Last Updated: November 1, 2016
Are you ready to get started in an exciting and highly-paid career in business? Do you want to study business administration in a convenient and affordable online format? Well, you’re not alone. According to U.S. News and World Report and The Learning House, bachelor’s programs in business administration are the most popular online degree, enrolling more students than any other program. And, as U.S. News notes, one reason for that popularity is its broad range. The skills taught in business administration programs can be applied to many jobs in many fields, and the analytical, communications, and decision-making skills you’ll learn will serve you well regardless of where you find yourself working.
There are nearly 6 million Americans who hold a bachelor’s degree in business and work full-time, year-round, in a variety of industries and positions, according to recent U.S. Census Bureau data. Popular industries for graduates with this degree include consulting, finance, healthcare, hospitality, manufacturing and technology. And the jobs within these industries that may be open to you include public relations specialist; human resources specialist; and advertising, promotions and marketing manager, among many others.
According to PayScale.com, the average mid-career salary for professionals with a bachelor’s degree in business administration is about $71,000. Further details on salary potential can be found through the Bureau of Labor Statistics, who list the median salaries for various jobs open to bachelor’s graduates in business including:
- Public relations specialist: $54,000
- Human resources and labor relations specialist: $56,000
- Training and development specialist: $56,000
- Social and community service manager: $60,000
- Market research analyst: $60,000
- Management analyst: $79,000
- Medical and health services manager: $89,000
- Human resources manager: $100,000
- Advertising, promotions, and marketing manager: $116,000
Regardless of the particular job you choose, you’ll be well-prepared with one of our affordable online programs in business administration. And, you’ll be able to complete your education at home, at your own pace and in a way that fits your schedule. While many schools offer business administration degrees online, we’ve only ranked those that are regionally accredited, assuring you that they meet the highest standards for academic excellence.
Western Governors' University
Cost per credit hour: $193
While Western Governors’ University has only been in existence for twenty years, it has already built an extensive portfolio of online degree programs. This nonprofit institution was founded in 1995 by state governors looking to change the way education could better the lives of their citizens. WGU is an all-online, competency-based university, which means their degrees are granted for what students learn rather than how much time they spend in school.
The business programs available at Western Governors’ University offer a number of specializations, including the following:
- B.S. in Business Management
- B.S. in Business – Healthcare Management
- B.S. in Business – Human Resource Management
- B.S. in Business – Information Technology Management
- B.S. in Marketing Management
- B.S. in Accounting
Each degree requires a total of 121 competency units (CUs), the equivalent to the traditional credit hour. If you’ve taken courses or received a degree from another college or university, you may be able to clear some of these requirements through transfer credit. Western Governors’ University is regionally accredited by the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities.
Fort Hays State University
Cost per credit hour: $207
From its campus in Hays, Kansas, Fort Hays State University offers a number of affordable online degrees to supplement its residential offerings. Among those programs you’ll find several options for aspiring business majors through the College of Business and Entrepreneurship. For the bachelor’s degree in business administration, 55 hours of general education requirements plus 3 hours of electives – either taken through Fort Hays State or transferred from another institution – are needed before you embark on your major. Then, you’ll work your way through a 27 hour business core followed by 39 hours in your particular field of specialization.
Within the College of Business and Entrepreneurship, there are plenty of options for specialized study depending on your career goals and interests. These include:
- Management Information Systems
- Accounting, Public Accounting Concentration
- Finance, Banking Concentration
- Finance, Economics Concentration
- Finance, FInancial Planning Concentration
- International Business and Economics
- Management, Human Resources Concentration
- Double Major in Management and Marketing
Given these choices, where you take your degree is limited only by your aspirations. If you’re hoping to continue for an MBA, Fort Hays State also offers its graduates a seamless transition to their own master’s program. Fort Hays State University is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.
University of Northwestern Ohio
Cost per credit hour: $210
Located in Lima, OH, the University of Northwestern Ohio has been involved in educating business owners, leaders, and employees for over ninety years. The comprehensive business education programs at Northwestern Ohio include associate degrees, baccalaureate degrees and a master’s degree in business administration. Within the bachelor’s degree in business administration, students can also select concentrations in marketing, agribusiness, and automotive management. For students who are just starting out, you also have the opportunity to obtain an associate of applied business degree in either business administration or marketing.
As the program website notes, graduates of this program have gone on to a number of exciting and well-paid positions including:
- Financial Managers
- Industrial Managers
- Bank Executives
- Advertising and Marketing Managers
- Insurance Underwriters
- Chief Operating Officers
- Public Relations and Sales Managers
- Business Owners
- Retail Managers
- Purchasing Agents
Regardless of your career goals, you’ll find a rigorous program at an affordable price at Northwestern Ohio. The University of Northwestern Ohio is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.
Cost per credit hour: $250
While most of the programs we ranked are public universities, Baker College is the largest independent, non-profit college in Michigan – and one of the largest in the United States. Their extensive online degree offerings range from the associate to the doctoral level, and their transfer policies may allow you to participate in an accelerated program leading to the bachelor’s degree. Or, you can study online for your BBA according to a more traditional four-year schedule, as you work your way through the 123 semester credit hours (185 quarter credit hours) required for the degree. Either way, you’ll find many options for both major and minor specializations within Baker’s business programs.
Baker College offers a bachelor’s degree in business administration for the following majors:
- Supply Chain Management
- Human Resource Management
You can also choose from a wide range of minor concentrations to build your specialized skills even further:
- Computer Information Systems
- Human Resource Management
- Medical Office
- Non-Profit Management
- Project Management
- Supply Chain Management
Some, but not all, of these programs also include a required internship or work experience credit in addition to your academic work, so be sure to check each program description for further details. Baker College is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.
