What is a career in business?
A career in business can mean radically different things depending on the individual. For instance a business person might make a career in franchising gas stations, another might work in the corporate world of sales and acquisitions, and another business person might work as an investor for tech startups.
Just as the responsibilities for each of these business careers are as different as night and day, the educational paths to get there are totally different as well. With this in mind, a prospective business student faces unique challenges.
First of all, while the intrinsic flexibility of business means that you can basically meld any of your interests into a business career, it also means such a career will require premeditation and preparation so that you build the necessary knowledge and skill sets needed for success within that career. This presents a crossroads, specifically in the form of a choice between building such knowledge and skills in higher education or building such knowledge and skills through sheer work experience.
Building Expertise in School Vs. Building Expertise in the Job Market
Consider Internships and Work Experience
- If you are totally unsure of what you want to do within a business career, then working in internships or in other positions within the job market can be an excellent method for testing out different industries and business opportunities.
-or- Build your Academic Resume
- If you are set on the type of business you want to practice, but are unsure what type of job you want then it might be best to build expertise within that type of business in a degree program–making yourself more desirable to employers while deciding what job you want to pursue.
Technical Skills and Specialized Knowledge
- It should be noted that some business paths like business analytics or healthcare administration require highly technical skills or specialized knowledge, which for the most part will only be recognized when earned through a certified degree program.
Associate’s of Business Degree Choices
An associate’s degree of business might provide an excellent start to your business career. Oftentimes these programs are less expensive and time consuming than bachelor’s or master’s degree programs, while still providing a strong foundation of industry-relevant education. This means that an associate’s degree might be the perfect middle-ground for someone looking to break into a business job market quickly, while still striving for a rung above entry level jobs that will likely be the first step for someone without business experience and without an education.
Here’s some great associate degree options to consider:
- Accounting Technology
Unlike a CPA, an accounting technology professional is someone who specializes in the technology developed to aid accountants in their responsibilities. Accounting technologists focus on developing new technologies for accountants, teaching accounts how to best implement existing technologies, or focus on offering accounting services to clients. An Associate of Accounting Technology will be a great option for anyone interested in an accounting career who is uninterested in the traditional route of the CPA.
- Certified Public Accountant (CPA)
Certified public accountants are always in high-demand, and the demand only increases as more businesses and startups require their services. A CPA is tasked with preparing and overseeing various aspects of an organization’s financial and accounting operations. CPAs file and amend taxes and submit other state and federal documents to ensure the legal compliance of an organization’s business. A CPA program is a sure-fire path into the business world and often comes with respectable earning potential as well.
A career in advertising is all about the promotion of a product, brand, or organization–usually through paid advertising efforts online on social media and websites, on TV commercials, or on the billboards you drive by every day. An Associate of Advertising will provide a solid foundation of industry-centric knowledge and will provide you with a strong understanding of the career options available to you within the industry.
- Real Estate & Real Estate Appraisal
Depending on the program, an Associate of Real Estate will either prepare you to work as a real estate agent or to work as an appraiser. Both of these career paths are great options for someone looking for a quick jump into a promising business career. While real estate agents work with buyers and sellers of homes and property to oversee the successful completion of transactions, real estate appraisers are charged with assigning monetary value to such property.
- Conflict Management & Resolution
If you want to work at the intersection of social work and business, the field of conflict management might be an ideal option for you. A career in conflict management will offer employment in a variety of settings such as schools, legal firms, and human resources departments. These professionals are responsible for managing constructive discourse between two parties to bring about a constructive outcome within an allotted time frame. They might oversee business deals, resolve family conflicts, or offer an alternative to legal action to disputing parties. While some of the best jobs require an advanced degree, an Associate of Conflict Management is a great place to get started.
- Business Administration
Any business operation consists of a multitude of distinct tasks and responsibilities, and a business administrator is someone who oversees the daily completion of these tasks and responsibilities. Unlike a business manager who will oversee a specific branch of responsibilities, an administrator might work alongside multiple managers to ensure the larger goals and functionalities of a business are being met. An advanced degree in business administration will improve one’s odds of landing a top-tier job, but an Associate of Business Administration will offer an excellent start to one’s career.
