No matter how good or bad the economy may be, Americans are always on a quest for improvement. According to data from the U.S. Census Bureau, college enrollment is at an all-time high for 18-24 year olds, despite a lagging economy. Enrollment is particularly high at 2-year colleges, for 4-year science and technical programs, master’s degree programs, and you guessed it-business degree programs! Most business schools report a 10-15 percent increase in freshman enrollment.

While this huge jump in enrollment has pushed many business schools to their capacity, creating stricter requirements, once you’re in, you will be well on your way to earning one of the most valuable and versatile degrees in the career world. This coveted degree may very well be worth $100,000+ per year.

Online Business Degrees: Why You Need One
Online Business Degrees: Why You Need One

According to Bizdegrees.com, in an average market, an MBA holder can earn $100,000+ per year, regardless of the industry. The average salary for a Fortune 500 CEO is $800,000 per year; the average salary for consultants with an MBA is $108,887; and marketing professionals with an MBA may earn more than $145,600 per year.

A business degree, particularly an MBA, will open the doors to several dozen areas of business ranging from accounting and entrepreneurship to labor relations and risk management. Fortunately, most MBA students can still work in a number of entry-level positions in the field while earning their degree online.

Online business degrees are offered through most traditional colleges and universities, as well as a number of accredited schools that operate 100% online. The types of focus areas vary by school, but you can expect to find the following focus areas for most online and on-land MBA programs:

Focus in Accounting

Focus in Corporate Finance

Focus in eCommerce

Focus in Entrepreneurship

Focus in Finance

Focus in Healthcare Management

Focus in Human Resources

Focus in International Business

Focus in Labor Relations

Focus in Leadership

Focus in Management

Focus in Management Information Systems

Focus in Marketing

Focus in Negotiation & Conflict Management

Focus in Non-Profit Management

Focus in Operations Management

Focus in Project Management

Focus in Risk Management

Focus in Strategy & Economics

Focus in Technology Management

Once you have decided on a focus area, it’s time to pick a school. There are three things to pay attention to when choosing an online business degree program: accreditation, curriculum, and admissions requirements. A quality MBA program or business school will carry accreditation through an agency that is recognized by the U.S. Department of Education. Visit the U.S. Department of Education website for an official list.

Next, the curriculum for an accredited online business degree program is just as rigorous as a traditional program. All accredited programs will require many or all of the following courses: applied business research & statistics, business law, corporate finance, economics of management, ethical and legal environment of business, financial decision making, human capital management, innovation and operations management, issues in international business, managing change, organizational leadership, quantitative reasoning for business, strategic planning & implementation, and strategies in a global environment.

Admissions requirements vary slightly, but all accredited business degree programs must request test scores, transcripts, and financial aid information.

Most accredited online business degree programs also request a statement of purpose and other information that might demonstrate your talent and ambition.

Once you have chosen the best online program for your lifestyle and career path, you are well on your way to becoming part of a workforce of more than 2.1 million and growing.

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