effectively create business proposals, documents, and reports.

Potential Career Opportunities for Graduates of Business Associate Degree Programs

While business degree programs cannot guarantee employment or advancement, hiring managers may look more favorably upon an applicant who has completed a degree program, as such programs teach students skills important for many business careers.  

As previously mentioned, having some level of business education can help in a competitive job market. The following are some careers that individuals can pursue with an associate degree in business administration:

  • Food service managers oversee the daily operations of restaurants and related establishments and work to ensure customer satisfaction. Individuals working towards a food service management position should take leadership electives to learn how to maintain good working relationships with their employees.
  • Lodging managers can be found in bed and breakfast inns, motels, and hotels. They work to provide a positive experience for guests and ensure that the establishment runs smoothly. Lodging managers should have strong communications skills in order to learn about and fulfill guests’ needs and consequently gain repeat customers.
  • Bookkeeping, accounting, and auditing clerks calculate, classify, and record data for financial records. Individuals interested in this career should take courses in accounting and have a strong foundation in math.
  • Advertising sales agents sell advertising space to businesses and individuals. They also seek out and contact potential clients, deliver sales presentations, and manage client accounts. Advertising sales agents must have effective communication and presentation skills in order to gain and retain clients.
  • Real estate brokers assist clients in renting, purchasing, and selling properties. They also determine reasonable prices for properties and help clients negotiate sales. Students who plan to enter real estate should take sales and communications courses during their business degree program so that they can effectively understand and work to meet client needs.

The careers above are just a few ways that one can apply an associate degree in business administration. Many students also go on to earn a bachelor’s degree in business administration, which can open the door to even more potential careers. Students who plan to pursue a bachelor’s degree after completing their associate degree program should consult with an admissions counselor to ensure that their credits will indeed transfer.

Sources

"Advertising Sales Agents," U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2014, http://www.bls.gov/ooh/sales/advertising-sales-agents.htm

"Bookkeeping, Accounting, and Auditing Clerks," U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2014, http://www.bls.gov/ooh/office-and-administrative-support/bookkeeping-accounting-and-auditing-clerks.htm

"Food Service Managers," U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2014, http://www.bls.gov/ooh/management/food-service-managers.htm

"Lodging Managers," U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2014, http://www.bls.gov/ooh/management/lodging-managers.htm

"Real Estate Brokers and Sales Agents," U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2014, http://www.bls.gov/ooh/sales/real-estate-brokers-and-sales-agents.htm

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