According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), job growth in business and finance is projected to expand by 10% through 2026, which amounts to roughly 773,800 job openings. In fact, a bachelor's degree in finance offers one of the greatest returns on investment, providing students with access to high-paying entry-level positions and preparing them for graduate programs.
People who are inquisitive, ambitious, and good problem solvers should consider a degree in finance, because it's a narrow field that offers opportunities in a wide variety of professional settings and at varying degree levels. Charismatic people who prefer constant change and interaction with others could consider becoming a personal financial adviser, while introverted professionals could pursue accounting, which would allow them to analyze financial data and immerse themselves in spreadsheets without any distractions.
This article will provide you with a brief overview of why you might pursue a degree in finance, what you will be able to achieve career-wise with a bachelor's degree in finance, and how to choose the best finance degree program for you.
What are the best finance programs of 2020? Here are our top 10:
|1||Florida International University||Miami, FL|
|2||Pennsylvania State University||University Park, PA|
|3||University of Wisconsin - Whitewater||Whitewater, WI|
|4||Northeastern University||Boston, MA|
|5||Dickinson State University||Dickinson, ND|
|6||Missouri State University||Springfield, MO|
|7||University of Houston - Clear Lake||Houston, TX|
|8||University of Houston - Downtown||Houston, TX|
|9||University of Minnesota - Crookston||Crookston, MN|
|10||Regis University||Denver, CO|
Should I Get a Bachelor's in Finance?
When exploring what finance degrees have to offer, you should consider the types of skills you'll need to acquire. Finance graduates should be able to analyze data, think critically, and solve problems. Students should also be able to handle financial reporting, have the capacity to innovate, and produce actionable conclusions based on their findings. A bachelor's in finance provides students with foundational knowledge in accounting, statistics, and principles of taxation and risk management. In many programs, students can choose coursework that is geared toward developing desirable skills for specific occupations and internships. Many organizations post internships on their websites or job boards for finance students nearing their graduation.
Understanding what learning format is most suitable for you is a first step in identifying if a finance program is a good fit. Students who are already working professionals may not have the time to attend class in person. Therefore, asynchronous online programs might be the best option. Furthermore, online formats have set weekly due dates for assignments, allowing students to complete the work on their own time. On the other hand, recent high school graduates who are used to face-to-face instruction may excel in a classroom setting where they can get immediate answers to their questions. Students with no prior experience or professional networks may also benefit from a college setting where it is easy to meet other emerging professionals.
What Can I Do With a Bachelor's in Finance?
All industries need professionals who understand numbers, which provides finance graduates with many opportunities. For instance, most organizations work with accountants to examine their financial records, prepare their taxes, and ensure their financial operations are structured efficiently. Because there are so many ways finance is infused into business, outgoing graduates might even find themselves spearheading the purchase of products and services as a purchasing manager. Those not interested in a typical desk job might be happy to know that financial data analysts often work remotely, reviewing and compiling financial reports to assist management with difficult decision making. Below are a few of the options for graduates with a bachelor's in finance.
- Financial Analysts
Analysts identify investment opportunities. Typical duties include recommending portfolio investments, studying business trends, determining an organization's value through financial data, and preparing reports. Financial analysts often become subject matter experts on buying or selling and are required to have a license for selling products.
Median Annual Salary: $84,300
Projected Growth Rate: 11%
- Financial Examiners
As a financial examiner, daily tasks include monitoring financial well-being of banks and other financial institutions. Professionals also prepare reports regarding safety, examine management meeting minutes, and train new examiners. Typically, examiners focus on risk assessment or consumer compliance.
Median Annual Salary: $81,690
Projected Growth Rate: 10%
- Budget Analysts
These professionals in public and private institutions preparing budget reports and monitoring spending. Other duties include recommending funding requests and analyzing propositions from a financial perspective. Candidates should take coursework in accounting, economics, and statistics.