Check out these additional resources for choosing an Associate of Business
Choosing between a Job or Bachelor’s Degree
After you have earned an Associate’s degree or have built entry-level experience within an industry, you will need to decide whether you want to double down on work experience to progress within that field or whether you wish to pursue a bachelor’s degree in your targeted area of expertise (What can you do with a bachelor’s degree in business?).
One option for prospective business students is to leverage an associate’s degree to garner enrollment in a great bachelor’s of business degree program. In some cases, credits of an associate’s degree program can carry over, and if you perform exceedingly well in an associate’s program you might even earn an academic scholarship that could save you thousands on tuition.
Below are some great careers and their bachelor’s degree equivalents to consider.
An Accounting Career
An Associate of Accounting will prepare students for a profession concerned with overseeing an individual’s or organization’s financial operations. Accountants file taxes and ensure legal and ethical compliance with financial laws and regulations. Both work experience and advanced degrees are heavily correlated with compensation and career mobility.
Bachelor’s of Accounting Options
A Career in Economics
Those with an Associate of Economics will pursue futures in the profession concerned with understanding the complexities of financial operations, local and global economies, as well as the theories and principles that govern them. These professionals work in a variety of settings from top-tier universities to business development consultancy agencies.
Bachelor’s of Economics Options
A Career in Business Analytics
An Associate’s Degree of Business analytics can be leveraged to find work in the field of business analysis, a data driven field where professionals gather both quantitative and qualitative data to drive growth within targeted performance vectors within an organization. Depending on level of education and expertise these professionals can be very well compensated and often work at the forefront of industry growth.
Bachelor’s of Business Analytics Options
A Career in Healthcare Administration
One can leverage an Associate’s of Healthcare administration to find work overseeing healthcare operations such as clinics, laboratories, and even entire hospitals. Given the vast divide between levels of responsibility in these roles, both education level and work experience are important. Prospective healthcare administrators should pursue as much preparation and education as possible.
Bachelor’s of Healthcare Administration Options
A Career in Management
A career in management might manifest in dramatically different forms, depending one one’s chosen industry and area of focus. One can leverage an Associate of Management in order to take on a role of manager in the workforce or to pursue advanced education as a manager. Both work experience and education are weighed heavily by employers when seeking managers.
Bachelor’s of Management Options
A Career in Sports Management
An Associate of Sports Management can be leveraged to pursue work as a manager in the sports industry, who manages a sports team, athletic training group, or gym. These professionals employ an interdisciplinary understanding of human anatomy, kinesthetics, and nutrition in order to drive increased human performance.
Bachelor’s of Sports Management Options
A Career in Actuarial Science
Actuarial science is the field of advanced mathematics which employs its calculations to improve organizational performance and reduce risk. Unlike other business careers, you will need more than an associate’s degree to begin your work as an actuarial scientist. There is an extensive credentially process that requires at least an undergraduate degree with many of the most lucrative positions reserved for those with a master’s or doctorate degree. WIth that being said, an associate of business will be a great background to transition into this field due to the fact that actuarial scientists are often tasked with using their advanced mathematics skills to offer feedback on operational decision making and bottom-line calculations.
Bachelor’s of Actuarial Science Options
A Career in Entrepreneurship
An Associate of Business degree can be leveraged to begin your career as an entrepreneur. This can manifest in vastly different career paths depending on your chosen industry of focus and business roles–as an investor, as someone who will run a startup, or as someone who will consult on the process.
Bachelor’s of Entrepreneurship Options
A Career in Finance
An Associate of Business degree can pave the way for a career in finance, where you will assist in all the various tasks and responsibilities related to financial operations. That is, you might consult a business on financial strategies, offer individuals financial advice, or work within a corporate setting as a financial strategist. Both work experience and level of education are important to advancing in this career.
Bachelor of Finance Options
Supply Chain Management
A Career in Supply Chain Management
Ever wonder what all is involved in Amazon’s amazing ability to deliver products to your door in just 24 hours? The simple answer is, “A lot.” Supply chain managers are professionals who oversee all aspects of product management, quality assurance, acquisition and delivery. This career is defined by a heavy emphasis of logistical work as well as business management, and as such an Associate Business might get your foot in the door–but if not, an advanced degree will definitely get you there.
Bachelor’s in Supply Chain Management Options
Other Bachelor’s of Business Options
If your Associate of Business degree did not generate the results you wanted, or if you are still simply unsure of how to progress your career further, then check out these additional resources on the best bachelor’s of business degree options available in 2020.
