Online MBA programs in Tennessee provide a convenient, flexible path to career growth and increased earning potential. Unlike a traditional MBA degree, online programs allow learners to complete coursework on a schedule that meets their professional and personal needs. Students earn an accelerated MBA in 12-18 months, while part-time learners complete their degree over several years.
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), nearly 170,000 individuals worked in management positions in Tennessee in 2018. Operations and financial managers and healthcare administrators dominate the field, working in positions requiring the business knowledge and skills imparted by an MBA program.
In 2015, 84% of distance learners in Tennessee lived in the same state as they attended school. Private and public institutions in Tennessee offer online MBAs to meet this demand for in-state schooling. The school information, program descriptions, and career data gathered here help prospective learners decide which online MBA in Tennessee would best suit them.
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Careers and Salaries for MBA Graduates in Tennessee
Employment trends in Tennessee's top industries bode well for students who earn online MBAs in Tennessee. Known for its music scene and record labels, Nashville's healthcare industry is the largest employer. Nashville's growth shows no signs of slowing down, and with HCA and Vanderbilt representing major employers, the city's healthcare industry is the state's fastest-growing field. Nashville's explosion over the past decade has accelerated the growth of healthcare administration, affecting the state's economic landscape.
In Memphis, FedEx rules the job market, employing MBA graduates in supply chain management and logistician roles. Chattanooga and Knoxville also offer employment opportunities in healthcare, supply chain management, and human resources. Online graduates who specialize their MBA degrees in one of those three fields qualify for jobs in any of Tennessee's four largest cities.
Over the next decade, earning an MBA in healthcare administration should be the best option for employment in Tennessee. If and when the boom period slows in Nashville, MBA students can reevaluate the best specialization for them.
|Company||Location||Main Industry||Number of Employees|
|HCA Healthcare Inc.||Nashville||Healthcare||35,000|
|Vanderbilt University and Hospital||Nashville||Higher Education, Healthcare||20,000|
Source: Career One Stop
Earning an MBA in healthcare administration, supply chain management, or human resources should help students earn jobs at one of the three companies listed above. In addition to HCA and the Vanderbilt Hospital, Nashville houses several other large healthcare companies. Even MBA-holders who do not earn jobs at one of those three companies can still find plenty of opportunities in the Volunteer State.
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Careers for MBA Grads in Tennessee
Healthcare administrators -- essential to the business operations of hospitals, residential care facilities, public health agencies, and related groups -- enjoy a host of employment opportunities in Tennessee. Six out of the state's top 10 employers provide healthcare services.
Also known as medical and health services managers, healthcare administrators in Tennessee can expect a 25% growth rate in employment from 2016-2026. Major metropolitan areas such as Nashville and Knoxville offer the highest salaries for healthcare administrators.
Online MBA programs in Tennessee prepare healthcare administrators to oversee budgets, implement policies and regulations, and supervise medical and office staff. Future healthcare administrators benefit from specialized MBA degrees, building additional expertise in topics such as healthcare information systems and healthcare law.
Also called supply chain managers, logisticians oversee the movement of a good or service from supplier to consumer. Supply chain managers supervise purchasing, transportation, inventory, and delivery processes, coordinating with suppliers, workers, and clients.
Top Tennessee employers like FedEx and Eastman Chemical Company -- located in Memphis and Kingsport, respectively -- need logisticians to coordinate product movement. Experts project a 13% job growth rate for supply chain managers in Tennessee from 2016-2026.
Supply chain managers in Tennessee earned an annual median salary of $74,130 as of 2018. In major metropolitan areas like Chattanooga, home to an Amazon Fulfillment Center, supply chain managers earned an annual median salary of just under $90,000.
Human resource managers serve as intermediaries among employees, management, and executive staff. They oversee the recruitment, interviewing, and hiring processes alongside benefit programs and regulatory compliance. Present in businesses and organizations of all sizes, human resource managers can expect a projected 20% increase in Tennessee job growth from 2016-2026. Far above the national estimated growth of just 7%, this indicates booming career opportunities in the state.
Online MBA programs in Tennessee include general managerial coursework to prepare human resource managers for their roles. Degree concentrations in human resources further enhance knowledge and skills in business communication, human resource economics, and organizational behavior.
Top executives can expect a national decline in occupations from 2016-2026, while Tennessee should see an estimated 5% growth rate during that time period. Chief executives develop strategies for organizational success, working with colleagues to implement policies and procedures.
