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Business & Commerce Major

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Business & Commerce

25,809 Bachelor's Degrees Annually
9,486 Master's Degrees Annually
#6 in Popularity
$103,330 Median Salary

Types of Degrees Business & Commerce Majors Are Getting

The following table lists how many general business/commerce graduations there were in 2018-2019 for each degree level.

Education Level Number of Grads
Bachelor’s Degree 25,818
Associate’s Degree 17,723
Master’s Degree 9,486
Basic Certificate 2,657
Undergraduate Certificate 2,017
Graduate Certificate 492
Doctor’s Degree 258

What Business & Commerce Majors Need to Know

People with careers related to general business were asked what knowledge areas, skills, and abilities were important for their jobs. They weighted these areas on a scale of 1 to 5 with 5 being the highest.

Knowledge Areas for General Business Majors

General Business majors often go into careers in which the following knowledge areas are important:

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  • Administration and Management - Knowledge of business and management principles involved in strategic planning, resource allocation, human resources modeling, leadership technique, production methods, and coordination of people and resources.
  • English Language - Knowledge of the structure and content of the English language including the meaning and spelling of words, rules of composition, and grammar.
  • Customer and Personal Service - Knowledge of principles and processes for providing customer and personal services. This includes customer needs assessment, meeting quality standards for services, and evaluation of customer satisfaction.
  • Mathematics - Knowledge of arithmetic, algebra, geometry, calculus, statistics, and their applications.
  • Personnel and Human Resources - Knowledge of principles and procedures for personnel recruitment, selection, training, compensation and benefits, labor relations and negotiation, and personnel information systems.

Skills for General Business Majors

When studying general business, you’ll learn many skills that will help you be successful in a wide range of jobs - even those that do not require a degree in the field. The following is a list of some of the most common skills needed for careers associated with this major:

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  • Speaking - Talking to others to convey information effectively.
  • Critical Thinking - Using logic and reasoning to identify the strengths and weaknesses of alternative solutions, conclusions or approaches to problems.
  • Active Listening - Giving full attention to what other people are saying, taking time to understand the points being made, asking questions as appropriate, and not interrupting at inappropriate times.
  • Reading Comprehension - Understanding written sentences and paragraphs in work related documents.
  • Monitoring - Monitoring/Assessing performance of yourself, other individuals, or organizations to make improvements or take corrective action.

Abilities for General Business Majors

A major in general business will prepare for your careers in which the following abilities are important:

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  • Oral Expression - The ability to communicate information and ideas in speaking so others will understand.
  • Oral Comprehension - The ability to listen to and understand information and ideas presented through spoken words and sentences.
  • Written Comprehension - The ability to read and understand information and ideas presented in writing.
  • Deductive Reasoning - The ability to apply general rules to specific problems to produce answers that make sense.
  • Problem Sensitivity - The ability to tell when something is wrong or is likely to go wrong. It does not involve solving the problem, only recognizing there is a problem.

What Can You Do With a Business & Commerce Major?

People with a general business degree often go into the following careers:

Job Title Job Growth Rate Median Salary
Administrative Services Managers 10.1% $96,180
Compliance Managers 8.0% $107,480
Construction Managers 11.1% $93,370
Cost Estimators 10.5% $64,040
General and Operations Managers 9.1% $100,930
Investment Fund Managers 8.0% $107,480
Loss Prevention Managers 8.0% $107,480
Management Analysts 14.3% $83,610
Regulatory Affairs Managers 8.0% $107,480
Sales Managers 7.5% $124,220
Security Managers 8.0% $107,480
Social and Community Service Managers 18.0% $65,320
Storage and Distribution Managers 6.8% $94,730
Supply Chain Managers 8.0% $107,480
Transportation Managers 6.8% $94,730
Wind Energy Operations Managers 8.0% $107,480
Wind Energy Project Managers 8.0% $107,480

Who Is Getting a Bachelor’s Degree in Business & Commerce?

25,818 Bachelor's Degrees Annually
47% Percent Women
32% Percent Racial-Ethnic Minorities
This is one of the most frequently chosen business majors. It is the 6th most popular in the country with 25,809 students graduating with a bachelor’s in general business in 2019. Roughly 47% of the graduates are women, and 53% are men.

Racial-Ethnic Diversity

At the countrywide level, the racial-ethnic distribution of general business majors is as follows:

Racial-Ethnic Diversity of General Business Students with Bachelor's Degrees
Race/Ethnicity Number of Grads
Asian 1,365
Black or African American 3,295
Hispanic or Latino 2,544
White 14,968
International Students 1,905
Other Races/Ethnicities 1,741

Geographic Diversity

Americans aren’t the only ones with an interest in General Business. About 7.4% of those with this major are international students. The most popular countries for students from outside the country are:

  • China
  • India
  • South Korea
  • Saudi Arabia
  • Vietnam

How Much Do Business & Commerce Majors Make?

