Business Foundations Certificate Online

May 05, 2020

Overview of Online Business Foundations Certificates

Online certificate programs in business foundations offer students the chance to learn fundamental business principles in areas like finance, management, accounting, operations, and marketing. To earn these certificates, students complete a short series of fully online courses, often totaling 12 to 21 credit hours. Many programs are flexible to accommodate working students, incorporating condensed course lengths or asynchronous formats.

Both undergraduate and graduate certificate options are available. Undergraduate programs are often tailored to current students with non-business majors who wish to develop their knowledge of the field or to students returning to college to prepare for a career change or to operate a small business. Students who earn these certificates can prepare for entry-level positions in areas including human resources, marketing, and office management. Graduate-level certificate programs are designed to prepare students for further graduate study in business-related fields, and schools may allow certificate holders to waive some MBA admissions requirements like GMAT scores.

Business Foundations Certificate Requirements

Earning a certificate in business foundations requires the completion of foundational classes, and students may also be able to take electives in a particular area of interest like law or business communication. Students usually complete their classes through course management systems, and schools may give them access to support services like an online orientation and advising to address educational and professional goals.

Course Topics


Accounting courses in these certificate programs help students develop skills in financial analysis. Students become familiar with financial statements and financial reporting procedures. These courses usually also cover how accounting concerns impact management decisions.

Introduction to Marketing

To help students understand principles involved in making an organization economically competitive, business foundations programs usually require a course in marketing. These classes cover theories and techniques applicable to introducing a product to customers. Specific topics may include branding, market analysis, market segmentation, and customer targeting.


Finance courses introduce certificate students to key financial concepts and the nature of finance-related decisions managers can expect to make. Students learn to use present value calculations and to apply them to real-world issues in corporate finance. Other topics could include interest rates, risk analysis, and stock and bond pricing.

Introduction to Human Resources

Introductory courses in human resources cover the types of decisions managers face when working with their employees. These classes cover skills like motivating and rewarding employees and how individual differences impact the effectiveness of human resources strategies. Other topics may include strategies for managing groups and teams of individuals and managing organizational change.

Career Information for Business Foundations Certificate Holders

Online business foundations certificate programs prepare students for a wide range of positions. Undergraduate certificate holders are equipped with the skills needed to succeed in entry-level positions, like administrative assistant. According to the U. S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, administrative assistants earned an average annual salary of $39,180 as of May 2019. The BLS predicts employment in the field to decline by about seven percent between 2018 and 2028, perhaps due to technological advances that allow staff members to complete many administrative tasks on their own.

Students with more experience who pursue a graduate-level certificate may be qualified for advanced positions like consultants or marketing managers. The BLS reports that marketing managers' salaries averaged $149,200 as of May 2019. Although particular industries may see variations in the job outlook, employment for marketing managers was expected to grow by about eight percent between 2018 and 2028, according to the BLS.

Online business foundations certificate programs require that students complete a series of fully online courses in areas like marketing, finance, economics, and accounting. These certificates prepare students for a wide range of business-related positions, and both undergraduate and graduate options are available.

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