Top executives may specialize in financial operations or information technology, or they might supervise general business operations. Tennessee's chief executives rank among the state's top-paying occupations, earning an annual median wage of nearly $130,000 in 2018. Top executives in Knoxville and Chattanooga, Tennessee, earned annual median salaries approaching $160,000 during the same time period.
Market research analysts research, monitor, and forecast based on marketing and sales trends. They administer questionnaires and interviews and work with focus groups to gain insight into consumer needs. By collecting data on marketing programs and strategies, market research analysts propose changes and improvements to current practices.
Through MBA programs, marketing research professionals build theoretical and technical skills to engage and understand consumers. In Tennessee, market research analysts and marketing specialists rank among the fastest-growing occupations. An estimated 35% growth rate from 2016-2026 for this occupation highlights the need for individuals with communication skills, managerial training, data collection experience, and customer service acumen.
MBA Concentrations for Tennessee Students
Online MBAs in Tennessee blend theoretical and technical coursework in business fundamentals. Students take classes in management, marketing, finance, and related topics to grow their careers. Many programs include specializations, allowing learners to delve into a subset of the field to meet their professional goals.
Considering Tennessee's strong healthcare industry, students completing online MBAs in the state can pursue specialized degrees in healthcare administration. Concentrations in supply chain management, engineering, and marketing benefit learners pursuing careers with top employers like FedEx, Nissan, or Gulfstream Aircraft.
To learn more about MBA concentrations, their applicability, and how the expand leadership opportunities, check out the MBA soecialization hub.
Tennessee's Online MBA Programs
Specific MBA curricula may vary, but finding an accredited MBA program ensures academic rigor, faculty excellence, and strong learning outcomes. Online MBA programs in Tennessee, sampled below, incorporate coursework in business principles, management, marketing, and related topics.
Colleges and universities hold national or regional accreditation. Departments and programs may also hold programmatic accreditation through a specialized organization or agency. There are three accrediting bodies for business programs: the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools and Businesses, the Accreditation Council for Business Schools and Programs, and the International Council for Business Education.
To find out more about these bodies and the importance of accreditation, refer to the MBA Accreditation guide.
Top 10 Online MBA Programs in Tennessee
Bryan College is a non-denominational, Christian-affiliated liberal arts college based in Dayton, Tennessee. The school offers one of the best MBAs in Tennessee. The program allows students to choose between specializations, such as healthcare administration, sports management, ministry, marketing, and human resources. Students generally complete the program's 36-credit curriculum in 18 months. Aiming for flexibility and convenience, the program delivers all coursework asynchronously and offers nine-week accelerated courses.
As a private college, Bryan charges all online learners the same per-credit tuition regardless of location. The MBA program's core curriculum includes studies in key business areas, such as strategic marketing, ethics, and managerial economics. All students must take a course on the biblical worldview as it pertains to management. The curriculum does not include a thesis or a capstone experience. The program holds accreditation from the International Assembly for Collegiate Business Education.
Jefferson City, TN
A Baptist-affiliated liberal arts school based in Johnson City, Tennessee, Carson-Newman University offers multiple distance learning programs, including one of the stronger online MBA in Tennessee. Primarily serving the needs of working professionals, the MBA program offers a 10-course, 30-credit generalist track and a 12-course, 36-credit track that allows students to choose a specialization. Students generally complete the program in 11 to 16 months by taking one course at a time.
Each semester consists of three, five-week courses, and coursework is delivered asynchronously. Students do not need to visit campus to complete the degree. The program allows transfer students to bring up to nine approved credits with them and prefers applicants who earned a minimum 2.5 undergraduate GPA. The program considers GMAT scores optional.
Located less than an hour outside of Nashville in Lebanon, Tennessee, Cumberland University's online MBA in Tennessee earns a spot among the school's distance learning offerings. The program requires students to complete 36 credits, a process that they can complete within a year. The curriculum offers concentrations in healthcare administration, entrepreneurship, services, educational leadership, and general business.
Unlike some other programs, Cumberland's MBA curriculum allows students the option to write a thesis. The program offers some of the curriculum online and asynchronously and some through blended learning. As such, the program typically, but not always, includes some on-campus requirements. All applicants to the program must submit evidence of a minimum 2.5 undergraduate GPA. While the school does not require an undergraduate business background, students with an unrelated degree must complete a foundations MBA course in addition to the rest of the curriculum.
