A 2-year associate's degree program in entrepreneurship and small business can teach students to develop business plans, conduct feasibility assessments, prepare income statements and track credit lines. Students may gain valuable business organization skills, including the ability to manage workflow, systematize inventories and supervise personnel. In addition to classroom instruction, students in this degree program typically have the option of receiving work-based instruction through internships with established businesses. They may also conduct research projects for further entrepreneurial insight. Applicants must have a high school diploma or the equivalent, and they need to have passed prerequisite math and science courses.
Associate of Entrepreneurship and Small Business
Students in this program will gain and/or enhance the valuable management, marketing, finance and organizing skills required of entrepreneurs. They can also expect to gain technological expertise in MS Excel and other business computation software. In addition to developing professional skills, students also receive theoretical instruction in disciplines such as accounting, marketing, economics, information technology and international business. Required course topics may include:
- Business law
- Principles of selling
- Management theory
- Workplace behavior
- Human resources
- Business communications
Popular Career Options
Graduates of this program could go on to start their own businesses, inherit family businesses or acquire entry-level employment in a variety of fields and industries. Some occupations graduates may eventually enter include:
- Small business owner/operator
- General manager
- Operational manager
- Chief sustainability officer
As reported by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, general and operations managers could see a 5%-8% job growth rate for the 2014-2024 decade. It also reports that chief sustainability officers, a type of chief executive, will see a 1% decline in employment during this time period. The BLS further states that general and operations managers earned a median annual salary of $97,730 and chief sustainability officers $175,110 in 2015.
Graduates seeking advanced careers as chief executives or chief operational officers, for instance, may consider pursuing bachelor's degree studies or even master's degrees in fields such as business or accounting. Most employers prefer candidates who have at least a bachelor's degree.
Aspiring entrepreneurs and individuals who want to run small businesses can start by earning an associate's degree. Graduates can enter the field, or they can boost their career options by seeking higher degrees.