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For information regarding Business Management Programs, please contact:

Larry Cranford
Forsyth Campus
Phone: 678-341-6612

Michael Winterhalter
Oakwood Campus
Phone: 770-533-6975

Business Management
Course Schedule   |   Financial Aid   |   Tuition
  The Business Management program prepares experienced workers for entry into management or supervisory occupations in a variety of businesses and industries. The Business Management Associate degree program provides learning opportunities which introduce, develop, and reinforce academic and occupational knowledge, skills, and attitudes required for job acquisition, retention, and advancement. Students complete a specialization in one of the following areas: general management, human resource management, mining management, and service sector management. Program graduates who are experienced workers are prepared to perform management and supervisory functions such as employee training, labor relations, employee evaluation, and employee counseling and disciplinary action.

The Applied Technical Management degree allows a student to complete a diploma in any technical college program area and continue to this Associate of Applied Science Degree. In addition to the skills and knowledge obtained in the diploma, the student will obtain degree-level general education knowledge and business related skills and knowledge. Students must complete a technical college diploma program prior to admission to this degree.
Program Requirements  

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Frequently Asked Questions

How long does it take to complete the Business Management diploma program?
An average student will take two years to complete the diploma.

Click (+) on the following topics for more information:
Significant Points [+]

  • The educational backgrounds of these workers vary considerably, reflecting the diversity of duties and levels of responsibility.
  • College graduates and those who have earned certification should have the best job and advancement opportunities.
  • Human resources occupations require strong interpersonal skills.
  • Much faster than average growth is expected during the projection period.

  • Program Instructors [+]

      Larry Cranford  
      Forsyth Campus
      (770) 781-6956

      Michael Winterhalter  
      Business Management Instructor
      Hall Campus
      Phone: (770) 533-6975

      Keith Scott  Adjunct Instructor
      Forsyth Campus
      Phone: na

    Nature of the Work [+]

    Every organization wants to attract, motivate, and retain the most qualified employees and match them to jobs for which they are best suited. Human resources, training, and labor relations managers and specialists provide this connection. In the past, these workers performed the administrative function of an organization, such as handling employee benefits questions or recruiting, interviewing, and hiring new staff in accordance with policies established by top management. Today's human resources workers manage these tasks, but, increasingly, they consult with top executives regarding strategic planning. They have moved from behind-the-scenes staff work to leading the company in suggesting and changing policies.

    In an effort to enhance morale and productivity, limit job turnover, and help organizations increase performance and improve results, these workers also help their companies effectively use employee skills, provide training and development opportunities to improve those skills, and increase employees' satisfaction with their jobs and working conditions. Although some jobs in the human resources field require only limited contact with people outside the human resources office, dealing with people is an important part of the job.

    There are many types of human resources, training, and labor relations managers and specialists. In a small organization, a human resources generalist may handle all aspects of human resources work, and thus require an extensive range of knowledge. The responsibilities of human resources generalists can vary widely, depending on their employer's needs.

    Employment and placement managers supervise the recruitment, hiring, and separation of employees. They also supervise employment, recruitment, and placement specialists, including employment interviewers. Employment, recruitment, and placement specialists recruit and place workers.

    Recruitment specialists maintain contacts within the community and may travel considerably, often to job fairs and college campuses, to search for promising job applicants. Recruiters screen, interview, and occasionally test applicants. They also may check references and extend job offers. These workers must be thoroughly familiar with their organization, the work that is done, and the human resources policies of their company in order to discuss wages, working conditions and advancement opportunities with prospective employees. They also must stay informed about equal employment opportunity (EEO) and affirmative action guidelines and laws, such as the Americans with Disabilities Act.

    Employment interviewers whose many job titles include human resources consultants, human resources development specialists, and human resources coordinators help to match employers with qualified jobseekers. Similarly, employer relations representatives, who usually work in government agencies or college career centers, maintain working relationships with prospective employers and promote the use of public employment programs and services.