Median Annual Salary: $75,240
Projected Growth Rate: 7%
This career path requires professionals to manage the life of products, develop professional relationships with suppliers, oversee product or material allocation, and propose business strategies to improve efficiency. The majority of logisticians work in manufacturing. However, professionals also work for the government, management companies, or in wholesale trade.
Median Annual Salary: $74,590
Projected Growth Rate: 7%
Fundraisers conduct research to identify potential donors for their organization, organize campaigns, maintain donation records, assess the success of fundraising initiatives, train volunteers, and ensure that all legal requirements are strictly followed. The majority of fundraisers work for civic, grantmaking, or religious organizations. Fundraisers can also be found in educational or government settings.
Median Annual Salary: $55,640
Projected Growth Rate: 15%
Best States for Finance Professionals
The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projects the number of business and financial operations occupations to rise 10% by 2026. It projects the nation will witness an additional 770,000 new jobs in the field. Globalization and the complexities of the tax and regulatory environments will drive job growth, as will increased attention to satisfying customers and meeting their demands. If you choose a career in business and financial operations, expect to earn a lucrative salary, with a mean annual wage of $67,710. This exceeds the average wage for all occupations, which the BLS reports as $37,690.
Opportunities for employment in this field include accountants and auditors, budget analysts, cost estimators, and financial analysts. While many colleges and universities offer a graduate degree in finance and related disciplines, you can enjoy career advancement with a bachelor's degree. A solid understanding of numbers, an ability to manage risk, and knowing how costs affect revenue is critical for professional success.
We've listed the top 25 states for business and financial operations professionals in the United States. BLS data from its Occupational Employment Statistics informed this ranking. Over seven million experts hold finance-related jobs nationwide and most enjoy careers in the following states. Each state requires experts who can help them remain competitive in the national and global economies. As a result, these states afford both newcomers to the workforce and experienced professionals the chance to enter and advance in the field.
California maintains a $2.7 trillion economy that ranks just behind those of China, Germany, Japan, and the United States. California employs over 978,000 finance professionals; 59 in every 1,000 jobs in California is finance-oriented.
On average, California professionals in business and finance occupations earn $83,500 a year and enjoy membership in organizations like the Southern California AFP (SoCal AFP), which began in 1975 and offers continuing education and professional development opportunities. SoCal AFP also hosts an annual expo that offers sessions on emerging topics in finance and treasury, allowing attendees to earn credits toward renewing their certified treasury professional certification.
The Lone Star State ranks 11th on the list of the world's leading economies thanks to a $1.7 trillion economy. Numerous Fortune 500 companies maintain offices in Texas; the state also earns the top spot in the U.S. for export revenue. Its success in agriculture highlights its production of cattle, sheep, and horses and its abundant natural resources make it a bellwether in the energy industry.
Finance professionals are in demand to help oversee operations in these industries. Finance experts hold positions like investment bankers, portfolio managers, and financial analysts, and some may serve as CEOs. Membership organizations like the Dallas, Austin, and San Antonio Association for Financial Professionals educate members through programming and networking events to ensure they understand changes in the cash and treasury management fields. The state employs 575,000 business and financial operations professionals.
Without question, most people consider New York City the world's financial center because of its numerous banks, Wall Street, and the stock exchange. Finance professionals enjoy careers at institutions like Goldman Sachs, JPMorgan Chase, and Citigroup, all of which maintain headquarters in the city. Those outside of NYC can find employment opportunities at Fortune 500 companies like IBM in Armonk, Xerox in Rochester, and Pepsi in Purchase.
Finance professionals can also work in government, consulting, healthcare, real estate, and nonprofit administration. Schools like Columbia University, the University of Rochester, and New York University offer opportunities to pursue advanced degrees in finance. As recent data points out, 543,880 business and finance professionals work in New York and earn an annual mean salary of $94,680.
Florida has a $1 trillion economy, which ranks 16th in the world. As the third most populous state in the U.S., it exports almost $55 billion in goods each year while the Miami metropolitan area boasted a Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of $345 billion in 2017. Finance tops Florida's list of largest sectors, thanks to its some 130,000 financial services firms, a skilled workforce, and an attractive tax structure that encourages institutions to set up operations in the state.
