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Business Administration Certificate: Overview of Certificate Program

Oct 21, 2019

Certificate programs in business administration are available at the undergraduate and graduate levels. Get more information about both of these certification options.

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Essential Information

Undergraduate certificates prepare students for entry-level positions by introducing them to fundamental business concepts and practices. Some of the content discussed might include business communication, accounting and economics.

A graduate certificate program can teach students how to manage, market and organize the elements of a company, its products or its employees. Graduate certificate programs build on previous education and experience in business and seek to further students' professional development.


Undergraduate Certificate in Business Administration

Applicants to undergraduate certificate programs must have a high school diploma or GED. They take one year to complete, and they may be offered entirely online or in a hybrid format. The curricula of these undergraduate certificate programs are typically focused on courses that directly relate to business topics. Course subjects might include:

  • Accounting
  • Computer applications
  • Management
  • Business organization
  • Business communication
  • Risk management
  • Economics

Graduate Certificate in Business Administration

Students in graduate certificate programs learn about business policies, tools and strategies that they can use to get ahead in the field. Distance learning, part-time scheduling and open enrollment options are available at the graduate level. A bachelor's degree is commonly required for admission, though no specific major is necessary.

The courses in a graduate certificate program can help students learn how to properly manage others in a business environment, make marketing decisions that will target customer's needs, manage finances and make decisions that help a business reach its goals. Studies explore effective communication and leadership styles and methods. Other topics covered might include:

  • Financial statement analysis
  • Marketing
  • Statistical analysis
  • Accounting
  • Business policies
  • Management

Employment Outlook and Salary Information

Post-baccalaureate certificate programs are generally designed to aid professionals in career advancement. Experience in business and previous education could affect the type of position a graduate could qualify for. Salaries differ, depending on the field.

In 2018, the BLS reported median earnings for managers of several industries. For example, construction managers made a median annual salary of $93,370, industrial production managers earned a median annual salary of $103,380 in 2018, sales managers earned a median annual salary of $124,220, and human resources managers earned a median annual salary of $113,300. At the high end, computer and information systems managers made a median annual salary of $142,530, and architectural and engineering managers earned median salary of $140,760 per year.

Popular Career Options

Because these programs focus on a broad range of foundational business concepts, certificate holders can be prepared for a diverse range of professional goals. Typically, undergraduate programs can help aspiring entry-level business professionals qualify for work in a number of business disciplines. Current professionals with no previous college education could also use the training to advance in their particular fields. Graduates of these programs could apply their business skills in the following areas:

  • Small business management
  • Marketing
  • Finance
  • Entrepreneurial ventures
  • Accounting
  • Departmental management

Continuing Education Information

After completing an undergraduate certificate program in business administration, individuals could decide to transfer into an associate or bachelor's degree program in business administration. These programs allow students to specialize in an area of interest, such as marketing or accounting.

Completing a post-baccalaureate certificate program could prepare individuals for graduate studies in business. In some cases, students can apply college credit earned to a master's degree program. Master of Business Administration programs typically allow students to further specialize in a specific area of business, such as marketing, finance or management. Several schools offer MBA programs entirely online and on a part-time schedule for working professionals.

Depending on their educational backgrounds, students can choose either an undergraduate or a graduate certificate in business administration. In either case, a certificate can prepare them for more advanced studies or for career advancement in the field.

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