Explore Top Business Careers

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See why you should specialize

Understand the benefits of focusing your studies in one of dozen of business concentrations, including finance, entrepreneurship.

Explore a concentration in accounting

Learn what jobs you qualify for with a background in financial record-keeping, incuding accounting, auditing, and tax preparation.

See what's possible with a concentration in marketing

See how to use marketing skills to promote your business or its services as a market research analyst, PR specialist, or brand manager.

Discover the world of big data

Learn about hot topics in the field of statistics, where trained data analysts are in high demand.

Why Would I Want to Specialize in Business?

A general business degree provides education on a variety of topics and enables you to gain a broad-spectrum education in business. In contrast, a business degree with a specialization in a particular subject—like finance, management or marketing—enables you to gain advanced knowledge of your chosen subject matter with a well-rounded familiarity of a standard business curriculum. Specialize if you can. It will help your employment marketability post-graduation.

Popular Business Concentrations

Some of the most popular business concentrations and their educational requirements are listed below to help you assess your options for specialization.

Business Degrees with a Concentration in Accounting

A business degree with a concentration in accounting will teach you about the preparation of financial documents and keeping of business records.

  • Projected national job growth: 16%
  • Average salary: $61,690/year
  • Entry-level education: Bachelor’s degree; accounting degree programs have additional credit hour requirements beyond those of other business programs
  • Job description: Accountants make sure financial statements comply with all necessary regulations, compute taxes, and maintain company records. Accountants also find ways to improve business practices regarding money and financial documents.
  • Why would I want to pursue this concentration? Choose accounting if you have an aptitude for numbers and strong organizational skills to accurately track the financial records of companies and individuals. You can expect to develop accounting and recordkeeping systems, create tables of accounts, and prepare reports on the financial health of an organization to management. If working independently, you will advise organizations on compensation and provide external auditing services.
  • Projected national job growth: 16%
  • Average salary: $61,690/year
  • Entry-level education: Bachelor’s degree
  • Job description: Auditors look into the financial health of clients or their employers, making sure that all documents are in order and all statements are correctly prepared.
  • Why would I want to pursue this concentration? Choose to become an auditor if you are proficient with math and have strong evaluative skills for inspecting accounting books and systems. You should also well-developed people skills in order to interview workers regarding transaction recording and communicate recommended changes to management based on audit results. You can also expect to gather and interpret data to detect fraud and noncompliance with regulations and tax law.

 

  • Projected national job growth: 14%
  • Average salary: $34,030/year
  • Entry-level education: High school diploma or equivalent
  • Job description: Bookkeepers create financial records used by corporations and nonprofit groups. Bookkeepers also document financial transactions, update statements, and ensure records are accurate.
  • Why would I want to pursue this concentration? Pursue a career as a bookkeeper if you are proficient in math and have strong organizational skills. As a bookkeeper, you can expect to use spreadsheets to debit and credit accounts, in addition to gathering data for financial reports on expenditures and accounts payable and receivable. You will also be responsible for receiving and banking checks and vouchers.
  • Projected national job growth: 7%
  • Average salary: $49,360/year
  • Entry-level education: Bachelor’s degree
  • Job description: Tax examiners review tax returns and conduct audits, ensuring that all taxes are paid. Tax examiners can work with both business and personal taxes, identifying which taxes are owed and collecting payments.
  • Why would I want to pursue this concentration? Choose a career as a tax examiner if you are detail-oriented and have strong organizational skills. You can expect to confirm that names and taxpayer identification numbers are correct, contact taxpayers regarding discrepancies, and answer taxpayer questions. You will also have to maintain all case records, documenting contact information and details of actions taken.
  • Projected national job growth: 10–19%
  • Average salary: $32,320/year
  • Entry-level education: High school diploma or equivalent
  • Job description: Tax preparers help individuals and small businesses determine how much tax they owe using their familiarity with tax forms and deductions. Tax preparers conduct client interviews and check data input to make sure all documents are correct.
  • Why would I want to pursue this concentration? Choose a career in tax preparation if you have an eye for detail and enjoy working with people. You can expect to review income statements and expense records to discern which tax forms each client needs. You will also have to be familiar with tax law handbooks in order to efficiently find procedures for clients with complex tax situations.