The states proximity to Latin America positions Florida as a hub for international banking and trade. A public-private partnership, Enterprise Florida makes the state an ideal location for businesses that wish to expand and relocate, with the aim of boosting the state's economy through job creation. Some 446,000 business and financial operations professionals work in Florida, holding 53 in every 1,000 jobs.
Illinois is one of the country's leading states for professionals in business and financial operations. Its 328,610 experts in the field hold 55 in every 1,000 jobs and earn an annual mean wage of $74,530. With a Gross State Product (GSP) of $796 billion in 2016, Illinois enjoys the support of venture capitalists who consistently invest in its companies. In fact, its businesses received about $1 billion of the $62 billion venture capitalists funded nationwide in 2016.
The state's leadership in energy imports, manufacturing, and agriculture requires the expertise of finance professionals, who help manage assets and devise profit-earning strategies. In addition, schools like the University of Illinois at Chicago and Illinois State University offer a master's in finance for professionals who want to pursue an advanced degree.
One of the most populated states in the country according to the 2010 census, Pennsylvania opened the first nationally chartered bank in the U.S. in 1781. Additionally, the National Banking Act in 1863 established Pittsburgh's First National Bank, the first nationally chartered bank established under the legislation.
Today, that bank exists as PNC Financial Services, the sixth-largest bank in the country, with some 2,500 branches nationwide. The state's $720 billion GSP positions it as the 19th largest economy in the world, thanks to its leadership in financial services and the presence of Fortune 500 companies like H.J. Heinz and PPG Industries. Data reports that there are 270,180 business and financial operations professionals in the state.
Ohio attributes much of its economic success to a highly skilled workforce in business and financial operations. Due to its attractive tax structure for businesses, Fortune 500 companies like Procter & Gamble in Cincinnati and Cardinal Health in Dublin call Ohio home. The states 2016 GDP totaled $626 billion, the seventh largest in the U.S. The financial services industry makes up 18% of Ohio's GDP, matched only by its manufacturing activities.
In addition, its strong leadership in healthcare, education, and transportation require the talent of finance experts to drive investment strategies and broker business deals. Membership organizations like regional chapters of the Association for Financial Professionals allow those in the industry to remain informed of trends in the finance and treasury field. About 271,000 people are employed in business and financial operations occupations in Ohio and earn a mean annual income of $69,200.
Virginia enjoys a robust economy thanks to multiple income sources like the government, farming, military, and business. Fast job-growing cities help reduce unemployment in the state, which was 3.8% in 2017, below the national average. Forbes previously labeled Virginia the best state for business for four consecutive years while CNBC ranked it first for business in 2007, 2009, and 2011.
Moreover, 20 Fortune 500 companies maintain their headquarters in Virginia, including Capital One, Hilton Worldwide, and Booz Allen Hamilton. Virginia's 2016 GDP totaled $492 billion and 16 of the country's wealthiest counties by median income are located there. Some 265,000 business and financial operations professionals in Virginia earn an average $84,180 a year.
Several Georgia counties rank among the fastest growing in the United States. Its economy yielded a 2016 GSP totaling $531 billion. Seventeen Fortune 500 companies maintain their headquarters in the state, including Coca-Cola, Home Depot, Delta Airlines, and UPS. Furthermore, its Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport stands as the world's busiest in terms of passenger and aircraft traffic. Similarly, the Port of Savannah is a fast-growing seaport for both imports and exports.
These factors make the state an attractive option for finance professionals who want to enjoy lucrative professional opportunities, a moderate cost of living, and a mild climate. The state consistently tops lists as one of the best to do business in. Most consider Atlanta a global city that plays a major role in worldwide economics. There are 234,750 business and financial operations experts in Georgia.
One of the smallest, yet most populous states, New Jersey boasted a $575 billion GSP in 2016. With more millionaires than any other state except Maryland, the financial industry drives much of its economy. Professionals in the field benefit from employment opportunities at financial services firms like Prudential, and they can apply their expertise to careers at Fortune 500 companies like Johnson & Johnson, Honeywell, and Merck.