Bachelor’s Degree Starting Salary

The U.S. Department of Education found that students who graduated in 2015-2017 with a bachelor’s degree in general business/commerce made a median starting salary of $39,500 per year. During this timeframe, most salaries fell between $36,700 (25th percentile) and $46,050 (75th percentile).

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Note that some of these people may have jobs that are not directly related to a general business degree.

Salaries According to BLS

General Business majors often go into careers where salaries can range from $94,390 to $115,590 (25th to 75th percentile). This range includes all degree levels, so you may expect those with a more advanced degree to make more while those with less advanced degrees will typically make less.

To put that into context, according to BLS data from the first quarter of 2020, the typical high school graduate makes between $30,000 and $57,900 a year (25th through 75th percentile). The average person with a bachelor’s degree (any field) makes between $45,600 and $99,000. Advanced degree holders make the most with salaries between $55,600 and $125,400.

Median Salary for a Business & Commerce Major  ( 94390 to 115590 )
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Median Salary for a High School Graduate  ( 30000 to 57900 )
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Median Salary for a Bachelor's Degree Holder  ( 45600 to 99000 )
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Median Salary for an Advanced Degree Holder  ( 55600 to 125400 )
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Some degrees associated with general business may require an advanced degree, while others may not even require a bachelor’s in the field. Whatever the case may be, pursuing more education usually means that more career options will be available to you.

How much schooling do you really need to compete in today’s job market? People currently working in careers related to general business have obtained the following education levels.

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Education Level Percentage of Workers
Less than a High School Diploma 0.2%
High School Diploma - or the equivalent (for example, GED) 9.1%
Post-Secondary Certificate - awarded for training completed after high school (for example, in agriculture or natural resources, computer services, personal or culinary services, engineering technologies, healthcare, construction trades, mechanic and repair technologies, or precision production) 4.1%
Some College Courses 7.2%
Associate’s Degree (or other 2-year degree) 8.6%
Bachelor’s Degree 45.4%
Post-Baccalaureate Certificate - awarded for completion of an organized program of study; designed for people who have completed a Baccalaureate degree but do not meet the requirements of academic degrees carrying the title of Master. 4.0%
Master’s Degree 14.1%
Post-Master’s Certificate - awarded for completion of an organized program of study; designed for people who have completed a Master’s degree but do not meet the requirements of academic degrees at the doctoral level. 2.3%
First Professional Degree - awarded for completion of a program that: requires at least 2 years of college work before entrance into the program, includes a total of at least 6 academic years of work to complete, and provides all remaining academic requirements to begin practice in a profession. 0.3%
Doctoral Degree 5.1%

Online Business & Commerce Programs

In 2018-2019, 959 schools offered a general business program of some type. The following table lists the number of programs by degree level, along with how many schools offered online courses in the field.

Degree Level Colleges Offering Programs Colleges Offering Online Classes
Certificate (Less Than 1 Year) 175 55
Certificate (1-2 years) 117 29
Certificate (2-4 Years) 3 0
Associate’s Degree 532 188
Bachelor’s Degree 45 15
Post-Baccalaureate 175 55
Master’s Degree 123 47
Post-Master’s 9 0
Doctor’s Degree (Research) 24 1
Doctor’s Degree (Professional Practice) 1 1
Doctor’s Degree (Other) 0 0

Is a Degree in Business & Commerce Worth It?

The median salary for a general business grad is $103,330 per year. This is based on the weighted average of the most common careers associated with the major.

This is 159% more than the average salary for an individual holding a high school degree. This adds up to a gain of about $1,268,600 after 20 years!

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You may also be interested in one of the following majors related to general business.

Major Number of Grads
Business Administration & Management 410,147
Accounting 105,123
Finance & Financial Management 56,186
Marketing 51,241
Human Resource Management 26,823
Management Sciences & Quantitative Methods 23,738
Business Support & Assistant Services 19,483
Hospitality Management 19,042
Management Information Systems 14,747
Entrepreneurial Studies 10,427
International Business 10,181
Business/Managerial Economics 6,345
Specialized Sales, Merchandising & Marketing 5,873
Other Business, Management & Marketing 5,834
General Sales & Marketing 5,734
Real Estate 5,700
Construction Management 3,664
Insurance 2,218
Taxation 1,783
Business/Corporate Communications 968
Telecommunications Management 71

References

More about our data sources and methodologies.

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