Business Degrees with a Concentration in Finance

A business degree with a finance concentration will teach you how businesses manage money and investments.

  • Projected national job growth: 10%
  • Average salary: $68,200/year
  • Entry-level education: Bachelor’s degree
  • Job description: Budget analysts assist organizations in monitoring their finances and create reports on organizational budgets. Budget analysts work with operations officers and agency heads to ensure money is used in the most effective way possible.
  • Why would I want to pursue this concentration? Pursue budget analysis if you have well-developed analytical-thinking skills for breaking down financial data and understanding trends that affect an organization’s budget. As a budget analyst, you will ensure that budget estimates comply with regulations and that managers appropriately adjust budgets based on program changes. You can also expect to investigate alternative financing and establish policies for the execution of budget directives.
  • Projected national job growth: 3%
  • Average salary: $58,460/year
  • Entry-level education: High school diploma or equivalent; specific positions can require additional education
  • Job description: Claims adjusters investigate insurance claims, evaluating damage and determining appropriate payouts. They negotiate settlements, contact those involved with claims, and discuss claims with legal counsel.

Why would I want to pursue this concentration? Choose to become a claims adjuster if you have a facility with numbers and strong deductive reasoning skills for investigative work. Your work will involve interviewing not only claimants but also witnesses, police, and physicians involved in the case. You will also be expected to gather evidence for claims that are contested in court.

  • Projected national job growth: 23%
  • Average salary: $74,350/year
  • Entry-level education: Bachelor’s degree
  • Job description: Financial analysts help individuals and organizations determine the best ways to invest their money. Analysts study business and economic trends, recommend investments, and meet with company officials and investors to explain their recommendations.
  • Why would I want to pursue this concentration? Pursue a career as a financial analyst if you possess strong math and communication skills and are interested in finance, commerce, and market analysis. You must be able to draw conclusions from complex data on price, yield, and stability. You can also expect to use computer skills to create charts and graphs that clearly demonstrate the results of financial reports.
  • Projected national job growth: 27%
  • Average salary: $74,940/year
  • Entry-level education: Bachelor’s degree
  • Job description: Financial examiners look into the records of financial institutions like banks and credit agencies, ensuring they comply with relevant laws. Financial examiners evaluate loan risk, evaluate bank management, and prepare reports on financial institutions.
  • Why would I want to pursue this concentration? Choose a career as a financial examiner if you have strong reading comprehension skills to understand the nuances of financial regulation and the ability to spot discrepancies in numerical data. You can expect to evaluate applications for mergers, acquisitions, and registration of securities sales, in addition to reviewing the minutes of director meetings to assess the precise level of authority granted at various management levels.
  • Projected national job growth: 14%
  • Average salary: $56,490/year
  • Entry-level education: High school diploma or equivalent
  • Job description: Loan officers assess loan applications filed by individuals and organizations to determine whether the applicants are creditworthy.
  • Why would I want to pursue this concentration? Pursue a career as a loan officer if you have good communication skills, proficiency in math, and the ability to apply strict lending rules in creative ways. You will use math skills to calculate the debt ratio of applicants and explore ways in which applicants might meet underwriting guidelines for various loan products.
  • Projected national job growth: 32%
  • Average salary: $64,750/year
  • Entry-level education: Bachelor’s degree
  • Job description: Personal financial advisors provide financial advice to individuals, including investors and entrepreneurs. These advisors help with investments, taxes, and insurance.
  • Why would I want to pursue this concentration? Pursue a career as a personal financial advisor if you have a combination of strong listening skills and the ability to explain complex financial concepts. You can expect to interview clients regarding income, insurance, expenses, tax-filing status, and financial goals in order to form a comprehensive financial plan. You will also manage portfolios and monitor economic conditions to determine appropriate changes to client plans.

Business Degrees with a Concentration in Information Systems

A business degree with an information systems concentration will teach you about the technology used to enhance business operations.

  • Projected national job growth: 31%
  • Average salary: $73,490/year
  • Entry-level education: Bachelor’s degree
  • Job description: Database administrators work with the software that stores a company’s data, including financial information and shipping documents. They make sure that information is accessible to authorized users and inaccessible to those who should not see it.
  • Why would I want to pursue this concentration? Choose database administration if you are interested in numbers, organization, and working closely with people. You can expect to regularly test and modify databases, in addition to writing and coding database descriptions. You will use interpersonal skills to collaborate on database creation, train new users, and supervise installation of new products.
  • Projected national job growth: 18%
  • Average salary: $115,780/year
  • Entry-level education: Bachelor’s degree
  • Job description: Information technology managers coordinate the computing activities of a company or other organization, determining what the computing goals of the business are and implementing plans that meet those goals.
  • Why would I want to pursue this concentration? Choose a career in IT management if you have a broad interest in computer fields, including electronic data processing, systems analysis, and programming. You can expect to recruit and manage IT staff and coordinate with managers in other departments to address system problems. You will also have to implement data security and disaster recovery measures.
  • Projected national job growth: 22%
  • Average salary: $75,660/year
  • Entry-level education: Bachelor’s degree
  • Job description: Information security analysts use communications technology to protect sensitive information from online intrusion. They are responsible for knowing about security trends, monitoring for security breaches, and helping other computer users in the organization use their technology responsibly.
  • Why would I want to pursue this concentration? Pursue a career as an information security analyst if you have strong computer skills and the ability to explain technical concepts and security threats to system users. You can expect to use encryption to safely transmit data and set up firewalls to protect an organization’s network. Your responsibilities will also include enforcing security policy and addressing violations with employees.
  • Projected national job growth: $69,160
  • Average salary: $69,160/year
  • Entry-level education: Bachelor’s degree
  • Job description: Computer systems administrators oversee the use and maintenance of all computer networks and systems used by a company. They use technology like local area networks, wide area networks, and network segments to ensure businesses operate at peak efficiency.
  • Why would I want to pursue this concentration? Pursue a career as a computer systems administrator if you enjoy working with cutting-edge technology and possess analytical-thinking skills for diagnosing and solving problems with hardware and software. You can also expect to assess website performance, develop network security measures, configure e-mail applications, and execute data backups.

Business Degrees with a Concentration in International Business

A business degree with an international business concentration will familiarize you with the laws and practices governing businesses that operate in multiple countries.

  • Projected national job growth: 6%
  • Average salary: $89,450/year
  • Entry-level education: Bachelor’s degree
  • Job description: Global economists research the distribution, production, and consumption of resources on an international scale. They write articles on economic issues, interpret market trends, and analyze statistical data.
  • Why would I want to pursue this concentration? Pursue a career as a global economist if you excel at math and are interested in other cultures and the interplay of various markets around the world. You can expect to serve as a consultant for businesses and public institutions, and you may even testify at regulatory hearings regarding economic public policy.
  • Projected national job growth: 8%
  • Average salary: $46,880/year
  • Entry-level education: High school diploma
  • Job description: Hospitality managers oversee the operations of hotels, resorts, and other tourist destinations. They inspect rooms, answer guest questions, hire staff, and set room rates.
  • Why would I want to pursue this concentration? Choose hospitality management if you have well-developed customer service skills and an ability to lead and manage employees in the service industry. You can expect to have regular contact with patrons, accommodating special requests and addressing customer complaints. Whether you work in restaurants, hotels, travel agencies, casinos, amusement parks, or event halls, you will be responsible for tracking sales and inventory, as well as recruiting and training staff.
  • Projected national job growth: 29% or more
  • Average salary: $44,160/year
  • Entry-level education: Bachelor’s degree
  • Job description: Business interpreters assist business professionals while they communicate with individuals with whom they do not share a language. Interpreters interpret information from one language to another, ensuring a smooth conversation, while translators change written business documents, like contracts or trade agreements, into other languages.
  • Why would I want to pursue this concentration? Choose a career in business interpretation if your strength is providing a verbal rendering of one language into another with minimal accent. Opt for translation if you prefer working independently and if you possess critical-thinking skills for analyzing nuance in both the source and target languages. As an interpreter, you may be expected to provide simultaneous interpretation for business meetings and conferences. As a translator, you can expect to research terminology, ensure consistency of style and grammar, and confer with clients to clarify meaning.