Dakota State University
Cost per credit hour: $333
Unlike some online programs, Dakota State University has a physical campus location that has been around since 1881. As an online DSU student, you’ll learn from the same professors that also teach on campus. And all students receive the same high-quality education, regardless of the format.
At DSU, you’ll learn the business basics with a technical edge that can help you manage a family-owned business, Fortune 500 corporation, or your own start-up. You’ll develop leadership skills that will serve you well in many professions, including business, not-for-profit, government, and military. You can even couple your business administration major with other tech-focused programs to give you a unique edge in the job market. Within the bachelor of business administration program, you can specialize in a number of in-demand fields including:
- Business technology
Dakota State University is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.
University of South Dakota
Cost per credit hour: $333
While some programs are better suited for students who enter school with a particular area of specialization in mind, others are intended for generalists in their field. The University of South Dakota’s online Bachelor of Business Administration (B.B.A.) in Business Administration is one of the latter programs, designed for those interested in developing a broad-based understanding of the business disciplines. This degree will provide adult learners with the flexibility to emphasize a specific area within the broader framework of business courses.
Students may select emphasis areas to meet their individual needs, such as accounting, economics, finance, marketing, and e-commerce. The flexibility of the B.B.A. in Business Administration is particularly well-suited to working adults who would like to finish their degree while furthering their current career or pursuing a new one. The University of South Dakota is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC) of the North Central Association (NCA) of Colleges and Schools.
University of Iowa
Cost per credit hour: $349
Within its Division of Continuing Education, Iowa’s flagship public university offers a broad range of intellectually challenging and rewarding online degree programs through University College. Students in these programs receive the same instruction as those in the traditional residential program, along with the ability to complete your degree entirely online. The online degree option includes access to both instructor and self-paced course options, and in the end you’ll graduate with a highly-respected degree from the University of Iowa.
The online BBA is offered by the University of Iowa’s Tippie College of Business – consistently ranked among the top 25 public business schools in the country according to U.S. News & World Report. The bachelor’s degree program includes a management major with an entrepreneurial management track, offered in partnership with the University of Iowa’s Division of Continuing Education. Designed with the needs of working adults in mind, the program in open to applicants with associate’s degree or existing transferable college credit, regardless of where you live. Within the the entrepreneurial management track, you’ll gain a number of in-demand skills, from entrepreneurial marketing to human resource management, team dynamics and negotiations. The University of Iowa is regionally accredited by the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools.
University of Maryland University College
Cost per credit hour: $499
University College is the extended and online education component of the University of Maryland system. As part of a respected state university system, students in the online bachelor in business administration program have access to the library and career advising resources of the University of Maryland. Along with core general education requirements, students in this 120-credit-hour degree study accounting, business law, ethics and social responsibility, finance, human resource management, strategic management, organizational behavior, marketing and sales, and statistical analysis.
As the program description explains, after you complete this degree program, you’ll be equipped with the following in-demand business and leadership skills:
- Plan and communicate a shared vision for the organization that will drive strategy, assist with decision making, and position the organization competitively
- Design and create management and leadership plans
- Evaluate qualitative and quantitative data
- Effectively communicate across all levels of an organization
- Develop, communicate, and implement policies and procedures to reduce cost and organizational risk and promote ethical practices
- Manage people, time, and resources by using effective employment practices, encouraging team building, and mentoring junior members of the staff
- Design and execute personal and employee development systems to enhance job performance and leadership skills
You’ll be prepared for a variety of positions in for-profit, nonprofit, and public-sector organizations. Plus, you’ll have ample networking opportunities with other students and with the University of Maryland community. The University of Maryland University College is regionally accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education.
Thomas Edison State University
Cost per credit hour: $499
New Jersey’s Thomas Edison State University offers a 120-credit bachelor of science in business administration that’s designed to help adult learners achieve college-level competence in the arts and sciences and in business. Upon completing this program, you’ll have the skills and experience needed to:
- Apply key theories, models and applications within the global business context.
- Demonstrate critical thinking skills in business related situations.
- Employ empirical approaches to planning and decision-making using quantitative reporting mechanisms.
- Demonstrate written and oral skills appropriate for business communication.
- Analyze business and organizational situations using ethical approaches to decision making.
- Apply technology to enable business growth, development and sustainability.
Most of TESU’s students aren’t first-time, full time students, and the time it takes to complete the program can be reduced significantly based on the number of transfer credits you can apply towards your degree.
Within the BSBA degree, you can select from a number of concentrations in order to match your preparation with your particular career goals. The possible areas of specialization include:
- Computer Information Systems
- General Management
- Hospital Healthcare Administration
- Human Resources/Organizational Management
- International Business
- Operations Management
Regardless of your chosen major, you’ll also complete a capstone requirement, Strategic Management, that integrates content across the degree program. Students may also complete a Demonstration of Currency (DOC) conference with a mentor to address contemporary developments in the topics being covered. Thomas Edison State University is regionally accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education.
University of Florida
Cost per credit hour: $500
If you’re looking for an online degree from a leading state university with a strong alumni network, the University of Florida’s online program in business administration with a major in general business may be right for you. The bachelor of science program provides students with a strong foundation in a variety of business disciplines. In addition to completing all university requirements, students take introductory courses in accounting and economics as well as core courses in areas ranging from business law and international business to finance, management and marketing. Additional courses in more specific disciplines such as entrepreneurship and real estate are included, as are professional development courses in business communication, career management and business computing.
To graduate with the business major, students are required to complete 120 total credit hours, including general education requirements, electives, and courses within the field. The latter requirements include seven core business courses, five general business major courses, and three professional development courses on topics like career management and computing in the business environment. Students looking for a more flexible degree that accommodates significant coursework in a secondary, non-business field may also be interested in the bachelor of arts in business administration/general studies program (see website for details). The University of Florida is regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools.