Arizona is currently one of the fastest growing states in the country. About 61% of Arizona’s nearly 6.5 million people live in Maricopa County, which is home to the state capital and county seat of Phoenix. Arizona boasts 33 regionally-accredited colleges and universities, including the University of Arizona (UA), the University of Northern Arizona (NAU), Grand Canyon University (GCU), and the University of Phoenix. Each of these schools is well known for its vibrant distance education programs. These highly regarded institutions, in combination with a growing business sector, have prompted increasing numbers of students to pursue an online MBA in Arizona.
Online MBA programs in Arizona can save students time and money. Arizona is home to Arizona State University (ASU), which is the nation’s largest public university, and the University of Phoenix, which is America’s largest private university. These schools, plus specialized institutions like Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University and faith-based colleges like Grand Canyon University, offer accredited online MBAs. Degrees range from 33 to 49 credits in length, and tuition for most online MBA programs in Arizona falls between $500 and $600 per hour. Many Arizona institutions are transfer-friendly, meaning students can shorten their time to graduation and reduce tuition costs by transferring credits into their new school. Additionally, applicants to GCU and the University of Phoenix do not need to submit GMAT scores.
With the exception of NAU and UA, most of the state’s higher education institutions cluster around the city of Phoenix. However, most of Arizona’s online MBA programs do not have any on-campus components, meaning students can study from anywhere. Additionally, students living in Phoenix who prefer a hybrid program can opt to attend on-site classes at GCU and ASU. Phoenix’s cost of living is about 4% lower than the national average and is comparable to Jacksonville, Florida or Detroit, Michigan.
|Percentage of Students Enrolled by Distance Education|
MBA Concentrations for Arizona Students
Digital learners can follow a standard MBA curriculum or they can choose a specialization. Arizona’s online MBA programs offer a wide range of concentrations, including electrical engineering, project management, healthcare management, finance, leadership, and sports business. The aging population that has flocked to Arizona’s sunny, dry climate has spurred healthcare growth, while the state’s ample natural resources have kept Arizona’s engineering sector strong. These concentrations are especially valuable for future business leaders who plan to live and work in Arizona.
- Healthcare Management: Students who want to lead healthcare institutions can study health policy, law, and economics while learning business management fundamentals. Health management is a growing career in sunbelt states like Arizona, which are home to many senior citizens.
- Engineering: Arizona’s sizeable technology, aerospace, solar, and mining sectors require technical managers to handle the business side of engineering companies. An MBA with an emphasis in industrial or electrical engineering can lead to a lucrative engineering management career.
Accreditation in Arizona
Higher education accreditation can be regional or national. The Council on Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA) has approved seven regional accrediting agencies, including the Higher Learning Committee (HLC) of the North Central Association of Schools and Colleges, which accredits schools in Arizona. Students considering an online MBA in Arizona should choose a regionally-accredited school to ensure their advanced degree is accepted by any future employers.
Additionally, some schools seek national accreditation for their programs. A variety of CHEA-approved national organizations accredit specific types of programs. For example, the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB) accredits schools offering MBAs. The best online MBA programs in Arizona may hold both regional and national accreditation.
According to the Arizona Office of Economic Opportunity, the state’s unemployment rate, which is a simple barometer of economic health, stands at 4.7%. Phoenix, which is the state’s capital and most populous city, boasts an unemployment rate of 4.0%, falling below the national average. Maricopa County is home to a greater percentage of college graduates and master’s degree holders compared to the rest of the state.
Retail trade continues to lead the state’s industries in terms of overall employment. However, jobs in government, hospitality, construction, education, and healthcare all show rapid expansion. In Maricopa County, healthcare, mining, hospitality, and professional services employ increasingly large numbers of workers.
Top Employers in Arizona
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Arizona’s rich natural resources, booming senior-citizen population, and robust construction industry make it a prime state for emerging business managers. An MBA with an emphasis in either healthcare leadership or engineering management is particularly valuable in Arizona where both of these industries are expanding.
