As a shorter program of study of about 12-15 credits, certificate programs in business finance are meant to complement an individual's professional knowledge and educational background. Students will need a bachelor's degree with a 2.8 GPA or higher to enroll, as well as proficiency in math, economics, and computer spreadsheets. In many cases, certificate coursework transfers into a master's degree program. Depending on their specific job duties, some professionals may require licenses. Certification from professional organizations can attest to knowledge in a specific business finance profession.
Business Finance Certification Programs
Students in a certification program in business finance can expect coursework covering finance and financial management. Some class topics may include banking and money, introduction to macroeconomics, and principles of accounting in addition to the following:
- Fundamentals of risk management
- Theories of investment
- Financial decision making
Popular Career Options
Someone who has a bachelor's degree in business and completes a business finance certificate program could seek work as a financial analyst, budget analyst, auditor, personal financial advisor, financial service sales agent, or loan officer. With many of these jobs, a master's degree is preferred, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS).
A financial analyst provides guidance to managers and other business professionals on investment decisions. The BLS predicted employment for financial analysts would grow 6% from 2018-2028, which is as fast as average (www.bls.gov). The median annual salary in 2018 for financial analysts was $85,660.
Continuing Education and Licensing
Individuals must be licensed by the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) if they participate in a company's financial dealings or investments. A member of the Securities Investor Protection Corporation (www.sipc.org) must sponsor FINRA licensing, so individuals don't necessarily have to be licensed while seeking a job, according to the BLS. Periodic continuing education through employers and online is required to maintain a FINRA securities license.
Business Finance Certifications
Financial analysts can get a professional Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) designation through the CFA Institute. Candidates must pass three exams, along with meeting professional criteria.
The Institute of Internal Auditors offers a Certified Internal Auditor (CIA) professional designation with three specialty designations. The certification generally requires the passage of an exam.
Financial advisers for businesses or individuals can earn the Certified Financial Planner (CFP) credential from the Certified Financial Planner Board of Standards. It generally requires three years of related experience, a bachelor's degree and passing scores on a comprehensive exam.
Business finance certificate programs offer students the opportunity to learn the skills needed to become an analyst in many different job fields related to finance, business, and economics. Licensure is typically required, supported by continuing education courses, and students can become CFAs through additional training.