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Online Degree Programs in Finance

Professionals in the field of finance manage, plan, and invest finances and money for individuals and public or private institutions. They work in a variety of capacities and ...

Professionals in the field of finance manage, plan, and invest finances and money for individuals and public or private institutions. They work in a variety of capacities and may help their employers and clients meet or exceed their financial goals. If you're interested in earning Finance Online Degrees you'll find all the information you need below.

To jumpstart or enhance their careers in finance, many professionals pursue an undergraduate or graduate Finance Online Degrees. Pursuing online education may help students achieve their goals without having to travel to and from campus or navigate a potentially inconvenient schedule. Online education puts a variety of finance degree at your fingertips.

FINANCE DEGREE INSIGHT
We asked Online Finance Degree holders: Is an Economics degree more difficult to earn than Finance Degrees?

"Both majors are probably equally difficult, although folks who are adept at math would do better with a Finance and those who lean more towards logic would be better in Economics."
 Andrew Schrage & CEO
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- Andrew Schrage, CEO at Money Crashers

Finance Online Degrees Programs: Types and Curricula

What you study in Finance Online Degrees depends on your degree and program. In associate’s and bachelor’s degree programs, students typically pursue their degrees through a combination of general education courses and core and elective courses in the area of finance. At the end of their programs, they may take a capstone course and do a research project or comprehensive exam. Associate’s degree programs generally take two years to complete. Bachelor’s degree programs generally take four. Program lengths will vary by institution.

In graduate programs in finance, students typically earn their degrees by completing a combination of core and elective courses that focus on business and finance. At the end of their programs, students may write a thesis or dissertation and take a comprehensive exam. Master’s degree programs generally take two years to complete.  Doctoral degrees generally take four to eight, depending on the program.

Guide to a Finance Degree Online

No matter what level the program, the study of finance may include courses on the following topics:

  • Theories and principles of finance
  • Theories, principles, and applications of micro and macro economics
  • Business, entrepreneurial, real estate, public and nonprofit, and other types of finance
  • Financial management and accounting 
  • Financial ethics and law
  • Financial markets, industries, and institutions
  • Math and statistics
  • Insurance and risk
  • International business finance
  • Investment banking
  • Tax analysis
  • Portfolio management and security trading

Many programs also allow students to concentrate their studies in specific areas of finance. Some areas of concentration include corporate finance, investment banking, and personal finance planning. You can find more extensive lists of options for concentration through our sponsored program listings.

What Skills Might I Gain with Online Finance Degrees?

People who pursue a career in finance may need skills and competencies in the following areas: [ii]

  • Thinking critically: analyzing and applying financial data and principles accurately.
  • Communicating skillfully: communicating effectively with colleagues and clients.
  • Managing time effectively: managing multiple tasks and prioritizing actions.
  • Having historical knowledge: understanding how important institutions and events affect and apply to business and finance.
  • Applying knowledge effectively: applying theories and principles to on-the-job situations.
  • Analyzing data: understanding and using data to solve problems.
  • Working with integrity: valuing and upholding ethics and fair business and financial practices.

Certification in the Field of Finance

Depending on your career path, you might need to earn a finance certificate in addition to your degree. Two common finance certifications include the Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) certification [iii] and the Certified Financial Planner (CFP) certification. [iv]  Each has its own set of requirements, and you should take those into account as you plan to pursue your career.

Salary Potential and Projected Job Growth in Finance

What career you may pursue and your earning potential as a professional in the field of finance depends, of course, on your particular education, certification, experience, and skillset. Your potential rate of pay will also vary by state, employer, and specific position. However, we can give you a sense of what careers you may pursue and what your earning potential might be in those careers.

