This page provides essential information about careers in entrepreneurship. During entrepreneurship programs, students analyze economic principles and learn best practices.
Read on to learn more about entrepreneurship and how you can find a lucrative and fulfilling position with this degree.
Why Pursue a Career in Entrepreneurship?
Entrepreneurs have created some of the most noteworthy and successful companies in U.S. history. They owe their success to their ability to take risks, lead teams, and make decisions. As such, the field requires specific kinds of professionals who can take advantage of their innate talents and academic knowledge simultaneously.
Future entrepreneurs can learn key skills by pursuing an associate, bachelor's, master's, or doctoral degree in entrepreneurship or a related business field. The best programs help degree-seekers develop new skills through interactive fieldwork and internships.
Entrepreneurship Career Outlook
Although many entrepreneurs use their skills to create and run a company, others pursue a related job like business manager, finance manager, financial analyst, or chief executive officer. Careers in entrepreneurship can be found in all industries -- every business needs professionals who can foster success and juggle multiple responsibilities.
The following table highlights four typical careers for entrepreneur majors and the salary potentials for each.
|Chief Executive Officer||$101,440||$112,020||$131,890||$160,070|
Skills Gained With a Entrepreneurship Degree
While being an entrepreneur can be a risky proposition, entrepreneurship degrees help students prepare for challenging careers by providing insightful coursework taught by experienced faculty.
As they progress, students build skills and competencies in business, finance, marketing, sales, and strategic planning. Some programs also allow learners to intern under a successful entrepreneur.
Entrepreneurs need leadership skills to hire employees or freelancers who can help them get their idea off the ground. They must know how to articulate their vision, hire appropriately experienced staff, and communicate the work that needs to be done.
- Risk Management
Taking a step into the unknown -- even with a great business plan -- is not for the faint of heart, which is why most people do not own their own businesses. Entrepreneurs must understand their market, complete research, and make an educated guess about their chances of success.
When starting out, a lot of entrepreneurs work in challenging situations. Whether working out of a home office or garage, they may need to be exceedingly creative in order to build a business with little capital at their disposal.
- Work Ethic
Getting a business off the ground doesn't just require risk. It also requires someone willing to work incredibly long and hard hours.
Entrepreneurs communicate with investors, stakeholders, clients, employees, and freelancers. Sometimes they may need to act as a salesperson for the business, while other times they might need to call an investor to provide an update on projected growth.
Entrepreneurship Career Paths
Entrepreneurship programs focus on giving students the business management and innovation skills required to succeed in a startup. Some programs may also offer concentrations for students hoping to work in particular industries, including hospitality and tourism.
Concentrations can help future entrepreneurs prepare to launch certain types of businesses or find work in specific fields.
How to Start Your Career in Entrepreneurship
Graduates who earn an entrepreneurship degree can prepare for many different careers, depending on what type of business they plan on starting.
Bachelor's and master's programs in entrepreneurship emphasize many transferable skills, such as reading, writing, interpersonal communication, and research. Entrepreneurs can use these skills to ensure their company's success. Additionally, if their business venture does not go as planned, they have the flexibility to pursue roles working for someone else in a variety of business-related fields.
Associate Degree in Entrepreneurship
Students who earn an associate degree in entrepreneurship take required courses that cover foundational topics, such as financial management and business principles.
This degree is a great fit for students who think they want to pursue entrepreneurship but want to be sure before committing to a four-year program. Associate degrees in entrepreneurship usually require two years of full-time study and feature approximately 60 credits. Students who earn this degree can also pursue a variety of entry-level business positions.
What Can You Do With an Associate in Entrepreneurship?
- Real Estate Broker
Real estate brokers and sales agents work with clients to help them buy or sell residential, commercial, and industrial spaces. They consult on market prices, stay up to date on market conditions, host open houses, negotiate prices, and present offers between buyers and sellers.
- Sales Representative
Working for manufacturers or wholesale companies, these professionals sell their clients' products to other businesses and clients. They identify customers, create sales materials, highlight product features, answer questions, and create contracts.
- Advertising Agent
These professionals sell advertising space for clients in newspapers, magazines, websites, and radio and television shows. They provide estimates, create contracts, and set advertisement run dates.
Bachelor's Degree in Entrepreneurship
Bachelor's degrees in entrepreneurship can lead to entry-level roles in business, finance, marketing, sales, and human resources. They also provide the entrepreneurial skills needed to start a company. Full-time students typically spend four years in these programs, completing approximately 120 credits.
What Can You Do With a Bachelor's in Entrepreneurship?
- Financial Analyst
Financial analysts work with individuals and companies to make sound financial plans. They create portfolios of investment recommendations, study past and current business and market trends, and create reports about their findings.
- Financial Manager
These professionals monitor and manage the financial health of organizations. They create financial activity reports, develop income forecasts, keep up with market trends, and provide relevant information to company decision-makers.
- Personal Financial Advisor
Whether working for a financial company or on their own, these professionals help clients make better financial decisions for the present and future. They discuss financial goals, teach clients about investing, recommend portfolios, monitor account changes, and help with specific savings plans.
- Marketing Manager
Marketing managers help companies raise their profile and compete within the market. They create promotional and advertising campaigns, oversee branding initiatives, develop and monitor budgets, develop marketing guidelines, and consult with senior staff about strategic goals.
- Public Relations or Fundraising Manager
Professionals in these roles help enhance their companies' brands and raise money for specific initiatives. They create press releases and liaise with the media, develop and execute events, act as spokespeople, and design promotional campaigns.
Master's Degree in Entrepreneurship
Earning a master's degree in entrepreneurship qualifies graduates to work as experts in many business fields, such as finance, accounting, and marketing. Many individuals go on to lead a startup and create a new business. Graduates may also work as consultants, offering advice and guidance to fledgling entrepreneurs.
Master's programs offer the opportunity to gain nuanced skills in particular areas of entrepreneurship. Most programs last 1-3 years. In addition to general entrepreneurship programs, some schools also offer MBAs with an entrepreneurial focus.
What Can You Do With a Master's in Entrepreneurship?
Accountants assist in preparing tax returns, maintaining financial records, finding ways of reducing costs, and creating new streams of revenue for the companies or clients.
- Management Analyst
Also known as management consultants, these professionals improve efficiency and effectiveness for their clients. They study company culture, interview staff, analyze organizational data, make recommendations, and present their findings to relevant stakeholders. Individuals who earn a master's in entrepreneurship develop management skills that can help them succeed in this role.
- Budget Analyst
Budget analysts work with corporations, governments, and nonprofits to help improve financial management. They create budgets, review budget proposals, make requests about spending and revenue, and monitor spending throughout the financial calendar year. A master's degree can help candidates stand out from their peers on the job market.
Doctorate Degree in Entrepreneurship
Students who pursue a doctoral degree in entrepreneurship usually take 3-6 years to graduate. These programs provide learners with the advanced skills needed to work as expert researchers, teachers, and business leaders.
BestColleges provides rankings and guides for the best doctorate in human resources programs and the top online doctorate in human resources programs; both of these programs can help aspiring entrepreneurs prepare for success.
What Can You Do With a Doctorate in Entrepreneurship?
- Entrepreneurship Professor
Higher education institutions typically require professors to hold a doctorate. Professors with a doctoral degree in entrepreneurship often teach business administration or management classes. These educators design lesson plans, deliver lectures, and attend conferences. They may also conduct research.
Researchers conduct interviews; collect and analyze data; liaise with other thought leaders in the field; and present their findings to stakeholders, clients, and other researchers at symposiums.
- Chief Executive Officer
These professionals lead companies from the top, providing strategic planning, management, and oversight of other employees. They consult with staff on marketing, sales, finance, and human resources. They may also work with a board of directors.
Sources: BLS and PayScale
How to Advance Your Career in Entrepreneurship
Professionals can advance their careers in entrepreneurship in many ways, beyond earning a formal degree. For example, entrepreneurs can learn new skills by taking continuing education courses -- many of which are offered entirely online -- or by earning professional certification. Entrepreneurs may also need to earn a state-issued business license.
The following sections cover each of these career advancement methods in greater detail.
