Business Diploma vs Degree – Which is Better?

Diploma of Business or Bachelor of Business, which is better for my business studies

Studying business is one of the most popular choices for further study and for good reason. The broad nature of business courses allows you the flexibility to work in a variety of roles and industries upon graduating. Equally, if you have a specialisation in mind, a quality online course will allow you to focus on individual disciplines by selecting elective units.

There are a large number of business qualifications on the market. So how do you compare a business diploma vs degree? In this article, we’ll compare each and help you decide on the best business course for you.

Business diploma vs degree analysis

There are several business qualifications available, with the two most popular choices being a business diploma or a bachelor’s degree. Both options will lead you to a rewarding career in business. However, there are a few key differences.


A typical Diploma of Business (BSB50120) or Diploma of Business (Operations) (BSB50120) is priced around $3,000. A Bachelor of Business, however, can cost $30,000 or more. Further study is always an investment in your career and future earning potential, but the return on your investment is going to be greater if the course fees are lower.

Flexible payment options and payment plans are available for most diploma qualifications, making it easy to budget the price according to your lifestyle and circumstances. Flexibility is incredibly important if you are working or raising a family while you’re studying.


A business diploma usually takes around 12 months to complete (with a full study load) or anywhere from 16–18 months part-time. Even with a part-time study option, a diploma is achieved in half the time than a typical bachelor’s, which takes three years full-time to complete.

With a diploma, you can get into the workplace faster, benefit your career and increase your earning potential at the earliest opportunity. It also means you’re on your way to building your professional experience quicker than if you were to complete a degree, setting yourself up for promotions and leadership roles as soon as possible. On the other hand, a bachelor will cover a wider range of theoretical knowledge.

While a good theoretical knowledge of business is a foundation for career success, employers also value real-world skills and experience when recruiting for leadership positions and senior roles. The takeaway? The more time working in the industry and the faster you can get a foot on the career ladder, the better for increasing your earnings.

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Both a diploma and a bachelor’s degree are recognised by employers nationally, and in some cases, internationally.

Further study

The main benefit of completing a business diploma is that it gives you a broad foundation that will secure your employment in a wide range of industries. Further down the track, if you wish to ‘top-up’ your skillset, you can jump into the second year of a business bachelor or study for a further diploma, such as a Diploma of Human Resources (BSB50320). You may be eligible for RPL (recognition of prior learning) because of the relevant units you’ve already completed. This is an excellent option for those who may not have nailed down a specialisation and want a qualification that offers the best chance of career success in many different areas.

Comparing business diplomas

Over 70% of people in management roles have at least a diploma qualification, so you’re setting yourself up for long-term career success among peers.

  • The Diploma of Business has a large focus on leadership and interpersonal skills as well as highly practical skills that are highly relevant to the modern workplace. You’ll complete units such as Manage Payroll, Undertake Project Work and Manage Separation or Termination.
  • The Diploma of Business (Operations) is a similar degree, with the difference being that it focuses on the running of a business – managing an office, for example. With a variety of electives on offer, you’re able to tailor this practical degree to your needs. This is perfect for if you have some experience already and are looking to fill gaps in your skillset.

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Business diploma vs degree – which is better for you?

Choosing the best business qualification can seem tricky, particularly with the sheer amount of courses on offer. The best approach is to make sure the course aligns with what you’re looking for and the time you have available:

  • Think about your goals, both short and long-term. Identify the areas that interest you the most and what type of roles you see yourself in the future. From there, you can screen for courses that include relevant units to help give you the skills you need. Remember, many courses allow you to pick and choose your elective units.
  • Consider your relevant experience. Have you worked in a business previously? What did you like and dislike about it? What would you like to learn about the most? Depending on your role, you may find that you could be eligible for RPL.
  • Feeling stuck? Get in touch with colleagues, friends and family who work in business already and get their thoughts. This approach will give you vital ‘real world’ insight into the sorts of roles you’ll be working in after graduating.

Where can a business qualification take you?

A business career is one of the smartest decisions you could make. It offers career opportunities in almost every industry and excellent earning potential. Whether you enjoy working with people, accounts, marketing or managing an entire organisation, there’s a role out there for you. If you’re not 100% sure of the direction of your future career, a business qualification can help open multiple doors on your way to discovering your true calling.

When choosing the best qualifications for business studies, there’s a lot to consider. However, the main thing to remember is that you’re making an excellent choice – for both your long-term career and earning prospects. Business skills will always be in demand, and in this time of rapid change, equipping yourself with a broad range of skills means you can quickly adapt and pivot into a wide range of business roles with ease.