Why This Matters


    Small businesses are big business in the U.S., with almost 48% of the private workforce employed by small businesses in 2016. The majority are businesses with less than 100 employees.


    The formation of new organizations and growth of existing companies is expected to drive demand for managers. The Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts the addition of 706,900 new management jobs by 2028.


    Among all occupations tracked by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, management has the highest median annual wage. The median annual wage for all occupations is $38,640.

Our Research

Students can pursue a variety of educational paths in small business management, including certificate programs, associate’s, bachelor’s, and master’s degrees in business administration, business management, or entrepreneurship. Your career interests and current education level will determine which type of program you seek.

We included both regionally and nationally accredited schools on this list. Many programs also have programmatic accreditation through the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB), the Accreditation Council for Business Schools and Programs (ACBSP), or the International Accreditation Council for Business Education (IACBE).

All of the programs and courses on this list can be completed online. Some are also offered on-campus or in hybrid format.

Once we narrowed our list of programs, we evaluated each of them on the basis of flexibility, faculty, cost, coursework, and reputation. We then assigned each program an Intelligent Score on a scale of 0 to 100. For a more extensive explanation, check out Our Ranking Methodology.

  • 74 hours to write this article
  • 140 universities and colleges we assessed
  • 336 education programs we compared

The Top 43 Small Business Management Degree Programs

Best Online Small Business Management Course
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What You Should Know About This Degree

Being a leader or entrepreneur requires specific aptitudes and qualities. People in these roles must be confident, creative, disciplined, and motivated. They must make tough decisions, collaborate with others, and work hard. While a small business management course can help develop these skills, reflect on your own innate qualities and whether you fit this profile.

Starting your own business can be exciting and rewarding, but there are also many risks involved. In a small business management course, you will learn how to minimize and cope with those risks. You may also have the opportunity to develop your business plan in a supportive environment.

Applying the skills and theories you learn in a real-world setting is a key component of small business and entrepreneurial education. Even if the coursework for a program can be fully completed online, there may be optional or required experiential learning components, such as an internship. This training is valuable, and you should seek out a program that allows you to fit this experience into your schedule.

If you are considering an associate’s degree with the intention of transferring to another school to finish a bachelor’s, be sure to select a college with regional accreditation. Credits from regionally accredited institutions are more transferable and widely recognized than those from nationally accredited schools.

What’s Next?

Here are some questions to ask when researching Small Business Management programs:

  • How are online courses delivered? Online courses can be delivered asynchronously or synchronously. In asynchronous courses, students access lessons and assignments on their own schedules and work fairly independently. In synchronous programs, you must attend virtual classes at set times.
  • Do you need financial aid? A certificate program is a fast, convenient way to obtain an education in small business management, but keep in mind that certificate programs are not eligible for any kind of federal financial aid. If you will need this kind of financial support to pay for your tuition, you may want to consider an associate’s degree, which is eligible for federal student aid.

Be sure to review the program’s requirements for admission and their application deadlines. Requirements and deadlines vary from program to program, so having this information organized will keep your applications on track.

Besides federal student loans and grants, you can research other types of support including institutional and private scholarships, assistantships, and tuition benefits if you are currently employed.