The state of Washington is home to several top online MBA programs. This guide outlines important information to consider when deciding on the best online MBA program to meet your interests and goals, including the economic outlook in the state and potential careers for MBA graduates.

As of 2018, Washington was home to over 7.5 million people and 86 degree-granting postsecondary institutions, according to the National Center for Education Statistics. In 2017, the Distance Education State Almanac found that there were more than 32,000 students taking courses exclusively online at colleges and universities in Washington, 88% of whom lived in state. This study also found that there were more than 333,000 students taking at least one class online in Washington, which represents 91.1% of all students enrolled in college courses. Additionally, Western Governors University recently reported that some of its most "explosive growth" has occurred in states like Washington, and that they expect this growth to continue in the coming years.

Accredited Online MBA Programs in Washington

Rank School Location Cost Toggle Logo Tuition % Receiving Financial Aid Student Population School Type Description
City University of Seattle
Location Seattle , WA Tuition $$$$$ % Receiving Financial Aid 50 Student Population 2,347 Tuition $33,024 School Type Private

Working professionals can earn an online MBA in Washington at CityU in Seattle. The program prepares learners for roles in organizations that require ethical and competent leadership. The program includes core classes in business management, communication and research, and law. Furthermore, students can choose an emphasis in topics including finance, human resource management, global marketing, and entrepreneurship.

Graduation requires completing 48-51 credits. Students learn how to create social connections to products and services and leverage business trends that emerge in evolving industries. Learners also study how best to use data to make informed decisions that reflect ethics and morals. Program graduates often go on to become business analysts, management consultants, and chief operating officers. Applicants must possess a bachelor’s degree from an accredited school but do not need to submit GMAT scores for admission.

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Northwest University
Location Kirkland , WA Tuition $$$$$ % Receiving Financial Aid 68 Student Population 1,236 Tuition $29,055 School Type Private

A Christian institution located in Kirkland, NU offers one of the leading online MBA programs in Washington state. Earning this degree allows students to develop the skills and practical perspective employers desire. Not only do graduates strengthen their critical thinking skills, but they also understand why effective decision-making and action-oriented leadership drive business success. The program includes an optional international trip once per year.

While coursework examines topics like accounting and marketing, the university also offers concentrations in public safety administration and project management. Collaborative coursework coupled with small class sizes engage online learners. Students may enroll in one class at a time if they choose. Those with two years’ work experience and at least a 3.2 undergraduate GPA do not need to submit GMAT scores. This Washington state online MBA holds accreditation from the Accreditation Council for Business Schools and Programs.

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Washington State University
Location Pullman , WA Tuition $$$$$ % Receiving Financial Aid 49 Student Population 29,686 Tuition $27,891 School Type Public

WSU’s online MBA prepares students to successfully transition from the classroom to the boardroom as competent, knowledgeable business leaders. The program offers an international perspective that helps students strengthen their global competence, which today's world demands. The curriculum explores topics like managerial accounting, operations management, business law, and information systems. Those who wish to deepen their understanding of a specific area of study can concentrate in one of four emphasis areas, including hospitality business management and finance.

Offered through the Carson College of Business, this MBA also offers an international field study to help students understand global markets through a 10-day study abroad in Asia. In total, the program consists of 36 credits for those with an undergraduate degree in business. Students without a business background can enroll in up to 16 credits of the university’s foundational coursework. Students typically complete their degree in 22-29 months.

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University of Washington
Location Seattle , WA Tuition $$$$$ % Receiving Financial Aid 28 Student Population 45,408 Tuition $65,000 School Type Public

The UW online MBA program program builds skills in business foundations while allowing learners to enhance their studies by enrolling in electives of their choice. Offered through the Foster School of Business, classes emphasize data-driven decision-making and evidence-based challenges, helping students identify ways to apply their lessons to the real world. Case study analysis builds students' problem-solving capabilities so they can accurately assess complexities and devise solutions to overcome them.

