How long does it take to get a business degree?

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Do you really have to be in college for four years to get a business bachelor’s degree? What about an MBA?

Basically, how long does it take to get a business degree? Our guide shows you how much time you’ll spend earning an associate or bachelor’s degree in business.

It also covers the many graduate options for business students, including master’s in business, MBA, and DBA programs.

Business Certificate

Time to complete: 6-18 months

A business certificate lasts 6-18 months, depending on the student’s enrollment status and the number of credits required.

Shorter programs requiring about 15 credits last less than a year, while longer certificate programs with 25-45 credits can take more than a year. Online business certificate programs typically take the same amount of time as on-campus programs.

A business certificate is not a diploma. It introduces students to key business concepts. Many schools offer business certificates in accounting, bookkeeping, business analysis, and small business management. During a certificate, students take business classes with no general educational requirements.

Undergraduate certificates are designed for students with little to no previous business experience or education. Graduate certificates help professionals who already hold a bachelor’s degree master a specific area of ​​the field.

If you’re looking for targeted business training, an online certificate can help you achieve your educational goals with a flexible enrollment option. However, most entry-level business careers require a bachelor’s degree. After earning a business certificate onlineyou may be able to transfer to a business program.

Associate in Business

Time to complete: Two years

An associate degree in business typically lasts two years for full-time students. Students pursuing their associate degree part-time may require three years. Online associate programs also generally last two years.

Students with an undergraduate business certificate or previous credits can often graduate in less time.

during a associate degree in business administrationStudents study fundamental subjects such as accounting, management, marketing, and finance. Students also take general education courses that strengthen critical thinking and analytical skills.

A business associate degree meets the requirements for a career as a bookkeeper, financial clerk, or customer service representative. Graduates can also progress to a bachelor’s degree program to enhance their career prospects.

Bachelor of Business Administration

Time to complete: Four years

Business majors typically earn a bachelor’s degree in four years.

Part-time students often take longer, and most graduate within six years. Students with transfer credits or an associate degree can complete a bachelor’s degree in business in about two years. Online business programs may offer a accelerated bachelor’s degree in one to three years.

During a bachelor’s degree in business administration, students study operations management, organizational leadership, and strategic decision-making. Many programs offer concentrations such as entrepreneurship, human resources management, accounting, and marketing.

Students can also business degree online

A diploma business administration leads to a career as a financial analyst, accountant, management analyst or market research analyst. With experience, a bachelor’s degree also prepares professionals for promotions to supervisory positions.

Master of Business Administration (non-MBA)

Time to complete: Two years

Earning a master’s degree in business generally takes two years for full-time students.

However, many master’s degrees offer a one-year route to a graduate degree. Part-time students often take two to three years, depending on the degree. Online masters in business programs usually last one to two years.

Business schools offer a lot master options† Obtain a master’s degree in a specialized field such as accountancymarketinghuman resource departmentor finance provides targeted, advanced training. A master’s degree helps professionals advance in their current field or move into a new field.

With a master’s degree in business, graduates work as marketing executives, financial managers, CPAs, and business consultants. Many employers prefer to hire candidates with master’s degrees for management-level positions.

Master of Business Administration (MBA)

Time to complete: Two years

Traditional MBA programs last two years for full-time students. Part-time MBA programs generally last 2.5-3 years. Students can also enroll in an accelerated MBA program. Most accelerated programs require 12-18 months.

Both on campus and online MBA programs typically offer multiple subscription options.

An MBA offers graduate-level training in leadership and management. MBA courses include financial management, operations management and strategic leadership. Most business schools offer MBA concentrations in consulting, business analysis, finance, and accounting, among others.

As a versatile business education, an MBA opens many career doors. With an MBA, graduates work as risk managers, business intelligence managers, and consultants. The degree emphasizes managerial skills such as team leadership and long-term decision-making.

TO SEE: Is an MBA Worth It?

Doctorate in Business

Time to complete: Three to five years

Earning a DBA, or doctorate in business administration, usually takes about three years. a PhD in business often takes four to five years. Part-time students take longer to graduate.

Some programs offer accelerated doctorates that can take as little as two to three years.

A master’s degree in business administration is the final degree of the field. During a PhD, graduate students take classes, pass comprehensive exams, and complete a dissertation.

A DBA emphasizes practical skills for business leaders, while a Ph.D. focuses on research. With a DBA, graduates work as executives and entrepreneurs. a PhD leads to opportunities as a business professor or researcher.


Once you understand how long it takes to earn a business degree, what’s the next step?

Research the cost of a business degree and your career options after graduation. And check out our resource at MBA Scholarships for more information on financing your business degree.

This article has been reviewed by Alexandra Tapia, MBA

Alexandria Tapia, a blond woman, smiles at the camera

Alexandra is a driven, cheerful, unashamedly energetic and optimistic person. She is proud of her dedication to becoming a better business leader and person. She has an insatiable appetite for knowledge, asks a million questions and thrives on making change.

She has reached many populations during her career. She has studied recidivism, helped previous criminal offenders reintegrate into society and built trusting relationships while working at a homeless shelter.

Her passion for education is also reflected in her work. She taught younger children for many years, but has since shifted her focus to higher education. She loves working with others to be a disruptor in the education industry, creating and delivering programs that are different from the others – all while building a brighter future for her clients and students.

Alexandra Tapia is a paid member of the Red Ventures Education Integrity Network.

Last reviewed on May 3, 2022.

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