Business Degrees that Pay Well

Dec 13, 2017

Not all business degrees are created equal. Here's what you need to know about finding and selecting the top-paying business degrees that are out there.

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Overview of Business Degrees that Pay Well

Whether you have goals of becoming an accountant or dream of managing an advertising team at a major marketing firm, pursuing a degree in business can prepare you for a variety of excellent career paths. If you are exploring the possibility of studying for a bachelor's degree in business, you'll be in good company. According to the National Center for Education Statistics, business is one of the most popular majors in the United States.

Not all bachelor's programs are created equal, though. If money is your motivation, there are certain degrees that can lead to high-paying careers. In 2016, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) found the median salary for all occupations was $37,040. Let's explore five degree programs that can lead to careers with salaries that exceed the national median.

Admission Requirements for Business Degree Programs

There are a number of different major concentrations you can choose from when deciding to pursue a business degree. Whether you're looking into finance, economics, marketing, or one of the many majors available to you, there are some common admission requirements that remain consistent among colleges and degree specializations. Generally, all schools require that you submit proof of a high school diploma or successful completion of a GED program. Acceptance into a business program can be competitive, so trying to boost GPA and/or SAT/ACT scores whenever possible may be beneficial. Many programs also require--or strongly suggest--that students submit personal writing supplements and letters of recommendation.

Find schools that offer these popular programs

  • Accounting and Bookkeeping
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Best-Paying Business Degree Majors

While choosing a specific business major isn't a guaranteed key to financial success, some specializations have the potential to earn more money than others. Here is a list of degree programs that pay well.


Degrees in finance help prepare individuals to make well-informed and impactful monetary decisions. Upon graduation, students are prepared to enter financial management careers in all types of organizations--ranging from large private businesses to small non-profit firms. If you choose to study finance, you'll probably encounter classes like asset management, debt policy, and real estate and investment analysis. In 2016, the BLS reported that the median salary for financial managers was $121,750.


As a marketing professional, you'll help organizations increase brand awareness and influence consumers' decisions. Students studying marketing learn valuable promotion, sales, research, and pricing tools that will help them in the future. Typical courses include consumer behavior, marketing research, and advertising. According to the BLS, marketing manager earned an annual salary of $131,180 in 2016.

Business Administration

Pursuing a degree in business administration gives you solid foundational knowledge of the many different specializations within the professional world. Students who are earning bachelor's degrees in business administration are introduced to fundamental principles of management, marketing, accounting, finance, and human resources. Common classes that are components of this major include business law, organizational ethics, introduction to marketing, and financial planning. Some graduates of this degree choose to become administrative services managers, and according to the BLS, the median salary for this profession is $90,050 as of 2016.


Receiving a bachelor's degree in accounting prepares you to work for firms in both the private and public sector. While studying for degrees in accounting, students become familiarized with investing and management skills that will help them thrive upon entering the workforce. Specific required coursework varies depending on which institution you choose to attend, but some examples include principles of accounting, auditing, introduction to taxation, and cost accounting. In 2016, the BLS reported the median pay of accountants and auditors was $68,150, and job outlook in the industry is expected to increase over the next few years.

International Business

The global marketplace is continually growing, and choosing to major in international business is a great way to familiarize yourself with important political and financial trends that are impacting the business world on a broad level. Students studying international business learn how to effectively communicate and collaborate with different cultures in the workplace. Many institutions that offer a major in international business offer courses such as universal marketing and global finance. A number of students who earn a degree in international business go on to become management analysts. The BLS has reported that the median annual salary for this occupation was $81,330 as of 2016.

How to Choose a Business Degree Program

There are some important factors to consider when choosing a business degree program. Real-world experience is often valued, so consider finding institutions that offer internship opportunities. While making money is important, you also want to make sure that you're choosing an area of study that you have interest in. It's a good idea to check out what program alumni are doing with their degrees once they have graduated.

Career Options with a Business Degree

As mentioned above, there is a wide range of business professions to choose from depending on the major that you select. Generally speaking, though, many top executives have business degrees. In 2016, the BLS reported that top executives earned a median wage of $103,950; job outlook is also expected to grow by 8% from 2016-26. Other potential business careers to consider are listed below.

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