2019 Best Online Finance Degrees
Online finance degrees are available at the associate, bachelor's, master's, doctoral, and certificate levels. A degree in finance is a great option for students who are interested in mastering the concepts of financial fundamentals in business. In addition to our comprehensive list of accredited online finance programs, we offer a list of the best online colleges offering finance degrees and the best online master's in finance programs, ranked based on tuition costs and alumni salary data provided by PayScale.
2019 Best Online Colleges Offering Bachelor's in Finance Degrees
The 23 best online bachelor's degrees in finance programs can be found at these colleges and universities. Golden Gate University is the #1 school, with an average alumni salary of $126,600 and charging only $21,780 for their Bachelor of Science in Business (Finance Concentration). In the #2 spot, the University of Massachusetts - Amherst offers a Bachelor of Business Administration in Finance for only $15,750 per year, making it an affordable choice for distance learners who are looking for a high quality and affordable education.
|Rank||School||Annual Tuition||Median Salary|
Comprehensive List of Accredited Online Schools - Finance Degrees (245)
Annual Tuition: $10,632 - $13,400
|Full List||Accreditation||Annual Tuition||Recommend Rate|
|Full List (253)|
|DEAC||$7,500||100% (2 reviews)|
38 Programs, 2 in Finance
|HLC||$20,456||50% (2 reviews)|
29 Programs, 1 in Finance
|HLC||Not Provided||66% (163 reviews)|
47 Programs, 2 in Finance
|HLC||$6,880||71% (146 reviews)|
462 Programs, 2 in Finance
|MSCHE||$46,615||100% (2 reviews)|
54 Programs, 2 in Finance
2 Programs, 1 in Finance
|SACS COC||$26,970||Add Review|
28 Programs, 1 in Finance
|SACS COC||$22,109||100% (4 reviews)|
47 Programs, 1 in Finance
|WASC WSCUC||$10,632 - $13,400||67% (646 reviews)|
212 Programs, 8 in Finance
|SACS COC||$29,640||100% (2 reviews)|
129 Programs, 6 in Finance
6 Programs, 1 in Finance
|HLC||$9,360||60% (88 reviews)|
71 Programs, 4 in Finance
|HLC||$25,942||100% (4 reviews)|
160 Programs, 1 in Finance
|HLC||$7,752||69% (58 reviews)|
189 Programs, 26 in Finance
|HLC||$33,900||33% (3 reviews)|
41 Programs, 1 in Finance
|HLC||$36,210||100% (1 review)|
59 Programs, 1 in Finance
|NECHE||$52,082||100% (2 reviews)|
87 Programs, 9 in Finance
13 Programs, 1 in Finance
|SACS COC||$28,510||Add Review|
92 Programs, 4 in Finance
|SACS COC||$21,550||100% (1 review)|
16 Programs, 2 in Finance
|HLC||$32,854||100% (2 reviews)|
34 Programs, 1 in Finance
|DEAC||$4,725||90% (62 reviews)|
86 Programs, 2 in Finance
|WASC WSCUC||$18,714||100% (1 review)|
22 Programs, 1 in Finance
|HLC||$14,250||65% (582 reviews)|
232 Programs, 3 in Finance
22 Programs, 1 in Finance
- Annual Tuition: $21,780
- Median Salary: $126,600
Golden Gate University, located near San Francisco’s Golden Gate, offers an online Bachelor of Science in Business with a concentration in finance. The program focuses on professional credentials and also prepares students for graduate study. The program admits both freshman and transfer students. Applicants with no college credits need a diploma, a 3.0 GPA and three years of professional experience. Transfer students need a 2.0 GPA and may transfer in up to 93 credits. Courses in the program include Modeling for Financial Analysis, Strategic Decisions in Finance and Investing, and Financial Analysis. Online undergraduate tuition is $660 per credit unit. 95% of students are age 25 or over. GGU is military friendly.
