Business Degree Guide: 10 Types of Business Majors and the Differences Between Them

A business degree can be beneficial in nearly every industry and open the door to several career paths upon graduation. Choosing the right business major concentration can be vital to preparing you for success in the career you want, whether your passion is finance or entrepreneurship. Business degrees are offered […]

A business degree can be beneficial in nearly every industry and open the door to several career paths upon graduation. Choosing the right business major concentration can be vital to preparing you for success in the career you want, whether your passion is finance or entrepreneurship. Business degrees are offered across every level of post-secondary education—from certificate programs up to the doctoral level.

In this article, we discuss the differences between 10 business majors so you can make an informed decision about your own education.

Related: The Highest-Paying Business Majors

How to choose a business major

There are several factors to consider when choosing a business major, including:

  • Interests: Your personal interests are important when choosing a major because you will have to invest a significant amount of time in courses related to the major topic you choose. If you are naturally interested in the information you are learning it will be easier to stay motivated while pursuing your degree and you will likely perform better in your courses.
  • Skills and strengths: Besides your interests, think about the skills that are naturally a strength for you or that you have already developed through previous educational and work experience. Certain skills help you succeed in different majors. For example, someone who has naturally strong mathematical skills may consider a major like accounting or finance.
  • Salary: Some majors lead to careers with higher average salaries than others. Think about the lifestyle you want to have and the salary you will need to earn to enjoy that lifestyle when choosing your major.
  • Career: The type of career you want to pursue after you earn your degree is a major factor in determining the right major for you. You should think about the career paths and job titles you are most interested in and then research the majors preferred by employers for those specific roles.
  • Work-life balance: Maintaining a healthy work-life balance that makes you happy is important. Certain careers, such as positions in upper-level management, may require you to devote more time to your work than what other careers require. You should consider how much time you are comfortable dedicating to achieving your career goals and how that fits into creating a healthy work-life balance when you are choosing a major.

Related: The Best Business Degrees for Your Field

10 types of business majors

Pursuing a specialized business degree can provide both a solid business foundation and a career-focused curriculum within a specific discipline. Here is a list of some of the top types of business majors:

  1. Accounting
  2. Marketing
  3. Sales
  4. Finance
  5. International business
  6. Human resources
  7. Health services administration
  8. Management information systems
  9. Business administration and management
  10. Master of Business Administration

1. Accounting

National average salary: $43,054 – $68,369 per year

Degree information: Accounting majors learn how to track, analyze and manage financial statements, prepare financial documents and manage business operations. Besides your degree, you can prepare to take the certified public account licensure exam. Typical coursework for this program includes accounting, accounting information systems, business law, auditing, cost accounting and tax accounting.

Career opportunities: People who major in accounting may have job titles like:

Related: 16 Accounting Jobs That Pay Well

2. Marketing

National average salary: $42,449 – $92,970 per year

Degree information: Marketing majors learn about product promotion, product pricing, brand awareness, consumer research and how to target consumer behavior through advertising. Typical coursework for this program includes advertising and promotion, marketing communications, international marketing, marketing management, professional selling and sales management, consumer behavior, marketing research and marketing strategy.

Career opportunities: People who major in marketing may have job titles like:

Related: 15 Marketing Jobs That Pay Well

3. Sales

National average salary: $41,071 – $141,533 per year

Degree information: Sales majors learn how to sell products and services to both consumers and businesses. Typical coursework for this program includes topics like business economics, entrepreneurship and sales skills.

Career opportunities: People who major in sales may have job titles like:

Related: 15 Sales Jobs That Pay Well

4. Finance

National average salary: $68,369 – $105,151 per year

Degree information: Finance majors learn the basics of finance including accounting, economics, project management, business principles and how to use this information to help companies and individuals plan for the future. Finance majors learn about investments and how to make long-term plans. Typical coursework for this program includes accounting and statistics for financial analysis, financial markets and institutions, investments, analysis of financial statements, financial management and international finance.

Career opportunities: People who major in finance may have job titles like:

Related: Your Guide to Careers in Finance

5. International business

National average salary: $12.74 – $27.01 per hour

Degree information: International business majors learn about emerging financial markets, global banking, cultural behaviors, international business management and international monetary policy. International business majors are beneficial to individuals seeking to join a global company upon graduation. Typical coursework for this program includes business ethics, derivatives and financial markets, foreign language, global logistics, intercultural communication, international finance, international marketing and international operations.

Career opportunities: People who major in international business may have job titles like:

6. Human resources

National average salary: $41,803 – $73,268 per year

Degree information: Human resources majors learn how to recruit and retain skilled talent, interviewing skills, state and federal workplace regulations and how to train and motivate employees. Typical coursework for this program includes compensation and benefits, employee and labor relations, legal issues in employment, organizational behavior, performance management, staffing, statistics and training and development.

Career opportunities: People who major in human resources may have job titles like:

Related: 12 Human Resources Jobs That Pay Well

7. Health services administration

National average salary: $17.68 – $25.14 per hour

Degree information: Health services administration majors learn all aspects of managing and overseeing health care facilities like hospitals, doctor’s offices, nursing homes, and long-term care and the services they provide. Typical coursework for this program includes accounting, health care administration, health care law, health care policy, anatomy and physiology, health care ethics, health care finance, long-term care and aging, economics of health care, epidemiology, human resources management and statistics.

Career opportunities: People who major in health services administration may have job titles like:

Related: 12 Healthcare Jobs That Pay Well

8. Management information systems

National average salary: $38,537 – $121,212 per year

Degree information: Management information systems majors study technology and learn how information systems can be used in business. Typical coursework for this program includes database design, ecommerce, emerging technologies, financial information systems, managing information systems, networks and telecommunication, programming for systems development, project management and practice and systems analysis and design.

Career opportunities: People who major in management information systems may have job titles like:

9. Business administration and management

National average salary: $53,510 – $102,537 per year

Degree information: Business administration and management majors learn the fundamentals of business, how businesses operate, how to analyze a businesses’ strengths and weaknesses, how to create organizational strategies and how companies plan and implement industry changes. Typical coursework for this program includes operations management, financial management, management information systems, accounting, business statistics, business ethics and law, business policy and strategy, economics, human resources management, international management and marketing.

Career opportunities: People who major in business management and administration may have job titles like:

10. Master of Business Administration

National average salary: $51,038 – $68,231 per year

Degree information: A Master of Business Administration is recognized as one of the most prestigious business degrees available. After earning a bachelor’s degree, individuals pursuing an MBA learn advanced business fundamentals, management principals, business organization, economics, and business law and ethics. Typical coursework for this program includes accounting, finance, applied statistics, business communication, business law, business ethics, managerial economics, management, entrepreneurship and marketing.

Career opportunities: People who earn their MBA may have job titles like:

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