Business Degrees with a Concentration in Management

A business degree with a concentration in management will teach you how to set effective goals and strategies for a business organization.

  • Projected national job growth: 5%
  • Average salary: $101,250/year
  • Entry-level education: Master’s degree
  • Job description: Top executives (CEOs, CFOs, COOs) create business policy and strategy, providing guidance and leadership for the organization. Executives work with multiple departments to ensure that they are meeting the company’s needs.
  • Why would I want to pursue this concentration? Pursue a career path leading to an executive position if you have strong leadership qualities and would enjoy a high level of responsibility. You should also possess business acumen and have extensive, varied business experience for understanding the relationships between various levels of management. You can expect to negotiate agreements with other organizations, including state and federal agencies, and regularly collaborate with board members to solve problems.
  • Projected national job growth: 5%
  • Average salary: $101,250/year
  • Entry-level education: Bachelor’s degree
  • Job description: General managers assign work, plan the use of human resources, and oversee daily operations in a business. They work with multiple administrative departments and divisions of the company and must be familiar with diverse elements of organizational operations.
  • Why would I want to pursue this concentration? Choose to become a general manager if you enjoy being in positions of leadership and are interested in learning the details of an organization’s operations. You can expect to implement procedures to increase efficiency, as well as review budgets, financial statements, and sales data. You will also be expected to determine staffing needs and measure organizational productivity.
  • Projected national job growth: 22%
  • Average salary: $78,160/year
  • Entry-level education: Bachelor’s degree
  • Job description: Management analysts examine the leadership and practices of an organization, making recommendations on ways to increase efficiency.
  • Why would I want to pursue this concentration? Choose to become a management analyst if you have critical-thinking skills for solving organizational problems. You can expect to conduct studies to find ways to simplify work and prepare manuals to train employees on new protocol. Responsibilities include interviewing staff to gain an understanding of the roles and work performed, as well as analyzing communications, information flow, and inventory control.
  • Projected national job growth: 20–28%
  • Average salary: $58,660/year
  • Entry-level education: Bachelor’s degree
  • Job description: Nonprofit managers oversee the operations of charitable organizations and community outreach groups, managing budgets and policies. These managers also sometimes directly supervise the work of other members of the organization.
  • Why would I want to pursue this concentration? Choose non-profit management if you have a deep commitment to social, environmental, or other causes and strong leadership skills. Your responsibilities will depend on your level of management, as non-profit management encompasses a broad range of positions from CEO to managers of specific departments, such as human resources. Regardless of your role, you must have a firm understanding of the role of non-profit organizations and the regulations that govern non-profit status. You can expect to pursue grant funding in addition to engaging in fundraising and awareness campaigns.

Business Degrees with a Concentration in Marketing

A business degree with a marketing concentration will familiarize you with strategies for placing, pricing, and promoting the products and services of a company.