A private, Churches of Christ-affiliated college based in Henderson, Tennessee, Freed-Hardeman University primarily focuses on undergraduate and residential programs. The school offers some of its programs through distance learning; however. including an MBA. FHU's MBA program offers an accelerated format, with each course lasting eight weeks. Students can complete the program's 30-credit curriculum within a calendar year; including a capstone in strategic management and coursework in finance, economics, accounting, and decision-making.
The program delivers all online coursework asynchronously and never requires students to visit campus. The MBA curriculum prepares graduates for the CPA exam. Students who do not hold an undergraduate degree may also enroll in a dual BBA/MBA program at FHU. As a private university, FHU charges all online students the same tuition regardless of location.
Based outside of Knoxville in Kimberlin Heights, Tennessee, Johnson University offers a Christ-centered education, as the school maintains an affiliation with the Christian Restoration Movement. Johnson's online MBA in Tennessee includes both missional concerns and biblical teachings. The MBA program's 36-credit curriculum allows students to choose concentrations in leadership, nonprofit administration, and business administration. Regardless of concentration, students never need to visit campus in Knoxville or attend classes at set times, since the program delivers all coursework asynchronously.
Johnson University of Tennessee's MBA cost also holds up to the competition, as the school offers the same low, per-credit tuition rate to all students regardless of location. The program offers several merit-based and need-based scholarships in addition to sustainable financial aid opportunities, such as work-studies and federal grants.
A private, Evangelical Presbyterian-affiliated university based in Bristol, on the Tennessee/Virginia border, King University specializes in graduate programs in education, nursing, and business. As such, King's graduate business program awards a great online MBA in Tennessee. The program prefers applicants with two years of professional business experience. As a result, the program focuses on advanced studies in topics such as project management, problem solving, and business communications. All students choose a concentration in either project management, management information systems, marketing, healthcare management, general management, or human resources management.
The program delivers all online coursework asynchronously and never requires students to visit campus. The program differentiates itself from its peers through its use of the case method, a four-step process that involves reading a case study, proposing action, discussing with peers and a professor, and evaluating the critical thinking that went into the decision.
Affiliated with the Pentecostal Church of God, Lee University operates a central campus in Cleveland, Tennessee. The university also offers several degrees through distance learning, including an option for an online MBA in Tennessee. Lee's hybrid MBA degree allows students to choose between on-campus or asynchronous online courses. The program does not include any on-campus or in-person requirements and students may earn their degrees entirely online. Students typically finish the 32-credit curriculum in 20 months, which includes studies in organizational theory, management, and accounting.
Ninety percent of students in the program continue to work full time while pursuing their degree. All applicants must submit GMAT scores and evidence of an undergraduate GPA of at least 3.0. Transfer students may bring up to six approved credits with them.
Lincoln Memorial University
Located in the city of Harrogate, Tennessee, just outside of the Cumberland Gap National Historical Park, Lincoln Memorial University takes its name from the 16th U.S. president. The school primarily focuses on professional and graduate education and offers one of the strongest MBAs in Tennessee. The MBA program allows students to choose between completing the program entirely online, asynchronously, and without in-person requirements or completing the program through blended learning. Regardless of completion method, graduates complete between 30 and 36 credits and choose between a generalist track or specializations in marketing, management, or sport management.
LMU also offers dual degree options for students who want to pursue degrees in veterinary or osteopathic medicine while earning their MBA. While the MBA program does not list standardized test requirements, all applicants must earn a cumulative undergraduate GPA of at least 2.75.
Southern Adventist University
A private college affiliated with the Seventh-day Adventist Church, Southern Adventist University operates its central campus just outside of Chattanooga in Collegedale, Tennessee. The school serves students across the state and the nation through its online MBA degree. The MBA program curriculum consists of 36 credits, including studies in foundational business, such as financial management, organizational behavior, and leadership. Students who enroll in the program's accounting, management, and healthcare specializations can earn their degree without visiting the campus through asynchronous coursework.
All applicants to the MBA program must have an undergraduate GPA of at least 3.0. Students with a GPA of 3.25 or five years of work experience can be exempt from the program's GMAT requirement. In addition to business, SAU excels in healthcare. The school's dual MSN/MBA degree is a good option for students interested in both fields.
Tennessee Technological University
Based about an hour and a half outside of Nashville in Cookeville, Tennessee, Tennessee Technological University offers a good option for an online MBA in Tennessee. The school's "Hybrid, Industry Immersed MBA program" combines online, asynchronous coursework with monthly "superdays" in which students spend time learning at local businesses, including redpepper in Nashville. The program runs on a cohort model, with students completing the same sequence of coursework with the same group of peers.