    Compensation, benefits, and job analysis specialists administer compensation programs for employers and may specialize in specific areas such as pensions or position classifications. For example, job analysts, occasionally called position classifiers, collect and examine detailed information about job duties in order to prepare job descriptions. These descriptions explain the duties, training, and skills that each job requires. Whenever a large organization introduces a new job or reviews existing jobs, it calls upon the expert knowledge of job analysts.

    Establishing and maintaining a firm's pay structure is the principal job of compensation managers. Assisted by compensation analysts or specialists, compensation managers devise ways to ensure fair and equitable pay rates. They may participate in or purchase salary surveys to see how their firm's pay compares with others, and they ensure that the firm's pay scale complies with changing laws and regulations. In addition, compensation managers often oversee the compensation side of their company's performance management system. They may design reward systems such as pay-for-performance plans, which might include setting merit pay guidelines and bonus or incentive pay criteria. Compensation managers also might administer executive compensation programs or determine commission rates and other incentives for corporate sales staffs.

    Employee benefits managers and specialists administer a company’s employee benefits program, notably its health insurance and retirement plans. Expertise in designing, negotiating, and administering benefits programs continues to take on importance as employer-provided benefits account for a growing proportion of overall compensation costs, and as benefit plans increase in number and complexity. For example, retirement benefits might include defined benefit pension plans, defined contribution plans, such as 401(k) or thrift savings plans and profit-sharing or stock ownership plans. Health benefits might include medical, dental, and vision insurance and protection against catastrophic illness. Familiarity with health benefits is a top priority for employee benefits managers and specialists, because of the rising cost of providing healthcare benefits to employees and retirees. In addition to health insurance and retirement coverage, many firms offer employees life and accidental death and dismemberment insurance, disability insurance, and benefits designed to meet the needs of a changing workforce, such as parental leave, long-term nursing or home care insurance, wellness programs, and flexible benefits plans. Benefits managers must keep abreast of changing Federal and State regulations and legislation that may affect employee benefits. Working with employee assistance plan managers or work-life coordinators, many benefits managers work to integrate the growing number of programs that deal with mental and physical health, such as employee assistance, obesity, and smoking cessation, into their health benefits programs.

    Employee assistance plan managers, also called employee welfare managers or work-life managers, are responsible for a wide array of programs to enhance employee safety and wellness and improve work-life balance. These may include occupational safety and health standards and practices, health promotion and physical fitness, medical examinations and minor health treatment, such as first aid, flexible work schedules, food service and recreation activities, carpooling and transportation programs such as transit subsidies, employee suggestion systems, child care and elder care, and counseling services. Child care and elder care are increasingly significant because of growth in the number of dual-income households and the older population. Counseling may help employees deal with emotional disorders, alcoholism, or marital, family, consumer, legal, and financial problems. Some employers offer career counseling and outplacement services. In some companies, certain programs, such as those dealing with physical security or information technology, may be coordinated in separate departments by other managers.

    Training and development managers and specialists create, procure, and conduct training and development programs for employees. Managers typically supervise specialists and make budget-impacting decisions in exchange for a reduced training portfolio. Increasingly, executives recognize that training offers a way of developing skills, enhancing productivity and quality of work, and building worker loyalty. Enhancing employee skills can increase individual and organizational performance and help to achieve business results. Increasingly, executives realize that developing the skills and knowledge of its workforce is a business imperative that can give them a competitive edge in recruiting and retaining high quality employees and can lead to business growth.

    Other factors involved in determining whether training is needed include the complexity of the work environment, the rapid pace of organizational and technological change, and the growing number of jobs in fields that constantly generate new knowledge and, thus, require new skills. In addition, advances in learning theory have provided insights into how people learn and how training can be organized most effectively.

