Is An Online MBA Worth The Cost?

Written by Sarah Harris
Published on February 2, 2023 · Updated on March 23, 2023

Is An Online MBA Worth The Cost?

Written by Sarah Harris
Published on February 2, 2023 · Updated on March 23, 2023

If you’re interested in earning your Master of Business Administration (MBA) degree, but your schedule simply isn’t flexible enough to accommodate a full-time in-person course load, earning your degree online might be the best solution.

Because of their wide array of applications in fields with higher-than-average pay, online MBAs are some of the most popular types of online master’s degrees. These factors should be enticing enough, but when you consider how easily you can make the right online MBA program fit into your busy schedule, choosing to earn your degree remotely becomes a no-brainer.

Earning a degree over the Internet is relatively new, so it’s understandable if you’ve been wondering, “Is an online MBA worth it?” If that sounds like you, check out this comprehensive guide to everything you need to know about earning this popular online master’s degree.

Why Should I Earn an MBA?

Getting your master’s degree can be useful when you want to further your career, earn more money, or seek in-depth knowledge in your field.

But not all master’s degrees are created equal. Some degrees are far more valuable than others, and the Master of Business Administration is one of them.

Let’s take a look at a few of the best reasons why you should consider earning your MBA.

Even if a job listing doesn’t explicitly state that holding a master’s degree in business administration is a prerequisite, having one is always going to be more advantageous than not.

When you earn an MBA, you’ll significantly increase your appeal to any recruiting team that is hiring in the field to which your degree applies.

Earning your online MBA can increase your earning potential by more than 25%. The knowledge and experience that you’ll gain from your master’s program can be a significant bargaining chip when it comes to determining your salary. It can also open the door to several high-paying jobs!

While strengthening your resume and increasing your earning potential are important factors, it can be easy to overlook the true purpose behind pursuing a graduate degree: learning more and sharpening your skills.

The true value that comes from earning an online MBA is the ability to broaden your understanding of your field of expertise. It’s why adding “MBA” to your resume gives it more value, why an employer would be willing to pay you more, and what makes an online MBA worth it.  

How Much Can I Make with an Online MBA?

If you’re thinking about pursuing a graduate degree, the very first thing you might want to know is just how much more money you can make with it. It’s understandable, considering the amount of time, money, and commitment are required to earn one!

To answer that burning question, let’s take a look at some of the best jobs (and highest salaries) you’ll be able to pursue with your online MBA, per the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Operations Research Analyst
  • Median Salary: $86,200 
  • Career Outlook: +25% (2020-2030)
Medical and Health Services Manager
  • Median Salary: $104,280 
  • Career Outlook: +32% (2020-2030)
Financial Manager
  • Median Salary: $134,180 
  • Career Outlook: +17% (2020-2030)
Marketing Manager
  • Median Salary: $142,170 
  • Career Outlook: +10% (2020-2030)

MBAs offer many specializations, which means that there are plenty of potential careers they can offer you. It’s important for you to choose your specialization carefully so that you can find your way to the exact career you’re looking for.

How Much Does an Online MBA Cost?

To determine the worth of an online MBA, you need to account for how much an online MBA costs. This question might be a lot less fun than the previous one, but it’s incredibly important nonetheless.

If you find that the money you’ll earn from your master’s degree is not significantly more than you’re currently earning, the price of the degree may not be worth your while.

Fortunately, this is generally not the case for an MBA at all — especially an online MBA.

Pinning down exactly how much an online MBA costs is not that easy because the price of any degree is going to vary depending on a number of factors. According to the National Center for Education Statistics, though, you can generally expect to pay somewhere between $11,303 and $22,817 per year for your online MBA.

In total, an online MBA usually costs you anywhere from $30,000 to $55,000 or more.

Remember that online courses also have a lower tuition rate than on-campus courses do. Add that to the list of things that make an online MBA worth it!   

How to Pay for an Online MBA

Even if you manage to find a great online MBA program that’s on the lower end of the cost spectrum, it’s still likely going to cost you more than $10,000 a year, which is quite a bit of money for most people who are seeking their graduate degree.

Fortunately, there are many ways to finance your online MBA. Let’s take a look at them.