- Annual Tuition: $15,750
- Median Salary: $111,400
The University of Massachusetts-Amherst features an online Bachelor of Business Administration in Finance. The program covers marketing, finance, operations, and information management, and the focus is on business foundations and financial decision making. It is offered through UMA's highly regarded Isenberg School of Management. Applicants must have at least 27 credits and may transfer in up to 75 credits. A 3.0 or higher GPA is preferred but not specifically required. Courses in the program include Accounting Information Systems, Foundations of Sustainable Enterprise, and International Finance. Online undergraduate tuition is $525 per credit unit. UMA is the flagship campus of the U Mass system.
- Annual Tuition: $11,100
- Median Salary: $108,700
The University of Wisconsin- Platteville offers an online Bachelor of Science in Business Administration (BSBA) with an emphasis in finance. The focus of the specialization is effective investment and management of capital and financial resources. Admission requires a diploma and SAT or ACT scores. Transfer students should have a 2.0 GPA. The program can be completed in two years by students with an appropriate associate degree. There are some limits on credit transfer from technical colleges. Courses in the program include Financial Systems Analysis and Business Valuation, Financial Decision Making, and Commercial Bank Management. Online undergraduate tuition is $370 per credit unit.
- Annual Tuition: $18,864
- Median Salary: $109,100
California State University- East Bay has an online Bachelor of Science in Business Administration (BSBA) in Finance. Admission into the program requires 60 credits (90 quarter units) with a minimum 2.0 GPA. The focus is on developing skills for careers in financial management. CSUEB is on a quarter system. The degree requires 180 credits with 97 to 105 in the major. Among the courses offered in the program are Decision Science, Problems in Corporate Finance, and Business and Professional Ethics. Resident undergraduate tuition for 1-6 credits is $2,286, with an additional $396 per credit for nonresidents. This is the first ASCSB accredited online business administration degree completion program at any university in California. The school is located in Hayward, near San Francisco.
- Annual Tuition: $21,330
- Median Salary: $104,200
Texas Tech offers an online Bachelor of Applied Arts and Science (BAAS) in Applied Leadership, with a concentration in personal finance. This is a degree completion program which requires an associate degree in a relevant field. The program is designed for, but not limited to, graduates of Texas community colleges. Tech's business programs are highly respected. The BAAS requires 18 credits in two separate concentrations. The concentrations are complementary to each other and to the associate program. 60 credits must be taken while enrolled at Texas Tech, and up to 60 may be transferred. Tuition is $225 per credit unit. Texas Tech is notably military friendly.
- Annual Tuition: $11,864
- Median Salary: $102,050
The University of Minnesota Digital Campus features an online Bachelor of Science in Finance. The program focus is on developing skills to understand and effectively manage personal and institutional finances. Freshman admission is holistic, combining scores, grade point average, and other factors. The degree requires 120 credits, with 65 in the major. Sample program courses are Managerial Finance, Business Writing, and Insurance and Risk Management. Tuition is $395.47 per credit hour. This program is administered through UM-Crookston, and students in the program are considered UM-Crookston students. UMC has 900 on-campus students and 900 online students.
- Annual Tuition: $11,970
- Median Salary: $100,000
Park University offers six online programs in finance: Bachelor of Science in Business Administration (BSBA) degrees in Finance, Financial Management, and Financial Planning and Bachelor of Science in Management degrees in Finance, Financial Management, and Financial Planning. The programs focus on free enterprise in a socially responsible context, and on financial skills to effectively manage financial resources. Admissions requires a diploma or GED, and transfer students need a 2.0 GPA. Course offerings include Problems of Corporate Finance, Professional Financial Planning, and International Finance. Online undergraduate tuition is $399 per credit. Park University is located in Parkville, Missouri.