    Training managers oversee development of training programs, contracts, and budgets. They may perform needs assessments of the types of training needed, determine the best means of delivering training, and create the content. They may provide employee training in a classroom, computer laboratory, or onsite production facility, or through a training film, Web video-on-demand, or self-paced or self-guided instructional guides. For live or in-person training, training managers ensure that teaching materials are prepared and the space appropriately set, training and instruction stimulate the class, and completion certificates are issued at the end of training. For computer-assisted or recorded training, trainers ensure that cameras, microphones, and other necessary technology platforms are functioning properly and that individual computers or other learning devices are configured for training purposes. They also have the responsibility for the entire learning process, and its environment, to ensure that the course meets its objectives and is measured and evaluated to understand how learning impacts performance. Training specialists plan, organize, and direct a wide range of training activities. Trainers consult with training managers and employee supervisors to develop performance improvement measures, conduct orientation sessions, and arrange on-the-job training for new employees. They help employees maintain and improve their job skills and prepare for jobs requiring greater skill. They work with supervisors to improve their interpersonal skills and to deal effectively with employees. They may set up individualized training plans to strengthen employees’ existing skills or teach new ones. Training specialists also may set up leadership or executive development programs for employees who aspire to move up in the organization. These programs are designed to develop or “groom” leaders to replace those leaving the organization and as part of a corporate succession plan. Trainers also lead programs to assist employees with job transitions as a result of mergers or consolidation, as well as retraining programs to develop new skills that may result from technological changes in the work place. In government-supported job-training programs, training specialists serve as case managers and provide basic job skills to prepare participants to function in the labor force. They assess the training needs of clients and guide them through the most appropriate training. After training, clients may either be referred to employer relations representatives or receive job placement assistance.

    Planning and program development is an essential part of the training specialist's job. In order to identify and assess training needs, trainers may confer with managers and supervisors or conduct surveys. They also evaluate training effectiveness to ensure that employees actually learn and that the training they receive helps the organization meet its strategic goals and achieve results.

    Labor relations managers and their staffs implement industrial labor relations programs. Labor relations specialists prepare information for management to use during collective bargaining agreement negotiations, a process that requires the specialist to be familiar with economic and wage data and to have extensive knowledge of labor law and collective bargaining procedures. The labor relations staff interprets and administers the contract with respect to grievances, wages and salaries, employee welfare, healthcare, pensions, union and management practices, and other contractual stipulations. In the absence of a union, industrial relations personnel may work with employees individually or with employee association representatives.

    EEO officers, representatives, or affirmative action coordinators handle equal employment opportunity matters. They investigate and resolve EEO grievances, examine corporate practices for possible violations, and compile and submit EEO statistical reports.

    Other emerging specialties in human resources include international human resources managers, who handle human resources issues related to a company's overseas operations and human resources information system specialists, who develop and apply computer programs to process human resources information, match jobseekers with job openings, and handle other human resources matters; and total compensation or total rewards specialists, who determine an appropriate mix of compensation, benefits, and incentives.

    Work Environment [+]

    Human resources personnel usually work in clean, pleasant, and comfortable office settings. Arbitrators and mediators many of whom work independently may work out of home offices. Although most human resources, training, and labor relations managers and specialists work in the office, some travel extensively. For example, recruiters regularly attend professional meetings, participate in job fairs, and visit college campuses to interview prospective employees. Arbitrators and mediators often must travel to the site chosen for negotiations. Trainers and other specialists may travel to regional, satellite, or international offices of a company to meet with employees who work outside of the main corporate office.

    Many human resources, training, and labor relations managers and specialists work a standard 40-hour week. However, longer hours might be necessary for some workers—for example, labor relations managers and specialists, arbitrators, and mediators—when contract agreements or dispute resolutions are being negotiated.

    Training, Other Qualifications, and Advancement [+]

    The educational backgrounds of human resources, training, and labor relations managers and specialists vary considerably, reflecting the diversity of duties and levels of responsibility. In filling entry-level jobs, many employers seek college graduates who have majored in human resources, human resources administration, or industrial and labor relations. Other employers look for college graduates with a technical or business background or a well-rounded liberal arts education.

    Education and training. Although a bachelor’s degree is a typical path of entry into these occupations, many colleges and universities do not offer degree programs in personnel administration, human resources, or labor relations until the graduate degree level. However, many offer individual courses in these subjects at the undergraduate level in addition to concentrations in human resources administration or human resources management, training and development, organizational development, and compensation and benefits.

