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Best Small Business Management Bachelor's Degrees

Mar 04, 2021

Best Small Business Management Bachelor's Degrees

Study.com has completed the research for you on the best choices for your small business management bachelor's degree. Based on data available through the U.S. Department of Education (such as affordability and graduation rates) as well as looking at extra program offerings, student activities, and more, one of the schools on our list is just what you need to start your small business or entrepreneurship career. Many of these degrees are available as a Bachelor of Science but all provide multiple concentrations and minors to customize your degree to best fit your career goals.

1. Rocky Mountain College

Tuition Acceptance Rate Graduation Rate Financial Aid % Placement Services Career Services Accepts
$29552 59% 49% 100% Yes Yes AP / NCCRS Credits

Rocky Mountain College tops our list with its liberal arts-based Bachelor of Science in Business Administration with a concentration in small business management. The program can be further customized by adding a minor in economics, accounting, or management. With teaching-focused faculty, rather than research-focused, and opportunities in the field through internships and unique courses - such as an investment simulations or new business venture creation, students will be ready for full-time employment upon graduation. Many of these internship placements become job opportunities, as the program boasts a nearly 100% employment placement rate for their graduates.

2. Husson University

Tuition Acceptance Rate Graduation Rate Financial Aid % Placement Services Career Services Accepts
$18420 85% 57% 100% Yes Yes AP / ACE / NCCRS Credits

Located in Bangor, Maine, Husson University offers a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration with an entrepreneurship and small business management concentration. The school also offers an interdisciplinary option where students can combine two business concentrations into one degree or double major - this means they can add on studies in fields like management, marketing, or finance! With the largest College of Business in the state of Maine and experienced faculty, this degree program strives to focus on the most current problems within the business world to prepare their students to start or operate a small business.

3. Huntington University

Tuition Acceptance Rate Graduation Rate Financial Aid % Placement Services Career Services Accepts
$26846 75% 70% 95% Yes Yes AP / NCCRS Credits

The Bachelor of Science in Entrepreneurial Small Business Management program at the Christian-based Huntington University found a spot on our ranking because of its focus on encouraging its students to learn by doing. With two student-staffed and faculty-mentored businesses, Clear Insights and Clear Distribution, this program teaches its students all the key aspects of entrepreneurship, even offering microloans for start-up business ideas to current students and alumni. The well-rounded program includes courses in multiple business subfields as it prepares students to start a successful small business - and they can even add on a certificate in entrepreneurship.

4. University of Michigan - Dearborn

Tuition Acceptance Rate Graduation Rate Financial Aid % Placement Services Career Services Accepts
$13529 62% 56% 96% Yes Yes AP Credits

The University of Michigan - Dearborn makes our ranking with its Bachelor of Business Administration in Small Business Management program - which has an optional concentration in entrepreneurship. Courses are taught by experienced faculty with close ties to the business work who use a practice-oriented approach, and students will gain direct experience in the business field with internship opportunities or in iLabs, the College's Center for Innovation Research.

To get a more in-depth look at our school ranking methodology, please visit Study.com's ranking methodology page.

What Kinds of Small Business Management Degrees Are There?

Small business management degrees can be earned at every level of academia. They may be standalone degree programs or an area of concentration within another degree like a bachelor's in business administration. Depending on the school and degree level, small business management degrees may overlap significantly with entrepreneurship programs or those with similar titles. Specialization is rare within this subject because it is often an area of focus within broader degrees.

Associate Degrees in Small Business Management

At the associate degree level, students typically earn an Associate of Science (AS) or Associate of Applied Science (AAS). In these programs, you often learn the basic skills needed to start and run a business, including how to develop an idea for a venture, research potential markets, create a customer service plan, promote a business, and manage employees. These programs normally take about two years to complete because they require students to finish approximately 60 credit hours of coursework.

Bachelor's Degrees in Small Business Management

Degrees at this level may be Bachelor of Science (BS), Bachelor of Business Administration (BBA), or Bachelor of Science in Business Administration (BSBA). These programs cover a much wider range of topics in greater depth than their two-year counterparts, delving into areas such as human resources, economics, marketing, consulting, and leadership.