The school also offers entirely online and entirely on-campus tracks for their MBA program, though these options do not include the industry immersion days. In all cases, the MBA curriculum consists of 30 credits of foundational business courses, including financial management, strategic marketing, and organizational leadership. Students can also choose a concentration in human resources management, international business, and finance.
Tennessee Wesleyan College
A private, Methodist-affiliated liberal arts school based in Athens, Tennessee, Tennessee Wesleyan University excels in programs for working professionals. The school currently offers an online MBA in Tennessee. The MBA program allows students to earn their degrees without ever visiting any of Wesleyan's campuses, although students interested in blended learning or a hybrid format can also opt to take some evening courses at the school's Knoxville campus.
The program's curriculum offers concentrations in management and accounting. The accounting concentration integrates with the Becker Professional Education CPA review program. The MBA curriculum consists of 30 credits, about 10 courses, and delivers coursework asynchronously. Core coursework includes studies in strategic management, sustainability, and marketing theory. Full-time students in the program earn their degrees within a year, while part-time students generally finish in about two years.
The University of Tennessee-Chattanooga
One of the three campuses of the University of Tennessee system, UTC offers several distance learning options, including one of an online MBA in Tennessee. Catering primarily to working professionals, the MBA program never requires students to visit campus and delivers all coursework asynchronously. Students in the program can choose a generalist track or a concentration in business analytics or healthcare administration. Regardless of the concentration, students in the program typically finish in 24 months. Core coursework in all tracks includes marketing, accounting, organizational behavior, and decision-making.
The program boasts accreditation from the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business, a distinction that only five percent of business schools earn nationwide. UTC is one of the only schools in the region to hold that honor.
The University of Tennessee-Martin
One of three schools in the University of Tennessee System, UT Martin is one of the only institutions of higher learning in West Tennessee. Students everywhere can benefit from the UT Martin MBA program, a great online MBA in Tennessee. The program caters to working professionals and all applicants must demonstrate two years of post-bachelor's work experience for admission. For that reason, the program delivers coursework asynchronously and eliminates in-person requirements so students may stay employed while in school.
The program runs on a cohort model, with each cohort graduating in 20 to 21 months. Program coursework includes studies in managerial economics, marketing strategy, and operations management, among other core business areas. Prospective students with seven years of work experience and an undergraduate GPA of at least 3.0 receive a waiver from the program's GMAT or GRE scores requirement.
Trevecca Nazarene University
Located in Nashville's Chestnut Hill neighborhood, Trevecca provides a liberal arts education grounded in Nazarene values. The school now offers several of its programs online, including an online MBA in Tennessee. Trevecca Nazarene University's online MBA program provides flexibility by delivering coursework asynchronously and eliminating application fees, in-person requirements, and standardized testing requirements. Students may choose a specialization in healthcare administration, project management, information technology, human resources, or management and leadership.
The curriculum consists of 13 total courses and includes core studies in business ethics, marketing management, and business analytics, among other topics. The program runs on a cohort model, providing each student with peer support. Students complete one course at a time. The MBA degree also features a professional mentoring program where students connect with successful businessmen and businesswomen in the Nashville area.
Located in Jackson, Tennessee, Union University is a Baptist-affiliated Evangelical Christian school. The school operates satellite campuses in the Tennessee cities of Hendersonville and Germantown and offers several programs online, including an online MBA in Tennessee. Union's MBA program delivers coursework synchronously, with students in each cohort meeting online once a week for virtual courses. Each course lasts for eight weeks, and students can complete the program in 12, 18, or 24 months depending on how many courses they complete per term. The program does not include in-person requirements.
Students in the program can choose a concentration in marketing, leadership, human resources management, or accounting. All applicants to the program must submit GMAT scores. The program offers five start dates throughout the academic year. Union's MBA program holds accreditation from the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business, an award earned by less than five percent of business schools worldwide.
One of the Volunteer State flagship schools, the University of Memphis, now locally governed, primarily focuses on research. Nevertheless, the school offers several professionally-focused programs, including an online MBA degree. The MBA program has a generalist approach and the 33-credit curriculum does not include any concentrations. The curriculum includes coursework in foundational areas such as finance, management, and economics.
The program delivers coursework through both synchronous and asynchronous methods. The MBA admissions committee accepts students for the spring, summer, and fall terms. All applicants must submit GRE or GMAT scores. The university does not list a minimum GPA for applicants. The MBA program holds accreditation from the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business, a distinction conferred upon less than one out of every 20 business schools worldwide.
How to Choose a Quality MBA Program
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