Delivered primarily online, the program requires an on-campus immersion experience over 3-5 days at the start of each quarter. Online coursework weds independent activities with virtual teamwork. It also includes interactive sessions with faculty and classmates. The two-year curriculum covers topics like financial reporting and analysis, leading organizations, and operations management. Elective classes examine concepts such as negotiations, organizational change, and international economic conditions. The university offers three start dates, and admits applicants based on professional experience, leadership potential, previous education, and intellectual ability.

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Why Consider an Online MBA in Washington?

Washington is home to four online MBA programs, according to U.S. News & World Report. The most highly rated is the Foster School of Business at the University of Washington, which offers a hybrid MBA program. The largest online MBA program in the state is offered by Washington State University.

Number of Students Enrolled in Distance Education (2015)

Undergraduate Graduate
Any Distance 72,171 6,203
Exclusively Distance 28,233 4,135
On-Campus 300,660 32,384
Source: Distance Education State Almanac, 2017

Distance Enrollment by Institution Type (2015)

All Students Graduate Students Enrolled in Any Distance
Private for-profit 6,309 39
Private not-for-profit 44,597 3,445
Public 314,506 2,719
Source: Distance Education State Almanac, 2017

MBA Concentrations for Washington Students

According to WalletHub, Washington has the best economy in the United States as of 2019, including the largest GDP growth. The top industries in the state include aerospace, agriculture and food manufacturing, clean technology, forest products, information and communication technology, and life sciences and global health.

Washington is also home to several large companies, including Starbucks, Amazon, Microsoft, Costco, and Nordstrom. Additionally, while headquartered in Chicago, Illinois, Boeing was founded in Seattle and maintains a large influence in the state. The tourism industry also generated $21.4 billion in annual spending in 2018. Students pursuing an online MBA in Washington can prepare for lucrative careers in dynamic industries by aligning their studies with one of the state's major industries.

  • International Business This concentration prepares graduates to work with applications in foreign marketplaces. Possible career tracks include financial manager, trade compliance manager, securities, commodities, and financial services sales agent.
  • Finance This concentration deals with domestic and global financial markets, including investments, interest rates, and financial futures. Graduates can hold titles such as chief financial officer, finance director, and senior financial analyst.
  • Marketing This concentration focuses on advertising theories and practices, including patterns and psychology of consumer behavior. Degree holders can pursue careers as marketing directors, business development managers, and marketing managers.

Accreditation in Washington

The best online MBA programs in Washington are offered by accredited institutions. These schools have met strict academic and ethical standards set by quality control organizations known as accrediting bodies. Depending on the accrediting body that assesses a school, it may earn regional or national accreditation.

Most nationally accredited schools are for-profit vocational or technical institutions, while nonprofit schools typically receive regional accreditation. Of the two types, regional accreditation is generally considered more prestigious. Credits earned at a nationally accredited school are less likely to transfer than those from a regionally accredited college or university. If you want to improve your career prospects by earning an online MBA, Washington is home to many regionally accredited institutions.

Washington Economy, Career, and Job Outlook for MBA Graduates

The top industries in Washington cover a variety of areas. The Seattle area is home to major international corporations like Amazon, Microsoft, and Starbucks, and Boeing has plants in both Everett and Renton. The Puget Sound has two major ports, while eastern and central Washington are home to the state's major agricultural growing areas, including those for apples, grapes for winemaking, and hops used in beer production.

According to the Employment Security Department of Washington, in-demand careers include marketing manager, financial manager, human resources manager, medical and health services manager, market research analyst, and marketing specialist. From 2010-2018, the state population grew by 12%, and in 2019 U.S. News & World Report named Washington as the best state to live in and ranked its economy third in the nation.

Washington's GDP grew by 5.7% in 2018 -- almost double the national average -- and continued growth is expected in the coming years. Earning an online MBA in Washington can help students take advantage of this growth and find jobs with corporations that are industry leaders.

Company Location Main Industry Number of Employees
Microsoft Redmond Computer software 40,000
UW Lab Medicine Seattle Engineering services 20,000
Boeing Renton Aircraft manufacturing 16,774
Source: CareerOneStop

Earning an online MBA in Washington can help prepare you for a career at one of the above companies. An MBA provides technical business and management knowledge that is transferable to many fields, including engineering, manufacturing, and software development. Employers also value the soft skills an MBA provides, such as communication, problem-solving, and critical thinking. Lastly, Washington online MBA programs can provide invaluable networking opportunities with fellow classmates, as well as with local companies that recruit employees from programs in the state.