With a little research and some diligence, you may be able to find a scholarship program that is willing to help you pay for some of your online MBA expenses. You might be surprised by just how many scholarship opportunities there are out there — and by how much they’re offering qualified applicants.

If you’re interested in seeking one out, try out our scholarship search.

Depending on your financial needs, you may qualify for a federal grant. Grants are a type of financial aid that, unlike student loans, do not need to be paid back. They can come from a variety of sources, including the federal government, state government, the school itself, or a private organization.

If you think you might qualify for a grant, look into the application process!

Scholarships and grants are ideal for helping you pay your way through graduate school, but it’s not always possible to secure them. When those options are not viable for you — and even when they are but you could still use a little financial assistance — student loans might be your best option.

Borrowing the money to be paid back with interest on a later date can be a bit nerve-wracking, but it can also be the difference between being able to earn your online MBA or not.

If you’re currently employed and you plan to remain employed throughout graduate school, there is a chance that you can receive tuition assistance through your company.

Even if employer financing wasn’t included in the job listing or discussed when you took the job, a simple conversation with your employer may be enough to convince them that it would be valuable to the company to help you further your education.

If your current salary is enough to cover the cost of earning your degree, you may simply want to continue working while you go back to school. The added flexibility of online courses makes this option far more viable to many people who work 40 or more hours a week.

How Long Does an Online MBA Take to Complete?

The time it takes for you to earn your online MBA varies depending on how much time you can commit to in a given semester.

For example, if you are working full-time and can only take courses at night after work, your degree will take longer than for someone who is only working part-time and able to commit a full day or more to their courses every week.

While the room for variation may be wide, most people typically earn their online MBAs in about 2-3 years.

Online MBA vs. On-Campus MBA: Which is Better?

If you have the option to take on-campus or online courses and you’re having trouble deciding which route would be best for you, you’re not alone. Plenty of students grapple between getting the in-person face-to-face experience of on-campus courses and the flexible convenience and simplicity of online courses.

To help make the decision easier for you, take a look at the following table:

  Online MBA On-Campus MBA
Program Cost $30000-$55000 $60000-$100000
Program Length 2-3 years 2 years
Are These Accredited? Yes Yes
Who Should Pick This Option? Those looking to save money and earn their degree on a flexible schedule Those looking for a face-to-face learning experience or those who wish to go to a school that does not offer an online MBA program

Picking an Online MBA

If your answer to the question “Is an online MBA worth it?” is decidedly a yes, you’re now going to need to pick the right program for you.

There are a handful of factors that you need to consider to determine which online MBA is best suited for you, including:

  • Total cost
  • Length of the program
  • Program outcomes
  • Available specializations

Decide which factors are most important to you to help you narrow down your options and select a great program.

Remember that you’re not limited to programs in your area when you get your MBA online. You can quite literally be anywhere in the world! This should make choosing the perfect program a lot simpler, as it really opens your options.

No matter which program you choose, just remember that it’s always best to aim for a school with a great reputation so that your graduate degree carries some extra weight.

Online MBA FAQs

  • Is an Online MBA Taken Seriously?
    • As long as your MBA is fully accredited, it will be taken seriously by prospective employers — provided you take it seriously yourself. Remember that the most important aspect of earning your online MBA is the knowledge that you gain. The diploma and the name of the school on it aren’t insignificant, but the real value is in what you learn from your program.
  • Are Online MBAs Worth Anything?
    • A fully-accredited online MBA can be immensely valuable. With an MBA, you can earn more, qualify for higher-paying jobs, and acquire a broader and deeper knowledge of your area of expertise. An online MBA can definitely be worth the investment!
  • Which Online MBA is the Best?
    • The answer to this question will depend on the individual. The best program for you will be the one that focuses on your area of specialization, opens the doors you’re looking to open, and comes at an affordable price to make it worth your while.
  • Do Employers Care if You Earn Your MBA Online?
    • Employers will not care if you earned your MBA online or on-campus, provided you earned it at an accredited school — particularly an accredited school with a noteworthy reputation. Instead, they’ll care that you took the time to invest in your professional development by pursuing a degree.


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