Business Administrator Careers: Salary Info & Job Description

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What are the pros and cons of a career in business administration? Learn about job descriptions, career outlook and salary information to see if this field is right for you.
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Careers in Business Administration: Pros and Cons

Your duties as a business administrator depend on the career path you choose, which could include working as a financial manager, marketing manager or top executive. Read on for more pros and cons for business administration.

Pros of a Career in Business Administration
Above-average wages in most cases*
Career opportunities in a variety of fields (marketing, finance, management, etc.)*
Advancement opportunities available through work experience*
Wide variety of workplaces for this field (banks, corporations, government, etc.)*

Cons of a Career in Business Administration
Advanced careers can require a master's degree*
Years of work experience can be required for any administrator position*
Long hours are common*
Strong competition for management positions*

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Career Information

Career Options and Job Descriptions

Your job duties will depend on the type of career you choose to go into. Three possible options within business administration include becoming a financial manager, a marketing manager or a top executive. Keep in mind that there are many other job types in business administration, such as management analyst, accountant, sales manager, market research analyst, public relations manager or advertising manager.

Financial managers help an organization understand viable budgetary options, forecasts and cost-efficient business practices. The job title of a financial manager can vary, and may include cash manager, insurance manager or treasurer. Marketing managers develop strategies for how products are marketed and who they're marketed to. They may also analyze competitor strategies and predict the need for new products. Top executives include a number of occupations, including general managers, chief executive officers and executive directors. Executives answer to board members and are in charge of setting and overseeing the financial goals and operations of an entire company.

Salary Information and Job Outlook

In May 2014, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) stated that chief executives made a median annual wage of about $173,000. In the same year, the BLS also stated that general and operations managers earned a median annual salary of about $97,000. In 2014, financial managers earned a median annual salary of about $115,000, while marketing managers earned a median annual salary of about $127,000, according to the BLS.

The BLS predicted that financial managers would see an employment growth of nine percent for 2012-2022, which is considered about as fast as average. The BLS expected that top executives would have only a eleven percent employment growth for the same time period, while chief executives experienced five percent employment growth and general and operations managers saw employment growth of twelve percent. This sluggish growth for chief executives may be due to limited growth in a chosen industry and a lack of demand for new executives.

The BLS stated that marketing managers would see an average growth of about 13% from 2012-2022. These workers are all expected to face considerable competition for jobs by other managers and experienced professionals.

Educational and Work Requirements

The standard requirement for a career in business administration is a bachelor's degree in the field. A master's degree may not be required for a managerial position, but they are becoming more common among top executives and could be preferred for financial managers. Additionally, prior work experience in your field is typically mandatory to become a manager. Financial managers have unique requirements, because they need to be adept in not only business, but also in fields like accounting or securities exchange.

Useful Skills

Generally, you need to have a strong interest in finances, business principles, math, computer science and management to succeed in this field. You're also going to need excellent communication skills in order to convey essential information to coworkers. Here are some additional qualities or skills you need to have:

  • Efficient computer skills
  • Good interpersonal skills
  • Analytical skills
  • Attention to detail
  • Leadership capabilities
  • Ability to multitask
  • Ability to work under stress and meet deadlines

What Employers Look For

Most employers ask for prior work experience, and you can expect higher-level jobs to ask for 5-15 years of experience. A bachelor's or master's degree in a related field is typically required. Here are some examples of real job postings from May 2012:

  • A police department in Texas asked for a financial manager chief with a bachelor's degree in business, finance or a related field and five years of supervisory experience. Alternatively, a master's degree and two years of managerial experience can substitute for the work requirements. The applicants would provide financial advice on accounting, budgeting, cash control and other relevant duties.
  • A company in Michigan sought a financial supervisor with at least four years of experience in a supervisory role. A Certified Public Accountant (CPA) was preferred, and the employer also preferred an applicant who was familiar with the mental health code.
  • A firm in Texas needed a CEO with 10-15 years of experience. The applicant needed strong communication skills, a bachelor's degree and exceptional leadership skills.
  • A kitchen and bathroom faucets manufacturer in California was looking for a marketing manager with at least a bachelor's degree in marketing or business, though a master's degree was preferred. The applicant needed to have at least four years of experience in sales and marketing, skill in Microsoft Office and a willingness to travel.

How to Get an Edge in the Field

Certification

One way that you can stand out from other professionals is by pursuing voluntary certification, which can help demonstrate your competency in the field to future employers. The type of certification you need depends on your career choice. Top executives can receive the Certified Manager (CM) designation from the Institute of Certified Professional Managers. Financial managers can receive the Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) certification from The CFA Institute. The precise requirements for certifications vary, but typically you need to complete educational and work experience requirements before passing an exam.

Education

While not always required, a master's degree is a common level of education for top executives. The BLS notes that a financial manager with a master's degree and CFA certification is expected to have the best job opportunities in the field.

Alternative Careers

Accountants and Auditors

If you want to work in the field of business but you don't want to work in management, you could become an accountant or auditor. These workers study the financial records of corporations to make sure that they are adhering to laws and government policies. They could also offer advice on how to reduce costs or increase profits. Both accountants and auditors need at least a bachelor's degree in accounting, and CPA certification may be preferred or mandatory for some jobs. CPA certification is earned through the state, and typically requires the completion of 150 credit hours, which is commonly accomplished through the completion of a Master of Accountancy program.

According to the BLS, these workers will have a projected employment growth of about 16% from 2010-2020. In May 2011, the BLS stated that accountants and auditors earned a median annual salary of about $63,000.

