Located in the heart of Appalachia, West Virginia is home to 1.8 million people. Major metropolitan centers in the north include Morgantown, Parkersburg, and Wheeling, while the most populous city and the state’s capital, Charleston, is found in the center of the state. West Virginia is also home to several top-notch public and private universities. In addition to West Virginia University (WVU) and its satellite schools West Virginia University Institute of Technology at Beckley and Potomac State, other schools in the state include Marshall University, West Virginia State, and the University of Charleston. These institutions offer competitive, cost-effective master’s degrees in business administration, both online and on-campus.
Two- and four-year institutions of higher education in West Virginia offer business, technical, and liberal arts degrees to students throughout the state. The major public institutions, West Virginia University and Marshall University, are located further north, with smaller public schools like the West Virginia University Institute of Technology and Bluefield State College further south. Private institutions like Bethany College, the University of Charleston, and Alderson Broaddus College are spread throughout the state.
WVU is a land-grant institution and remains committed to providing a practical, affordable education. The cost of living in Morgantown is 4% below the national average, making it an attractive place to live while studying. Five schools in the state offer online master’s degrees in business administration (MBA), including West Virginia University. Those who opt for distance learning options can decrease their cost of living expenses even further. This is particularly important for students living in the southern part of the state where there are no on-campus MBA programs offered. Prospective students should also note that online MBA programs at West Virginia public universities like Marshall University and West Virginia University require GMAT exam scores. However, many for-profit and private schools in the state do not.
|Percentage of Students Enrolled by Distance Education|
MBA Concentrations for West Virginia Students
Students that concentrate in one area of business or combine their business interests with other fields are well served at West Virginia schools. WVU offers three dual-degree programs, including a JD-MBA, a PharmD-MBA, and a nursing-MBA. A student enrolled in an online MBA program at WVU can also concentrate in subjects relevant to state industries and employment opportunities, such as energy finance, integrated marketing communications, or forensic accounting and fraud examination. The online MBA programs at Salem include concentrations in accounting, finance, management, and international business.
- Energy Finance: Intended for students who seek to work in the energy industry, this emphasis includes additional coursework in fields applicable to the field of energy including law, ethics, finance, risk management, and ethics.
- Management: Designed to provide advanced training in project management, problem solving, human resources, and finance for students who wish to work in management.
Accreditation in West Virginia
Institutions of higher education in West Virginia are accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC). The HLC is a regional accrediting body recognized by the Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA). Regional accreditation, while voluntary, allows for self-regulation and the maintenance of educational standards among institutions. In West Virginia, online MBAs are accredited through the schools from which they are offered. There are national and profession-based accrediting bodies, too; the former is granted to vocational and trade schools, while the latter is given to specific programs within schools. For example, Wheeling Jesuit University’s online MBA in West Virginia is accredited by the Associated Collegiate Business Schools and Programs (ACBSP), as are programs offered by Salem University, West Virginia University, and Marshall University.
An advanced degree in business administration opens up job opportunities for business career professionals, and offers opportunities to work in management and high-level positions in the corporate world. West Virginia has numerous business opportunities in its energy-based industries, and its medical and education fields.
West Virginia’s economy is largely based on manufacturing and energy, and these industries are thriving. In 2014, for example, manufacturing revenues accounted for more than $24 million of the state’s revenue. Major industries in West Virginia provide products and services to aerospace technology, automobiles, chemicals, metals, and energy. West Virginia businesses also work with international corporations and investors to foster growth, and require the expertise and know-how of those with an MBA to navigate complex business environments.
Since 2015, however, health care and social assistance industries have emerged as major employers. Medical fields, especially, accounted for increased employment in Charleston, WV in 2017. The education sector also has a large presence, with American Public Education, Inc. headquartered in West Virginia. In other words, the state offers many different industries for those with an MBA to meet their goals.
Top Employers in West Virginia
|Company||Industry||Headquarters City||Number of Employees|
|American Public Education, Inc.||Education||Charles Town||201-500|
|Special Metals Corporation||Mining||Huntington||500-1,000|
Business and industry in West Virginia provide plenty of employment opportunities for those earning an MBA. Earning potential depends upon the field one chooses and the degree-level a person holds, but the median household income in West Virginia is $41,751.
Business degrees at the associate and bachelor degree levels open doors to careers in accounting, finance, and management. Earning an on-campus or online MBA in West Virginia provides even more opportunities for career advancement, promotion, and increased income. As with many fields, the higher a degree one holds in business, the further a person can advance in their career. Similarly, one can earn a higher salary, receive management positions, and participate in upper-level decision-making and planning within their company or business. Those earning an on-campus or online MBA in West Virginia have opportunities to work at the highest corporate levels.
|Average Salary by Degree|
Careers for MBAs in West Virginia
- Human Resource Manager
Human resource managers plan, coordinate, and organize the administrative and hiring practices within a company. They work with company administration and corporate executives to provide a link between upper management and their employees.
- Financial Managers
Financial managers work within a company or organization to develop short- and long-term goals for financial success. They prepare reports, plan investments, and work with executives to plan for the whole of the company.
- Personal Finance Advisors
Personal finance advisors work with individuals to plan investments, retirement, savings, and tax-related activities. Personal finance advisors can be employed through a financial company or can be self-employed.
- Securities, Commodities, and Financial Sales Agent
Securities, commodities, and financial sales agents work with buyers and sellers to conduct financial market activities. They advise individuals and companies alike, selling securities to individuals and assisting companies to find investors.
- Top Executives
Top executives head companies of all sizes and kinds, coordinating strategies and plans for financial and commercial success. They work with managers and employees to set company or business goals and direct the overall direction of an organization.
Online MBA programs in West Virginia provide students with options for synchronous or asynchronous programs, and several schools offer hybrid programs, as well. All of the West Virginia online MBA programs in the state are offered through HLC accredited schools, and several hold additional professional accreditation. Online MBA programs at West Virginia University and Salem International University, specifically, provide students with options to focus on fields and industries tailored to career and job success in West Virginia.
|Rank||School||Location||Cost||Toggle||Logo||Tuition||% Receiving Financial Aid||Student Population||School Type||Description|
West Liberty University
|Location West Liberty, WV||Tuition||Tuition $13,500||% Receiving Financial Aid 60%||Student Population 2,341||School Type Public||
ConcentrationsView School Profile
West Virginia University
|Location Morgantown, WV||Tuition||Tuition $25,200||% Receiving Financial Aid 52%||Student Population 28,776||School Type Public||View School Profile|
Salem International University
|Location Salem, WV||Tuition||Tuition $51,480||% Receiving Financial Aid 83%||Student Population 681||School Type Private||
American Public University
|Location Charles Town, WV||Tuition||Tuition $13,650||% Receiving Financial Aid 82%||Student Population 52,361||School Type Private||
University of Charleston
|Location Charleston, WV||Tuition||Tuition $25,000||% Receiving Financial Aid 65%||Student Population 2,425||School Type Private||View School Profile|
There are many important considerations to make before settling on an online MBA program in West Virginia. 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.