- Annual Tuition: $11,670
- Median Salary: $92,400
Old Dominion University offers an online Bachelor of Science in Business Administration in Finance. This is a degree completion program; it is designed for students with an appropriate associate degree. Students with an associate degree from the Virginia Community College System qualify for automatic admission. Transfer students need a 2.0 GPA and may transfer in up to 90 credits; the last 30 credits of the degree must be taken while enrolled at ODU. The program focus is on combining skills and ethics to successfully manage financial resources. Courses include International Finance Management, Financial Decision Making, and Legal Environments of Business. Resident undergraduate online tuition is $352 per credit and $389 per credit for non-residents. ODU is located in Norfolk, Virginia.
- Annual Tuition: $14,970
- Median Salary: $88,200
The University of Maryland University College has an online Bachelor of Science in Finance. This program focuses on developing money management skills for careers in management and operations in business and other contexts. The admissions process has been streamlined, and tests are no longer required. Students need a diploma or the GED; transfer students need a 2.0 GPA and may transfer in up to 90 credits. Course offerings include Strategic Management, Management and Organizational Theory, and Business Ethics. Online undergraduate tuition is $294 per credit for residents and $499 per credit for non-residents. Military members (including spouses and dependents) are given a reduced rate of $250 per credit.
- Annual Tuition: $8,993
- Median Salary: $84,300
Florida International University offers an online Bachelor of Business Administration in Finance. The program focuses on developing analytical and financial management skills for a business career. It also prepares students for graduate programs in finance. Admission requires a diploma and SAT or ACT scores, or the GED. Transfer students need a 2.5 GPA for the program. Courses in the program include Legal Environment of Business, International Finance Management, and Advanced Communication for Business. Tuition is $212.71 per credit for Florida residents and $299.77 per credit for nonresidents. Distance learners are provided with a success coach to help them set goals and navigate through any issues they experience. FIU is extremely diverse, with many connections with Latin America.
- Annual Tuition: $10,201
- Median Salary: $82,300
Northern State University offers an online Bachelor of Science in Banking and Financial Services. The program concentrates on skills for a career in banking and evaluation of asset performance. Freshman admission requires a 2.6 GPA or the rank of top 60% in class. Transfer students need a 2.0 GPA. The program requires an internship at a bank or other financial institution. Courses in the major include Consumer Lending and Credit Cards, Non-Traditional Bank Product and Services, and Regulation and Compliance. NSU also offers an online MA in Banking and Financial Services, which is the only MA of its kind. NSU is recognized for affordability; undergraduate online tuition is $340.05 per credit. The school is located in Aberdeen, South Dakota.
- Annual Tuition: $27,870
- Median Salary: $84,000
Dallas Baptist University has an online Bachelor of Business Studies in Finance. All DBU degrees integrate Biblically-based values with academics, and this program focuses on combining faith-based values with professional skills in finance. Admission is based on a combination of academics and Christian character. Transfer students should have a 2.0 GPA and may transfer in up to 90 credits. At least 30 credits must be earned while enrolled at DBU. The degree requires 120 credits, and the finance concentration requires 30 credits. Courses in the program include Security Analysis, Portfolio Planning Management, and Entrepreneurial Finance. Undergraduate tuition is $929 per credit. The school is affiliated with the Texas Baptist General Convention.
- Annual Tuition: $16,650
- Median Salary: $81,400
National University features an online Bachelor of Business Administration in Finance. The degree prepares students for financial careers in business contexts, with a particular focus on managing and administrating capital assets. NU is on the quarter system, and a degree requires 180 credits with 27 credits in the finance program. Admission requires that freshman have a diploma or GED and a 2.0 GPA. A transfer student should also have a 2.0 and may transfer in up to 90 semester (120 quarter) credits. Classes last four weeks, with one course per term. Courses in the program include Financial Institutions, Risk Management and Insurance, and Working Capital Management. Online tuition is $370 per quarter credit. NU's main campus is located in San Diego and the school is extremely military friendly.