Master's Degrees in Small Business Management

These programs can be a bit difficult to find, though degrees like a Master of Business Administration (MBA) or a Master of Science (MS) in areas of study like organizational leadership may focus on many of the same topics. Master's degrees in small business management normally take around two years to complete. They usually have a total of around 30 to 40 credit hours, over which they provide students with theories and practices aimed at improving their leadership of small businesses.

Doctoral Degrees in Small Business Management

It becomes even more difficult to find a doctoral degree specifically in small business management. It is more common to find a concentration in a subject like entrepreneurship or small business management within a larger business program at this level. Degree options include Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) in business management and Doctor of Business Administration (DBA) degrees. These degrees can be used for those wanting to work in research, scholarship, or the highest executive leadership positions. They normally take upwards of 60 to 70 hours to earn, meaning the programs last four or five years.

Certificates in Small Business Management

Small business management certificates are designed for those currently working who want to refresh and update their skills, those who want to change careers, and those looking to start their own business right away. As such, certificate programs cover the essentials, teaching fundamental skills in areas like marketing, management, accounting, law, and business. Many include anywhere from 18 to 35 credit hours of highly focused coursework and no general education requirements.

Small Business Management Bachelor's Degree Concentrations

As explained above, small business management degrees are frequently themselves concentrations within a bachelor's degree in business. Given that, there are not normally concentrations within a small business management degree program. As you will see below, however, there are often sequences of classes that may function similarly to traditional concentrations within a degree.

Curriculum for a Bachelor's Degree in Small Business Management

Coursework in small business management is traditionally holistic at the bachelor's level. Schools usually seek to give students a wide array of skills because you need a breadth of knowledge to run your own business including solid communication skills, decision-making, economics, creative thinking and leadership. Common class subjects include:

  • Macroeconomic principles
  • Microeconomic principles
  • Accounting
  • Management
  • Business statistics
  • Marketing
  • Business law
  • Small business management/entrepreneurship
  • Business writing

How Long Does it Take to Get a Bachelor's in Small Business Management?

Getting a bachelor's degree in small business management normally takes around four years. Schools typically recommend students take around 15 credit hours a semester and the majority of programs include around 120 credits. Some colleges and universities offer shorter, three-year programs for those who excel academically or can complete courses at their own pace; this is more common with online programs. It is also possible to accelerate the process by taking classes during non-traditional periods like over the summer.

Accreditation for Bachelor's in Small Business Management Degrees

By choosing and graduating from an accredited institution and program, you assure employers and other schools that you've been exposed to quality education, making this decision critical when picking a top school in small business management. Examples of some of the most widely recognized accrediting organizations include the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB), the Accreditation Council for Business Schools and Programs (ACBSP), and the International Accreditation Council for Business Education (IACBE).

Regional and national accreditation for your chosen school is also important because it similarly evidences a level of quality, improves the chances of transferring credits and qualifies you to apply for federal financial aid. Some regional accreditors to look for include the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSOC) and the Middle States Commission on Higher Education (MSCHE). At the national level, two common accrediting bodies are the Accrediting Council for Independent Colleges and Schools (ACICS) and the Distance Education Accrediting Commission (DEAC). All of these groups are approved by the Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA) and/or the U.S. Department of Education.

Small Business Management Licensure & Certification

You do not need a license or certification to manage a small business. A certification in a field like those listed above may be preferred for some roles in the field, but it is in no way required. The government does mandate, however, that many businesses obtain licenses for their activities. These vary based on state and industry, so be sure to check with your local business agencies to see what may be required of the business you open or operate.

There are also certifications for businesses (not individuals) that can be helpful. Some of the most common are offered by the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA). These include certifications like the Woman Owned Small Business, HUBZone, Service-Disabled Veteran Owned Small Business and the 8(a) Business Development credential.

What Can I Do With a Bachelor's Degree in Small Business Management?