New Jersey also enjoys a reputation for innovation thanks to its cutting-edge work in the tech sector, which requires skilled finance professionals to oversee investment practices and drive revenue. Proximity to New York and Connecticut as part of the Tri-state region affords numerous career opportunities. The state's 233,820 business and financial operations workers earn an average $84,950 a year.
Major cities like Charlotte, Greensboro, and Raleigh make North Carolina an attractive option for finance professionals looking for lucrative career opportunities in a moderately paced setting without the high cost of living. Charlotte is the third largest banking hub in the country, behind New York and San Francisco, and is home to Bank of America's headquarters.
The city also serves as the east coast headquarters for Wells Fargo. While banking is big business in North Carolina, the same holds true for STEM industries and farming. These industries require business and finance professionals who will ensure North Carolina's robust GSP, which totaled $521 billion in 2016. Both Forbes and Chief Executive Officer magazines recognized North Carolina as one of the best states for business. The state has 213,810 business and financial operations professionals, who hold 50 in every 1,000 jobs.
Michigan is the largest state east of the Mississippi River and is home to one of the country's most robust economies. Its reputation as a forerunner in the automotive industry includes serving as the headquarters of Ford, Fiat Chrysler, and General Motors. Michigan also leads in information technology, aerospace, military equipment, and mining.
Some 20 technology centers and equipment manufacturers operate in Michigan, and the state exported $26 billion in transportation equipment in 2016. These activities helped Michigan produce a $505 billion GSP in 2017, ranking 14th out of 50 in the United States. Its diverse sources of income require finance professionals who can help drive best practices in business and industry. Michigan employs 204,000 business and financial operations professionals.
Washington enjoys a thriving economy as evidenced by its $477 billion GSP. More than seven million people reside there, and six in every 10 live in the Seattle Metropolitan area. Major companies with global reach and impact have their headquarters in Washington, including Amazon, Boeing, and Microsoft. The state does not collect corporate income tax, which makes it attractive to companies wishing to relocate or expand operations. Plus, the state's location along Puget Sound positions it for significant trading activity.
Washington is an ideal choice for finance professionals looking for employment in Fortune 500 companies. They can put their expertise in managing assets, directing investments, and calculating return on investment to excellent use. The state has 203,780 business and financial operations professionals, who earn a mean annual salary of $79,090.
Massachusetts is the most populous New England state, with 80% of its residents living in the Boston metropolitan area. The state's economy has transitioned from manufacturing to services, with finance chief among them. In fact, Boston ranks in the top 30 cities for its economic power while the Boston metropolitan area maintains a $363 billion economy.
Financial services play a critical role, particularly insurance and mutual funds. Companies like Fidelity Investments and Santander Bank hire finance professionals, but these experts can also apply their knowledge to industries like academia, biotechnology, and tourism. Each requires skilled finance experts as do Fortune 500 companies like New Balance and General Electric Corporation whose headquarters operate in the state. Recent data shows the state's 201,220 business and financial operations experts hold 57 in every 1,000 jobs statewide.
CNBC listed Colorado third on its Top States for Business for 2010, just behind Texas and Virginia. With a 2015 GSP of $319 million, much of its economic success comes from agriculture, the federal government, and globally recognized brands, like Samsonite and Celestial Seasons. Finance professionals enjoy careers in these industries.
They can also join the Rocky Mountain Association for Financial Professionals, which enables them to network with colleagues and promotes the latest trends in the field through communications and professional development opportunities. There are 178,980 business and financial operations professionals who work in Colorado, earning an average $77,000 annually.
Maryland is one of the wealthiest states in the U.S. as more millionaires call it home than any other. With a 2016 GSP totaling $382 billion, Maryland's economy gets a boost from the manufacturing of electronics, chemicals, and computer hardware. Finance professionals also enjoy career opportunities in the federal government thanks to proximity to Washington D.C.
