How to Become a Business Analyst
Business Analyst Careers & Degrees

Business Analysts, who can also be referred to as Management Consultant or Management Analysts are professionals who are experienced in analyzing an organization or business and offers suggestions on how to improve it to make it more efficient.

Individuals who want to become a Business Analyst will need to gain work on a background in both business and computer science in order to enter this profession.

This will prepare them with the necessary skills to help business and corporations become more efficient.

Education Requirements to Become a Business Analyst

Individuals who want to become a Business Analyst need a minimum of a bachelor’s degree in order to qualify for entry level positions.

Some employers prefer to hire individuals who have an advanced master’s degree in business administration (MBA) which requires an additional two years to complete.

In addition, to raise the prospects of securing employment, individuals may also seek a Certified Management Consultant (CMC) certification to become a Business Analyst.

At the undergraduate level, there are no specific programs an individual needs to take in order to become a Business Analyst.

Some helpful programs include studying: marketing, finance, accounting, economics, business management, English or computer and information science.

Individuals who have completed their undergraduate program also have the option to attend a master’s program in business administration (MBA) in order to improve their prospects of getting hired.

These programs typically take a minimum of two years to complete and include in depth coursework on business management and administration.

Another optional path an individual may take to become a Business Analyst includes seeking the Certified Management Consultant accreditation.

This accreditation requires individuals to have a minimal level of education and to pass a rigorous exam.

Individuals may visit the Institute of Management Consultants USA website to learn more information on the CMC accreditation requirements.

Business Analyst Job Description

Business Analysts use their skills and knowledge in business processes and computer science in order to analyze a company’s processes and methods in order to determine whether some improvement can be made in those areas.

Business Analysts will consult with businesses or corporations to assist them in improving their processes in order to create a more efficient business model.

The goal in improving processes is to ultimately help a company’s bottom line, or profits, increase.

Business Analysts may begin a project by gathering information and data on the specific area that a company would like to make more efficient.

This will include interviewing current employees to determine current processes, analyze financial data such as revenue and make recommendations on any organizational changes, procedures and new systems.

Business Analysts will then discuss any recommendations to management and follow up with them at a later time to see if any recommended changes have improved efficiencies.

Business Analyst Salary and Career Path

In 2012, the annual median wage for Management Analysts, also referred to as Business Analysts, was approximately $78,600.

Exact wages will depend on a variety of things including the industry an individual works in as well as the level of experience.

Individuals working as Business Analysts for the federal government can expect a median wage of $84,530 per year as opposed to individuals working for state or local governments who earn a median wage of approximately $62,270 per year.

Individuals may also work in the private sector for management firms; these individuals can expect a median wage of approximately $84,300 per year.

The job outlook for Business Analysts looks strong as job opportunities are expected to grow by 19 percent through the year 2022.

This projected growth is faster than average when compared to other professions.

This growth is also attributed to the fact that more and more companies are seeking consultation on how to increase efficiency and control or reduce total costs.

The increase in competition among companies is causing corporations to look at how they use their resources and focus on efficiency.

Individuals interested in a career as a Business Analyst will use a variety of skills and business knowledge in order to help a business become more efficient.

Because of the increase in competition among corporations, Business Analysts have to consistently analyze a company’s methods to improve its efficiencies.

These types of constant changes can help a Business Analyst feel challenged in their career with the added bonus that this career has a promising job outlook.

The below information is based on the 2019 BLS national averages.
  • Annually
  • Monthly
  • Hourly

