Corporate employers widely consider MBAs as the gold-standard qualification for senior management and C-suite executive positions. These professionals command high salaries, putting Florida at a significant advantage, given its lack of state-level income tax.
A 2019 Kiplinger analysis cited Florida as having the third-best job growth rate in the United States. Kiplinger counted business services — a sector that employs MBA degree-holders in large numbers — among the occupations with the Sunshine State’s fastest growth rates.
Cutting-edge curricula, abundant networking opportunities, strong access to job recruitment pipelines, and opportunities to work with acclaimed instructors bolster an MBA’s value.
Business schools continue to innovate and add long-term value to their MBA programs. Cutting-edge curricula, abundant networking opportunities, strong access to job recruitment pipelines, and opportunities to work with acclaimed instructors bolster an MBA’s value. MBA programs also build versatile, transferable skill sets.
According to PayScale data from 2021, an MBA degree-holder can expect to earn 46% more than most Floridians. This guide introduces the top online MBAs in Florida and provides detailed information on what to expect from a graduate business program.
Online MBA Programs for You
Grow your career, leadership, and business acumen with an accredited online MBA program.
Why Get an Online MBA in Florida?
The top online MBA programs in Florida deliver strong career opportunities and earning potential for graduates. Most candidates already know that MBAs tend to command high salaries, but these degrees have more to offer than money. Other benefits include:
MBA programs deliver adaptable abilities within business management contexts, allowing degree-holders to pursue many careers. These benefits extend to learners pursuing specialized MBAs, as most MBA concentrations remain relevant across industries and sectors.
Direct Access to Employers and Jobs
The best online MBA programs in Florida support student career development with recruitment campaigns and other employer-focused partnerships. These valuable opportunities can fast-track graduates’ success in the job market while delivering stronger returns on educational investment.
Upward Career Mobility
Many learners pursue MBAs during their mid-career years to accelerate their advancement potential. MBAs help ambitious professionals break through barriers to achieve prestigious senior-level positions.
Enrolling in an online MBA in Florida offers multiple additional advantages, including a strong presence of Fortune 500 employers. The 2020 edition of the annual Fortune 500 list included 18 corporations headquartered in Florida, with even more companies maintaining offices and operations in the state.
Florida also features relatively low tuition rates. According to the National Center for Education Statistics, the typical cost of attending a Florida public college was more than 25% lower than the national average, while the state’s private schools were an average of 12.5% cheaper.
What To Expect From Florida’s Online MBA Programs
Online MBA programs in Florida cater to busy professionals working toward graduate degrees in their spare time. Their flexible structures and asynchronous course delivery models support customization, often shortening typical graduation timelines. Most programs lead to graduation in 1-3 years of full-time study, with two years as the typical pathway.
Most programs require MBA candidates to earn a minimum of 30-36 credits, or 10-12 semester-long courses, to qualify for graduation. Students encounter classes in three forms: required courses that form the program’s core; electives that deliver specialized learning opportunities; and culminating experiences, such as capstone or thesis projects.
Along with classroom-based programs, Florida’s business schools support fully online and hybrid/blended delivery models. All three formats deliver a complete set of MBA concentrations and specializations, with some schools offering accelerated programs.
All schools set distinct MBA admission standards, but a few requirements apply in practically all cases. An applicant to a Florida online MBA typically needs a four-year bachelor’s degree from an accredited institution. Many institutions admit candidates from non-business backgrounds, but these candidates may need to complete foundational prerequisites before proceeding into the MBA program with full standing.
GPA minimums usually fall in the 3.0-3.3 range but vary among institutions, with some Florida schools forgoing the requirement entirely. Some programs look for GRE or GMAT scores. Many colleges and universities employ test-free admissions policies for all applicants or individuals with high grades or extensive levels of professional experience.
Most business schools look favorably upon applicants with strong employment histories, often preferring individuals with 3-5 years of experience. Professional recommendations, personal statements, and resumes or CVs round out the list of common admission materials.
Online schools in Florida offer a complete set of MBA specializations in two broad categories: traditional concentrations and emerging, innovative alternatives.
Traditional concentrations cover focuses like accounting, finance, supply chain management, healthcare management, and international business. These specialties appeal to learners seeking to balance specialized education with career versatility. Innovative alternatives feature stronger focuses on emerging economic sectors and novel business concepts. Examples include MBAs in machine learning, cybersecurity, information technology, and environmental management.
Other concentration options straddle the two categories. Agribusiness management, human resource management, project management, and innovation and entrepreneurship offer common examples. These are not novel concepts in business, but schools have only recently begun offering MBA concentrations focusing on them.
