Online Business Administration Certificate and Diploma Programs

Dec 03, 2019

Essential Information

Many schools offer online certificate programs in business administration. Certificate programs are offered at the undergraduate and graduate level. These programs provide instruction in basic business concepts and skills. They may be aimed at beginning students or at students who hold bachelor's degrees in other fields and who want to gain business knowledge. These certificate programs may be offered totally online or in a hybrid format that requires online and on-campus courses and proctored exams. Internships or field experiences are usually not required.

An online business administration certificate program usually consists of fewer than 10 courses. The certificate program may consist of core courses in business fundamentals such as accounting, management and business finance. Students often can choose a few elective courses such as risk management, microeconomics or business communication. The programs usually take about 18 months to two years to complete.

Business Administration Certificate

Online certificate programs in business administration are available in several structures and formats aimed at different types of students. Some are geared toward aspiring entrepreneurs of all educational levels who lack practical business training. Others are designed for students with bachelor's degrees in non-business fields who want to become more competitive in applying for Master of Business Administration (MBA) programs.


Some online business administration certificate programs include courses that are only available on campus, and some require proctored exams. Schedules also vary; courses might run on a semester schedule or begin at any time. Basic computer literacy is necessary for online courses, along with access to a computer connected to the Internet. Students should know how to attach files to e-mail messages and to unzip and download files and necessary plug-ins. Some programs require Microsoft Windows.

Course Topics

Courses focus on fundamental business concepts, including how to sell products and services, track expenses and supervise employees.

Business Accounting

Financial statements and the accounting cycle are introduced in this course. Students learn to accurately record assets and transactions and to use accounting records to guide business decisions.


Courses in marketing address how to develop and sell products. Pricing, advertising design and determining target markets are also covered.


This course discusses a variety of management-related topics. Leadership, effective communication, interpersonal skills and conflict resolution are all explored.


Fundamentals of probability and statistics are introduced in this course. Students learn to analyze data using statistical methods, including regression, sampling distribution, testing hypotheses and estimating intervals.

Career Information

Graduates with a certificate in business administration can start a small business using concepts they've learned. Others might find administrative assistant work with larger companies, and graduates who hold bachelor's degrees could find entry-level managerial positions. Administrative services managers earned a median annual salary of about $96,180 in May 2018; marketing managers earned $134,290, and human resource managers earned $113,300, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Continuing Education Information

Upon completion of a business administration certificate program, students holding a bachelor's degree can apply to an MBA program. If the certificate is from a school that grants graduate-level credit, some courses might transfer to an MBA program. Several schools offer MBA programs completely online.

Many business administration certificate programs are available completely online, though some are offered in a hybrid format with some on-campus courses. Students in these certificate programs learn about marketing, statistics and management to help prepare them for careers in administration, marketing, human resources and more.

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