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According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, some of the highest salaries with a bachelor’s level education belong to careers in the business sector. Those stats just go up for MBA graduates in management positions – typically well over $100,000 in median pay. With those kinds of numbers, it’s easy to see that if you want to make money, business is the way to go.

Sure, there are stories of entrepreneurs who build up a company from the ground up with nothing but hard work, determination, and genius – no education. But those stories become well-known because they are so rare. For everybody but those special few, an education is key to not only learning the ideas and skills to suceed in business, but also to network and make connections that will help build that business into the future.

(check out: What’s the ROI of a College?)

Degree Program Types

AA/AS: To get the quickest start in business, an associate’s degree takes only two years from a community college or college. That will get you into administrative and executive assistant positions, and possibly allow you to progress into office management or human resource management, though bachelor degree programs in those fields have made the associate’s less competitive on the job market.

(Check out: What is the Benefit of Going to a Community College?)

BBA/BSBA: The main business degrees are Bachelor of Business Administration and Bachelor of Science in Business Administration. The bachelor degree is the basic entry-level education for accountants, financial analysts, tax examiners, and other such careers. The bachelor’s degree most often takes 4 to 5 years of full-time education at a college or university.

MBA/MiM/MSM: The traditional standard for business master’s degrees is the Master of Business Administration, and it’s still the most common business master’s. The MBA gives students a broad business education that is typically heavy on economics, accountancy, and theory. But in recent years, a desire for more specialized skills has led to more interest in the Masters in Management and the Master of Science in Management, degree programs that focus specifically on leadership, human resources, and motivation.

DBA: The Doctor of Business Administration, like the PhD in other disciplines, is the highest degree in Business Administration and is primarily earned by students who wish to teach at the college level, and/or do academic research.

(check out: our Guide on Dual Degree Majoring)

Online vs. Residential Programs

Because of their popularity, business degrees are commonly available through online programs at all levels, from AA to DBA. But whether an online degree is right for everyone is another question. An online program requires students to be self-motivated, confident, and comfortable with technology. In exchange, students get a degree by a means that is convenient and flexible, allowing working adults and part-time students to manage their education on their own schedules and at their own pace.

(check out: Are Online Degrees a Good Investment?)

There are still significant advantages to residential degrees in business, however; many successful businesspeople will attest that life-long connections are made in school, and networking is one of the keys to business success. However, the best online business programs are working on innovative solutions to the problem of relationship building, including cohort programs (in which the same students take courses together through the entirety of their education), on-campus orientations, and other means of connecting students in meaningful ways even if they are not together on a traditional campus.

Best Value Residential Programs

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Best Value Online Programs

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Top 50 Best Value Online MBA Programs

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2017 Most Affordable Programs

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Financing Education

Paying for a college education can be complicated. Besides tuition, there are fees, textbooks, and living expenses. Most students today take student loans for granted, and they are still the main way that students pay for a higher education. Federal loans and private loans have their advantages and disadvantages, including varying interest rates, repayment plans, and the amount you can borrow.

But there are plenty of other ways to finance your education that don’t have to leave you in debt. The Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) is the first step, which will determine your level of financial need for federal Pell Grants. Pell Grants do not have to be repaid; neither does money earned through the Federal Work Study program, in which students work for the college or university in exchange for tuition money. And of course, scholarships do not have to be paid back either, whether need-based, merit-based, or some other form.

(check out: Top 25 Tuition Free Colleges)

Career Paths

Got a knack  for numbers crunching? According to BLS, an Accountant can make over $63,000 annually. With only a four-year degree as the requirement, that’s a solid value choice for those looking for a high ROI major. A business degree can lead to many exciting choices, not just the typical corporate positions like: financial analyst, human resource specialist, marketing, management. How about becoming an entrepreneur? Remember to rake up those contacts in college, become a networking king or queen and have the Linked-In account to prove it- then launch your amazing start-up concept!

(check out: Top 25 Best Online Degree Jobs for 2017)