    Because an interdisciplinary background is appropriate in this field, a combination of courses in the social sciences, business administration, and behavioral sciences is useful. Some jobs may require more technical or specialized backgrounds in engineering, science, finance, or law. Most prospective human resources specialists should take courses in principles of management, organizational structure, and industrial psychology; however, courses in accounting or finance are becoming increasingly important. Courses in labor law, collective bargaining, labor economics, and labor history also provide a valuable background for the prospective labor relations specialist. As in many other fields, knowledge of computers and information systems is useful.

    An advanced degree is increasingly important for some jobs. Many labor relations jobs require graduate study in industrial or labor relations. A strong background in industrial relations and law is highly desirable for contract negotiators, mediators, and arbitrators; in fact, many people in these specialties have law degrees. A master's degree in human resources, labor relations, or in business administration with a concentration in human resources management is highly recommended for those seeking general and top management positions.

    The duties given to entry-level workers will vary, depending on whether the new workers have a degree in human resource management, have completed an internship, or have some other type of human resources-related experience. Entry-level employees commonly learn by performing administrative duties—helping to enter data into computer systems, compiling employee handbooks, researching information for a supervisor, or answering phone calls and handling routine questions. Entry-level workers often enter on-the-job training programs in which they learn how to classify jobs, interview applicants, or administer employee benefits; they then are assigned to specific areas in the human resources department to gain experience. Later, they may advance to supervisory positions, overseeing a major element of the human resources program—compensation or training, for example.

    Other qualifications. Experience is an asset for many specialties in the human resources area, and is essential for advancement to senior-level positions, including managers, arbitrators, and mediators. Many employers prefer entry-level workers who have gained some experience through an internship or work-study program while in school. Employees in human resources administration and human resources development need the ability to work well with individuals and a commitment to organizational goals. This field demands skills that people may have developed elsewhere—teaching, supervising, and volunteering, among others. Human resources work also offers clerical workers opportunities to advance to more responsible or professional positions. Some positions occasionally are filled by experienced individuals from other backgrounds, including business, government, education, social services administration, and the military.

    The human resources field demands a range of personal qualities and skills. Human resources, training, and labor relations managers and specialists must speak and write effectively. Ever-changing technologies and the growing complexities inherent to the many services human resources personnel provide require that they be knowledgeable about computer systems, storage and retrieval software, and how to use a wide array of digital communications devices.

    The growing diversity of the workforce requires that human resources managers and specialists work with or supervise people of various ages, cultural backgrounds, levels of education, and experience. Ability to speak a foreign language is an asset, especially if working in an industry with a large immigrant workforce or for a company with many overseas operations. Human resources employees must be able to cope with conflicting points of view, function under pressure, and demonstrate discretion, integrity, fair-mindedness, and a persuasive, genial personality. Because much of the information collected by these employees is confidential, they must also show the character and responsibility of dealing with sensitive employee information.

    Certification and advancement. Most professional associations that specialize in human resources offer classes intended to enhance the skills of their members. Some organizations offer certification programs, which are signs of competence and credibility and can enhance advancement opportunities. For example, the International Foundation of Employee Benefit Plans confers a designation in three distinct areas of specialization—group benefit, retirement, and compensation—to persons who complete a series of college-level courses and pass exams. Candidates can earn a designation in each of the specialty tracks and, simultaneously, receive credit toward becoming a Certified Employee Benefits Specialist (CEBS). The American Society for Training and Development (ASTD) Certification Institute offers professional certification in the learning and performance field. Addressing nine areas of expertise, certification requires passing a knowledge-based exam and successful work experience. In addition, ASTD offers 16 short-term certificate and workshop programs covering a broad range of professional training and development topics. The Society for Human Resource Management offers two levels of certification, including the Professional in Human Resources (PHR) and the Senior Professional in Human Resources (SPHR). Additionally, the organization offers the Global Professional in Human Resources certification for those with international and cross-border responsibilities and the California Certification in Human Resources for those who plan to work in that State and become familiar with California's labor and human resources laws. All designations require experience and a passing score on a comprehensive exam. The WorldatWork Society of Certified Professionals offers four distinct designations in the areas of compensation, benefits, work-life, and global remuneration that comprise the total rewards management practice. Candidates obtain the designation of Certified Compensation Professional (CCP), Certified Benefits Professional (CBP), Global Remuneration Professional (GRP), and Work-Life Certified Professional (WLCP). Certification is achieved after passing a series of knowledge-based exams within each designation. Additionally, WorldatWork offers online and classroom education covering a broad range of total rewards topics.