- Annual Tuition: $10,633
- Median Salary: $78,200
SUNY Empire State College offers three online programs in Finance: a BA in Business, Management and Economics - Finance, a BS in Business, Management and Economics - Finance, and a BPS in Business, Management and Economics - Finance. The programs focus on foundational studies and professional skills that concern effective management of capital and risk. The main difference among the programs is the number of liberal studies credits required, with 32 for the BPS, 62 for the BS, and 94 for the BA. Freshmen admission requires a diploma or the GED. There are no special requirements for transfer students other than a 2.0 GPA in courses transferred. Policies regarding transfer credit are generous. Online undergraduate tuition per credit is $286 for residents and $343 for nonresidents. Empire State's main campus is in Saratoga Springs, New York.
- Annual Tuition: $14,742
- Median Salary: $78,300
Kansas State University has an online Bachelor of Science in Personal Financial Planning program, which is offered through the School of Family Studies and Human Services. The program concerns consumer rights, investment, insurance, family finances, and retirement planning. The 120 credit degree has 44 credits in the major. Admission for freshman requires a diploma and test scores. The test requirement is waived for students 21 and older. Transfer students must have a 2.0 GPA. Program graduates are eligible to sit for the Certified Financial Planner (CFP) exam. Courses include Family and Consumer Economics, Retirement Planning Concepts, and Estate Planning. Undergraduate tuition through K-State's Global Campus is $436.40 per credit.
#16 Columbia College
- Annual Tuition: $11,250
- Median Salary: $77,300
#16 Columbia College
Columbia College offers both an online BA and an online BS in Business Administration concentrating in finance. The focus of these programs is on developing skills to evaluate and manage financial assets of businesses and organizations. Admission requires a diploma or the GED. Transfer students need a 2.0 GPA and may transfer in up to 90 credits. 51 credits are in business core classes and 18 are in the finance major. The BA requires six credits of a foreign language, or approved substitutes; the BS does not. Among the courses offered are Financial Markets and Institutions, Principles of Real Estate, and Federal Income Tax for Individuals. Undergraduate online tuition is $375 per credit, with a reduced rate of $250 per credit for military members. The college is located in Columbia, Missouri.
- Annual Tuition: $12,600
- Median Salary: $76,900
The University of Memphis offers online Bachelor of Business Administration in Finance degrees with concentrations in business finance and real estate. The real estate program prepares students for careers in real estate or allied fields such as mortgage banking. The finance program focuses on the management of stocks, bonds, securities, and other corporate assets in a business environment. Admission requires a diploma and ACT or SAT scores, or the GED. Transfer students need a 2.0 GPA. The BBA requires 120 credits total, with 24 in business core and 18 in the concentration. Courses in these programs include Business Analytics, Real Estate Appraisal, Risk Management, and Financial Analysis/ Certification. Undergraduate online tuition is $420 per credit unit.
- Annual Tuition: $25,710
- Median Salary: $78,100
Northwood University offers an online Bachelor of Business Administration in Finance. The program provides a thorough grounding in finance from an entrepreneurial viewpoint. Northwood states that all university programs are focused "on enterprise models and entrepreneurial achievement." Admission is holistic, and a student’s motivation level is considered as much as their grades. Transfer students should have a 2.0 GPA. Sample program courses include Philosophy of American Enterprise, Capital Market and Analysis, and Real Estate Finance and Analysis. Online undergraduate tuition is $445 per credit. Northwood's home campus is in Midland, Michigan, but other campuses are located in Malaysia and Switzerland.
- Annual Tuition: $15,780
- Median Salary: $76,100
Franklin University features an online Bachelor of Science in Financial Management and an online Bachelor of Science in Financial Planning. The Financial Planning program prepares students for a career as a Financial Planner and includes real estate planning, retirement, and estate planning. The Financial Management program focuses on skills that will enable graduates to qualify for careers as managers of business and institutional finances. Admission is open, requiring only proof of graduation or attendance at another college. The degree requires 124 credits. Classes in the programs include Global Finance, Retirement Savings and Income Planning, and Money, Banking and Financial Markets. Online tuition is $526 per credit or $250 per credit for active military. Franklin's main campus is in Columbus, Ohio, with additional locations in several other Midwestern states.