  • Projected national job growth: 3–9%
  • Average salary: $55,870/year
  • Entry-level education: Bachelor’s degree
  • Job description: Copywriters prepare advertising, marketing, and public relations text consistent with an organization’s goals. Copywriters must familiarize themselves with the tone and image of the business.
  • Why would I want to pursue this concentration? Pursue copywriting if you are creative, excel at writing, and have an interest in learning effective marketing strategies. You can expect to conduct research on client companies and their competitors in order to draft compelling marketing materials. You can also write for companies seeking to increase their presence on the Internet, using search engine optimization (SEO) strategies to attract not only more web traffic but more relevant traffic.
  • Projected national job growth: 14%
  • Average salary: $108,260/year
  • Entry-level education: Bachelor’s degree
  • Job description: Brand managers ensure that an organization’s brand is well received and that all products and promotional materials are consistent with the overall brand.
  • Why would I want to pursue this concentration? Choose a career in brand management if you possess strong communication skills and the ability to effectively promote a company’s product lines. You can expect to conduct research of competitors’ pricing and products, as well as develop strategies to improve brand positioning. You will also draft marketing materials and analyze sales data to determine which product lines are not performing well.
  • Projected national job growth: 41%
  • Average salary: $60,570/year
  • Entry-level education: Bachelor’s degree
  • Job description: Market research analysts investigate what drives consumer behavior in a given market and provide this information to companies interested in selling their products in that market. They perform surveys, read about market trends, and perform data analysis using statistical software.
  • Why would I want to pursue this concentration? Choose a career in market research analysis if you enjoy working with data and are interested in learning how psychology and sociology apply to marketing.  You can expect to assess customer satisfaction and evaluate research methods to ensure they produce relevant data. You will also be expected to assess the marketing methods of a company to determine effectiveness.
  • Projected national job growth: 21%
  • Average salary: $57,550/year
  • Entry-level education: Bachelor’s degree
  • Job description: Public relations specialists create and maintain a positive public image for their organization using honest and ethical methods. They write media releases, represent their organization to the public, and plan media campaigns.
  • Why would I want to pursue this concentration? Choose public relations if you have well-developed communication skills and are comfortable speaking in front of groups of people. You can expect to study the needs and goals of an organization in order to influence public opinion. You will also train company representatives on strategies for communicating with the public.

Business Degrees with a Concentration in Organizational Leadership

An organizational leadership concentration in a business degree program will teach you about effective supervising and goal setting for personnel.

  • Projected national job growth: 3–9%
  • Average salary: $50,490/year
  • Entry-level education: Associate’s degree
  • Job description: Buyers purchase goods to be sold to consumers, such as clothing, toys, and sporting goods. They also introduce new products to their employers and conduct meetings with other sales personnel.
  • Why would I want to pursue this concentration? Pursue a career as a buyer or purchasing agent if you possess negotiating skills and are passionate about sales. You can expect to negotiate favorable prices and discount terms, as well as research past buying trends and sales records in order to make decisions on inventory and establish competitive prices.
  • Projected national job growth: 10–19%
  • Average salary: $60,740/year
  • Entry-level education: Bachelor’s degree
  • Job description: Compliance officers make sure organizations are following all laws and regulations relevant to their field. Some types of compliance officers are environmental inspectors, property inspectors, and licensing inspectors.
  • Why would I want to pursue this concentration? Choose a career as a compliance officer if you are detail-oriented and possess strong reading comprehension skills for understanding technical documents outlining detailed regulations. You can expect to work for the government or insurance companies, and you will have to remain abreast of changes to laws and regulations in order to recommend changes that keep organizations in compliance.
  • Projected national job growth: 15%
  • Average salary: $30,460/year
  • Entry-level education: High school diploma or equivalent
  • Job description: Customer service representatives talk to customers on behalf of their employers, fielding questions regarding products and services. They also look into customer complaints and the return of defective merchandise.
  • Why would I want to pursue this concentration? Choose a career in customer service if you like working with people and are passionate about sales. You can expect to receive orders for products and services, collect payments, and modify or cancel accounts. You will also document details of encounters with customers, such as customer comments and actions taken to address problems.
  • Projected national job growth: 21%
  • Average salary: $52,690/year
  • Entry-level education: Bachelor’s degree
  • Job description: Human resource specialists recruit staff and conduct interviews for an organization, placing applicants in ideal positions. They also sometimes handle payroll, benefits, training, and other worker management functions.
  • Why would I want to pursue this concentration? Choose a career in human resources if you have well-developed communication skills and a desire to work with employees at all levels of an organization. You must be able to clearly articulate company policies and handle sensitive information involving employee discipline and disputes. You will also have to use HR management software to document information regarding hiring, termination, and leaves of absence.
  • Projected national job growth: 8%
  • Average salary: $33,030/year
  • Entry-level education: High school diploma or equivalent
  • Job description: Quality control inspectors look at products and materials, ensuring that they have no defects. Inspectors make sure that all products and materials meet manufacturing specifications and regulations.
  • Why would I want to pursue this concentration? Pursue a career in quality control if you are naturally detail-oriented and recognize variations in patterns. As a quality control inspector, you can expect your work to involve routine, as you will regularly measure products and document data such as weight, temperature, and grade. You can also expect to label products as accepted or rejected, in addition to writing inspection reports.
  • Projected national job growth: 20–28%
  • Average salary: $55,150/year
  • Entry-level education: Bachelor’s degree
  • Job description: Training and development specialists coordinate the programs that enhance the skills of a company’s workers. They also look into what training is most beneficial for the organization.
  • Why would I want to pursue this concentration? Choose to become a training and development specialist if you enjoy coaching others and can comfortably speak in front of large groups of employees. You can expect to use creative methods of instruction, such as role play, simulations, team-building exercises, and group discussions. Your responsibilities will also include assessing the effectiveness of training programs and creating reports that outline training expenses.

