Business CareersWorking in the business sector offers opportunities in many different functional areas. Finance, accounting, marketing and human resources are a few of the career paths available for people who want to work in business.

But before choosing a career, it’s important to consider the specifics of each option. Knowing the salary potential, number of jobs and unemployment rate in a particular field can help lead to informed decisions about which career path to follow.

To help job-seekers find the career that best fits their needs, U.S. News & World Report offers the 2014 Best Jobs Rankings, listing overall job rankings and category-specific rankings.

The top 100 jobs were selected based on the careers with the most projected job openings from 2012-2022, according to data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS).

Each job was ranked using these ranking factors:

  • Median salary (30%)
  • Job prospects (20%)
  • Employment rate (20%)
  • 10-Year growth volume (10%)
  • 10-Year growth percentage (10%)
  • Stress level (5%)
  • Work-life balance (5%)

Many business careers were included in the rankings, with 22 positions making the business-specific category. Part one of this series lists the top five business careers of 2014 and part two covers the careers ranked 6-10, according to the Best Business Jobs rankings.

Market Research Analyst Market Research Analyst topped the business category for 2014. This position helps businesses figure out what consumers want to buy and what they would potentially spend on specific products and services.

Figuring out this information requires collecting surveys and information from consumers and then doing in-depth analysis of the responses. Marketing research analysts examine trends, customer demographics, purchasing preferences, shopping habits and other data to create reports for their companies.

Earning the top spot on the Best Business Jobs list is a result of market research analysts having a good media salary ($60,300 a year), a low unemployment rate (3.9%) and a positive job outlook (131,500 open positions). Employment in this field is expected to increase by 32% from 2012 to 2022, according to the BLS.

A bachelor’s degree is usually required for this position, though higher-ranking positions may require a master’s degree. Undergraduate study can be in market research, business administration or communications, though statistics, math or computer sciences can also be helpful for this position. Graduate degrees can be in areas like marketing research, statistics or Master of Business Administration (MBA).

Operations Research Analyst Operations Research Analyst was ranked the No. 2 business career for 2014. Using mathematical modeling, data collection, statistics and analysis, operations research analysts help companies figure out solutions to problems and outline potential implications that actions may have on a business.

Businesses can use operations research analysts to improve all areas of a company. Creating schedules for production, allocating company resources, figuring out what prices should be and supply chain management are just some of the specific areas where operations research analysts can be put to good use.

The median salary for this position is $72,100, according to the BLS. Other factors that contributed to operations research analysts being so well-ranked include a low unemployment rate (1.3%) and positive job outlook (27% growth projected from 2012 to 2022). The expected number of job openings for operations research analysts is 19,500 positions.

Many positions in this field require a masters’ degree, though some entry-level positions may consider candidates with a bachelor’s degree. Operations research analysts often have completed coursework in technical fields like engineering, mathematics and computer science.

AccountantAccountant was ranked No. 3 for the best business jobs of 2014. Working as an accountant offers a lot of flexibility when it comes to choosing a company to work for since most companies need to have someone to handle their finances and taxes.

Accountants keep track of a company’s financial records and make sure that regulations are followed. They prepare taxes, make sure that everything is paid on time and that proper procedures are followed.

There are 166,700 positions expected to open in the accounting field from 2012 through 2022, an employment increase of 13%. Accountants have a median salary of $63,550 and an unemployment rate of 4.2%.

A bachelor’s degree in accounting or a related subject is often needed to work in this position. Having a master’s degree in accounting or business administration with an accounting focus may help increase employment prospects for accountants. Many accountants also become Certified Public Accountants (CPAs). Some positions, like those that report to the the Securities and Exchange Commission, require accountants to be CPAs.

Financial Advisor Financial Advisor was ranked No. 4 on the Best Business Jobs of 2014 rankings. As the job title says, this position advises individuals on all areas of finance. Financial advisors may offer advice on taxes, insurance options and investment opportunities.

Working with clients, financial advisors help create and implement financial goals. They can assist with creating savings plans for major events like paying for a wedding, putting a child through college or saving for retirement. Some financial advisors may specialize in a specific area like risk management or investments.

The BLS projects that this position will increase 27% from 2012 to 2022, expecting to add about 60,300 jobs. The unemployment rate is 2% and the median salary is $67,520.

Most financial advisors have a bachelor’s degree, though the BLS says that having certification or a master’s degree may help increase advancement opportunities. Getting a degree in accounting, finance, business or a similar field are the typical requirements for this position.

Business Operations ManagerBusiness Operations Manager was named the fifth Best Business Job of 2014. Companies rely on this position to get things gone across all areas of the organization. Business operations managers may work on hiring, contract negotiation, creating training programs or other strategic efforts.

According to the 2014 Best Jobs Rankings, business operations managers earn a median salary of $95,440 and have an unemployment rate of 4.1% About 244,100 new positions are expected to open up in this field by 2022.

Degree requirements for business operations managers depend on the particular company, though a bachelor’s or master’s degree in business administration is common for this position.

To find out which careers ranked 6-10 on the 2014 Best Business Jobs rankings, check out Top 10 Business Careers of 2014 (Part Two).

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