- Annual Tuition: $19,140
- Median Salary: $75,300
The University of Houston- Downtown has an online Bachelor of Business Administration- Finance. The program focus is on analysis and productivity in managing finances. The program prepares students for graduate study and for the Certified Financial Planner exam. Freshman admission is based on a combination of GPA and test scores. Transfer students need a 2.0 GPA and transfer credit policies are generous. Students choose to specialize in either corporate finance or managing investments. Sample classes in the program are Cases in Managerial Finance, Derivative Securities, and Legal Environment of Business. Online undergraduate tuition for business classes is $234 per credit for Texas residents and $649 per credit for nonresidents.
- Annual Tuition: $13,230
- Median Salary: $74,500
The University of Alabama at Birmingham offers an online Bachelor of Science in Finance. In addition to the general finance option, the program has three specialized concentrations: finance management, investments and institutions, and real estate. The programs focus on careful analysis of risk and the productive management of financial assets. Freshmen admission is determined on a combination of GPA, test scores and curriculum score. Transfer students need a 2.0 GPA. Courses in the program include Distribution Management, Income Taxation, and International Financial Management. Undergraduate tuition for online business classes is $262.50 per credit. UAB has a large online presence and excellent student support.
- Annual Tuition: $8,850
- Median Salary: $72,900
Missouri State University features an online Bachelor of Science in Finance. The program has two concentrations: finance planning and finance. The finance program focuses on caretaking of fiscal assets of individuals and institutions. The finance planning option focuses on career skills for advising individuals and families about retirement savings and other financial matters. Admission is based on a combination of test scores, grade point, and class percentile. Transfer students need a 2.5 GPA. Courses in the program include Personal Finance Planning, Introduction to Estate Planning, and International Financial Statement Analysis. Online undergraduate tuition is $295 per credit hour.
- Annual Tuition: $13,080
- Median Salary: $72,100
Buena Vista University offers an online Bachelor of Applied Science in Financial Decision Making. This is a degree completion program; applicants must have either an associate degree or 60 college credits. Transfer students should have a 2.0 GPA. The program curriculum focuses on analysis-based financial management for individuals, businesses, and organizations. Courses are offered in 8-week terms. Classes include Enterprise Risk Management, Advanced Financial Management, and Corporate Finance. Online tuition is $436 per credit. Buena Vista University has a number of learning sites, but the home campus is located in Storm Lake, Iowa. BVU is associated with the Presbyterian Church.
Online Finance Degree Overview & Career Information
Undergraduate finance degree programs cover the fundamentals of accounting, business management, economics, and finance. The associate degree curriculum introduces students to key areas in the field such as financial institutions, financial statement analysis, global economic trends, and investments. Bachelor’s programs offer students the opportunity to specialize in a specific area that represents their career interests. This may include analysis for financial management, ethics and enterprise, financial markets and institutions, and investments and portfolio management. Bachelor’s programs usually include a capstone course, which requires students to complete a business project.
Master’s programs allow students to expand their undergraduate knowledge base. The core of the finance master's program includes courses in advanced business and finance areas such as financial accounting, econometrics, and financial modeling. Other common courses include international finance, corporate finance, and risk management. The curriculum of doctoral programs integrates theory, research and students’ personal reflection with practice. Doctoral students are also required to take a comprehensive exam, conduct an original research project, and write a dissertation. Those who study at the graduate level can apply their advanced knowledge in finance to professional roles in consultancy, corporate finance, investments, personal finance, research, and teaching.
Professionals in finance help people analyze and improve their economic situation. Many individuals take the first step in continuing their education in this field by pursuing an associate degree at a distance learning school or traditional community or junior college. These programs typically consists of 60 to 64 credits and will only accept candidates with high school diplomas or GED certificates. There are two types of associate degree programs in finance: Associate of Science and Associate of Applied Science. The former is designed to be a stepping stone to getting a bachelor's degree, while the latter focuses on preparing individuals to go straight into the workforce after graduation.
