For students considering commerce and business as a field of study, there
are many choices to make regarding area of study, school, degree, and level
Are you interested in commercial banking? Accounting? Advertising? Real
estate? Travel and tourism?
There are hundreds of schools to choose from. The Association to
Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB) alone has accredited 482 business
There are a number of degrees and diplomas available, depending on your
career goals. Some community colleges and universities offer certificates
with one year or less of study. Some schools call their programs "commerce",
while others use the term "business administration".
Associate's degree programs last at least two years. They are designed
to prepare students for jobs, or allow them to transfer to a four-year bachelor's
Students in four-year bachelor's degree programs choose majors in specialties
like accounting, finance and marketing.
Master's degree programs offer two more years of advanced study in subjects
such as management. For instance, the MBA is a master's degree in business
Business education doesn't have to stop at the MBA level. You can continue
your studies in PhD programs in areas such as economics or management.
Students studying commerce take courses like accounting, marketing,
personnel management, and finance. Students studying a field such as economics
take classes like business economics, international trade and banking.
In a number of commerce-related fields, a bachelor's degree is the minimum.
Increasingly, a master's degree is preferred.
Professor Ralph Welton of Clemson University in South Carolina says that
in terms of income and opportunities, the relationship between two-year, four-year
and master's degrees in business is like the relationship between the assembly
line worker, the foreman, and the plant manager.
Look for high school courses that teach students to think logically
and communicate with others, advises Welton.
"That could be a mathematics course where you had to do proofs; a science
class where you had to design an experiment, draw and communicate your conclusions;
or a literature class where you had to critically analyze a passage, draw
conclusions and defend your answer."
Also, if your high school offers classes in areas such as accounting
or marketing, take them.
In addition to tuition, other expenses include books and business attire
for presentations and interviews.
Occupational Outlook Handbook
For more information related to this field of study, see: Top
Business Week Online
Keep up with the changing world of commerce
Business Professionals of America
"Today's students. Tomorrow's business professionals"