Non-specialized MBA programs lead to generalist degrees. Generalist programs typically offer customization options through electives. These programs develop a common set of core proficiencies that apply to business management in practically all industries.
MBA coursework varies widely, especially when comparing generalist and concentrated programs. However, most schools cover a similar set of essential concepts in their required courses, including:
Students usually encounter this required course during their first year. Instructors introduce the fundamentals of business finance, focusing on the ways investors and managers determine the value of assets.
Enrollees engage with historical and contemporary perspectives on business strategy, prioritizing standard, well-established concepts before considering innovative alternatives. Degree-seekers learn to quickly identify and contextualize the defining features of common marketplace strategies.
This course emphasizes concepts that business executives use to evaluate and resolve common organizational challenges. Course modules focus on human resource management, supply chain management, and quality assurance.
Management and executive roles require finely tuned leadership qualities. This course surveys the tools effective leaders use to influence the choices and actions of employees and inspire them to pursue higher levels of achievement.
The MBA Capstone or Thesis
Online MBAs in Florida typically build toward culminating projects. Capstone courses can occupy a single semester or take place across a student’s final year. Programs including experiential learning opportunities, such as internships and field placements, usually position the capstone to occur after these components. Students draw on their practical knowledge to design and execute their projects.
Most capstones require each enrollee to identify and solve specific theoretical or real-world business problems. Some schools depart from convention by requiring learners to complete their projects in teams.
More rarely, a thesis serves as a program’s culminating experience. Thesis projects require the synthesized application of previous coursework, prompting students to perform original academic research on a topic rather than solve a particular problem.
Many factors influence the cost of an MBA in Florida, including learning format, the student’s residency status, and the institution type (public or private). Generally, online learners, Florida residents, and learners at public institutions benefit from the most affordable tuition rates.
Tuition rates vary widely among Florida MBA schools. Recent data suggests the most affordable MBAs start as low as $10,000 for the entire program and rise as high as $60,000 or more. Average rates fall in the $15,000-$30,000 range, but remember: the “sticker price” tells only part of the story.
Florida’s cost of living aligns with national averages, but online programs do not require physical relocation, so this figure may not apply to most students. Regardless, financial aid options play a significant role in making MBAs more affordable. Scholarships, bursaries, fellowships, grants, and student loans represent the most common aid options.
An MBA unlocks doors to corporate upper management and C-suite executive roles. Entrepreneurs also benefit from advanced business administration studies, as they teach essential strategic and organizational management skills that have valuable applications in practically all industries and economic sectors.
A 2019 Business Insider article profiled the 30 highest-paying jobs in Florida. Of the 18 non-medical career paths profiled in the piece, eight were open to candidates with MBA degrees. Completing an online MBA in Florida can fast-track ambitious learners into rewarding careers in as little as one year.
Examples of popular, prestigious, and lucrative jobs available to MBA degree-holders include:
Marketing managers lead advertising and promotions departments, identifying ways to increase market share and drive consumer interest. They also handle product positioning and branding in an industry context.
Required Education: MBA (marketing concentration preferred)
Also known as general managers, these professionals supervise cross-departmental business operations, maximizing their cost efficiency and ensuring their optimal alignment with organizational objectives.
Required Education: MBA (management concentration preferred)
Hospital administrators oversee budgeting, planning, policy, and resource management in hospitals and care facilities. This specialized position applies particularly to Florida, given the state’s popularity as a destination for older and retired people.
Required Education: MBA (healthcare administration concentration strongly preferred or required)
COVID-19 has heavily affected Florida’s economy, along with most other U.S. regions. However, economists and experts remain optimistic that Florida will recover relatively quickly and return to its pre-pandemic outlook, which received a top 10 national ranking from U.S. News & World Report.
As of May 2019, BLS data indicated that business and financial operations occupations accounted for about 5.7% of all jobs in Florida. Management occupations were close behind at approximately 5.4%. These robust figures demonstrate strong employment opportunities in the Sunshine State for job-seekers with MBAs.
Regarding specific careers, BLS reports that Florida employs general and operations managers, human resource managers, healthcare and hospital managers, personal financial advisors, and entertainment and recreation managers in particularly large numbers. Each of these careers paid average annual salaries exceeding $100,000 as of May 2019.
Florida continues to enjoy high popularity among retirees, ranking as one of the top tourism and entertainment destinations in the United States. Given these trends, MBA candidates intent on working in the state may prefer programs with specialized course content in healthcare management, media and entertainment, or marketing.
The following Florida employers hire MBA degree-holders:
Top MBA Employers in Florida
Based in the Miami-area suburb of Juno Beach, NextEra Energy employs approximately 14,000 people across the United States and Canada. This publicly traded energy conglomerate generates about $17 billion per year and regularly hires MBA degree-holders in finance, operations, and strategic capacities.