Sales Managers

If you're interested in business administration, you may consider becoming a sales manager. These professionals are commonly responsible for overseeing sales personnel, reviewing budgets, setting company goals and interacting with distributors. In 2011, the BLS stated that these managers earned a median annual salary of about $102,000, and from 2010-2020 they were expected to see an average employment growth of about 12%. At least a bachelor's degree in a subject like business administration, finance or economics is required for such a position, though some sales managers have master's degrees.

Management Analysts

If you're interested in working to improve a company's policies and profits but you don't want to work in a management role, you may consider becoming a management analyst. These professionals work as consultants who analyze data and suggest more efficient and profitable methods for running a business. A bachelor's degree in business administration is commonly required for such a position, though a master's degree may be preferred. In 2011, management analysts made a median annual salary of about $78,000, according to the BLS. From 2010-2020, the BLS stated that these professionals were expected to see an above average growth rate of 22% in employment.

Popular Schools

  • Online Programs Available
    1. George Mason University

    Program Options

    Master's
      • Master of Business Administration
      • Master of Business Administration: Business Analytics Specialization
  • Online Programs Available
    2. Georgetown University

    Program Options

    Master's
      • Master of Professional Studies in Sports Industry Management
      • Masters of Professional Studies in Technology Management
      • Master of Professional Studies in Real Estate
  • Online Programs Available
    3. Kaplan University

    Program Options

    Master's
      • M.S. in Management
      • Master : Business Admin
      • MSM in Organizational Design and Development
    Bachelor's
      • BBA: Project Management
      • Bachelor of Business Admin
      • BSBA - Investment
    Associate's
      • Associate: Business Admin. - Office Mgmt
      • Associate: Business Admin.
      • AASBA in Small Business Management
      • AASBA -Entrepreneurship
    Certificate
      • Medical Office Administration Certificate
  • Online Programs Available
    4. Johns Hopkins University

    Program Options

    Master's
      • Master of Science in Government Analytics
      • MA in Public Management
  • Online Programs Available
    5. Northcentral University

    Program Options

    Doctorate
      • Doctor of Business Admin - Human Resources Management
      • PhD in Business Admin - Management
      • Doctor of Business Admin - General Business
      • Doctor of Business Admin - Project Management
      • PhD in Business Admin - Public Admin
      • Doctor of Marriage & Family Therapy: Small Business & Entrepreneurship
    Master's
      • Master of Business Admin - General Business
      • Master of Business Admin - Accelerated General MBA
      • MBA - Strategic Management
      • MBA - Management
      • MBA - Public Admin
      • MBA - Human Resources Management
  • Online Programs Available
    6. Herzing University

    Program Options

    Master's
      • MBA
      • MBA Dual Concentration: Business Mgmt & Project Mgmt.
      • MBA Dual Concentration: Healthcare Management and Project Management
      • MBA Dual Concentration: HR & Project Mgmt.
      • MBA Dual Concentration: BS Mgmt. & HR
      • MBA Dual Concentration: Accounting and Project Management
    Bachelor's
      • B.S. - Business Management With No Concentration
    Associate's
      • Associate of Science - Business Management
      • Associate of Science - Business Studies
    Certificate
      • Diploma: Medical Office Admin
  • Online Programs Available
    7. American University

    Program Options

    Master's
      • Master of Science in Agile Project Management
      • Master of Science in Measurement and Evaluation
  • Online Programs Available
    8. Baker College Online

    Program Options

    Doctorate
      • Business Administration - DBA (Doctorate)
    Master's
      • General Business (MBA)
      • Leadership Studies - MBA (Master's)
    Bachelor's
      • Business Administration - Accelerated Program - Bachelor
    Associate's
      • Business Administration - Associate
  • Online Programs Available
    9. Colorado State University Global

    Program Options

    Master's
      • MS - Management
      • MS - Organizational Leadership
      • Master of Project Management
    Bachelor's
      • BS - Business Management
      • BS - Organizational Leadership
      • Undergraduate Specialization - Small Business and Entrepreneurship
      • BS - Project Management
    Certificate
      • Undergraduate Certificate - Project Management
  • Online Programs Available
    10. Keiser University

    Program Options

    Master's
      • Master of Business Administration - Management (Spanish)
    Associate's
      • Associate of Arts - Accounting
    Certificate
      • Grad Business Certificate - Management and Leadership

Featured Schools

George Mason University

  • Master of Business Administration
  • Master of Business Administration: Business Analytics Specialization

What is your highest level of education?

Georgetown University

  • Master of Professional Studies in Sports Industry Management
  • Masters of Professional Studies in Technology Management
  • Master of Professional Studies in Real Estate

What is your highest level of education completed?

Kaplan University

  • M.S. in Management
  • BBA: Project Management
  • Associate: Business Admin. - Office Mgmt
  • Medical Office Administration Certificate

Which subject are you interested in?

Johns Hopkins University

  • Master of Science in Government Analytics
  • MA in Public Management

What is your highest level of education?

Northcentral University

  • Doctor of Business Admin - Human Resources Management
  • PhD in Business Admin - Management
  • Master of Business Admin - General Business
  • Master of Business Admin - Accelerated General MBA

What is your highest level of education?

Herzing University

  • MBA
  • B.S. - Business Management With No Concentration
  • Associate of Science - Business Management
  • Diploma: Medical Office Admin

What is your highest level of education?

American University

  • Master of Science in Agile Project Management
  • Master of Science in Measurement and Evaluation

What is your highest level of education?

Baker College Online

  • Business Administration - DBA (Doctorate)
  • General Business (MBA)
  • Business Administration - Accelerated Program - Bachelor
  • Business Administration - Associate

What is your highest level of education?