Professionals who hold an associate or bachelor’s degrees in business command similar salaries. However, workers who earn an MBA typically see a significant jump in their wages; these business managers receive a salary that is almost 50% higher than professionals who only have a bachelor’s degree. Additionally, an MBA puts business managers on the fast-track to leadership roles in emerging industries like engineering management and healthcare management. Graduates of MBA programs are well positioned to to become entrepreneurs or climb the ladder to corporate success in a traditional setting.
|Average Salary by Degree|
Careers for MBAs in Arizona
- Healthcare Management
Executives in healthcare manage departments, physicians’ practices, and even entire hospitals. The field is growing at a rate of 20%, far outstripping the national average of 7%. Nationally, healthcare managers earn an average salary of $96,540 per year; however, in Arizona, they command an average yearly income of $110,660.
- Financial Management
Financial managers spend their careers analyzing financial situations and recommending action on the basis of their analysis. MBA students who gain skills in forecasting and analytics can expect to earn considerably more than this field’s average annual salary of $121,750. Finance is a top-five industry in Arizona.
- Project Management
Directors of project management earn an average annual salary of $123,102. These professionals lead teams that direct a project’s scope, budget, and schedule. Students who earn an MBA with a concentration in project management are well prepared for this field. Arizona’s burgeoning construction and utilities industries require increasing numbers of project managers.
- Supply Chain Management
Professionals who manage the movement of goods from supplier to customer earn an average salary of $74,170. More than 2,300 such managers currently work in Arizona. The field is growing at a rate of 7%, which is in line with the national average.
- Engineering Management
Managers of engineering projects make an average annual salary of $134,730. These professionals plan and organize research and development projects in engineering. This field is growing at a rate of 6% nationally, and Arizona employs about 3,300 architectural and engineering managers.
Arizona-based colleges and universities offer MBAs with concentrations in a variety of disciplines, including finance, industrial engineering, accounting, and healthcare management. The schools on the list below are the state’s top online MBA providers. All of these higher education institutions hold regional accreditation, while some also have national accreditation.
|Rank||School||Location||Cost||Toggle||Logo||Tuition||% Receiving Financial Aid||Student Population||School Type||Description|
College America - Flagstaff
|Location Flagstaff, AZ||Tuition||Tuition $29,160||% Receiving Financial Aid 86%||Student Population 137||School Type Private||
CollegeAmerica offers an online MBA in Arizona through affiliation with Independence University, a non-profit online school based out of Salt Lake City, UT. Both CollegeAmerica and Independence University hold accreditation from the Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges, recognized by the US Department of Education. Classes begin monthly, and qualifying college credits or military experience can fulfill up to 25% of degree requirements. This 60-credit MBA program can be completed in 15 months, with a curriculum focused on organizational dynamics, corporate finance, and economic analysis. Independence University offers personalized online student support and advising, extensive career services, and continued post-graduation support, including the opportunity to audit classes in your field at no additional cost. Students may also visit the Flagstaff, AZ CollegeAmerica campus for in-person support.
ConcentrationsView School Profile
Arizona State University
|Location Tempe, AZ||Tuition||Tuition $60,000||% Receiving Financial Aid 45%||Student Population 51,984||School Type Public||
Arizona State University's online MBA offers class start dates in January and August. Students spend 7.5 weeks on each class, taking two courses at a time, so the program can be completed in 21 months. Core courses and electives culminate in a strategic management capstone project, wherein students formulate an organization's functional strategy and policy. Students at ASU are able to customize their college experiences with optional specializations in finance, international business, marketing, or supply chain management. These concentrations allow them to study topics aligned with their professional goals. ASU also offers dual-degree options in the MBA program, allowing students to earn an additional degree in legal studies, electrical engineering, or industrial engineering.
