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How Much Does Business Administration School Cost?

Business Administration School Prices

Business administration is a broad degree category that teaches students the skills necessary to efficiently run a business. Core competencies include detail-oriented organization, communication, leadership, and the application of information technology. Students interested in a business administration career can pursue an associate's or bachelor's degree either online or in a traditional on campus setting. Many go on to additionally earn a master's degree in business administration (MBA).

Business Administration School Considerations

Anyone who's thinking about majoring in business administration should keep the following points in mind:

Career Paths

For students wondering what they can do with a degree in business administration, the answer is, “almost anything.” This is particularly true for those who earn an MBA, although the distinction certainly isn't required for strong earning potential. According to a report by the National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE), salaries for recent graduates in the business fields grew by 7.1 percent between 2012 and 2013.

Business administration degree holders can work in either the public or private sector; in education, government, private business, or retail. It's not uncommon for those who major in business administration to eventually take on leadership roles with companies. This could mean becoming a manager, executive, or even a CEO. Other possible positions include school administrator, retail manager, employee relations specialist, advertising account executive, city manager, controller, supply chain analyst, banker, consultant, and public relations specialist.

Many schools allow students to specialize in particular aspects of business administration. Specializations vary from school to school but include such areas as finance, advertising, accounting, management, and human resources. If you're interested in a particular area of business administration, look for schools that offer that specialization option.

Salary Outlook

Attendant with the huge variety of careers possible with a business administration degree is a large range in salaries. The NACE puts the average starting salary for 2013 business graduates at just over $54,000 (compared to $45,000 for 2013 graduates as a group). Careerbuilder.com estimates that in 2012, four-year college graduates majoring in business administration could expect a starting salary of $55,000.

These are just averages, however, so it's important not to read too much into them. An individual's career path after graduation is likely to be a better gauge of income than a degree alone. For example, managers of nonprofits earn an average of $34.24 per hour (source: Bureau of Labor Statistics), while those who become top executives of companies can earn more than $100 per hour.

In general, earning an MBA improves one's earning potential, although it doesn't necessarily guarantee a top salary. Bloomberg Businessweek reports MBA graduate starting salaries ranging from $12,000 (for a Columbia grad working in manufacturing) to more than $1,000,000 (for a University of Manchester grad who accepted a financial services position).

Business Administration School Average Costs

  • The US Department of Education estimates that the average cost per year at a private four-year institution is $32,900 (or $131,600 over four years; figure includes tuition, fees, and room and board). Public four-year institutions average $15,100 per year ($60,400; tuition, fees, room and board), while public two-year institutions cost $2,900 per year ($5,800—not including room and board).
  • MBA programs can cost as little as $10,000 to $20,000 and as much as $50,000 to $150,000 or more.
  • Check with individual schools to learn more about the costs of earning a bachelor's and/or master's degree in business administration. Many schools offer financial aid to students. Private scholarships are also available for business students. Learn more about paying for school at finaid.org.

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