Business Owner: Education Requirements and Career Information

Business owners turn ideas into goods and services that are offered to the general public. In this lesson, you'll learn about the career skills and educational opportunities that can help you succeed as a business owner. View article »

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  • 0:01 Business Owners
  • 0:52 Education & Skills
  • 2:04 Opening a Business
  • 2:57 Job Growth & Salary

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Video Transcript

Business Owners

Degree Level None; post-secondary degrees available
Degree Field(s) Business, healthcare, hospitality, project or supply chain management, entrepreneurship, finance, and human resources
License/Certification Licenses and permits vary with the type of business
Experience Highly desirable but not required
Key Skills Patience, persistence, and self-motivation; attention to detail; communication, marketing, bookkeeping, interpersonal, and time management skills
Job Outlook (201-2022) 3.6% growth
Median Annual Salary (2016) $71,584 (for small business owners)

Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics,

Every business, firm, franchise and agency has an owner. Business owners are responsible for making the decisions that affect a company, including what goods or services their company will be offering to customers. Business owners also hire employees, set goals and implement policies. Depending on the size of the company, business owners may work directly with employees to help them fulfill their responsibilities, or there may be several other managers and employees who help the owner by overseeing different aspects of the business.

The duties of a business owner will depend on what type of company the owner runs. For example, the duties of a restaurant owner will be much different than the duties of an auto repair shop owner. In order to continue operating and keep sales up, businesses must provide quality goods and services to their customers to keep them coming back.

Find schools that offer these popular programs

  • Accounting and Bookkeeping
  • Business Economics
  • Business Finance
  • Business Management and Operations
  • Business Marketing
  • Business Support and Administrative Services
  • Entrepreneurship and Small Business Development
  • Hospitality Management
  • Human Resource Management
  • Information System Management
  • International Business
  • Sales and Merchandising
  • Specialized Sales

Education and Skills

Although business owners don't need to earn a college degree, there are different degree programs that prospective owners can complete which can provide them with a better understanding of what owning a business entails and may make their businesses more successful. At the undergraduate and graduate levels, prospective business owners can earn an Associate of Science in Business Administration, a Bachelor of Business Administration, or a Master of Business Administration.

Other areas of study include:

  • Healthcare
  • Hospitality
  • Project or supply chain management
  • Entrepreneurship
  • Finance
  • Human resources

Once enrolled in a program, students may take classes in :

  • Accounting
  • Economics
  • Financial management and policy
  • Marketing
  • Organizational leadership

In addition to a formal education, prospective business owners can attend business seminars, join clubs, network with other business owners, and read professional journals. They can also conduct their own focus groups or surveys. Career skills useful to business owners can include those related to bookkeeping, communication, customer service, and marketing. Interpersonal and time management skills along with a sense of commitment can also help someone succeed as a business owner.

Opening a Business

Before going solo and opening a business, business owners should write a business plan, obtain business licenses when necessary, and fulfill any Internal Revenue Service (IRS) requirements. When writing a business plan, business owners should research potential customers and identify their competition. There are various requirements that businesses must meet before they can offer goods or services to the general public. For example, any business that has employees must have an employer identification number which will be used to identify tax accounts for various agencies. Business owners must meet requirements for building licenses and permits, labor laws and safety regulations, unemployment insurance, and worker's compensation. Limiting personal liability and growing a business by networking and adjusting business goals as necessary are also important considerations for business owners.

Job Growth and Salary

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), opportunities for self-employed people in general were expected to increase by just 3.6% or at a slower than average rate from 2012 to 2022 when compared to all other occupations. As reported by in May 2016, small business owners earn a median annual salary of $71,584.

Business owners make the decisions that affect a company, including what goods and/or services it will be offering to customers. According to, small business owners earned a median annual salary of $71,584 as of May 2016.

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