In 2018, Florida's economy topped $1 trillion, making it the 17th largest economy in the world. Considering its large tourism industry, the state's economic strength is no surprise. With its sandy beaches, crystal-clear waters and eight amusement parks, Florida depends on tourism to drive its economy more than any other state. This is why the Sunshine State needs hospitality and tourism professionals to help its business environment continue to grow.
In addition to hospitality and tourism professionals, Florida relies on innovation and entrepreneurship to drive business and job growth. Startups based in Florida such as Nearpod, an interactive classroom tool for teachers, and JetSmarter, a mobile community for shared and private flights, work with a variety of forward-thinking business professionals to fuel their growth.
Larger corporations such as ADT, Darden Restaurants, and the Home Shopping Network are headquartered in Florida as well. These corporations also count on business professionals such as sales representatives, marketing analysts, and human resource professionals who have graduated from the best business colleges in Florida to increase profitability and run efficiently.
However, in most cases, you can't just jump into one of these positions unprepared. Business, especially big business, is a field that requires both skills and knowledge to run properly. The online business programs Florida colleges offer can be a convenient, comprehensive way to earn the education these career opportunities require.
3 Facts about Business in Florida
Many finance, insurance, and professional services firms are drawn to Florida because of its large market, favorable tax climate, and business-friendly legislation. There are approximately 130,000 of these firms in the state, employing nearly 900,000 Florida residents.
The real estate industry in Florida has been growing steadily over the past few years. This is particularly true in South Florida, where luxury home sales have been increasing. Due to the growth in this industry, real estate agents as well as appraisers, brokers and and mortgage consultants are in demand in the Sunshine State.
Walt Disney World in Orlando depends on its hospitality professionals to operate smoothly. As the largest single-site employer in the country, it spends more than $1.2 on payroll and $474 million on benefits each year for about 66,000 of its employees.
Most Popular Business Degrees in Florida
Below is our ranking of the most popular business degrees in Florida, based off how many degrees of each type were awarded by Florida schools in the 2017-18 school year.
Below is our ranking of the most popular Business degrees in Florida, based off how many degrees of each type were awarded by Florida schools in the 2017-18 school year.
How to pick a business major that's best for you?
There are a variety of business majors students can pursue at the best business colleges in Florida. Since Florida is a major gateway for merchandise trade between North America, Latin America and the Caribbean, students who enjoy interacting with individuals from different countries and cultures may consider majoring in international business.
Those who are extroverts and like working with people may consider a hospitality major, which could help them pursue a career at Walt Disney World, SeaWorld, Universal Studios, LegoLand or another attraction that brings many tourists to the state.
Students who are out-of-box thinkers and interested in a flexible career path may benefit from majoring in marketing at one of the online business schools in Florida. Upon graduation, they may be able to help produce commercials at an Florida-based ad agency like D2MFP or to work in public relations at a PR firm such as Duree & Company.
Best Online Business Schools in Florida
This ranking of the best online business schools in Florida is designed to help prospective students select an online business school that aligns with their interests and career aspirations. Data from the National Center of Education Statistics (NCES) was used to formulate our list.
All schools featured on our list are accredited by an official agency that is recognized by the state of Florida. Each also features at least one degree or certificate program in a business-related discipline that is taught in an online or hybrid format.
No matter what kind of online business program you're looking for, Florida International University probably offers it. From marketing to real estate, from hospitality to finance, from health services administration to supply chain management, FIU covers it all. Several of the university's programs even have options for specialization, such as the online bachelor's in hospitality management, with tracks such as:
- Event management
- Hotel lodging management
- Restaurant and food service management
- Travel and tourism management
Another particularly notable business program at FIU is the online MBA in healthcare. This program includes three residencies that can help students to enhance their professional skills, earn a Lean Six Sigma certification, and network with faculty and senior healthcare executives.
If you're a creative mind looking to put your own spin on the business world, Full Sail University may be able to help you do just that. This for-profit university started out as a recording studio, and it maintains its identity with several unique online programs, such as a bachelor's in music business and a master's in entertainment business. Three levels of digital marketing programs -- bachelor's, master's and a graduate certificate -- cover various digital marketing techniques, including search engine optimization, display advertising, email marketing and digital analytics. And FSU's Master of Science in business intelligence touches on the principles of data science, a field that is rapidly becoming a crucial part of business in Florida.
Online courses are delivered through the university's custom learning management system in an asynchronous format, and programs begin monthly. In addition, students may be aided by the university's Project LaunchBox, which helps students to purchase specified computer equipment and software for their degree program at a reduced price.
