Current earning potentials and job outlooks make now a great time to earn a finance degree. The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reports that business and finance professionals earn a $72,250 median annual income. Additionally, the BLS projects the need for these workers to grow 8% in 2020-2030.
Since businesses need income to run, many companies consider knowledgeable finance professionals essential. Keep reading to learn about different finance degree levels and specializations and finance degree jobs.
Learn More About Finance Degrees
Finance degree jobs include economists, bankers, accountants, and financial analysts. Different positions require different degree levels.
Yes. Many schools offer fully online finance degrees. Some programs may require local in-person internships.
Finance professionals commonly work for banks and corporations. Others work for the government or nonprofits.
The best finance degree varies depending on personal career goals. When picking a finance major, learners should think about their strengths and interests.
Finance Degree Levels
The finance field offers career opportunities for people of all education levels. In this section, we highlight the common levels of an online finance degree. We discuss the careers graduates pursue, common coursework, and requirements. These degrees act as stepping stones for advanced degrees or positions.
An associate finance degree requires 42-60 credits. Full-time learners complete the degree in about two years. An associate degree in finance offers foundational knowledge of the field. The coursework focuses on the practical applications of the degree.
Learners practice accounting and payroll accounting. The course introduces learners to accounting software. Students discover introductory knowledge on economics as well.
With the degree, learners become assistants for accountants or financial examiners and analysts.
A bachelor’s degree in finance requires about 120 credits. Full-time learners finish the degree in around four years.Bachelor’s programs further build on foundational finance knowledge. For example, students practice accounting and payroll. However, the degree also introduces learners to finance strategy. Enrollees discover how to analyze stock market trends and engage in economic forecasting.
A bachelor’s degree opens many more career opportunities than an associate in finance. Graduates become accountants, auditors, budget analysts, and financial examiners.
A master’s degree in finance requires 36-54 credits. Most full-time students finish this degree in about two years.
A finance master’s program prepares students for top executive roles in finance. Graduates become chief financial officers or economists.
Some master’s programs require a capstone or thesis. These lengthy papers or projects fill gaps in industry knowledge. Applicants may need work experience before applying for certain programs.
A doctorate is a terminal degree in finance. The number of required credits varies greatly among programs. However, the average program requires 90 credits. Many learners work full time during their studies, so they spend around four years completing the degree.
A finance doctoral program focuses on economic forecasting and theory. Professionals with a doctorate in finance become professors or top-level executives.
Many doctoral programs require a dissertation. Similar to a thesis, a dissertation is a lengthy paper that summarizes the student’s finance industry research.
The finance field includes many money-related topics. No one program teaches everything the field covers. Luckily, students can expand their industry knowledge in a specific area.
Most schools let learners pick a finance concentration. Schools may refer to this as a minor, track, emphasis, or specialization. Some students choose to earn a double major in two finance subjects.
Here, we describe five common finance specializations. Keep in mind that not every school offers these exact options. Colleges also often provide other concentrations not included in the list.
Through this concentration, learners discover the financial tasks required to run a business. The coursework emphasizes how to manage budgets and increase profits. Learners discover how to find funding sources and bring a return on investment. Class topics cover capital structuring and payroll accounting. When pursued as a minor, learners may need to complete an internship at a local corporation.
A banking specialization teaches about the loan application process and different types of banking accounts. Learners discover how banks generate money to operate. They learn about various account maintenance fees. Some banking courses focus on the customer service aspects of banking. The specialization discusses fraud prevention in banking. Degree-seekers study the algorithms banks use to determine suspicious activity. The coursework highlights how credit unions differ from banks.
Students in the concentration learn how to offer investment advice for certain goals. The program curriculum highlights different strategies for retirement and college savings plans. Learners discover the pros and cons of Roth Individual Retirement Accounts and pension plans. The coursework covers the basics of risk analysis and best practices for communicating with clients. Some financial planning classes focus on advising businesses, while others discuss advising individuals.
An investment specialization covers all types of investment funds. These include index funds, closed-end funds, mutual funds, and unit investment trusts. The class highlights common investment companies, like Fidelity Investing. Enrollees study the stock market’s history and learn how to engage in company sales expansion forecasting. Part of the curriculum highlights cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin and the associated risks. Graduates know how to offer investment advice to individuals and businesses.
People who pursue a real estate concentration learn how to sell and list properties. The coursework highlights the legal aspects of real estate, like contract writing. Learners discover which aspects about a property a seller must legally reveal. Part of the curriculum highlights the pros and cons of purchasing investment properties. The concentration covers best practices for professional communication with fellow agents. Students in the concentration often become licensed realtors.
How Much Do Finance Graduates Make?
Finance majors earn different incomes depending on their position, years of experience, and location.
A person’s finance degree level may heavily influence their pay. According to Feb. 2022 Payscale data, professionals with a bachelor’s in finance earn an average of $70,000. Professionals with a master’s degree in finance earn an average of $79,000 as of Jan. 2022.
Finance professionals in different locations earn different salaries. Factors like demand and cost of living impact pay. For example, financial analysts in New York earn an annual mean wage of $130,670. The same professionals in Florida earn an annual mean wage of $76,370.
High-Paying Finance Jobs
The finance industry offers many career opportunities. Learners need a general idea of their specific career goals when picking a major and internships. When choosing a job to pursue, applicants should factor in earning potential and job outlook. The next section highlights income data for specific finance degree jobs.
Financial AnalystsThese professionals use statistics and analytical skills to give investment advice to individuals and companies. They study economic trends and watch the stock market. To practice as a financial analyst, professionals need a bachelor’s degree in a finance-related subject. Financial analysts earn a median annual income of $83,660. The BLS projects this career to grow by 6% in 2020-2030.
Management AnalystsPeople working as management analysts study an organization’s profit and loss statements. They make recommendations to increase revenue and efficiency. Some management analysts work as self-employed individuals and serve many clients. Others work in-house for a single company. The career requires a bachelor’s degree. Management analysts earn a median income of $87,660 annually. The BLS projects 14% growth in management analyst jobs between 2020-2030.
Top ExecutiveTop executives oversee big-picture decisions for corporations. Chief financial officers focus on a business’ income and spending. The career requires a bachelor’s degree and five years of experience in a related role. Top executives earn a yearly median income of $107,680. The BLS projects the need for these professionals to grow by 8% between 2020-2030.
Financial ManagerFinancial managers oversee long-term financial goals for a company. They direct investment funds and analyze financial reports. The career requires a bachelor’s degree and at least five years of experience in a related position. Financial managers earn a median income of $134,180 yearly. The BLS projects the need for management analysts to grow by 17% from 2020-2030.
Budget AnalystsProfessionals working in this role help organizations plan finances. They work with top-level executives and directors to cut budgets and increase profits. The position requires a bachelor’s degree. Budget analysts earn a $78,970 median annual salary. The BLS projects the budget analyst field to grow 5% during 2020-2030.