Wellcare Health Plans
Tampa-based Wellcare Health Plans operates in the healthcare sector and provides managed health insurance and prescription drug plans to more than 4.4 million people through Medicare and Medicaid. Wellcare Health Plans hires many women (61.2% of its workforce) and people of color (44.5%).
Tech Data Corporation
Clearwater-based Tech Data Corporation offers a strong fit for job-seekers with general or specialized MBA degrees. Its employee base of about 14,000 members includes MBA degree-holders with technological and non-technological concentrations. The company maintains partnerships with Google, Apple, IBM, Microsoft, Samsung, and other major technology companies and consumer electronics manufacturers.
Selecting Your Florida MBA Program
Ranked lists offer a convenient way to compare leading programs at a glance. However, the methodologies used to compile them usually prioritize a relatively narrow set of factors, some of which may not apply to your situation. As such, education experts stress the importance of performing your own research. Consider factors such as:
Program flexibility, including accelerated or decelerated learning options
Program costs, the availability of financial aid, post-graduation job placement rates, and average salaries earned by program graduates
The availability of rare or particularly desirable MBA specializations
Job recruitment programs and strong relationships with local employers
Experiential learning opportunities, such as field placements, practicums, work-study programs, and internships
Regardless of the evaluation criteria you prioritize, always ensure that each prospective school holds regional accreditation. Voluntary endorsements from specialized programmatic accrediting agencies are also valuable.
Why You Should You Consider Online Schools in Florida
Online education continued to grow in popularity even before COVID-19, and the pandemic has vastly accelerated its adoption rates. MBA programs translate particularly well to the virtual classroom. The flexibility of online learning appeals to busy professionals upgrading their education while maintaining employment.
Higher education in Florida tends to cost less than many other states, and many Florida schools feature fixed, flat tuition rates available to all online learners, regardless of their location. The best online MBA programs in Florida tend to deliver superior educational investment returns.
Despite its advantages, online learning is not for everyone. Some people struggle to maintain self-discipline and focus in these highly independent learning environments, while others simply prefer the traditional classroom experience. Virtual classrooms can impact the depth, quality, and frequency of faculty and peer interactions.
Before committing to online learning, conduct an honest assessment of your learning style and preferences. Many people new to internet-based education also find value in trying it out for a course or two before fully investing in online education.
Yes. Online MBAs carry every bit as much prestige and value as in-person degrees, and employers make no distinction between the two learning formats. Most institutions do not indicate online vs. on-campus delivery of degrees when awarding diplomas.
How much does an MBA cost in Florida?
Total tuition costs for a Florida MBA start around $10,000 and rise to $60,000 or more. Most fall in the range of $15,000-$30,000.
Is getting an MBA online worth it?
Yes. Education experts widely consider an MBA as one of the most valuable degrees a student can earn, both in terms of employability and earning potential. Flexible program structures make it convenient for working professionals to earn their MBAs online.
How long do online MBA programs take?
Schools usually configure their MBA curricula to lead to graduation in the equivalent of about two academic years of full-time study. Some MBA programs feature accelerated structures that shorten timelines, but many online learners attend school part-time, leading to graduation in 3-5 years.
2021’s 15 Best Online MBA Programs in Florida
Our ranking of the best online MBA programs in Florida lists affordable, accredited distance-learning programs. This ranking features the 10 best programs for 2021, highlighting current data and information to help learners find the right school.
All the programs in our rankings hold national or regional accreditation. Business programs often hold additional programmatic accreditation. The schools on our list are accredited by at least one of the following agencies:
Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC)
Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB)
Accreditation Council for Business Schools and Programs (ACBSP)
International Accreditation Council for Business Education (IACBE)
UF's Warrington College of Business houses the Hough Graduate School of Business, which offers several MBA options. In addition to on-campus MBA programs, students can pursue a one- or two-year online MBA.
The one-year accelerated online MBA at UF, one of the few programs of its kind, requires students to hold a bachelor's in business that fulfills undergraduate prerequisite courses in fields like accounting, finance, and management.
The two-year program caters to learners who earned their undergraduate degree no more than seven years prior, and who hold at least two years of work experience.
Both programs include optional on-campus residencies and fieldwork that students can substitute with online coursework.
Applying to UF
Students must submit a resume, transcripts, official GMAT or GRE scores, several short answer and essay questions, and two professional recommendations.
Program at a Glance
School Type: Public Accreditation: SACSCOC, AACSB Tuition: $48,000/program (1-year program); $58,000/program (2-year program) Required Credits: 32 credits (1-year program); 48 credits (2-year program) Program Length: 1-2 years Delivery Format: Online with some in-person requirements
The University of Miami opened in Coral Gables, Florida in 1926. Today, UM runs three campuses and offers more than 340 academic programs. UM's student body of more than 17,800 includes nearly 1,000 graduate business students.