Earning Potential with an MBA in the State of Washington

Pursuing an online MBA in Washington can be a terrific step in one's career. In addition to gaining access to Washington's strong economy, you can receive an excellent education without needing to live in Seattle or other expensive areas in the state.

According to the Graduate Management Admission Council, companies paid recent MBA grads a median salary of $105,000, as compared with $65,000 for individuals with only a bachelor's degree. Additionally, Washington State University's Carson School of Business reported that the 2016 post-MBA average salary of graduates is $102,962 in Seattle. That same study showed that, in a survey of 12,000 MBA graduates, 90% stated that their degree boosted their earning potential significantly.

Salary for Graduate Business Majors (2015)

Major Median Annual Salary
Business Management and Administration $97,000
General Business $101,000
Source: Center on Education and the Workforce

Careers for MBA Grads in Washington

Marketing Manager

Marketing managers forecast the demand for products and services. They develop pricing strategies and help organizations maximize profits and market share. They also plan advertising campaigns and negotiate contracts. The median salary for this job title is $134,290.

Financial Manager

Financial managers prepare financial statements, business reports, and forecasts. They supervise employees who work in finance and budgeting. These professionals also make financial decisions, reduce costs, increase profits, and monitor financial reporting to make sure an organization follows all relevant laws. Financial managers earn a median salary of $127,990.

Human Resources Manager

Human resources managers oversee a company's recruitment of new employees, hiring, benefit programs, termination, and discipline. They may also hold key management roles on executive committees. These workers earn a median salary of $113,300.

Medical and Health Services Manager

Medical and health services managers supervise the delivery of quality healthcare services for patients. They ensure that facilities are compliant with laws and regulations, create work schedules and prepare/monitor budgets, and oversee other financial accounting measures. They earn a median salary of $99,730.

Sales Manager

Sales managers prepare and approve budgets and expenditures. They analyze sales statistics and project the profitability of products and services. These workers develop and implement training programs and quotas for sales staff. Their median salary is $124,220.

How to Choose an Online MBA in Washington

There are many important considerations to make before settling on an online MBA program in Washington. These include factors discussed above like cost, accreditation, and available specializations. The following list includes some key steps to follow during the program research process for MBA options in any state.

  • Compare student outcomes data

    Student outcomes include graduation rate, year-to-year retention rate, the average debt for a graduate from that school, and overall student satisfaction with their degree program. Student outcomes do not guarantee you will be satisfied with a particular program, but can be useful for pinpointing a school's strengths and weaknesses.

  • Estimate the expected costs of your programs

    Virtually every accredited college or university posts tuition rates online. Additionally, you should research other college-related costs like living accommodations and meal plans (if you plan to live on-campus), administrative fees, and technology fees (for online students). You should also look into scholarships, grants, and other forms of institutional financial aid that can offset some of the costs.

  • Check that classes will fit in with your schedule

    Scheduling is critical for students with other important commitments, such as childcare or full-time employment. Many online programs are asynchronous, or self-paced; students in these tracks are free to complete course requirements on their own schedule. Synchronous programs, on the other hand, require weekly online meetings with teachers and fellow students.

  • Look for partnerships with local businesses

    A large number of online MBA programs include internship and/or capstone practicum requirements — and in many cases, students are able to gain on-the-job training and real-world office experience. You should look into the school's business partnerships, particularly in regard to the industry you plan to enter after earning your MBA.

  • Make sure the program is accredited

    Accreditation status should always be available and easily accessible on a school's website. In addition to regional or national accreditation, some MBA pathways receive programmatic accreditation. Recognized programmatic accreditors for MBA programs include the Accreditation Council for Business Schools and Programs (ACBSP) and the International Accreditation Counsel for Business Education (IACBE).

  • Talk to current students and/or recent alumni

    You should contact the alumni office at each school you are considering and ask to be connected with former students. These individuals can be good sources of information about education costs, life on- and off-campus, local business tips, and other important details for aspiring MBA students.

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