Business Administration vs Business Management

by Susie on March 23, 2017 · 9:00 am

San Joaquin Valley College Student discusses the differences between a Business Administration and Business Management Degree For those considering a career in business, you may wonder what the difference is between studying business administration and business management. Both options teach students fundamental subjects in the beginning. Once students get further along in their education, however, they will study different aspects of business from either an administrative or management perspective. For those looking to start an entry-level business career, Business Administration may be the better fit. Or you may be better suited for Business Management if your career plans include managing the operations or staff of a business one day.

Below is an overview of both business administration and business management to help you decide which path is right for you.

What will I learn in Business Administration?

Students in a Business Administration program learn about business topics such as accounting, human resource management, and business law and ethics. Most business administration students also will learn how to use computer programs such as Microsoft Office. From there, students can study more specialized topics based on their interests, including – but not limited to – marketing, financial management, sales strategies, customer service and payroll management.

Studying these areas of business can lead to careers such as:

  • Bookkeeping, Accounting, and Auditing Clerks (43-3031.00)
  • Customer Service Representatives (43-4051.00)
  • Executive Secretaries and Executive Administrative Assistants (43-6011.00)

Business Administration programs often lead to a Certificate of Completion or A.S. Degree, depending on a student’s completed credential level. Business Administration programs can usually be completed more quickly than Business Management programs, meaning students can graduate and start working in their chosen career sooner.

What will I learn in Business Management?

Business Management students also learn fundamental business topics but then focus on management and operational processes. They will study additional topics such as business and employment law, information systems, international business, leadership principles and more.

Graduates of business management programs will often work as:

  • General and Operations Managers (11-1021.00)
  • First-Line Supervisors of Office and Administrative Support Workers (43-1011.00)

Business Management programs often lead to a Bachelor’s Degree or higher, depending on the student’s completed credential level. Business Management programs usually take longer to complete than Business Administration programs, but there are some exceptions. Some Business Administration programs – such as the one offered by SJVC – do include a Business Management concentration that can be completed at the Certificate or A.S. Degree credential level.

Business Administration and Business Management Careers

Business Administration Career Option Highlight:

Executive Secretaries and Executive Administrative Assistants

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics¹, Executive Secretaries and Executive Administrative Assistants have the highest levels of employment in the following industries:

  • Colleges, Universities, and Professional Schools
  • Local Government
  • Management of Companies and Enterprises
  • State Government
  • Elementary and Secondary Schools

California employs the most Executive Secretaries and Executive Administrative Assistants, with an hourly mean wage of $29.47, according to May 2015 BLS data².

Business Management Career Option Highlight:

General and Operations Managers

General and Operations Managers have the highest levels of employment in³:

  • Management of Companies and Enterprises
  • Restaurants and Other Eating Places
  • Local Government
  • Management, Scientific, and Technical Consulting Services
  • Computer Systems Design and Related Services

Like Executive Secretaries and Executive Administrative Assistants, California employs the most General and Operations Managers, but with an hourly mean wage of $61.78⁴.

Which Business Program Is Right for Me?

If you’re interested in a more specialized entry-level business role, Business Administration may be the right program for you. It will allow you to study broad business concepts and then identify an area of business that suits your skills and personality the best, such as bookkeeping, customer service or administrative support. With Business Administration, you can often graduate in approximately 8 months with a Certificate and start your career.

Business Management is ideal for you if you’re looking to manage the operations or staff of a business. If you imagine yourself in a leadership role overseeing employees or running a business, this may be the program for you. Business Management programs may take longer to complete, specifically if you are studying toward a Bachelor’s Degree instead of a Certificate. You may first enter your career in a lower business management role, and then climb the ladder as you advance in your career and further your education. Some businesses may require employees wanting senior roles to complete a Master’s Degree.

How to Enroll in a Business Administration Program

If it sounds like Business Administration is the right program for you, or if you would like to learn more about the career opportunities that are available after you graduate from a Business Administration program, contact San Joaquin Valley College. SJVC’s Business Administration Certificate program provides a framework of business knowledge and skills that can help you adapt to any company’s operation. You can graduate in as little as eight months. Request Information or call toll-free 866-544-7898 to learn more.

¹https://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes436011.htm

²https://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes436011.htm

³https://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes111021.htm

https://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes111021.htm

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