Online MBA and DBA Salaries

Discussion in 'Business and MBA degrees' started by smartdegree, Jan 19, 2020.

  1. smartdegree

    smartdegree New Member

    This is data from the US government's College Scorecard, which they updated with masters and doctoral degree salaries. All data represent median income based on US tax records of graduates one year after graduation. Data is limited to those who took out federal loans.

    What is noticeable is that it does make a difference where you study. I have been a lurker on this board for several years now. I thought for online learning, it doesn't really matter which school - just go with the cheapest. But clearly the data shows otherwise. I think this is great information because online schools rarely voluntarily provide this type of info to prospective students. And perhaps they have a reason to - the MBA and DBA/PhD salaries for some schools are barely above a bachelors from an average public flagship.

    Masters degree in Business Administration, Management and Operations.
    Median Salary (in 2018 $)
    Pennsylvania State University-World Campus $88,600
    Colorado State University-Global Campus $81,200
    University of Maryland-University College $69,200
    Western Governors University $68,300
    Capella University $61,300
    Walden University $54,500
    University of Phoenix $54,400
    Purdue University Global $49,100
    Argosy University $48,600

    Doctoral degree in Business Administration, Management and Operations.
    Median Salary (in 2018 $)
    Walden University $85,400
    Capella University $73,700
    Argosy University $66,300
    TEKMAN likes this.

    TEKMAN Semper Fi!

    Interesting, do you have a link to the site? I want to get a business degree, but I don't whether I should apply for Liberty's DBA or Boston University's Online MBA.
  3. LearningAddict

    LearningAddict Well-Known Member

    I don't recall many people--if any--around here making "go with the cheapest" the idea. I've always seen it as "go with what you can afford and what fits your need/goals."

    Considering that Western Governors is a online program, the salary average being so close to an online program connected to a state school with a long physical history (University of Maryland) can be looked at positively. The DBA salary for a Walden grad is actually pretty good. I'm a bit surprised that University of Phoenix grads did better than Purdue University Global grads just because of UoP's reputation, but maybe that has to do with the program being much newer than UoP's?

    There are a lot of variables that can affect those numbers, so I can't take them on face value alone. I also look at salaries based on area. $68K in San Francisco is severe low income by HUD standards, but in a place like Western New York you could live like a king on that salary and still have plenty of money to spare, so I think it's fair to consider salaries with some context.

    Then there is time. It's not as if everyone who gets a Masters degree just immediately gets a new high-paying job. It can certainly take more than a year. The job market is competitive even if you have a Masters. What will the numbers look like in 3 years? 5?
  4. smartdegree

    smartdegree New Member

    Liberty's DBA does not have any salary info (the government removes data for programs that have a small number of students).

    The only doctoral degree from Liberty University with salary info is their Doctor of Education. I know this has nothing to do with business/DBA, but at least it gives you a perspective how it compares with other schools at the doctoral level.

    Doctoral Degree - Educational Administration and Supervision
    Median Salary (in 2018 $)

    University of Florida 73300
    College of William and Mary 72500
    Kennesaw State University 71600
    The University of Texas at Austin 71200
    University of North Carolina Wilmington 70500
    Capella University 69400
    Argosy University 69300
    Trevecca Nazarene University 69000
    The University of Texas at San Antonio 68900
    Texas A & M University-Commerce 67900
    University of Colorado Denver/Anschutz Medical Campus 67100
    Colorado State University-Fort Collins 66400
    Texas A & M University-Kingsville 64600
    Union University 64400
    Texas State University 64000
    Keiser University-Ft Lauderdale 62800
    Grand Canyon University 62700
    University of Northern Colorado 62300
    University of the Cumberlands 61100
    Fielding Graduate University 60400
    Liberty University 59800
    Columbus State University 59200
    Mississippi State University 59100
    University of Mary Hardin-Baylor 58300
    University of Phoenix 57000
    Clemson University 55000
    Jackson State University 50900
    University of Kansas 39400
  5. smartdegree

    smartdegree New Member

    In comparison, the Boston University MBA (residential) salary is:
    Median Salary (in 2018 $)
    Masters in Business Administration, Management and Operations.
    Boston University $102,800

    Of course the online version will probably not have the same salary (probably in the high 80s if it follows Penn State)

    For an online DBA, the highest median starting salary is from Northcentral University at $97,600. That looks like a pretty good salary for an online-only school.
    Last edited: Jan 19, 2020
  6. Kizmet

