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National Business Education Association

Program, Organization, Membership and Support, History

The National Business Education Association (NBEA) is a private organization devoted to the use of education to advance ethical standards, professional conduct, diversity, and fairness in the field of business. It is the largest professional organization of its kind in the United States, and its influence is enhanced by the close ties it maintains to other business-related organizations both within the United States and in the international community. Its primary constituency comprises business educators and the administrators of programs of business instruction.


The NBEA takes as its primary goal the improvement of business education and enhancing the status of the profession. Among the activities it conducts to achieve these ends are a publications program, through which the NBEA disseminates information on the latest innovations in teaching techniques; a strong leadership program designed to improve professionalism within the field of business education; and a lobbying arm, the Legislative Advocacy Committee, which works with lawmakers at the local, state, and federal level to improve the quality of business education. It also sponsors two student organizations, the Future Business Leaders of America (for high school students) and the college honor society Phi Beta Lamda, in the conviction that early education is key to developing business skills and a commitment to civic leadership.

The NBEA has an active publications division, which offers materials on topics of interest to business educators. Its official journal is the Business Education Forum, and it also publishes a newsletter, Keying In. In addition it publishes the Business Education Standards, which establishes standards of competency that should be attained by children from kindergarten to age fourteen in eleven areas of business-related education. Among the areas addressed are accounting principles, business law, marketing, computation, economics, and management. The NBEA also publishes an annual Yearbook, each issue of which is devoted to a single topic of importance to business educators. It maintains a web-site with links to a wide range of business organizations in the United States and abroad.


The NBEA has four divisions, each representing a distinct area of professional interest: International; Research; Teacher Education; and Teaching, Supervision, and Administration. The organization is broken into five regional associations: Eastern, Southern, North-Central, Mountain-Plains, and Western. Overseeing the organization's activities is an executive board, which consists of the presidents of each of the divisions and associations as well as elected representatives of the five regional associations. Conferences and workshops are sponsored at the divisional and regional levels.

The NBEA also has a representative assembly, composed of business and business education leaders from each state and from affiliated business organizations. This assembly provides recommendations on policy, planning, and future activities of the national organization. Through this structure, the NBEA is able to carry out its mission to serve as an information conduit, conveying information among affiliated business organizations for the betterment of all members.

Membership and Support

The NBEA welcomes all individuals who share its interest in improving business education and advancing the goals of fairness, diversity, and professionalism in the field. Interested parties may choose from five different categories of membership: professional, student, associate, lifetime, and honorary. Only professional and lifetime members are eligible to vote on NBEA issues, serve on the assembly, or be elected to the executive committee. Funding for the NBEA comes from membership dues, the sale of NBEA literature, and fees charged for workshops and seminars.


The NBEA got its start in 1878 when a group of educators from several private schools got together to form the Business Education Association (BEA). The group was chiefly concerned with the dissemination of information of interest to business teachers and published a series of monographs. In 1892 the BEA became a formal division of the National Education Association (NEA) and was renamed the Department of Business Education.

Groups of other independent organizations devoted to principles of sound business education were founded over the next several years, including the National Commercial Teachers Association (1895), the Eastern Commercial Teachers Association (1897), the Southern Commercial Teachers Association (1922), and the National Association of Commercial Teacher-Training Institutions. These and other like-minded groups joined together to form the National Council for Business Education (NCBE) in 1933, with the goal of establishing national standards in the field of business education.

In 1946 the NCBE merged with the NEA's Department of Business Education to form the United Business Education Association, and headquarters were established at the NEA Center in Washington, D.C. Regional divisions were formed over the next several years, leading to the organizational structure that now characterizes the NBEA. The organization took its present name in 1962.




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