What are the most Lucrative Business Careers?
Let’s face it. Sometimes the deciding factor in decision making about your career is salary. If you are going to invest years of your life and loads of cash into your education, it only makes sense that you would want the assurances of a strong job market upon graduation. In other words, it is only natural that you should want your hard work to pay off, literally. Especially if you have already invested in an Associate’s degree. So let’s look at some the most lucrative career paths in business.
Some initial takeaways here are that the best and most lucrative jobs are either higher up in terms of organizational hierarchy, entail more professional risk, or require more education and work history. Entrepreneurs for instance have tremendous earning potential but they also take on enormous risk. Managers are some of the most well paid professionals in business, but they need an exemplary record to earn this position. Actuary scientists are paid very well, too, but the required schooling is rigorous and time consuming.
Below are some of the most lucrative careers in business that you can pursue with an Associate of Business degree.
Range of Earnings: Anywhere from $5,000 to $5,000,000
Ideal Associate’s Degree: Associate of Entrepreneurship; Associate of Business
The titanic range of earning potential of the entrepreneur insinuates the unpredictability of this career path. It is simply not for everyone. While some might be showered with success, others might find only struggle and hardship. Because the overwhelming majority of businesses fail within the first few years, the reason for this range in earnings should be clear.
The best way to counteract this risk is to hedge your bets by becoming as prepared as possible. Pursue education in your chosen industry and area of interest. Build expertise in the most crucial skill sets to your pursuit. And devote everything to your work.
Personal Finance Advisor
Range of Earnings: $46,000 to $120,000
Ideal Associate’s Degree: Associate of Finance; Associate of Business
To reach the upper end of this salary range you will certainly need to build an exemplary work record and need to potentially earn an advanced degree. But you can begin your work as a financial advisor after earning an Associate’s. Working with a firm early on in your career will likely be necessary, but after enough resume building you can likely break out on your own to start your own firm or work as an independent advisor. That’s where you will find the big bucks.
Business Manager / General Manager
Range of Earnings: $40,000 to $114,000
Ideal Associate’s Degree: Associate of Management; Associate of Business
Business management is one of the best arenas to demonstrate your skill as a business leader. Naturally gifted managers might not even need an Associate’s degree, but it will certainly help you get the foot in the door if you have little else experience. Employers often report that an applicant’s personality is the most important factor in establishing a leader. If you think your personality isn’t your strongest characteristic in business, then you may want to consider bolstering your resume through work experience and education.
Human Resource Manager
Range of Earnings: $75,000 to $126,000
Ideal Associate’s Degree: Associate of Management; Associate of Business
Human resource managers oversee the human component of any business operation, that is, they develop company policies for employees, hire and fire accordingly, and review workforce performance. In short, human resource managers seek to make employees as efficient and productive as possible. Some specialized knowledge is required, which can be developed through advanced education or through working experience in HR departments.
Sales Team Manager
Range of Earnings: $55,000 to $125,000
Ideal Associate’s Degree: Associate of Business
The sales team of any organization will work under a sales manager, who oversees the performance of each salesman. Sales managers direct overall sales strategies and adapt to challenges and opportunities accordingly. These professionals need to be not only an excellent salesman but also an excellent manager, because they will ultimately be held responsible for the sale’s teams success or lack thereof. To excel in this career, the need for an advanced degree or extensive work experience can be overcome by skill and charisma.
Range of Earnings: $60,000 to $120,000
Ideal Associate’s Degree: Associate of Actuary Science
An actuary will need to earn additional degrees and certifications to begin earning the more impressive salaries, but they can begin initial work in their careers with an Associate’s degree. In fact, an Associate’s of Business while not entirely connected will benefit an actuary in the long run through contributing to a better understanding of business, which of course is the primary subject of their mathematical investigations.
Range of Earnings: $55,000 to $100,000
Ideal Associate’s Degree: Associate of Business Analytics; Associate of Business
Business analysts increase their earnings primarily through only one means, that is, by delivering results. This means that a business analyst will either need innate skills of statistics, mathematics, and analysis, or they will need to develop these skills in school or through working in the job market. While pursuing a bachelor’s or master’s degree in business analytics will be the most secure route for increasing chances of success, individuals with the innate skill mentioned above may reach the same levels of success sooner by demonstrating their skill in the job market.