Individuals who are interested in pursuing careers as financial analysts or personal investment advisers can obtain undergraduate education through either a Bachelor of Science in Finance or a Bachelor of Business Administration in Banking and Finance degree program. Both programs are four years in length and require students to possess a high school diploma for admission.
The curricula in these bachelor's degree programs are similar, calling for instruction in banking, insurance, real estate, and investments. Students get a foundation in the workings of finance through courses in macroeconomics, microeconomics, and financial strategy. They learn about financial regulations and ethics, as well. With experience, graduates may qualify to become certified financial planners or obtain a license to sell securities.
Bachelor of Science in Finance
Aspiring investment advisers and financial analysts can major in finance to prepare for a career in the financial markets. While pursuing the major, students learn about trends in the financial industry and different types of investment strategies for a wide variety of market conditions. Typical study in a finance program covers banking, insurance, financial instruments, real estate, contracts, and monetary policy. Students also acquire the advanced mathematics and statistics skills required to predict market trends, analyze portfolios, and determine what type of risks or returns are involved in an investment decision. Graduates are able to apply these skills and meet regulatory compliance requirements, but they must become Certified Financial Planners (CFP) before providing investment advice.
Coursework teaches students how to analyze statements released by companies that trade in the financial markets. These courses also cover different types of financial instruments, such as bonds and stocks. Students learn how to evaluate financial ratings of commercial paper, corporate earnings, and trends in exchange data in order to develop an investment strategy. In support of this, financial coursework explores:
- Real estate investment
- International markets
- Capital gains taxation
- Insurance principles
- Financial policy
- Securities regulations
Bachelor of Business Administration in Banking and Finance
In a Bachelor of Business Administration degree focused on banking and finance, students learn about accounting, business management and banking in the financial markets. Students can also pursue concentrations in human resource management and entrepreneurship. Regardless of their concentration, students learn how to analyze financial trends and describe complex investment concepts in layman's terms. Graduates in the field can also apply basic accounting principles and statistical analysis to develop short and long-term strategies in the financial markets.
Common courses in a program cover microeconomic and macroeconomic principles, monetary policy, credit, and statistical analysis. Students may also have to take writing or presentation courses. Otherwise, general requirements include:
- International investment
- Financial strategy
- Market regulation
Employment Outlook and Salary Info
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), predicted demand for personal financial advisers will increase by 7% for the years 2018 and 2028. In 2018, personal financial advisers had median earnings of $88,890.
Data from the BLS indicated that financial analysts took home a median yearly income of $85,660 during 2018. Demand for financial analysts will rise a predicted 6% for the years 2018 through 2028, according to the BLS.
A Master of Business Administration (MBA) with a concentration in finance prepares students for management and executive positions in financial institutions. This degree can take anywhere from 2-3 years to complete and focuses specifically on advanced financial concepts, trends, strategies, and investments.
Those focused on purchases in the financial markets may not need a license from the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority; however, those focused on the sale of securities may need one or more licenses depending upon their specialization.
Common forms of education for students looking to enter into the financial markets are a Bachelor of Science in Finance and Bachelor of Business Administration in Banking and Finance. These degrees open up several job opportunities for graduates and allow them to go on to master's programs and earn licensure if necessary.