An online business degree provides broad and specialized business knowledge, preparing graduates for many career paths. Bachelor’s programs cover fundamental business topics, while MBA programs build more advanced skills.
Applicants to bachelor’s programs need a high school or GED diploma. They may also need to submit SAT or ACT scores depending on their age. Applicants to master’s programs need a bachelor’s degree, though often not in business. Prospective enrollees may also need to submit graduate exam scores, such as the GRE or GMAT.
This page highlights the best online business degrees, including costs and specialization options.
Frequently Asked Questions About Business Degrees
How long does it take to get a business degree online?
Full-time enrollees can complete a bachelor’s degree in four years and an MBA in two years. Learners can explore accelerated business programs to graduate sooner.
How much does it cost to get an online degree?
Tuition rates vary by program and school. According to EducationData.org, an online bachelor’s degree cost an average of $51,090 as of August 2021.
Can you obtain a business degree online?
Yes. Students can earn many of the best online business degrees fully online. Some programs include in-person requirements.
Why Get an Online Business Degree?
A business degree builds knowledge in areas such as management, marketing, economics, and finance. Learners can connect with other aspiring business professionals, creating opportunities to network and share ideas. Pursuing the degree online provides the flexibility to continue working and earning a salary.
The best online business degrees give students the skills and connections necessary to succeed in the professional world. Many of these programs run asynchronously, allowing students to complete coursework around their schedules.
How Much Does an Online Business Degree Cost?
Tuition varies by school, degree level, and program length. In general, private colleges charge more than public colleges. Learners at in-state public schools usually pay the most affordable tuition.
In 2018-19, public colleges charged an average annual tuition of $20,600 for a bachelor’s degree. Private colleges charged $44,660. These figures include room-and-board fees, which online learners do not incur.
In 2019-20, public colleges charged an average annual tuition of $12,410 for a master’s degree. Private colleges charged an annual tuition of $26,600.
Additional Online Student Fees
Online students do not pay for campus housing or meal plans. However, they may pay technology fees, which cover online learning tools and tech support. Online learners should also budget for textbooks and class materials. Some programs charge a graduation fee.
The best online MBA programs may include on-campus components. Online students should plan for travel and lodging expenses.
How Much Do Business Majors Make?
Graduates can explore a variety of business careers in diverse fields. They may work in marketing, sales, finance, or accounting. According to the National Association of Colleges and Employers, graduates with a business bachelor’s degree earn starting salaries between $48,000-$59,000, depending on their field.
Students can boost their salary potential with an advanced degree like an MBA. In 2020, MBA graduates earned an annual median salary of $115,000, a rate higher than most bachelor’s degree holders. The best online MBA programs prepare enrollees for high-paying management positions.
Specializations for Business Majors
Many of the best online business degrees offer specializations. Some programs call them concentrations or tracks. Schools may offer specializations at the undergraduate and graduate levels.
MBA candidates can enroll in a program specifically for a certain specialization. Even if a business program does not offer a specialization track, students can often select elective courses that relate to their interest area.
See below for three common business specializations. Keep in mind that not all programs offer these tracks.
- Human Resources ManagementHuman resources specialists focus on the best practices for managing an organization’s employees. This specialization builds knowledge of benefits and compensation, mediation practices, and talent acquisition. Graduates can work in HR departments or earn a master’s degree and move into HR management.
- Information Technology ManagementOrganizations depend on various information technology tools. This specialization gives students the skills to manage IT departments and address technical issues. Students learn how to assess a company’s needs and implement new technology. Graduates may work as IT managers or chief technology officers.
- MarketingMarketing focuses on understanding consumer behavior and effectively communicating with customers. This specialization teaches enrollees how to create new marketing strategies and evaluate the effectiveness of existing strategies. Courses cover the economic, psychological, and sociological dimensions of marketing strategy. Graduates may work as marketing specialists or marketing managers.
“Perennially ranked at the top for online MBA programs,” Indiana University Bloomington Kelly School of Business is “the only top tier program that was affordable and value-adding.” This top-ranking program offers flexible schedules, “a number of networking opportunities,” and devoted professors who “get it.” Professors use “quality materials,” give “personalized attention,” and are able to keep online students just as engaged as if they were physically sitting in the classroom. One student says, “The fact that the online faculty are the same professors who teach the in-person MBA courses is a huge plus, as the online program directly mirrors the physical program.”
Online MBA students agree that IU professors are not “anything less than exceptional.” “There are times when I am actually overwhelmed by how organized my professors are. They are always on top of things, and the quality of teaching is exceptional,” says a student. They are able to break down concepts using “real-world business examples.”
School administration runs “a world-class on-campus week” and provides outstanding overall support to students. Another unique feature of the program is the option for students to earn dual master’s degrees (MBA/MS). Though the majority of students who attend Kelley’s MBA program already have a background in business, one student states, “This was especially attractive to me, since I don’t have a business undergraduate degree.”
While completing MBA coursework online “certainly puts time at a premium,” Kelley’s program definitely allows for “maximum flexibility without compromising on quality.” At first glance, students may find the “rigorous coursework” daunting, however, the program is definitely made to accommodate adults with occupational and/or familial priorities. Students are able to watch recorded lectures, study and complete work at their convenience, and still, find time for personal interests.
“It truly is a program designed for people who have demanding full-time jobs and need to be able to manage their own time,” says a student. Online classmates speak highly of one another, calling themselves “driven,” as well as “bright,” “professional,” and well-respected in their fields. Although they are highly ambitious, they are also “team players.”
Average Undergrad GPA:3.37
Work Experience:10.0 years
Total Tuition and Fees:$78,246
Average GMAT Score:652
Average Starting Salary:$125,140