Certifications and/or Licensure
Entrepreneurs who start a business need a city or state business license. Professionals can file this paperwork independently or hire a company to manage it for them. Hiring a company allows entrepreneurs to focus their attention solely on their business.
Other entrepreneurship careers may not require a license or permit, but professionals can advance their career and develop new skills by earning a professional certification.
One popular certification is the entrepreneurship and small business (ESB) credential. Certiport offers ESB certification to professionals who pass a 45-question exam covering topics related to business management, starting a business, and marketing and sales.
Additionally, the Institute of Management Consultants offers the certified management consultants certification to experienced professionals. To qualify, candidates must have at least three years of management consulting experience, submit client evaluations, and pass an examination.
Major colleges and universities offer online certificate programs in several business-related subjects. Some of these certificate tracks use the massive open online course (MOOC) model. In a MOOC course, thousands of students learn simultaneously by watching videos, collaborating on projects, and grading each other's work.
One advantage of MOOCs is their asynchronous structure. Students can complete a MOOC without having to pause their career, and they can use their new knowledge and skills immediately. Although most MOOCs do not charge tuition, learners may need to pay a modest fee to receive a certificate.
Entrepreneurs should always look for ways to learn new skills and broaden their professional horizons. They can do so by reading relevant publications and taking continuing education courses regularly. Professionals should also network with peers to stay abreast of developments in the field and build business connections.
Joining a professional organization can also lead to ample networking opportunities. These organizations host conferences and give members access to publications covering the latest trends in the field.
How to Switch Your Career to Entrepreneurship
A successful entrepreneur must have business knowledge and relevant skills. Prospective entrepreneurs can build these proficiencies by earning a degree and/or attaining significant professional experience.
Relevant college degrees include accounting, finance, communication, and computer engineering. Professionals with one of these degrees often have the easiest time becoming a successful entrepreneur.
Professionals in different fields can also become entrepreneurs by earning an MBA with a concentration in entrepreneurship. Some universities that offer this degree do not require a bachelor's in a business-related topic.
Where Can You Work as an Entrepreneurship Professional?
Entrepreneurs can work in many different industries. As long as you have a good idea and are willing to work hard, you have a chance to find the resources and customers needed to succeed.
The following section includes information about common industries for entrepreneurs.
- Management of Companies and Enterprises
Professionals in these industries lead their companies, providing the executive leadership required of CEOs and other senior staff.
- Management Consulting
Management consultants work alongside companies to improve managerial capacity and teach leaders how to help the company thrive during times of growth and change.
- Financial Services
Common roles in this industry include financial planner, financial consultant, and financial analyst. Professionals may also work in retirement planning or investments.
- Computer and Information Technology
Entrepreneurs working in the tech industry have the opportunity to make their mark in a growing space. They often found startups.
- Scientific Research and Development
Professionals with a penchant for academia or research often gravitate toward this industry, which focuses on innovation.
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Resources for Entrepreneurship Majors
Entrepreneurship majors can access multiple resources to build their careers, learn new skills, and network with peers.
The following sections highlight professional organizations and open courseware that may appeal to aspiring entrepreneurs. Use the embedded links to learn more about these resources and how to start benefiting from them as soon as possible.
- Professional Organizations
Startup Grind: SG serves more than two million entrepreneurs in 125 countries by providing global conferences and events, online and in-person community groups, startup resources, and city and university chapters. SG also offers women's events, a job board, and in-house publications.
Edward Lowe Foundation: Created in 1985, this nonprofit organization supports businesses that no longer qualify as startups but have yet to reach maturity. The foundation provides several initiatives, including leader retreats, CEO roundtables, the System for Integrated Growth, and a program known as Economic Gardening.
Vistage: Vistage serves approximately 23,000 members by providing a robust peer community that provides impartial advice, experience, executive coaching, and a global network of leaders.
Young Presidents' Organization: YPO helps young entrepreneurs and business leaders gain the skills, confidence, and knowledge needed to step into multifaceted roles. Featuring regional groups and chapters, the organization provides leadership training, events, networking opportunities, and a blog.