Regardless of the result, all associate degree programs in finance are designed to equip students with decision-making skills, management capabilities, and interpersonal skills. Individuals learn how to devise budget plans, utilize business communication practices, and carry out other varied job responsibilities under the direction of management. Major topics that are discussed include corporate finance, investment principles, credit analysis, microeconomics, business law and ethics, and financial accounting.
Associate-level finance graduates may work in private or corporate settings, manufacturing, retail, government, or technical services. Associate degree holders may find jobs as credit or insurance analysts, loan processors, or financial planners. It's important to know that your chances of getting promoted to supervisory or management positions in these areas are contingent upon your willingness to continue your education and obtain a bachelor's degree.
The bachelor’s degree in finance combines a core of business classes with the financial skills to develop financial reports, analyze financial data, and wisely invest a business or organization’s capital. These four-year programs are often offered through the business school of a traditional college or university and require about 120 credit hours of coursework. As with most bachelor’s programs, applicants will need a high school diploma or the equivalent to apply.
The finance bachelor’s includes a set of general education courses, the business foundation, and the finance specialization. General education courses in topics like humanities, math, and English support critical thinking abilities and general college-level reasoning skills. The business core is an interdisciplinary set of classes that helps students understand a functioning business from many angles. Common courses include marketing, accounting, economics, leadership, and organizational behavior. Finance specialization classes include managerial finance, investing, financial institutions, and risk and insurance.
The broad yet practical skill set of the finance bachelor’s degree is useful for entering a number of professions. Graduates could go on to become financial analysts, budget analysts, or financial managers within a business, helping the organization interpret its financial situation and prepare for the future. Other graduates go on to become stock brokers, insurance underwriters, or personal financial advisors. The quantitative analysis and business skills of the finance program can be applied to a wide variety of careers.
Online Master of Arts degree programs in finance introduce students to advanced theories in financial instruments, investing, and financial markets. Master of Business Administration (MBA) degrees in finance provide a core of practical business classes, along with a focus in the skills for interpreting financial systems. To learn more about online master's programs in finance, see our master's overview which includes a list of the best programs.
Students in the finance doctoral program take advanced courses in a variety of finance areas while also honing their independent research skills. Finance PhDs require anywhere from three to eight years of coursework. Students complete 10-20 classes (usually one to two per semester), write a dissertation, and teach undergraduate courses, depending on their commitment level and the program they choose. All doctoral applicants must have bachelor's degrees, and most programs require undergraduate classes in statistics, math, and economics. Some programs require that applicants have a relevant master's degree and professional experience, as well.
Most doctoral programs in finance include a strong base of coursework in quantitative methods, statistics, financial modeling, financial institutions, and economics. Other common courses discuss international, government, corporate, personal, and non-profit finance. Graduates understand the banking system and the stock market, along with the techniques for managing budgets and investments. The dissertation project is a main component of the finance PhD and requires students to develop a research project in a particular finance area. Many programs expect students to write and publish papers during the first two years of the degree in order to prepare for the lengthier dissertation project.
Doctorate programs in finance are often designed to prepare graduates for the research and teaching involved in college faculty positions. Graduates can apply for assistant professor and other tenure-track positions at colleges and universities. Others can use the credential to aim for executive roles in financial institutions, such as banks and hedge funds. Others may become corporate administrators and government consultants.
While there are many online bachelor's degrees and master's degrees available, there are also opportunities to earn finance certificate degrees online at both the undergraduate and graduate level. Some certificates do not have a designated degree level, and are appropriate for professionals seeking progress in their careers or who would like to acquire specific financial skills or understanding.