    Kizmet Moderator Staff Member

  7. Vonnegut

    Vonnegut Active Member

    How do you intend to use the degree? How does it complement what you already have or your career goals? Personally, I would think that a Boston University MBA would carry more prestige in the private sector, than a Liberty DBA. Again, that is just a personal opinion. Not that US News rankings are definitive, clearly we have seen to the contrary with the Temple lawsuit, but they're still ranked a top 50 B-School.
    TEKMAN likes this.
  8. chrisjm18

    chrisjm18 Well-Known Member

    Well, both are two different degrees with different purposes. If you want a doctorate, go for the DBA. If you want a master's, go for the MBA. Clearly, Boston is a more prestigious school than Liberty. Don't just rely on the name of the school and the degree to get you the job you want. Be sure to have skills and experience to complement the degree. The degree will only get you the interview.
    Vonnegut likes this.
  9. LearningAddict

    LearningAddict Well-Known Member

  10. smartdegree

    smartdegree New Member

    Yes, that's the correct link. The main page of that website (with the search function) deals primarily in undergrad results.

    For graduate (doctoral, professional and masters) you need to download the CSV file "by field of study" from here:

    One thing to take note of is that for programs with less than 20 graduates each year, they suppress/hide that info for privacy purposes. So that excludes a lot of the prestige/elite PhD programs that only have a limited intake. But for masters degrees, most of those are available. Also, for professional doctorates in education (which enrol a lot of students), those are available for most schools.

    Hope this helps.
    Last edited: Jan 20, 2020
  11. Rich Douglas

    Rich Douglas Well-Known Member

    I think it is safe to say that a degree doesn't, by itself, get you a salary. Thus, I would have trouble accepting any causal relationship with that data. Much more likely, it is reflective of a correlation, especially if earning the degree occurs during one's career (and, thus, earnings arc).
  12. TEKMAN

    TEKMAN Semper Fi!

    My goal is to start a business, but plan B is climbing the corporate ladder or becoming an independent consultant and adjunct professor. So a graduate business degree helps to achieve both plans. The fear of Boston University's MOOC MBA that I have too many Master's degrees in my resume. However, I like the fact of the program that is interactive learning and peer projects. And the question will I able to make more than what I am currently making.
  13. Vonnegut

    Vonnegut Active Member

    If your goal is to start a business... start a business! What are your other Master's degrees in? Why do you have multiple? What type of work are you currently doing? As Chris mentioned above, while similar, there are some different career trajectories between the two degrees. For what it's worth, I personally would think a Boston MBA would be better in the corporate world with larger companies (if you're not already in that realm). I know at the company that I worked with, if an MBA wasn't earned at the right schools, it was essentially meaningless for real career advancement. Was it fair, no.
    Last edited: Jan 20, 2020
    chrisjm18 and Acolyte like this.
  14. felderga

    felderga Active Member

    Rich's point is well taken as I would agree that the salary information doesn't tell the whole story. For example EdD at University of Kansas was one of lowest on list yet I would imagine that the quality of the program is probably in top third or higher of those listed and most of their graduates probably reside in Kansas (or other nearby midwestern states) where education salaries as a whole are much lower than those in major metro areas.

    As far as what degree to get you need to decide really what you want. Starting your own business you may not want a MBA but rather find solid certificate program around entrepreneurship since you already have 2 masters. For the corporate ladder a Boston U MBA may help especially if you're in the NYC or northeast otherwise consulting or adjunct then go the DBA route. Just note that adding more degrees doesn't equal being able to earn a bigger salary. In fact too many degrees can turn off some hiring managers so if you are looking to climb the ladder try getting into the company you want to work for now rather than later.
    Vonnegut likes this.
  15. Acolyte

    Acolyte Member

    Is it my imagination or do these salaries seem rather low for holding a doctorate?
  16. Vonnegut

    Vonnegut Active Member

    Never looked at the data, but have always heard that outside of STEM fields, many people actually earn less with a doctorate than a masters or don’t see an appreciable increase in earnings. Which is certainly aligned with what I’ve witnessed.
  17. Acolyte

    Acolyte Member

    Yeah, unless your job is something academic or in the hard sciences, it seems like a very expensive way to make a salary commensurate with what a lot of corporate middle management already earns. I mean, I'm all for people pursuing whatever type of work is meaningful to them, but there seems to be a rather low ROI (overall) on getting a doctorate in business - at some point, every degree is what you make of it, and while an MBA can be useful, you would probably learn as much or more by getting an Associate degree in whatever you are passionate about and then starting your business, even if it fails in a few years, the experience you gain will be a valuable and practical education.
  18. Rich Douglas

    Rich Douglas Well-Known Member

    If we're going to truck in anecdotes, it would be interesting to hear from people on this board who have actually done it.
  19. Acolyte

    Acolyte Member

    Done what exactly? Gotten a DBA, or started their own business?
  20. TEKMAN

    TEKMAN Semper Fi!

    Unless the Doctorate holder is a higher academic institution such as college/university president. Otherwise, most Doctorate do not make more than $100,000.00 per year.

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