Universities offer both undergraduate and graduate degrees in finance that can lead to certification in the field of financial management. Bachelor's degree programs in this field provide students with a basic understanding of financial institutions, financial markets, corporate finance and investments. Master's degree programs in finance give students an in-depth understanding of financial theory and the global trends that can affect financial markets and investments.
Courses at both levels give students information on how the finance business operates and teaches them to collect and analyze pertinent data to make predictions about investments.
Admission to a four-year bachelor's degree program requires a high school diploma as well as a strong GPA and standardized test scores. Students will also need a strong background in mathematics. Applicants preparing for a two-year master's degree program should have completed a bachelor's degree in a related field along with coursework in economics, calculus, statistics, financial accounting and material accounting.
Bachelor of Science in Finance
One of the most basic undergraduate programs available for an aspiring financial planner is a Bachelor of Science in Finance. Students enrolled in this program learn how to analyze financial statements, recommend loans, select individual investment strategies and accumulate wealth. General education requirements also provide students with the written and oral communication skills needed to interact with future clients. Courses in a Bachelor of Science in Finance program can include:
- Principles of finance
- International finance
- Financial strategy
- Principles of investments
- Financial statement analysis
Master of Science in Finance
While a master's degree in finance is not typically required for the position of financial planner or financial advisor, it is often recommended. Individuals with a graduate degree in the field can often find more advanced positions within financial firms or banks. This degree program provides students with a quantitative background in the areas of financial strategies, markets and planning.
A master's degree program in finance often includes advanced courses related to financial markets and financial theory. Some such courses include:
- Financial modeling
- Global financial markets
- Investment analysis
- Global portfolio management
- Corporate financial management
Popular Career Options
A bachelor's degree in finance can lead to several different potential careers in finance, including a career as a financial planner. Some other options include:
- Financial analyst
- Personal financial advisor
- Financial manager
Employment Outlook and Salary Information
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, financial analysts held about 268,360 jobs in 2015 (www.bls.gov). The number of jobs in this field is expected to rise by 12% from 2014 to 2024, which is faster than the predicted growth rate for most professions during that time. In 2015, financial analysts earned an average annual wage of $95,320.
Continuing Education Information
Certification isn't typically required in the financial planning field; however, much like earning a master's degree, it is recommended. The Certified Financial Association offers the Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) designation. Employers in the financial industry may sponsor these certifications.
Financial planning is a very lucrative career field and is just one of the options available to students who complete finance bachelor's or master's degree programs. Individuals with a degree in this field might also consider pursuing careers as bankers, analysts, actuaries and financial advisors, to name few.