Undergraduate certificates in finance are available online through both universities and technical colleges, although on occasion they are specialized certificates under the general umbrella of the finance field. For example, University of Phoenix offers a Bookkeeping Fundamentals certificate for undergraduate students. This certificate requires a minimum of 18 credits and includes classes such as management theory and practice, business communication for accountants, and statistics for decision making. As far as admission into these certificate programs, both of these examples require that applicants present a high school or GED transcript. Either of these certificates would adequately prepare recipients to enter the workforce in entry-level accounting or bookkeeping positions with a broad scope of understanding and applicable skills.
Post University Online offers an online graduate certificate program in finance which is intended for those who have completed a bachelor or graduate degree program and are looking to build upon their knowledge base. It is also for those who would like to earn credits toward pursuing their MBA. Prerequisites for the certificate include two specific business classes: Economic Foundations of Applied Accounting and Finance, and Financial Modeling. The entire certificate is 15 credits and designed to take one year, with students taking classes in managing financial institutions, financial statement analysis, investment management and analysis, and organizational risk management.
As stated above, some finance certificate degrees are freestanding and are ideal for professionals. Cornell University 's online education program, eCornell, includes a certificate in financial management. According to the institution's website, this certificate is suited for current managers and directors who are in decision-making positions. It is a three month course with the outcome of equipping professionals with the knowledge and tools to make sound operational decisions through analysis, interpretation, and communication of high-level financial information. A further example is the certificate available online through Notre Dame University in what is called Effective Nonprofit Fundraising Strategies. This certificate provides an in-depth understanding of the best fundraising methods and theories, and outlines certain learning objectives such as how to capitalize on philanthropic motivations and behaviors, reliable methods to promote recurring giving, and how to efficiently manage donor data. This course is broken up into educational units and takes eight weeks for completion.
When researching potential online finance degrees, it's important to choose a program that has been accredited. Accreditation is a designation granted to degree programs and institutions that meet high academic standards with regard to their curricula, faculty members, student resources, and research capabilities. Institutional accreditation means that the entire school has been accredited by a regional or national accrediting agency, and programmatic accreditation means that one particular degree program has been accredited.
Accreditation of either the school or the degree program you choose can help you feel confident that you're going to receive a high-quality education and that your degree will be valued by future employers. Attending an accredited school is also necessary if you plan to apply for federal financial aid or graduate school.
Finance degree programs are often accredited by agencies that specialize in business programs, such as the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB) and the Accreditation Council for Business Schools & Programs (ACBSP). Both of these agencies are recognized by the US Department of Education (USDE) as being trustworthy accrediting bodies. It's wise to visit the USDE's accreditation database before submitting an admissions application for any degree program you may be considering. Please visit Guide to Online Schools' accreditation section for more information about the benefits of accreditation.
While completing an undergraduate or graduate a degree in finance will entail intensive business training, many employers also require specific certifications, depending on the field of work. Certifications are designed to help professionals maintain a high level of integrity in specific financial areas. Since the large number of finance certifications can be overwhelming, we've highlighted a few of the most popular ones here.
Actuary Certifications: Actuarial science, the study of risk management, is a major aspect of financial management for businesses. While many finance majors are well trained in calculating risk and expected returns, obtaining an actuarial certification signals to employers one’s proficiency in the field. In the United States, different certifications are required for different careers. For example, a certification from the American Academy of Actuaries is required for anyone to sign official actuarial opinions. Another form of actuarial certification comes from the Casualty Actuarial Society, which certifies its holders to assess property and casualty risk.
Certified Managerial Accountant: The certified managerial accountant (CMA) certification is another certification that financiers may choose. As finance majors, most people are well exposed to accounting methods, such as time value of money or double-entry bookkeeping. The CMA certification stresses a higher level of business administration, which emphasizes accountancy methods with different aspects of business such as financial planning, operations management, and professional ethics in addition to proficiency in accounting methods.
Chartered Financial Analyst: The CFA is a certification for finance and investment professionals. The certification assures that its holders are adept in concepts of portfolio management and financial analysis, along with general training in economics and business ethics. With high standards for passing, this certification is coveted by many employers for upper-level positions in the field of finance.