Through the Canvas learning platform, the University of Central Florida delivers asynchronous online degree programs to its students, with a particular focus in hospitality and tourism. This makes sense, considering that the university is located in Orlando, the No.1 tourist destination in America. Graduate and undergraduate degree programs in hospitality management, as well as multiple certificate programs and minors, offer students various options for learning about the ever-evolving tourism industry in Florida.
Not all business options at UCF are hospitality-focused, however. Of particular note is the online Executive Master of Health Administration (EMHA) program, a fusion of business and healthcare that focuses on using healthcare informatics to enhance organizations. The program is delivered in a cohort format and has been designed for professionals with at least three years of experience in healthcare management.
At Florida National University, one of the best accredited business schools in Florida, online courses are asynchronous and taught via Blackboard Learn. The university focuses primarily on the undergraduate level, with associate and bachelor's degree programs in subjects such as accounting, business administration, health services administration and more.
While the school primarily has options for undergraduates, graduate students may still be interested in FNU for its online MBA program, which has six start dates throughout the year and five available concentrations. Courses are divided into eight-week terms, and scholarships are available for students who qualify. An online Master of Health Services Administration (MHSA) for students who are interested in healthcare administration and management is offered as well.
Although the University of West Florida's online degree programs focus primarily on education, the university also features business options at the graduate level, including healthcare administration, accounting and data science. Chief among them is the online MBA program, which has concentrations in business analytics, entrepreneurship, human resource management and supply chain logistics management, to name just a few. Graduate certificate programs in similar business-related subjects are also available.
Online courses at UWF are taught in an asynchronous format and delivered via the UWF eLearning course management system, which is hosted by Canvas. Helpfully, online students who live out-of-state may also be eligible for tuition waivers that can greatly reduce the price of attending this online business college in Florida.
The Roman Catholic Saint Leo University is a particularly attractive college if you want to earn your MBA online, because the program comes with a scholarship for qualifying students: the MBA Online Academic Achievement Scholarship, worth up to $6,000. In addition, this MBA program has multiple specializations (including business administration, cybersecurity management, project management and more). Students can even pursue up to two specializations at once (with director approval). The program has six start dates in the year, and students may take up to two courses per eight-week term.
Saint Leo's offerings don't stop there: undergraduate students can pursue business administration at various levels, along with human resource management and healthcare administration, and minors are available in areas such as accounting, marketing and information security. This is also one of the few schools on our list of best business colleges in Florida that hosts an online Doctor of Business Administration program, designed for students interested in teaching or consulting.
Warner University is not only one of the best online business schools in Florida, but it is also a prominent Christian college affiliated with the Church of God. The school's online B.A. in business administration program is aimed specifically at working adults who are interested in general business. This accelerated program focuses on marketing, management and finance through a lens of Christian faith, with classes starting every eight weeks.
Though it is not fully online, WU also offers a hybrid MBA program with concentrations such as international business, accounting and HR management. Students who do not have a prior business background but are still interested in this program may benefit from the Good Start track option. It includes six credit hours of "Introduction to Graduate Studies and Research" courses, helping students to build a foundation of business skills and knowledge before they tackle the rest of the MBA program.
All online degree programs at Schiller International University are related to business, with a particular focus on international business. The online B.S. in international business is a perfect starting place for this field: students in this program may transfer to any of SIU's campuses in Paris, Heidelberg, or Madrid and experience how different cultures affect global business firsthand. Other program options include:
- Undergraduate: B.A. in international relations and diplomacy; B.S. in international hospitality and tourism management
- Graduate: MBA in international business, international hospitality and tourism management, management of information technology, or business administration; MIM in international management
Online courses at SIU are delivered through the Blackboard online learning platform.
St. Thomas University is a private, nonprofit, Catholic university with a goal of instilling the skills and values for successful leadership into its students. This makes it a good choice for students looking to become business leaders.
The online MBA degree program at St. Thomas University is an accelerated program with five concentrations to choose from, geared towards working professionals. Regardless of concentration, the MBA program ranges from 30-39 credit hours and has multiple start dates throughout the year. Available concentrations are as follows:
- General business
- Human resource management
- Sports administration
- Cyber security management
Professional Business Organizations in Florida
Professional business organizations can be valuable resources for students who are pursuing online business programs in Florida. These organizations can present many opportunities for students: making connections with others in their industry, attending local events and seminars, learning about open job positions and internships, and more.
Business Network International, Chapters in Southwest Florida and West Central Florida
Gold Coast Association for Financial Professionals, Palm Beach and Broward Counties
Tampa Bay Business Owners, Tampa
Florida Society of Accounting and Tax Professionals, Chapters in Ft. Myers, Lakeland, and Spring Hill