Potential Salaries for Professionals with an Associates Degree in Finance

Professionals with an associate’s degree in finance sometimes work as financial clerks. People in this occupation update financial records for organizations and carry out financial transactions. They may also work closely with customers. Financial clerks earn median annual salaries of $37,040 in 2015. [v]

Types of financial clerks include: [vi]

  • Billing and posting clerks
  • Gaming cage workers
  • Payroll and timekeeping clerks
  • Procurement clerks
  • Brokerage clerks
  • Credit authorizers, checkers, and clerks
  • Loan interviewers
  • New accounts clerks
  • Insurance claims and policy-processing clerks

Potential Salaries for Professionals with a Bachelors or Masters Degree in Finance

Professionals with a bachelor’s degree in finance work in a variety of capacities. Four common occupations include:

  1. Financial Analysts, who earned a median annual salary of $80,310 in 2015. They provide guidance to businesses and individuals making investment decisions. They assess the performance of stocks, bonds, and other investments. The BLS predicts that this occupation will grow by 12 percent between 2012 and 2024. [vii] You can learn more about what financial analysts do here.
  2. Budget Analysts, who earned a median annual salary of $71,590 in 2015. They help public and private institutions organize their finances, prepare budget reports, and monitor institutional spending. The BLS predicts that this occupation will grow by 3 percent between 2014 and 2024. [viii] You can learn more about what budget analysts do here
  3. Financial Managers, who earned a median annual salary of $117,990 in 2015. They “produce financial reports, direct investment activities, and develop strategies and plans for the long-term financial goals of their organization.” The BLS predicts that this occupation will grow by 7 percent between 2014 and 2024. [ix] You can learn more about what financial managers do here
  4. Personal Financial Advisors, who earned a median annual wage of $89,160 in 2015. They give advice on investments, insurance, mortgages, college savings, estate planning, taxes, and retirement to help individuals manage their finances. The BLS predicts that this occupation will grow by 30 percent between 2014 and 2024. [x] You can learn more about what personal financial advisors do here

Potential Salaries for Professionals with a Doctorate Degree in Finance

Professionals with a doctorate degree in finance often work as educators and researchers. Postsecondary teachers at colleges, universities, and other institutions earned a median annual salary of $72,470 in 2015. Their primary job is to teach, research, and publish. The BLS predicts that this occupation will grow by 13 percent between now and 2024. [xi]

What Is the Structure of an Online Degree in Finance Program?

While the structure of an online program varies by institution, we can give you a sense of how an online program might work.

  • First, the majority of online programs offer asynchronous learning which enables students to access materials and learning opportunities at times convenient to them. The minority of online programs offer synchronous learning which requires students to access courses at specific times. [xii] Some programs also let students move through curricula at their own pace.
  • Second, students typically learn through a variety of e-learning methods. Many of these methods are highly interactive and utilize a breadth of media to facilitate student learning.
  • Third, many universities support online students with resources such as online writing centers, libraries, and academic assistance. These help online students access the programming they need to succeed.
  • Finally, many online programs have regional or national accreditation. This may help ensure that institutions and programs deliver a high quality curriculum and faculty.

Program offerings and curriculums may vary, so always check directly with the school you’re interested in for exact details.

Should you choose to join the ranks of students studying finance online, here are some potential benefits:

  • Flexibility and convenience: For busy professionals, people with families, and students living in remote areas, online programs may allow a degree of flexibility typically not offered through on-campus programs. Time once spent commuting to class can be devoted to studying, and students may be able to design their programs to fit their work and personal schedules.
  • Applicability: People who earn an online bachelor’s in human resources may work fulltime and be able to apply what they learn to their work.
  • Networking: Online programs sometimes attract people from around the world. Students in online human resources programs may therefore expand their networks nationally and internationally.

 

[i]www2.ed.gov/about/.../list/.../master.doc [ii]www.bls.gov/ooh/business-and-financial/financial-analysts.htm#tab-4 [iii]cfainstitute.org/programs/cfaprogram/register/Pages/index.aspx [iv]cfp.net/become-a-cfp-professional/cfp-certification-requirements [v,vi]www.bls.gov/ooh/office-and-administrative-support/financial-clerks.htm [vii]www.bls.gov/ooh/business-and-financial/financial-analysts.htm [viii]www.bls.gov/ooh/business-and-financial/budget-analysts.htm [ix]www.bls.gov/ooh/management/financial-managers.htm#tab-1 [x]www.bls.gov/ooh/business-and-financial/personal-financial-advisors.htm [xi]www.bls.gov/ooh/education-training-and-library/postsecondary-teachers.htm#tab-1 [xii]nces.ed.gov/pubs2009/2009044.pdf

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