The Port of Baltimore allows Maryland to thrive in imports and exports, as well. These industries recruit and hire financial experts to ensure cost-efficient business practices for the best return on investment. The state employs some 165,000 business and financial operations professionals, with their jobs accounting for 62 in every 1,000.
Minnesota is a hub for business, transportation, and healthcare. The nation's 12th largest state, its recent GSP totaled over $260 billion while 33 of the country's leading publicly traded companies operate their headquarters there. These include UnitedHealth Group, Target, 3M, and General Mills.
These top corporations attract finance professionals, while those who want to pursue an advanced degree in finance can do so at institutions like the Carlson School of Management at the University of Minnesota and the Opus College of Business at the University St. Thomas. Minnesota employs over 161,000 business and financial operations experts and they earn an average $72,000 annually. These jobs account for 57 in every 1,000 jobs in Minnesota.
Arizona has firmly established itself as a top employment destination for finance professionals. With a 2011 GSP of $259 billion, its economy surpasses that of Ireland, New Zealand, and Finland. Once rooted in cattle and cotton, today the state's economy is driven by healthcare, government, and transportation activities. Bordering New Mexico, Utah, Nevada, and California as one of the Four Corner states puts Arizona near major business and industry operations.
Finance experts can work within the state or enjoy easy access to career opportunities in nearby locales. These professionals play a significant role in Arizona's fast-growing leadership in artificial intelligence and cybersecurity when it comes to venture capital and investment strategies. The BLS reports 140,330 business and financial operations professionals in the state.
Missouri has over 6 million residents, with some 140,000 holding positions in business and financial operations, according to the BLS. About 5% of the population enjoy employment in finance, exceeding the national average of 4.7%. Moreover, job growth remains on the upswing in Missouri: recent data points to a 3.3% job growth versus a 1.6% job growth nationwide.
The anticipated job growth in the state is 41.7%, higher than the anticipated 38% for the country. Companies with a major presence in the state include MasterCard, AT&T, and Square. These corporations and the finance experts they employ help contribute to its $299 billion GSP in 2016. On average, these professionals earn $69,100 a year and hold 50 in every 1,000 jobs statewide.
Agriculture, healthcare, and manufacturing drive Wisconsin's economy, with the recent GSP totaling $248 billion. In fact, manufacturing accounts for approximately 20% of the GSP and major companies include Caterpillar, Harley-Davidson, and Kohler. These corporations and major employers like Walmart and the government seek finance professionals who can help ensure a strong return on investment and devise fiscal strategies.
Wisconsin's surging presence as a leader in technology requires finance professionals, too. In fact, the state encourages tech startups by offering new firms the technical support of finance professionals in addition to money. Wisconsin employs just over 137,000 business and financial operations professionals according to the BLS.
Tennessee is home to major corporations like FedEx and International Paper that operate their headquarters out of the state. Its recent GSP totaled over $230 billion and the state achieved a $533 million surplus in 2012. Tennessee excels in the production of cotton, textiles, and cattle, but also stands out for its emerging leadership in technology. In fact, Middle Tennessee State University and the Nashville Technology Council project adding jobs in the technology industry at a pace that will double Tennessee's overall economy by 2022.
This jobs growth will require finance professionals like budget analysts and accountants who can track economic gains and determine the effects on the state's fiscal well-being. As the BLS reports, Tennessee employs 120,350 business and financial operations professionals. On average, they earn $64,760 a year and hold 41 in every 1,000 jobs statewide.
With a low 3% unemployment rate and a 2017 GSP of $359 billion, Indiana's economic success has evolved over the years to include real estate and pharmaceuticals in addition to manufacturing. In fact, Indiana is one of the top states in the sale and shipment of pharmaceutical supplies.
The state's multiple Fortune 500 companies enjoy combined revenues in excess of $140 billion each year. These corporations include Simon Property Group and Eli Lilly and Company. A low cost of living attracts finance professionals to these and other organizations, which include state government, agriculture enterprises, and steel production firms. The BLS reports 117,190 business and financial operations professionals work in Indiana and hold 39 in every 1,000 jobs.
