A college degree in business administration equips you with a broad set of skills that can open doors to a wide variety of career opportunities—but what exactly is business administration? How much can one expect to earn from a business administration salary? Most important of all, how can an employee increase his or her earning potential?

Business Administration Defined

Simply put, business administration is the efficient organization and management of business resources. A business administrator helps a company achieve its organizational objectives by handling one or more of the following functions:

  • Planning – Establishing business goals and implementing steps to achieve those goals.
  • Organizing – Identifying responsibilities, assigning or creating business roles and allocating resources.
  • Staffing – Recruiting competent professionals to fill job vacancies, identifying staffing needs and training the workforce.
  • Directing – Effectively leading and motivating employees, as well as providing a reliable support system for the staff.
  • Controlling – Evaluating quality in all areas of the organization and ensuring that the highest possible standards are always met.
  • Budgeting – Implementing a budget plan, overseeing investments and tracking business expenses.

To sum up, a business administrator is responsible for overseeing the daily operations of a business. Depending on the company and the job position, an administrator’s tasks can encompass several aspects of the business or it can be limited to one specific role. Naturally, the more responsibilities you have, the higher your business administration salary will be.

Career Paths for Business Administration Graduates

A business administration degree offers a certain level of flexibility when it comes to career choices. Graduates who have a knack for numbers can go into accounting or banking. Entrepreneurial types can pursue a career in retail or marketing. Human resources, market research and hospitality management are also viable career options.

Entry level jobs for business administration graduates include secretarial or administrative assistant positions. The starting salary for these jobs is around $10-$12 per hour. With hard work and experience, one will eventually find it easier to land management and even top executive positions.

This table from PayScale shows the median salaries for different business administration jobs in the United States.

Median Salary by Job – Degree: Bachelor of Business Administration (BBA)


How to Command a Higher Salary

Business administration has become an increasingly competitive field. Credentials are particularly given tremendous importance.  To easily climb the corporate ladder, one must know the right skills to acquire. Here are a few suggestions on how you can access better opportunities and increase your earning potential.

  • Earn an MBA Degree

While hard work and great ideas will get you noticed by your superiors, one can’t deny the power of having an MBA (Master of Business Administration) degree. When looking for employees to fill managerial positions, companies will often prioritize MBA degree holders.

Aside from increasing your earning potential, an MBA could also lead to fulfilling careers in academia and research.

This table from PayScale clearly shows that MBA degree holders have access to higher job positions and therefore, enjoy a higher business administration salary.

 Median Salary by Job – Degree: Master of Business Administration (MBA) (United States)

If you want to access even bigger opportunities, you can pursue a DBA (Doctor of Business Administration) degree which is higher than an MBA. Holding a DBA degree qualifies you for teaching positions and it sets you apart as a specialist or authority in your field.

  • Follow inspirational and innovative entrepreneurs online

Successful business administrators who quickly rise to the top are often visionaries. They are highly valued for their ground-breaking ideas and their ability to efficiently implement these ideas. Most of the time, these high-performing business administrators have powerful role models whom they look up to and gain inspiration from.

Who are the business tycoons that you admire? Most of them probably have a social media account or blog that they regularly update. Subscribe to their social media pages. These business experts often give generous advice and ideas that just might propel your career forward.

  • Learn a new language

Large multinational corporations have offices and facilities around the globe. An employee who is fluent in another language could be considered an important asset. Wondering what foreign languages to study? Here’s a clue: India and China are especially huge markets for MNCs.

  • Be social media savvy

Needless to say, millennial employees are usually tech savvy. They know what the hottest gadgets are and they update at least three different social media accounts every day. Most baby boomers are fairly knowledgeable about social media too, but if you’re one of those rare types who think that “tweeting” is something that only birds do, you should give yourself a crash course on social media as soon as possible.

This is especially imperative if you work in the advertising or marketing field. Social media is currently the hottest advertising playground. Businesses are now harnessing the power of social media to acquire new customers and keep old ones. If you have never composed a single Facebook status post before, it’s high time to ask your teenage son or daughter to show you the art of getting “likes.”

Obviously, following all these tips is pointless without hard work, perseverance, patience and an innovative mind. More than just impressive credentials, the very thing that will essentially make you successful in earning a hefty business administration salary is having the right attitude.

Overall, business administration offers a solid average salary potential. Demand for business administration jobs is fairly consistent. In fact, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that the demand for business administrators is expected to grow about as fast as average for all occupations in the next seven years. Growth in fields such as sales management, health care administration and marketing management particularly look promising.

According to BLS, this is the job outlook through the year 2020 for the most common business administration jobs.


Projected Growth

Finance Management

9 percent, slower than average

Health Care Administration

22 percent, faster than average

Hospitality Management

8 percent, slower than average

Human Resources Management

13 percent, as fast as average

Marketing Management

14 percent, as fast as average

Sales Management

12 percent, as fast as average


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