Finance Career and Degree Guide
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7 Essential Questions Answered About Finance Schools and Degrees
What finance schools are available? Can I go to school online?
There are many nonprofit and for-profit traditional schools that offer finance degree programs. From general finance to consumer and family financial services, you can find programs by degree-level or location. If you're interested in the convenience of an online program, you're in luck. Bachelor's degrees and certificate programs are all available in the online format. We can help you find accredited online finance schools.
What careers can I pursue with a finance degree?
A finance degree can open doors into roughly four general industry job areas:
- Investment bankers raise capital for businesses and governments by creating securities, such as stocks and bonds, to be sold
- Corporate financial analysts and financial planners direct businesses and individual investment portfolios toward growth by supervising and allocating assets and managing risk. The subfield of insurance seeks to protect assets from loss by redistributing risk
- Commercial bankers—the most common of finance careers—lend money to individuals and businesses
Within each of these categories there are myriad finance career paths suited to individual interests and specializations, such as salespeople, analysts, account executives and more. Those who excel in their fields usually gain responsibility for larger pools of assets and often become corporate officers or board members.
Learn about your career options.
What degree programs will I take?
Bachelor's degree in a related field such as accounting, business administration or finance will only be the beginning of your journey into the finance field. Most likely, you'll go on and earn a master's degree or an MBA in finance. Depending upon which area of finance you'd like to enter, important coursework will include:
- Options pricing
- Risk management
- Estate planning
- Applied statistics
- Corporate finance
Certification and licensing give finance professionals an edge when seeking a promotion, or looking for a job. The most sought after credential is, according to the recruiting firm Robert Half International, the Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA). Learn more about degree and certification options.
What can I expect after I submit a request for information to a school?
First you'll need to make sure you fill out the form correctly. For example, if your completed education level is high school graduate, you would need to complete a bachelor's program before applying to a master's degree program. So if you enter "high school graduate" and request master's degree information, your request may fail. Be sure to request information for the correct level of education you plan to pursue.
Once you've selected the schools you're interested in and submitted your information, you'll receive a thank you from the schools you chose. You'll be contacted by these schools either by email or telephone. The advisors who call you will ask you about the programs you're interested in, when you would like to start school, and talk about financial aid options, among other things. Feel free to ask questions!
How do I apply for financial aid?
Financial aid is available from a variety of sources. Government financial aid is the most common, but before you can be considered for aid, you'll need to fill out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). Other types of financial aid include scholarships, grants, private loans and PLUS loans.
How does the admissions process work?
Different schools work in different ways. But you'll need to be aware of dates and schedules, and make sure your forms and fees are sent in and paid on time. All schools have an admissions office with advisors who can help, so be sure to use their services.
What are some tips for success in my education program?
You'll need to be the right personality fit for a career in finance, so it's important to learn whether this is the career for you before you jump into the time and expense of a school program. If you're a good communicator, have leadership and motivational abilities, and great analytical and critical thinking skills, this might be the field for you.
U.S. News and World Report offers four top tips for adults going back to school:
- Use financial aid resources
- Carefully plan your study time
- Interact with other adult students
- Set some time aside for yourself
For adults considering online degree programs, AllBusinessSchools.com suggests these handy tips:
- Understand the time commitment involved in online education
- Create a workspace that is conducive to learning
- Make a daily routine; Study at the same time every day
- Analyze your time-wasting tendencies
- Use online tools for better time management
- Prioritize work to avoid procrastinating. Try tackling harder subjects first.
- Schedule study time around your professors' online office hours
- Take notes, participate and speak freely in classes
- Find an online study-buddy in your program
- Ask a friend or family member to volunteer as the "learning police"
- Know your goals: take your online education and yourself seriously