Connecticut has a longstanding history in finance. Many insurance companies and hedge funds operate in Hartford and Fairfield County. In fact, the state's largest industry is financial services, accounting for about 16% of its GSP. Significant corporations include GE Capital, the Royal Bank of Scotland, and Bridgewater Associates.
Real estate is another important part of Connecticut's economy, accounting for some 15% of economic activity. The state's recent GSP totaled $229 million. Finance experts enjoy many career opportunities in Connecticut, which its proximity to New York City only bolsters. According to the BLS, Connecticut employs 90,370 business and financial operations professionals. On average, they earn $84,300 a year while holding 55 in every 1,000 jobs statewide.
Oregon ranks in the top half of wealthiest U.S. states by GDP. In 2016, that GDP totaled nearly $220 billion. Forestry and fishing, agriculture, and tourism drive much of the state's economic success, but its leadership in technology continues to emerge.
Finance professionals seeking employment at global companies as well as access to nature and a socially progressive lifestyle find Oregon the ideal location. The Portland area's Silicon Forest houses a cluster of tech companies while Nike, Adidas, and Harry and David operate their headquarters out of the state, too. In addition, Amazon and Google maintain data centers in Oregon. With 87,150 business and financial operations professionals, these experts hold 47 in every 1,000 jobs statewide, according to the BLS.
Sharing its borders with North Carolina, Georgia, and the Atlantic, South Carolina has an annual GDP of over $184 billion. Finance professionals enjoy a low cost of living, a moderate climate, and find employment in large corporations like Boeing and with companies that drive the state's output of poultry, tobacco, chemicals, and textiles. In addition, the presence of several foreign-owned companies like BMW in Spartanburg County and the Zapp Group in Summerville offer opportunities for employment.
Fortune 1000 companies operating in the state include Sonoco Products and ScanSource. The South Carolina Association for Financial Professionals encourages experts in the field to network and continue their education through ongoing professional development. As the BLS reports, the state employs 75,380 business and financial operations experts, and they earn an average annual wage of $62,770.
How to Choose a Bachelor's in Finance Program
The first step in choosing a finance degree program requires students to make sure that the curriculum meets the needs of the occupation they intend to pursue. Most bachelor's degrees in finance include 120-128 credit hours. Outside of foundational coursework, students should explore available options for elective or specialty coursework. Students should also identify how much time they are willing to invest into their education and what programs match their goals. Traditional programs take four years to complete, but online programs often operate on modified semesters, which allows students to complete their degree in less time.
Paying for school is a major concern for students and can often determine which program is selected. Students may want to start by identifying the average cost of finance programs in their state, because having residency avoids out-of-state tuition costs and housing costs if a student can live at home with family. It's important that students examine cost differences between private, public, and online institutions. For example, some schools offer programs online and in person for the same price. If a student is a hands-on learner, it would be more beneficial to attend school on campus. On the other hand, an online program could be a better fit if a student is unable to relocate and specialization courses aren't offered locally.
Accreditation for Bachelor's in Finance Programs
When selecting a finance degree, students need to make sure the program is accredited. Accreditation is a validation process universities undergo to ensure the coursework they offer truly prepares students for the professions they're entering. In the United States, there are two types of accreditation -- institutional and specialized. Institutional accreditation takes the entire university into consideration, while specialized accreditors focus on a specific content area.
Currently, there is no accrediting agency specifically for finance. However, depending on the specialty area a student is considering, there are other accrediting agencies employers or graduate programs may want to consider. For example, the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business is valuable for students considering a career in finance, as are the Accreditation Council for Business Schools and Programs (ACBSP) and the International Accreditation Council for Business Education (IACBE).
Bachelor's in Finance Program Admissions
Once ideal programs have been identified, students must begin the application process. Students should focus on understanding the requirements needed to apply to each program and begin by compiling a list of the materials they'll need to submit. This typically includes a copy of the student's high school transcripts, a list of accolades and honors awards, extracurricular activities, SAT scores, ACT scores, the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA), and entrance essays. While a lot of the required information is repetitive, the entrance essays may vary and can take time to complete. It is a good idea to begin completing application requirements in advance to ensure everything is submitted on time. Students should also check to see if their selected programs use the Common Application, which allows students to complete one application that can be sent to multiple schools.
