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The University of St. Thomas (UST) is Houston’s Catholic University, committed to the Catholic intellectual tradition and the dialogue between faith and reason. Our blog is dedicated to helping you explore your future career possibilities and how to make the most of your college experience.

Associate Degree in Business Careers

If you have a few years of business experience under your belt, it’s natural to start having dreams of moving up the corporate ladder. You’ve gained many invaluable transferable skills on the job, and you’re ready to apply them in a position with more authority and impact.

Whether you have your sights set on a promotion with your current company or are ready to explore other options, a business degree could be your ticket to acquiring the technical skills and hands-on training needed to take on more of a leadership role. But a bachelor’s degree in business often takes four or more years to complete.

If you’re looking for something a little faster and more affordable, an Associate of Applied Science (AAS) in General Business could be the answer. But what can you do with an associate degree in business, exactly? Keep reading to learn more about what you can expect out of this two-year online program.

What do you learn in an AAS in Business program?

The AAS in General Business degree at the University of St. Thomas – Houston (UST) will provide foundational coursework in the major areas of business, such as accounting, finance, economics, management and marketing. This program is offered through the Cameron School of Business and is AACSB Accredited — the most respected accrediting body in business education worldwide.

Graduates of our AAS in General Business program will become proficient in many broadly applicable competencies, including:

  • Exercising people management skills
  • Preparing a business plan
  • Effective oral and written communication
  • Applying human resource strategies to meet organizational goals
  • Examining the role of strategic human resource planning in support of organizational mission and objectives
  • Making ethical decisions guided by the principles of Catholic Social Justice

What jobs can you get with an associate degree in business?

It’s normal to wonder, “What can you do with an associate degree in business?” It turns out that when paired with valuable industry experience, an AAS degree can qualify you for many advanced jobs in the business field.

To give you a better idea of some of the common associate degree in business jobs out there, we used real-time job analysis software to examine nearly 200,000 job postings that called for this credential.* Explore more about six of the most prominent positions.

1.    Store/restaurant manager

These managers oversee the daily operations of a restaurant or retail shop. Specific responsibilities will vary depending on the size and type of establishment, but they are often tasked with:

  • Overseeing budgets and store inventory
  • Setting and meeting performance goals
  • Handling the hiring, training and scheduling of employees
  • Implementing marketing activities and promotions
  • Addressing customer complaints

Being a store manager takes a unique blend of hard and soft skills. You may have gained transferable skills like customer service, communication and organization in your current position, but an associate degree in business could help you round out your technical business acumen to qualify you for this role.

2.    Sales representative

The sales team is responsible for producing revenue for a company, and sales representatives are the ones working directly with customers to do so. The specifics of the job will depend on the goods or services being offered, but generally, they are responsible for:

  • Identifying customer needs and offering solutions
  • Answering questions and educating on products or services
  • Processing orders and submitting invoices for merchandise sold
  • Servicing existing accounts and chasing down new sales leads
  • Representing the company to clients and the public

In the sales world, it’s common for representatives to earn a regular salary in addition to extra commission based on performance. If you’re ambitious, goal-oriented and enjoy working with people, you might find this role to be a perfect fit.

3.    Human resources generalist

The primary goal of a human resources generalist is to recruit talent, support employees and act as a liaison between workers and the organization. Depending on the size of the company and human resources (HR) department, you could become a specialist and focus on one area like benefits, payroll, talent acquisition or training.

A typical day in the life of an HR generalist could include things like:

  • Consulting with leadership to identify hiring needs
  • Posting job listings and interviewing applicants
  • Managing employment records and processing paperwork
  • Setting up new employees for on-boarding and orientation

HR generalists or specialists must be great communicators, well-organized and knowledgeable about employment law and government regulations. An AAS degree in business is a great entry point into this career and can be complemented by additional certifications. Check out the Society for Human Resource Management for more information.

4.    Office manager

As you might expect from the title, an office manager is in charge of the daily workings of an office or department within an organization. Their duties vary according to the size of the company and the industry. On small teams, an office manager might be responsible for things that would typically be delegated to an HR generalist at a larger organization.

Office managers generally handle some or all of the following tasks:

  • Screening resumes and scheduling interviews
  • Taking inventory and ordering office supplies
  • Negotiating with insurance and benefit companies
  • Handling accounts payable
  • Making work schedules

While a degree isn’t always required for this role, a strong foundation of business training could help you earn a higher salary and stand out among other applicants for the job.

5.    Executive assistant

As an executive assistant, you act as the right-hand person for busy professionals (who are often leaders, executives or high-level managers). This position requires excellent attention to detail, time management and problem-solving and communication skills.

Some common duties for executive assistants include:

  • Responding to emails on behalf of their boss
  • Managing their calendar and scheduling appointments
  • Receiving guests and visitors
  • Booking flights and other travel accommodations for work-related trips

A college education isn’t always a requirement for this job role but will likely help you stand out above other candidates for competitive positions.

6.    Relationship banker

A relationship banker builds rapport with bank members and helps them make decisions about their accounts. They are financial advisors who are well-versed in all products and services offered by the bank, including loans, personal accounts, business accounts, trust funds and investments.

Relationship bankers are typically responsible for:

  • Being the first point of contact for clients
  • Meeting prospective clients to generate new business
  • Answering questions about bank products and services
  • Communicating bank policies
  • Managing complicated accounts

In this client-facing role, stellar customer service skills are crucial. You might make a great relationship banker if you are good with numbers, a natural problem solver and enjoy meeting new people.

Advance your career with an associate degree in business

So what can you do with an associate degree in business? Perhaps more than you thought! At UST, you can become qualified for these positions in just two years. Our fully accredited and 100% online AAS in Business program gives you the flexibility you need to work, enjoy life and go to school all at the same time.

For more information, visit our Associate of Applied Science in General Business page.

* (analysis of 193,013 associate degree in business job postings, Feb. 11, 2021 – Feb. 10, 2022).

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The University of St. Thomas (UST) is Houston’s Catholic University, committed to the religious, ethical and intellectual traditions of Catholic higher education. For more than 70 years, we’ve been graduating students like you into successful careers in medicine, education, business, public administration and more – throughout Houston and across the globe.

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