United States Association for Small Business and Entrepreneurship: USASBE serves entrepreneurs all over the country by providing industry research, continuing education programs, the Entrepreneurship Education and Pedagogy Journal, and an annual conference. The association also offers a job board for finding employees, a podcast, and the USASBE Teaching and Learning Scholars Program.
ASHOKA: With a focus on social entrepreneurship, ASHOKA supports and advocates for change-makers across the globe. The group provides a community of 250 organizations, events throughout the U.S. and the world, and enterprise resources.
The Entrepreneurs' Club: TEC serves members by providing pitch presentations, annual conferences, visiting investors, blogs, and networking.
- Open Courseware
Successful Negotiation: Essential Strategies and Skills - University of Michigan: Successful business leaders must know how to negotiate with subordinates and superiors. This seven-week course requires 2-4 hours per week and emphasizes negotiation strategies, key tactics, and how to use psychological tools during a negotiation. The course concludes with a final examination.
Adaptive Leadership in Development - The University of Queensland: This 10-week course emphasizes overcoming political challenges, understanding the importance of context, and measuring progress and performance. Modules include complexity in development and a two-part series in problem-driven iterative adaptation. The course features four qualified instructors and an asynchronous curriculum.
Becoming an Entrepreneur - MIT: Prospective learners interested in defining goals, performing market research, and honing business logistics skills should consider enrolling in this course. Over six weeks, participants delve into design thinking and lean methodologies. This course also appeals to students with no formal education or training in entrepreneurship.
Innovation Leadership - Georgia Tech: Students can begin this class on one of multiple start dates each year. Coursework includes in-depth instruction in the crucibles of leadership, how to build support teams, and applying personal values during the innovation process. Learners also examine successful entrepreneurs to understand business best practices.
Entrepreneur Magazine: A useful resource for new and experienced entrepreneurs, Entrepreneur Magazine features articles on franchising, business leaders' strategies, and tips on how to start and grow a new business. The magazine also publishes issues for young entrepreneurs and has released over 200 books on business strategy.
Fast Company: Fast Company's articles analyze the relationships between business, design, and technology, highlighting the latest developments in these three sectors.
Inc.: Inc. publishes a print magazine eight times each year, and subscribers have unlimited access to past articles on the publication's website. Each year, Inc. features the top 500 companies and the 5,000 fastest-growing companies in the United States.
Forbes: For over 100 years, Forbes has brought the latest business news to readers living all over the world. The annual Forbes 400 highlights the richest people in the world, and the magazine publishes a similar ranking for the most profitable companies. On the magazine's website, readers can read free articles that cover topics like leadership, money, and business.
Wired: Wired publishes articles related to the economy, political developments, and new technologies. On Wired's website, readers can keep up with the latest national and international news and learn how these developments impact culture, business, and science.
Small Business Today Magazine: This magazine covers the latest developments in marketing strategy, long-term business trends, and leadership and management best practices. This publication's website also hosts a research section that provides subscribers with access to articles concerning motivation, customer service, and staffing.
Frequently Asked Questions
- Is entrepreneurship a good career?
Entrepreneurs -- especially those who start a brand new business -- take on a challenging job with extreme risk. However, succeeding in entrepreneurship can result in ample career satisfaction and a lucrative salary.
- What kind of jobs can you get with a degree in entrepreneurship?
A degree in entrepreneurship prepares graduates to start their own businesses. They can also find careers as budget analysts and financial managers. Professionals with a wide variety of interests and goals can succeed as entrepreneurs.
- What is the salary of an entrepreneur?
According to Payscale, the average professional with a bachelor's in entrepreneurship earns about $61,000 per year. Entrepreneurs with a master's degree or significant experience can make considerably more.
- How can I become an entrepreneur?
Starting a career in entrepreneurship involves a mix of formal education, hands-on training, and professional experience. However, keep in mind that even passionate, intelligent, and well-trained entrepreneurs do not always succeed due to economic forces beyond their control.
- What are the risks of entrepreneurship?
Entrepreneurship offers less financial stability and more risk than finding a job as an employee for a company. As a result, entrepreneurs often make personal sacrifices, including spending less time with family and friends.