View School Profile
University of Arizona
|Location Tucson, AZ||Tuition||Tuition $45,000||% Receiving Financial Aid 41%||Student Population 42,595||School Type Public||
The 45-credit University of Arizona online MBA offers six start dates. Their flexible schedule, combined with asynchronous instructional delivery, allows students to complete coursework and work full time. Depending on how many courses you take each term, you can finish in 15 months. Whether you study full time or part time, program costs remain the same and include all required course materials and ebooks. The University of Arizona offers six different MBA concentrations, fulfilled by taking specific elective courses: entrepreneurship, healthcare, finance, management and organizations, management information systems, or marketing. Application requirements include a GMAT score (waived for individuals with specific credentials), brief essay, resume, three letters of recommendation, and transcripts from all prior institutions.
Grand Canyon University
|Location Phoenix, AZ||Tuition||Tuition $25,760||% Receiving Financial Aid 72%||Student Population 69,444||School Type Private||
Pursuing the Arizona online MBA available from Grand Canyon University promotes advancement in leadership development, organizational growth, and operations management. Their 46-credit program consists of core courses, offering no electives or concentration options. However, the comprehensive degree plan reflects and responds to the needs of today's businesses, so students study accounting and finance, forecasting and fundraising, departmental functions and diversity, and sustainability in the global marketplace. The asynchronous format requires no set times for class meetings or lectures; students complete their work on their own schedules. Graduate admission requires a completed undergraduate degree with a minimum 2.8 GPA or a completed graduate degree. In some cases, admission may require GRE or GMAT scores.
University of Phoenix
|Location Tempe, AZ||Tuition||Tuition $26,640||% Receiving Financial Aid 79%||Student Population 165,743||School Type Private||
The University of Phoenix offers working professionals the opportunity to complete an Arizona online MBA in as few as 18 months. Accredited by the Accreditation Council for Business Schools and Programs, the University of Phoenix offers a selection of courses in corporate finance, organizational leadership, human capital management, and applied business research and statistics that provide a well-rounded exploration of business topics and fundamental skills. Their MBA program requires only 36 credits for completion. To focus on a certain area of business expertise, you may choose to complete an additional concentration certificate, which requires 12 further credits. Certificate options include project management, accounting, human resource management, and marketing. To apply, you must hold an undergraduate degree, a minimum cumulative GPA of 2.5, and meet work experience requirements. The program offers several start times each academic year, allowing for maximum flexibility.
There are many important considerations to make before settling on an online MBA program in Arizona. These include the factors discussed above, like cost, accreditation, and available specializations. The following list includes some key steps to follow during the program research process for MBA options in any state.
Compare student outcomes data
Student outcomes include graduation rate, year-to-year retention rate, the average debt for a graduate from that school, and overall student satisfaction with their degree program. Student outcomes do not guarantee you will be satisfied with a particular program, but can be useful for pinpointing a school’s strengths and weaknesses.
Estimate the expected costs of your programs
Virtually every accredited college or university posts tuition rates online. Additionally, you should research other college-related costs like living accommodations and meal plans (if you plan to live on-campus), administrative fees, and technology fees (for online students). You should also look into scholarships, grants, and other forms of institutional financial aid that can offset some of the costs.
Check that classes will fit in with your schedule
Scheduling is critical for students with other important commitments, such as childcare or full-time employment. Many online programs are asynchronous, or self-paced; students in these tracks are free to complete course requirements on their own schedule. Synchronous programs, on the other hand, require weekly online meetings with teachers and fellow students.
Look for partnerships with local businesses
A large number of online MBA programs include internship and/or capstone practicum requirements ― and in many cases, students are able to gain on-the-job training and real-world office experience. You should look into the school’s business partnerships, particularly in regard to the industry you plan to enter after earning your MBA.
Make sure the program is accredited
Accreditation status should always be available and easily accessible on a school’s website. In addition to regional or national accreditation, some MBA pathways receive programmatic accreditation. Recognized programmatic accreditors for MBA programs include the Accreditation Council for Business Schools and Programs (ACBSP) and the International Accreditation Counsel for Business Education (IACBE).
Talk to current students and/or recent alumni
You should contact the alumni office at each school you are considering and ask to be connected with former students. These individuals can be good sources of information about education costs, life on- and off-campus, local business tips, and other important details for aspiring MBA students.