- Minimum GPA: A student's GPA is one of the most important requirements when applying to colleges, because it represents intellectual capabilities and work ethic. An average GPA score is a 3.0.
- Application: Each school has an application for admission. Most information required consists of uploading documents, except for the essay.
- Transcripts: Schools want to see that students have completed prerequisites. Transcripts also indicate how well a student has performed. Students can request this information from counselors, and costs are usually under $10.
- Letters of Recommendation: Students are typically required to have three letters of recommendation, and these should come from teachers or professionals who can elaborate on the student's skills and work ethic.
- Test Scores: Some schools opt to use the ACT and/or the SAT. Score requirements may vary.
- Application Fee: On average, college application fees are under $40. However, some schools do charge more, while some schools do not charge an application fee. Students can also request to have their college application fee waived.
What Else Can I Expect From a Bachelor's in Finance Program?
Students can expect to be introduced to foundational content that will prepare them for a variety of entry-level positions in finance. However, overall program expectations can vary depending upon the rigor of the program and the student's choice of specialty or concentration.
Concentrations Offered for a Bachelor's Degree in Finance
|Corporate Finance||This concentration deals with identifying sources of funding and the way corporations finance their assets, which may include a combination of debt, equity, or broad groups of securities. The ultimate objective of corporate finance is to strategically increase the value of the client.||Students who concentrate in corporate finance are qualified to become financial analysts, treasurers, or controllers.|
|Financial Counseling||Students who take up financial counseling become experts in managing money. Counselors work with clients who often have problems with debt and assess situations individually, create budgets, and effectively communicate action plans.||Financial counselors often work for educational, nonprofit, and social service institutions.|
|Investment Management||Emerging professionals in this concentration focus on the buying and selling of investments within the portfolio of their organization. Other roles may include budgeting and managing taxes.||Most professionals with an investment management background work with large institutions such as banks or insurance companies.|
|Asset Management||Students who concentrate in asset management learn to systematically monitor and maintain value for an organization. Assets may be in the form of human capital, money, or even intellectual property. Students will also learn how to upgrade and dispose of assets efficiently.||Asset managers often find themselves working with banks or private institutions.|
|Business Analytics||This concentration prepares students to make data-driven decisions and requires the application of quantitative methods when assessing business models. Professionals infer and predict business outcomes, collect and manage datasets, and apply statistical analysis.||Graduates can pursue careers in accounting, marketing, and operations.|
Courses in a Bachelor's in Finance Program
Bachelor's degrees prepare students for entry-level positions within their field, so all programs cover foundational information. The courses listed below are commonly found in a bachelor's degree in finance:
This course reviews statistical tools used to decode empirical economic research. Students participate in research projects where they acquire skills allowing them to effectively execute action plans. Other topics covered in this course include instrumental variables, statistical inference, regression, and simultaneous equation models.
Students will about microeconomics, which deals with consumers, markets, firms, and income distribution, as well as macroeconomics, which deals with employment, inflation, and national income. Other topics include learning to analyze the role of governments, markets, and other institutions, as well as critical communication skills needed for applied business.
- Portfolio Management
In this course, students learn about the importance of managing risk to avoid financial crisis. Topics covered include the extreme value theory, equity, interest rate securities, treasury bond portfolios, violations, and the mathematical theory of liquidity risk. Students develop dynamic decision-making processes to navigate increasingly volatile capital markets.
Basic statistical concepts and methods are covered in this course. Students engage in discussions of how statistics are applied in real world situations, and they study numerical and graphical summaries for understanding distribution of variables and the relationship between those variables. Students also apply the language of probability and review inference.
- Financial Reporting
Students explore financial reporting in corporate settings and discusses fundamental issues that emerge when considering asset valuation and determining income. Financial statement analysis is a primary focus. Students learn processes to improve risk evaluations and forecast. Practical application is emphasized.