In 2019, the U.S. Small Business Administration reported that there were 30.7 million small businesses nationwide. Those companies were responsible for 47.3 percent of the country's employees and created 1.8 million new jobs. Given that, it should come as no surprise that there are many opportunities available to those who obtain a bachelor's degree in small business management. Possible job titles include:

How to Become a Management Analyst

A management analyst is a type of business consultant. Management analysts usually have at least a bachelor's degree in a business-related discipline like small business management, in addition to work experience, making this a mid-level seniority job. Some companies require candidates to have a more advanced degree like a master's. Management analysts can work in a variety of fields, so it may be best to obtain experience in the field in which you would like to analyze and consult. Candidates for these positions can also get certified as a management consultant by an organization like the Institute of Management Consultants to get a leg up on the competition.

Once hired, a management analyst's goal is to find ways to improve an organization, including from efficiency and profits standpoints. The specific work may change for each project. Some analysts specialize in certain areas like restructuring an organization or in particular industries. Job responsibilities may include gathering information about the organization's problems using numerous research methods, analyzing that data, and developing and recommending solutions, including through oral presentation and written reports. The U.S. Bureau of Labor and Statistics (BLS) reported in 2019 that the median annual wage for management analysts was $85,260, and that the job is expected to grow 11 percent between 2019 and 2029, which is much higher than the average rate.

How to Become an Administrative Services Manager

As an administrative services manager, you may be responsible for planning, directing, and coordinating activities that help a company run smoothly. Responsibilities may vary from position to position, but these individuals normally supervise activities like recordkeeping and mail distribution in addition to maintaining an organization's facilities. Specific duties may include supervising clerical and administrative staff, managing and monitoring records, recommending changes to policies or procedures to improve operations and monitoring facilities to ensure they are safe, secure and clean. The BLS reported in 2019 that administrative services managers had a median annual pay of $96,940, and that the job is expected to grow 6 percent between 2019 and 2029, which is faster than average.

Educational requirements to become an administrative services manager depend on the business, but a bachelor's degree in a business discipline is typically necessary. Related work experience may also be a requirement, though five years or fewer will suffice for many positions. Candidates for these positions can set themselves apart by earning certifications from a number of professional organizations like the Institute of Certified Records Managers or the International Facility Management Association.

Financial Aid & Scholarship Information for Bachelor's in Small Business Management Degrees

The first step in applying for financial aid is filling out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). This form shows students what, if any, federal loans, grants, or work-study options they may qualify for. Completing the FAFSA may require a host of documents including the applicant's social security number, parents' social security numbers, driver's license number, and federal tax information.

There are also a plethora of scholarship opportunities available to those pursuing a bachelor's degree in small business management. Mostly, these scholarships are for those pursuing a business degree, not just a small business management one. Some of these may be available to anyone, such as the Siebel Scholarship, which can give up to $35,000 to some of the top business students in the world. There are also often scholarships specific to certain schools like the EagleBank Scholarship (Entrepreneurship) at George Mason University or Outstanding Senior in Entrepreneurship & Small Business Management Scholarship at Illinois State University. Be sure to check with your chosen school to determine what scholarships you may qualify for.

Professional Organizations in Small Business Management

Given their importance to the American economy, it is reasonable that there are dozens of professional organizations dedicated to helping small businesses succeed. These groups can be run by the government or private entities. They typically provide mentorship, career development, promotion, networking opportunities, financial assistance, and more. Groups whose local chapters or offices you may wish to join include:

  • SBA district office
  • Chamber of Commerce
  • United States Association for Small Business and Entrepreneurship (USASBE)
  • SCORE
  • Entrepreneurs' Organization (EO)
  • StartupNation
  • National Federation of Independent Businesses (NFIB)

State Resources for Small Business Management

The United States government and the governments of individual states have a vested interest in helping small businesses succeed, so there are several resources for small businesses in each state. In addition to the local SBA district office, perhaps the most common are the chapters of a state's small business resource center. Examples of this include the Iowa Economic Development Association and the small business centers run by the Illinois Department of Commerce & Economic Opportunity. These state-operated resources can provide funding, consulting, networking events, and other services that can prove beneficial to small business managers. Check with your state to see what variation on these groups it offers.

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