How Do You Decide Which Business Career is Right for You?

How Do You Decide Which Business Career is Right for You?
Beth Dumbauld

Whether you start your business career with an associate or a bachelor's degree, or are ready take it to the next level with a master’s, your business options are many – and your job outlook is excellent.

Because a career in business covers such a broad range of roles in an organization, it’s a good idea to explore which qualities and skills are needed across the majority of business functions. It’s also important to determine what level of education is required for the business specialty that interests you most.

To do so, you’ll first need to explore the most common career paths you can take in business, such as:

  • Accounting
  • Human Resources
  • Sales

Other business specialties include: finance, marketing, statistics, operations, business systems, business law, and general management. Additionally, earning a degree in business can also help you move forward in other careers, including those in education administration, healthcare administration, criminal justice administration, and government.

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Accountants work with a range of financial documents for a wide variety of companies and clients. The skills that unites accountant across all fields is their ability to analyze, compare, and interpret facts, and figures.

Typical Duties

Accountants typically do the following:

  • Examine financial statements for accuracy and compliance with laws and regulations
  • Determine taxes owed, prepare tax returns, and ensure that taxes are paid properly and on time
  • Go over account books and accounting systems for efficiency and use of accepted accounting procedures
  • Keep financial records organized and usable
  • Analyze financial operations and make best-practice recommendations to management
  • Continuously improve ways to reduce costs, enhance revenues, and improve profits
  • Explain your findings effectively through face-to-face meetings within an organization as well as with individual clients, and prepare thorough written reports.

To become an accountant, you will need at least a Bachelor’s in Accounting or related field. A Master’s in Accounting or a Master’s in Business Administration with a concentration in accounting may also be required.

It is possible for graduates who have earned an associate degree in accounting, and gained experience through entry-level positions like bookkeeping or clerkships, to obtain junior accounting positions, and eventually advance to a full accountant position through skills acquired on the job .

For those interested in accounting, adult learners may find that taking , or earning a bachelor’s or upgrading to a master’s degree through online colleges and universities is the best way to earn those desired credentials. Online education offers considerable flexibility and helps adult learners save money on tuition that can be used for other purposes.

Most states require experience before an accountant can apply for a CPA license.

Human Resources

Human resource managers are called on to make critical decisions which can have a significant impact on workers or operations, and often collaborate on teams to develop positive working relationships.

Typical Duties

Human resources employees typically do the following:

  • Build an organization to best use employee talents
  • Act as a liaison between an organization’s management and its employees by handling questions, administering employee services, and resolving work-related problems
  • Understand and update managers on organizational policies
  • Handle and direct recruitment, interview, selection, and hiring processes
  • Be responsible for staffing issues, such as mediating disputes, firing employees, and directing disciplinary procedures.

To work in human resources, you will need a Bachelor’s in Human Resources or a Bachelor’s in Business Administration. If you have a bachelor’s degree in something other than human resources, you can make inroads into this career by taking courses in human resource subjects, like labor or industrial relations, organizational behavior or development, or industrial psychology.

To reach senior levels for careers in human resources management, you may need to earn a Master’s in Human Resources or Labor Relations, or a Master of Business Administration (MBA) degree.

Want to know how to get started? Get your free personalized degree plan today!


Sales representatives and sales managers work with people inside and outside an organization. An ability to communicate effectively, persuasively, clearly, and respond appropriately to customer’s need is a critical skill for those working in sales. Sales managers collect and interpret sales and marketing data to target potential customers and determine the most effective sales strategies.

Typical Duties

Sales typically involves the following:

  • Sell products and services to customers
  • Assist with and/or help resolve customer complaints around sales and service
  • Work within budgets and, if a sales manager, approve budget expenditures
  • Understand customers and, if a sales rep, network, network, network!
  • Read, prepare, and analyze sales statistics
  • Create sales projections
  • Assess requirements for discount rates or prepare special pricing plans
  • Interact with marketing and advertising staff within your organization

To work in sales management, you will need a bachelor’s degree; many sales managers also have a Master’s in Business Administration. You will find that educational requirements are more flexible for those working in sales that have significant work experience as a sales representative.

Important Qualities

Here are some of the important skills and qualities that you will need to develop in order to be successful in business. Get real experience, and earn credit, by taking college courses online that focus on these skills - and are usually required for a career in business.

  • Excellent communication skills
  • Math skills
  • Work well within a team for a common goal
  • Organizational skills
  • Motivated and willing to take initiative
  • Adaptable under changing conditions
  • Enjoy speaking in front of people
  • Strong analytical skills
  • Comfortable with technology and learning new technology applications
  • Good organizational skills
  • Detail-oriented

If you answer yes to most of these questions, there’s a good chance that a career in business is an excellent match for your skills – and that you do have what it takes to earn your degree in business.

Not sure where to start? Download our free guide on How to Go back to College today!

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