    Exceptional human resources workers may be promoted to director of human resources or industrial relations, which can eventually lead to a top managerial or executive position. Others may join a consulting or outsourcing firm or open their own business. A Ph.D. is an asset for teaching, writing, or consulting work.

    Job Outlook [+]

    Employment is expected to grow much faster than the average for all human resources, training, and labor relations managers and specialist occupations. College graduates and those who have earned certification should have the best job opportunities.

    Employment change. Overall employment is projected to grow by 22 percent between 2008 and 2018, much faster than the average for all occupations. Legislation and court rulings revising standards in various areas—occupational safety and health, equal employment opportunity, wages, healthcare, retirement plans, and family leave, among others—will increase demand for human resources, training, and labor relations experts. Rising healthcare costs and a growing number of healthcare coverage options should continue to spur demand for specialists to develop creative compensation and benefits packages that companies can offer prospective employees. Employment of labor relations staff, including arbitrators and mediators, should grow as companies attempt to resolve potentially costly labor-management disputes out of court. Additional job growth may stem from increasing demand for specialists in international human resources management and human resources information systems.

    Job growth could be limited by the widespread use of computerized human resources information systems that make workers more productive. Like other workers, employment of human resources, training, and labor relations managers and specialists, particularly in larger companies, may be adversely affected by corporate downsizing, restructuring, and mergers; however, as companies once again expand operations, additional workers may be needed to manage company growth.

    Demand may be particularly strong for certain specialists. For example, employers are expected to devote greater resources to job-specific training programs in response to the increasing complexity of many jobs and technological advances that can leave employees with obsolete skills. Additionally, as highly trained and skilled baby boomers retire, there should be strong demand for training and development specialists to impart needed skills to their replacements. In addition, increasing efforts throughout industry to recruit and retain quality employees should create many jobs for employment, recruitment, and placement specialists.

    Among industries, firms involved in management, consulting, and employment services should offer many job opportunities, as businesses increasingly contract out human resources functions or hire human resources specialists on a temporary basis to deal with increasing costs and complexity of training and development programs. Demand for specialists also should increase in outsourcing firms that develop and administer complex employee benefits and compensation packages for other organizations.

    Job prospects. College graduates and those who have earned certification should have the best job opportunities, particularly graduates with a bachelor's degree in human resources, human resources administration, or industrial and labor relations. Those with a technical or business background or a well-rounded liberal arts education also should find opportunities. Demand for human resources, training, and labor relations managers and specialists depends on general economic conditions and the business cycle as well as staffing needs of the companies in which they work. A rapidly expanding business is likely to hire additional human resources workers—either as permanent employees or consultants—while businesses that have consolidated operations or merged with another company may require fewer of these workers. Also, as human resources management becomes increasingly important to the success of an organization, some small and medium-size businesses that do not have separate human resources departments may assign various human resources responsibilities to some employees in addition to their usual responsibilities; others may contract with consulting firms to establish formal procedures and train current employees to administer programs on a long-term basis.

    In addition to new human resources management and specialist jobs created over the 2008-2018 projection period, many job openings will arise from the need to replace workers who transfer to other occupations, retire, or leave the labor force for other reasons.

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    Effective Dec. 3, 2018, Lanier Technical College's address will be: 2535 Lanier Tech Drive, Gainesville, GA 30507
    Phone: 770-533-7000 | Fax: 770-531-6328
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