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What Can You Do With An Associate Degree in Business? 9 Exciting Careers You Can Get With an Associate in Business.

By Charlene Lattea, WVU Online | Wednesday, May 24, 2023

Thinking about pursuing an associate degree in business but don’t know what you can do with it? Explore 9 good-paying jobs you can get with this degree.

Business is the most popular degree field for college students today, but some people want to begin their careers as soon as possible and don’t want to wait four years. For those students, the associate degree is an ideal choice.

But can you get a good job in business without having at least a bachelor’s degree?

The answer to that is yes, and we’ll tell you why in this article. Read on to find out all about associate degrees and why they can give you the business skills you need to succeed in your chosen career field, without the time and financial commitment of a four-year bachelor’s degree.

What is an Associate degree in Business?

An associate degree in business is a two-year program that allows you to gain a foundation in basic coursework, including accounting, economics, management, statistics, computer applications, and more.

Elective courses within the degree program can be tailored to match your personal and professional interests.

Often, associate degrees are designed for students who expect to go on and complete a bachelor’s degree, but many people go straight into a career with this degree.

Graduates of associate degree programs receive their degrees more quickly, and at a lower cost. They are qualified to fill many entry-level positions in administration, sales, and management in public, private, and non-profit organizations.

It typically takes students four years to earn their Bachelor's in Business. Associate degrees usually take about half that time to complete.

Most bachelor’s programs require 120 hours of coursework, or four years. They offer the same core courses covering basic business and management skills, but an additional two years of coursework offering more advanced business skills as well as areas of specialization.

Certificates are another option, but they are not degrees. They are generally only about 12 to 15 hours of coursework over the course of one year or less. With a certificate, you study a concentrated area and acquire certain professional skills that enhance the degree you already have.

For example, with WVU Online certificates you can learn biostatistics, cybersecurity management, business data science, business operations research, data marketing communications, digital and social media, and higher education marketing, among many other subjects.

Is an Associate degree in Business worth it?

The benefits to earning an associate degree include getting your degree earlier and moving into a career with two-year head start over those who are pursuing a bachelor’s degree.

Some associate degree programs are less than two years and you can earn your degree in as few as 18 months. Often, associate degrees are offered online, which makes it even easier.

It will not only take you less time to get your degree, but it will also take less money. Many people choose to take their core courses with an associate degree and then transfer them over to a bachelor’s program later, to save on the cost.

Finally, an associate degree really does improve both your job prospects and your earning potential. There is no other short-term degree program that can do that for you.

Associate Degree Facts and Statistics

As an associate degree holder, you will have a significant edge over someone who only has a high school diploma.

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, nearly 100 occupations typically require some education beyond a high school diploma, but less than a bachelor’s degree. Among those projected to have the most openings through 2029 are business positions in bookkeeping, accounting, and auditing, at a median wage of $41,230, as well as computer support specialists at a median wage of $52,270.

In 2022, individuals with an associate degree earned $8,000 more each year, on average, than job seekers who only had a high school diploma.

U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics projections show that employment in associate degree and postsecondary nondegree-level occupations will grow 11 percent through 2026, which, is faster than average for all occupations.

9 Jobs You Can Get With An Associate Degree in Business

An associate degree opens up a lot of job opportunities, because it covers most of the skills that employers look for when hiring new business employees. These include basic skills in accounting and finance, statistics, computer applications, management, decision-making, and organizational skills. With these skills, you will even be able to get a job in management.

The following are some of the jobs you can get with an associate degree and the median average salaries, as of 2023:

#1. Sales Manager – Median salary: $130,600

A sales manager is in charge of generating sales for the company and coordinating the actual distribution of a product or service to the customer. You will set goals for your sales team, track data, assign sales territories, work with dealers and distributors, and address customer complaints. This position can be highly lucrative and requires strong leadership skills.

#2. Insurance Agent – Median salary: $57,860

Insurance agents sell various types of insurance policies to businesses and individuals, including automobile, fire, life, property, medical and dental insurance, or specialized policies, such as marine, farm/crop, and medical malpractice. They may work as an independent broker or be employed by an insurance company.