Finance careers attract many people, due to the challenging, lucrative nature of the work. There are many different roles in business and finance that might interest finance graduates, depending on their skill set and preferred work environment. Administration, money management, employee management, and investment management are just a few of the major career areas within this field.
Most entry-level business and finance positions, such as HR generalist, administrative manager, and financial manager, require a bachelor's degree. Depending on the particular business and finance career you hope to pursue, a major in business administration, finance, economics, mathematics, or information technology could be good preparation. Getting practical training through an internship, co-op work experience, or externship is highly recommended during a business bachelor's program.
Some higher-level positions, such as investment broker, financial analyst, and management executive roles, require a master's degree. The Master of Business Administration, which includes two to three years of practical business training, is great preparation and highly valued in the business world.
- Administrative Services Manager: These managers coordinate the different services and actions necessary to keep a business running on a day-to-day basis. In a small business, these managers may perform many different tasks, from hiring employees, to buying supplies, to keeping financial records. In larger businesses, administrators specialize in a particular management area.
- Facility Manager: Facility managers take care of the buildings and grounds associated with a business. They make sure that utilities are working properly, that the building is secure, and that building standards are up to code.
- Human Resources Manager: HR managers act as liaisons between a business's management and its employees. They recruit, hire, and train new employees, and they administer employees' compensation and benefits packages. In larger organizations, HR managers typically specialize in a particular HR sub-area.
- Information Technology Manager: IT managers oversee information systems and IT workers in an organization. They install and maintain computers and networks, manage IT projects, and train employees in the organization's information systems.
- Medical and Health Services Manager: Healthcare managers work in hospitals, skilled nursing facilities, clinics, and other medical settings. They hire and coordinate clinical care workers, manage records, and oversee the maintenance of the facility.
- Purchasing Manager: These managers buy products for a variety of businesses for a variety of purposes. They may purchase goods for wholesale or retail sale, or for repurposing. Purchasing managers compare products and negotiate with vendors in order to obtain the best price possible for their organization.
- Budget Analyst: Budget analysts act as consultants to help businesses, non-profits, and government agencies appropriately use their funds. They help organizations decide which projects deserve funding, and how funding should match up with an organization's goals.
- Financial Analyst: Financial analysts help businesses and individuals decide which investments to make. They work with an organization to determine its time frame, investment goals, and risk tolerance to pick stocks and bonds that will generate appropriate returns.
- Financial Manager: Financial managers make sure that the funds in an organization are managed appropriately. They create financial reports, direct funds to different projects, oversee the flow of cash, and purchase appropriate insurance.
- Personal Financial Advisors: Personal financial advisors work with individuals and families to help them plan for their financial goals. They help their clients budget enough money for retirement and college expenses and help them choose investments or other financial instruments.
- AACSB International. Accessed October 29, 2014. http://www.aacsb.edu.
- ACBSP. Accessed October 29, 2014. http://www.acbsp.org.
- American Academy of Actuaries. Accessed October 28, 2014. http://www.actuary.org.
- Become a CMA. Institute of Management Accountants. http://www.imanet.org/cma_certification/become_a_cma.aspx.
- CFA Program. CFA Institute. Accessed October 28, 2014. http://www.cfainstitute.org/programs/cfaprogram/Pages/index.aspx.
- ECornell Financial Management Certificate. Accessed October 27, 2016. https://www.ecornell.com/certificates/financial-management/financial-management/.
- Notre Dame Online Finance Certificate Degree. Accessed October 27, 2016. http://www.notredameonline.com/programs/certificates/nonprofit-executive-programs/courses/effective-nonprofit-fundraising-strategies/.
- Oconee Fall Line Technical College Accounting Certificate. Accessed October 27, 2016. https://cmt.oftc.edu/programs/office-accounting-specialist-201712/.
- Phoenix University Online Finance Degree. Accessed October 27, 2016. http://www.phoenix.edu/programs/continuing-education/certificate-programs.