UM's online MBA program employs the same rigorous, high-quality curriculum as its on-campus counterpart in an accessible, flexible format. The same knowledgeable and experienced professors teach both online and on-campus courses.
The program features 13-15 required courses comprising 42-51 credit hours, depending on the concentration. Students typically complete the program in 24-28 months of study, taking one course at a time in seven-week terms.
Students can choose from four program focuses: the professional MBA, the corporate finance focus, the financial decision-making focus, and the accounting practice focus. Each track features optional on-campus residencies.
UM's MBA Specializations
Professional | Corporate Finance | Financial Decision-Making | Accounting Practice
Applying to UM
Students must create an online account and build an academic profile. Then, they must request two letters of recommendation and upload a resume and a personal statement. Applicants must submit official transcripts. The school does not require GMAT scores.
Florida Atlantic University opened in 1964 in Boca Raton, Florida. Serving as the fifth public university in the state, FAU now enrolls more than 30,000 students in over 170 academic programs. FAU offers multiple scenic campuses around the state, and has 19 NCAA Division I athletic teams.
FAU offers a fully online MBA composed of 40-46 credits. Students take courses in eight-week terms and may waive the six foundational credits if they completed equivalent courses in the last five years.
The program offers learners several concentrations to tailor their degree to their interests, including finance, hospitality and tourism management, and health administration. The core curriculum features 28 credit hours, covering topics in financial management, global business strategy, and leadership and organizations.
FAU offers the same tuition rate for all online MBA students, regardless of residency. They also have payment plans and funding assistance options for students who self-pay.
FAU's MBA Specializations
Hospitality and Tourism Management | Finance | Operations Management | International Business | Business Analytics | Management Information Systems | Health Administration | Marketing | Sport Management | Accounting
Applying to FAU
Applicants must submit a current resume, transcripts, two letters of recommendation, and GRE or GMAT scores. Some applicants may qualify for a GMAT/GRE waiver. Applicants must hold a bachelor's degree and at least four years of professional experience.
Program at a Glance
School Type: Public Accreditation: SACSCOC, AACSB Tuition: $800/credit hour Required Credits: 40-46 credits Program Length: 16-23 months Delivery Format: 100% online
The oldest private college in the state, Florida Southern College originally opened in Orlando as the South Florida Institute. Today, Florida Southern enrolls more than 3,500 students while keeping class sizes small, with a 14-to-1 student-to-faculty ratio.
The online MBA offered at Florida Southern uniquely emphasizes cross-industry learning, encouraging learners to explore a variety of areas and gain hands-on business experience. The AACSB-accredited program takes 12-24 months to complete.
The curriculum includes case studies, allowing learners to provide real-time, real-world support and guidance for clients. Students can also participate in an international field experience. All students work directly with an executive mentor.
Graduates from Florida Southern's MBA program have gone on to work for Fortune 500 firms throughout Florida and the U.S., including Amazon, Walt Disney, and MetLife.
Florida Southern's MBA Specializations
Business Analytics | CPA Licensure | Institutional and Organizational Psychology | Supply Chain Management
Applying to Florida Southern
Applicants must submit official undergraduate transcripts, GRE or GMAT scores, a current resume, a personal statement of professional goals, and a letter of reference. Applicants must hold a minimum 3.0 undergraduate GPA.
Program at a Glance
School Type: Private Accreditation: SACSCOC, AACSB Tuition: $1,035/credit hour Required Credits: 33 credits Program Length: 12-24 months Delivery Format: 100% online or hybrid
Southeastern University, a Christian college based in Lakeland, Florida, originally opened in 1935. As one of the fastest-growing liberal arts colleges in the country, SEU has seen a 215% increase in student enrollment since 2010.
SEU offers a fully online MBA with a faith-centered core curriculum designed to prepare learners to integrate their faith into their business practices. The program offers four concentrations, including one in missional leadership. This specialization is ideal for students who want to work in church leadership, faith-based organizations, and nonprofits.
The MBA core curriculum features courses in marketing management, ethics, stewardship, and the legal environment of business, and leadership philosophy. Students then pursue courses related to their chosen concentration, totaling 36-39 credit hours, depending on the track.
Students complete coursework on a flexible schedule, taking classes in eight-week terms.
Applicants must hold a bachelor's degree with a minimum 3.0 GPA and submit official transcripts. Students without prior relevant academic background may be required to take an additional nine credits of foundational coursework. Students also submit two reference letters, a current resume, and a writing sample answering an essay prompt.