A bachelor's program in finance covers topics like finance, taxation and employee benefits. Upon completing a program, students can work in fields that include banking, insurance and investment.
In most master's programs, students specialize in an area of interest, such as risk management or international business. Admission to a master's program requires a bachelor's degree and GMAT scores. A master's degree may lead to enhanced job prospects and potentially a management-level position.
Bachelor's Degree in Finance
Acceptance into a bachelor's degree program requires a high school diploma or equivalent. College placement exams are usually required, and schools may look for students who are strong in math.
Those who want to begin a career as a financial advisor need to enroll in a financial advisor program that teaches conceptual, quantitative and analytical skills. Courses teach students a variety of problem-solving skills in security analysis, corporate finance, portfolio management and financial planning. The curriculum includes:
- Financial marketing
- Financial statement analysis
- Risk management and insurance
- Employee benefits and retirement planning
Master of Business Administration (MBA) in Finance
Students in MBA programs develop strategic management skills in both the international and national financial arenas. The curriculum is designed to educate students in financial planning and control, financial analysis, capital budgeting and fund positioning. Courses include:
- Portfolio management
- Corporate financial analysis
- Global finance
- Financial markets
Popular Career Options
The role of a financial advisor has evolved from working with only investments to undertaking retirement planning and budgeting, monitoring real estate holdings and assessing clients' financial portfolios. Career opportunities are available in a number of different financial sectors including:
- Mortgage companies
- Brokerage firms
To qualify for a CFA designation, an applicant must have a bachelor's degree and four years of work experience. Individuals must pass three examinations that cover subjects such as accounting, portfolio management, financial markets, corporate finance, securities analysis and asset valuation. The first CFA exam is offered twice annually, while the second and third examinations are available just once a year.
Employment Outlook and Salary Info
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) estimated that careers for personal financial advisors may rise 30% from 2014-2024. This growth would be due to the millions of workers expected to retire in upcoming years, which will create opportunities in personal finance management. As of 2015, the BLS reported that these workers made a median annual salary of $89,160.
Students in financial bachelor's and master's programs take courses in banking, insurance, risk management and other areas associated with finance. For financial advisors, the job outlook and earnings potential are both above average, and qualified individuals can pursue voluntary certification to enhance career prospects further.