#3. Real Estate Broker – Median salary: $62,190

Real estate brokers operate a real estate office, or work for a commercial real estate firm. They usually begin their careers as licensed real estate agents. They are legally qualified to help people with real estate transactions, including buying or selling real property, renting properties, and arranging loans.

#4. Web Developer – Median salary: $78,580

Web developers create and maintain websites, web applications, application databases, and interactive web interfaces. They evaluate code to ensure that it is properly structured, meets industry standards, and is compatible with browsers and devices. They are also responsible for the site's technical aspects, such as its performance and capacity.

#5. Executive Assistant – Median salary $65,980

Executive assistants provide high-level administrative support to a company’s leadership by conducting research, preparing statistical reports, and handling information requests, as well as preparing correspondence, scheduling appointments, booking travel, scheduling meetings, preparing agendas, and taking minutes. They may also train and supervise lower-level clerical staff.

#6. Financial Services Sales Agent – Median salary: $67,480

These financial professionals buy and sell securities or commodities in investment and trading firms or provide financial services to businesses and individuals. They may be the primary point of contact for customers, answering questions and advising them about stocks, bonds, mutual funds, commodities, and market conditions, to help them make the right decision for their finances.

#7. Benefits Administrator – Median salary: $67,780

Benefits administrators are professionals in a company's human resources department who conduct programs of compensation, benefits, and job analysis. They serve as a contact person for employees about health insurance, life insurance, flexible spending plans and retirement plans. They may specialize in specific areas, such as position classification and pension programs.

#8. Human Resources Specialist – Median salary: $64,240

Human resources specialists recruit, screen, interview and place new employees to fill job openings in a company. They may work for one company or independently with many companies as clients. This job also involves making suggestions on how to improve a company's recruiting or onboarding policies and explaining regulations and procedures.

#9. Purchasing manager – Median Salary: $131,350

Purchasing managers coordinate the activities of buyers, purchasing officers, and related workers involved in obtain the resources a company needs to operate, such as products, equipment and services. This includes wholesale or retail trade merchandising managers and procurement managers. Other responsibilities include making payments, scheduling deliveries and keeping records.

Is an Associate degree in Business right for you?

Even with all this information, how do you know if pursuing an associate degree is right for you, or if you would be better off going for a bachelor’s degree?

Ask yourself these questions:

  • What do I see myself doing for the next four years? Do I want to be in school all that time, or would I like to get a job sooner?
  • Do I know what I want to study in business?
  • Do I know what kind of job I want in the future?
  • Do I feel comfortable earning less money when I first start out in my career?
  • Is having the core knowledge in business the main thing I want right now?
  • Am I planning to get a bachelor’s degree eventually, but need or want to work soon?
  • Do I have the money to pursue a bachelor’s degree right now?
  • Do I have the time to do pursue a bachelor’s degree right now?
  • Would I like to have the time to improve my skills while in a workplace setting?

The most important thing to know about an associate degree is that you can’t go wrong if you choose this program of business study. You will gain a broad knowledge of business, combined with skills in technology, to prepare you for a variety of careers in a global business environment that is changing rapidly.

Choosing this degree program will help you advance professionally if you choose to go directly into a career. But if you decide you would like further study, you can always transfer your credits into a four-year bachelor’s degree program.

With an associate degree, you’ll be gaining knowledge and skills without being locked in to a four-year program. You will have plenty of time to decide whether you want to continue your studies in business or get started on a career first.

Just make sure that you earn your associate degree from an accredited program, such as those offered by WVU Online, because future employers will be looking at that and you will also need a degree from an accredited program if you decide to transfer your credits into a bachelor’s program at a later date.

Earn your Associate degree in Business online at WVU

Contact the Coaches at Our Learning Engagement Center
After reading this article, if you are unsure about your goals, or how to identify your interests and skills, be sure to reach out to one of our WVU Online admissions coaches. They are trained to help you look at your individual situation and make the right choice for your future.

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If you are ready, be sure to explore everything our WVU Online business programs have to offer, to determine if they will help you reach your goals.

Associate of Arts in Business Administration

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