Business Degrees with a Concentration in Statistics

A business degree with a statistics concentration will help you become familiar with mathematical and statistical models used in business settings.

  • Projected national job growth: 36%
  • Average salary: $57,860/year
  • Entry-level education: Bachelor’s degree
  • Job description: Cost estimators look at all available data to make estimates of the time, resources, and personnel necessary to complete a task. They travel to job sites to assess conditions, work with other personnel to discuss estimates and budgetary constraints, and develop project plans.
  • Why would I want to pursue this concentration? Pursue a career as a cost estimator if you possess strong analytical and problem-solving skills to find cost-effective solutions to problems. You can expect to establish systems and procedures to track cost, create estimates for vendor selection, and analyze data to discern whether it is best to buy or create components.
  • Projected national job growth: 26%
  • Average salary: $70,800/year
  • Entry-level education: Bachelor’s degree
  • Job description: Logisticians assess the supply chain of a company, making sure products can move smoothly from the supplier to the purchaser. They manage materials, distribution, and delivery, using mathematical models to determine success.
  • Why would I want to pursue this concentration? Choose to become a logistician if you possess problem-solving skills and the ability to effectively communicate with multiple departments and customers. You can expect to plan the work activities of an organization, prioritizing tasks and scheduling assignments to various team members. You will also have to foresee potential setbacks or bottlenecks in the supply chain and will have to establish a contingency plan.
  • Projected national job growth: 3–9%
  • Average salary: $59,810/year
  • Entry-level education: Bachelor’s degree
  • Job description: Risk managers use mathematical skills to measure the risks of business decisions. They find ways to control the risks taken by a company, ensuring the long-term stability of the organization.
  • Why would I want to pursue this concentration? Pursue a career in risk management if you have the ability to think analytically and a natural tendency toward precaution. You can expect to work with risk assessment models and maintain the quality of data in risk management systems. You will also have to create presentations that clearly explain risk factors and recommendations to minimize risk.
  • Projected national job growth: 14%
  • Average salary: $72,830/year
  • Entry-level education: Master’s degree
  • Job description: Statisticians use mathematics to interpret data, including data produced by business organizations. They collect all necessary data to find solutions to business problems.
  • Why would I want to pursue this concentration? Choose a career as a statistician if you love working with numbers, possess critical-thinking skills to understand the uses of different kinds of data, and have a passion for business. You can expect to apply sampling techniques to groups that a business wants to survey. You will also have to report results of statistical analysis in charts and graphs that nontechnical management can comprehend.