“Estimated time for obtaining a business degree” The answer is dependent on the degree, although it can take as little as a year.

Is it really necessary to spend four years in college to acquire a bachelor’s degree in business? What about getting an MBA?

In a nutshell, how long does it take to complete a business degree? Our guide will lead you through how long it will take you to acquire an associate’s or bachelor’s degree in business.

It also discusses the several graduate alternatives available to business students, such as master’s, MBA, and DBA degrees.

Table of Contents

Estimated time for obtaining a business degree

Estimated time for obtaining a business degree: A Business Certificate

Time Required to Complete: 6–18 Months

A business certificate can take anywhere from 6 to 18 months to complete, depending on the student’s enrollment status and the number of credits required.

Shorter certificate programs with 15 credits or less take less than a year, but longer certificate programs with 25–45 credits might take more than a year. Online business certificate programs are often as long as on-campus programs.

A business certificate is not the same as a degree. It introduces students to fundamental business principles. Many colleges and universities provide business certificates in bookkeeping, accounting, business analytics, and small business management. Students pursuing a certificate take business classes with no general education requirements.

Undergraduate certificates are designed for students who have little to no prior business experience or education. Graduate certificates enable professionals with undergraduate degrees to master a specialized aspect of their field.

If you need concentrated business training, an online certificate program with a flexible enrollment option will help you achieve your educational goals. Most entry-level business positions, however, require a bachelor’s degree. You may be able to transfer into a business program after getting a business certificate online.

Business Associate

Time Required to Complete: Two Years

For full-time students, an associate degree in business normally takes two years. Part-time students may need three years to complete their associate degree. Online associate programs typically last two years.

Students who have completed an undergraduate business certificate or have prior college credits can often graduate in less time.

Accounting, management, marketing, and finance are among the core areas covered in an associate degree in business administration. Students also attend general education classes that help them improve their critical thinking and analytical abilities.

A business administration associate degree qualifies you for jobs as a bookkeeper, financial clerk, or customer service representative. Graduates can also transfer to a bachelor’s program to advance their careers.

Bachelor of Business Administration

Time Required to Complete: Four Years

Business majors often complete their bachelor’s degree in four years.

Part-time students typically take longer, with the majority completing their degree within six years. Undergraduates with transfer credits or an associate degree can earn a bachelor’s degree in business in as little as two years. Online business programs may offer a one- to three-year accelerated bachelor’s degree.

Undergraduates pursuing a bachelor’s degree in business study operations management, organizational leadership, and strategic decision-making. Many degrees provide emphases in areas such as entrepreneurship, human resource management, accounting, and marketing.

Students can also acquire their bachelor’s degree in business administration online.

A bachelor’s degree in business administration might lead to jobs as a financial analyst, accountant, management analyst, or market research analyst. A bachelor’s degree qualifies professionals for promotions to managerial positions.

Non-MBA master’s degree in business

Time Required to Complete: Two Years

A master’s degree in business typically takes two years for full-time graduate students.

Many master’s programs, on the other hand, provide a one-year path to a graduate degree. Part-time students often take two to three years to complete their studies, depending on the program. Online master’s in business programs normally take one to two years to complete.

There are numerous master’s degree options available at business schools. A master’s degree in a particular discipline such as accounting, marketing, human resources, or finance provides concentrated, advanced training. A master’s degree enables professionals to develop in their present area or enter a new one.

Graduates with a master’s degree in business work as marketing managers, finance managers, CPAs, and business consultants. Employers prefer master’s-degree candidates for managerial positions.

MBA (Master of Business Administration)

Time Required to Complete: Two Years

For full-time students, traditional MBA programs last two years. Part-time MBA programs typically last 2.5 to 3 years. In addition, students can participate in an expedited MBA program. Most accelerated programs last 12 to 18 months.

Multiple enrollment choices are common in both on-campus and online MBA programs.

An MBA provides graduate-level leadership and management training. Financial management, operational management, and strategic leadership are among the MBA courses available. Most business schools offer MBA concentrations in areas such as consulting, business analytics, finance, and accounting.

An MBA, being a versatile business degree, opens several job options. Graduates with an MBA work as risk managers, business intelligence managers, and consultants. The program focuses on managerial abilities such as team leadership and long-term decision-making.

Doctor of Business Administration

Time Required: Three to Five Years

A DBA, or doctorate in business administration, normally takes three years to complete. Business Ph.D. programs typically last 4–5 years. Part-time students require more time to complete their degrees.

Some institutions offer doctorates in as little as two to three years.

A doctorate in business administration is the field’s highest level of education. Graduate students pursue a Ph.D. by taking classes, passing rigorous tests, and completing a dissertation assignment.

A DBA emphasizes practical business abilities, whereas a Ph.D. emphasizes research. Graduates with a DBA work as executives and entrepreneurs. A Ph.D. opens doors to careers as a business professor or researcher.


What should you do now that you know how long it takes to get a business degree? Investigate the expense of a business degree as well as your post-graduation career options.

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