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Graduate Certificate in Business Administration: Program Overview

Graduate certificate programs in business administration provide training in management, accounting, and finance. These programs help students to develop foundational skills appropriate for a number of jobs in the field.

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Essential Information

Those earning a graduate certificate in business administration can go on to management or executive roles in many types of businesses. Some may seek this education after being promoted to more business-oriented roles at work, while others may be looking for training to enter entrepreneurship. Professionals who can't dedicate time to a complete Master of Business Administration (MBA) degree can take some of the same courses in leadership, management and business operations in this shorter certificate program.

Business administration programs only require students to have completed a bachelor's degree in order to enroll, though some may mandate certain undergraduate courses be completed, as well (typically economics and statistics). Several different fields and concentrations exist for these certificates, such as business operations, business technology, and management. Programs and courses are commonly available in an online format.


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  • Actuarial Sciences
  • Business and Commerce, General
  • Business Statistics
  • Customer Service Management
  • eCommerce
  • Logistics, Distribution, and Materials Management
  • Management Science
  • Office Management
  • Operations Management
  • Public and Nonprofit Organizational Management
  • Purchases, Acquisitions, and Contracts Management
  • Transportation Management

Graduate Certificate in Business Administration

Students may focus on business operations, with topics such as finance, production and marketing. Programs may also focus on management subjects such as leadership, communication, and resource optimization. Many programs also focus on technology - a necessary component in an increasingly global business environment. This can include courses in technology and business integration, information security, financial software, or technological literacy. Common courses include:

  • Business development
  • Human resources management
  • Small business finance
  • Principles of entrepreneurship
  • Business information systems
  • Ethics and legal issues in business

Popular Career Options

Those pursuing this certificate can enter into several mid- to senior-level roles in business. They may also go on to operate their own businesses. Potential careers include:

  • Chief financial officer
  • Vice president
  • Marketing manager
  • Human resources manager
  • Financial analyst

Top executives, including vice presidents and chief financial officers, earned a median annual salary of $175,110 in 2015, according to data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). The same year, marketing managers earned a median annual wage of $128,750, while human resources managers saw a median annual salary of $104,440, according to the BLS. Financial analysts earned a median salary of $80,310 in 2015 and are expected to see a 12% growth in employment opportunities between 2014 and 2024, as reported by the BLS.

Continuing Education

Some schools offer options for those who complete a graduate certificate program in business administration to carry over their credits into a Master of Business Administration program. An MBA focuses on intense study of business theory, collaboration, leadership, and management. Graduates of this degree commonly secure high-level management positions.

A graduate certificate in business administration is often appropriate for those with a degree in a field other than business who wish to gain foundational knowledge in business. While graduates can choose to become employed with only this level of education, some may be able to transfer their credits into an MBA and continue learning.

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