National Average Salary

$80,220
$39K
$54K
$80K
$99K
$128K
10%
25%
50%
75%
90%

Average Salary by State

StateAvg. Annual Salary
Alabama$88,070
Alaska$82,950
Arizona$73,910
Arkansas$60,930
California$83,390
Colorado$87,360
Connecticut$85,110
Delaware$85,850
District of Columbia$102,720
Florida$68,970
Georgia$75,800
Hawaii$76,780
Idaho$71,440
Illinois$79,970
Indiana$67,470
Iowa$69,280
Kansas$75,630
Kentucky$69,010
Louisiana$62,060
Maine$70,200
Maryland$94,770
Massachusetts$91,730
Michigan$73,770
Minnesota$73,960
Mississippi$65,720
Missouri$77,420
Montana$61,180
Nebraska$74,680
Nevada$68,010
New Hampshire$75,990
New Jersey$83,250
New Mexico$89,090
New York$92,060
North Carolina$77,750
North Dakota$74,790
Ohio$75,420
Oklahoma$76,150
Oregon$73,350
Pennsylvania$84,180
Rhode Island$86,550
South Carolina$72,870
South Dakota$69,400
Tennessee$63,310
Texas$82,750
Utah$73,410
Vermont$70,140
Virginia$92,320
Washington$83,490
West Virginia$62,490
Wisconsin$63,710
Wyoming$77,060
Guam$65,380
Puerto Rico$43,550
Virgin Islands$59,110

The top earning state in the field is District of Columbia, where the average salary is $102,720.

These are the top 5 earning states in the field:

District of Columbia - $102,720
Maryland - $94,770
Virginia - $92,320
New York - $92,060
Massachusetts - $91,730
* Salary information based on the May 2019 Occupational Employment Statistics (OES) Survey for Project Management Specialists and Business Operations Specialists, OCC Code 13-1198, BLS.
* Employment conditions in your area may vary.

Frequently Asked Questions

QuestionWhat does a business analyst do?

Business analysts investigate the main goals and issues of a company and analyze information.

The main aim of a business analyst is to figure out the actual needs of a company by communicating with the staff, the customers, and executives, in order to evaluate the situation fairly.

As a result, the organization will improve its efficiency and finances and have better communication between the different departments.

A business analyst has to be an excellent listener and communicator; moreover, the expert has to be able to interpret not only the verbal information but also some non-verbal messages.

After the business analyst had gathered the information, he or she would document the data and propose one or a few solutions to the existing problems.

QuestionHow much do business analysts make?

On average, a business analyst can make a little less than $82.000 per year in the United States.

In case you decide to choose this career path, you can expect to earn anywhere between $47.000 and $141.500 annually.

The salary would certainly depend on a variety of factors – your education and experience level, the employer, the location, and so on.

The professionals that work in New York, the District of Columbia, and Massachusetts, for example, have the highest average salaries.

An entry-level business analyst can earn around $23 per hour, while a top-level specialist with plenty of experience can make $68 and more per hour.

QuestionHow much does it cost to become a business analyst?

You would need to have at least a bachelor’s degree in marketing, accounting, business administration or a related field to be able to become a business analyst in most of the cases.

To improve job prospects, you can consider getting a master’s degree or taking some postgraduate courses.

A year in a university can cost you anywhere between $8.000 and $45.000 (and more); the cost depends on a variety of factors (bear in mind that the books, supplies, and accommodation expenses are not included).

A master’s degree will typically cost you over $30.000.

You can also receive certification from the Institute of Management Consultants; there are three different levels and the certification will cost you over $350.

QuestionWhat is the demand for business analysts?

Between 2016 and 2026, the business analyst job market is expected to grow by 14.3%, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

That’s a lot faster than the average for all occupations in the United States.

This will happen due to the fact that more and more businesses will be opening throughout the country.

The candidates that possess a master’s degree and plenty of experience will have better chances of getting the highest-paid job.

The industry is mainly concentrated in Florida, Virginia, and California.

QuestionHow long does it take to become a business analyst?

It will take you 4 years to obtain a bachelor’s degree and 1-2 years to get a master’s degree.

You can consider seeking an internship during your last year in university to get that on-job experience as the majority of employers prefer the candidates to have at least a few years of experience.

To qualify for CMC’s basic certification stream you would need to have at least 3 years of experience in the industry and over 5 satisfactory client evaluations; the experienced stream is for those who have over 10 years of experience and high-level management is for the professionals with two decades of experience.

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