How Long Does It Take to Get a Bachelor's in Finance?
A bachelor's degree in finance typically has 120-128 credit hours, which takes four years to complete in a traditional program. However, taking classes in the summer can help students graduate sooner. On the other hand, some students are not able to attend full time, which can push graduation dates back. Accelerated programs are often offered online and have a lot of flexibility. Many online programs operate on eight-week semesters that do not include a summer vacation, which allows students to graduate in shorter periods of time. While online programs cater to the needs of distant learners, some formats can impact graduation dates. Self-paced learning programs do not have formal deadlines, which allows students to learn when it suits them best. However, students who aren't disciplined run the danger of getting behind on their timelines.
How Much Is a Bachelor's in Finance?
The average cost of a bachelor's in finance is between $24,000 and $75,000. However, students must consider their own standards and requirements to truly identify the average cost of a finance degree. For example, there is a significant difference in cost between public and private institutions. Public schools cost less because they receive money from the government, while private schools offer a flat tuition rate. Stanford, a private school, charges $67,604 for an undergraduate degree in finance while Ohio State University, a public school, charges $42,364.
Residency is another factor that influences tuition costs. When students attend schools within their states, they pay less money than out-of-state students. Additionally, students have to consider housing costs, whereas residents often have the option of commuting from home. For example, out-of-state students at Ohio State University can pay $118,636 for the same degree depending on housing costs, scholarships, or if they are transfer students.
Students who live near a good community college may want to explore transfer options. Many community colleges have sister universities in the area that accept all of their credits. Students can complete general course requirements for a fraction of the cost and then transfer to a university to obtain their degree.
Certifications and Licenses a Bachelor's in Finance Prepares For
- Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) Certification
CFA certification takes four years to complete. Many jobs that manage assets and conduct equity research require employees to it.
- Certified Public Accountant (CPA) Certification
Professionals who plan to fulfill roles that require them to audit organizations, participate in attestation, work with financial accounting or reporting, or manage regulation benefit from getting their CPA certification. This certification is best for accounting jobs and is needed for professionals who want to become chief financial officers.
- Chartered Alternative Investment Analyst (CAIA) Designation
Obtaining a CAIA is helpful for professionals working with asset management and hedge funds. CAIA designations indicate recipients understand how to handle private equity, structured products, real assets, risk management, and asset allocation.
- Certified Financial Planner (CFP) Designation
Professionals who plan to deal with investments or manage wealth should consider obtaining a CFP. It focuses on the retail and high net worth areas of financial planning. The passing rates are higher on this exam, which makes it a good investment.
- Financial Risk Manager (FRM) Certification
An FRM is good to have for professionals who want to become risk managers, risk analysts, or risk officers. This exam is also rigorous -- roughly 50% of test takers pass. Professionals should take into account that the FRM is not globally recognized.
Resources for Finance Students
The Economist is dedicated to providing insight about what is transpiring in today's economy. Finance majors have access to trusted articles, scholarships, and tutors for the GRE and GMAT.
Professors use The Wall Street Journal as a way to connect course content to events taking place in society. Students have access to case studies to help them apply theories.
This organization offers free membership, networking opportunities, a job board, volunteer opportunities, and scholarships. Their goal is to get students into the financial industry and provide them with the chance to learn and grow into their professional careers.
This network operates through the American Institute of CPAs (AICPA). Student membership includes access to resources, volunteer opportunities, workshops, and mentorship. Students can also participate in a leadership academy.
Student who join have access to a vast network and mentorship opportunities. Students can also use the RMA journal and study packs. RMA also offers scholarships that range from $2,000 to $8,000.
Professional Organizations in Finance
Students pursuing finance degrees have access to many professional organizations who want to help professionals at any stage in their career. By joining, students have access to finance experts, as well as volunteer and networking opportunities. Once students enter their professional fields, many organizations support their members by offering continuing education coursework. Most programs also offer career advice and regularly post job opportunities.