Online Financial Crimes Investigator Certificate

May 23, 2020

Overview of Online Financial Crime Investigation Certificate Programs

Individuals interested in becoming financial crimes investigators can find online certificate programs that offer instruction in preventing, detecting, and addressing financial fraud. Students take courses in areas including forensic accounting, finance law, and financial regulation and compliance. Both undergraduate and graduate certificates are available, and courses are delivered fully online.

These certificate programs usually require between 12 and 18 credit hours, and some can be completed in about a year. Employment opportunities in financial crime investigation can be found in government agencies, non-profit organizations, and in private-sector industries like banking. Programs may also prepare students to sit for related certification exams like the Certified Anti-Money Laundering Specialist Exam.

Requirements for Certificates in Financial Crime Investigation

Online certificate programs for prospective financial crime investigators usually require students to complete between four and six courses, and some programs allow students to select electives in an area of interest. Both full- and part-time options are available. Curricula may be structured so students move from foundational courses in laws related to financial crimes to more advanced material on technologies and methods used in financial crime investigations.

Course Topics

Fraud Regulation

Financial crime investigation certificates usually require foundational coursework covering current laws and regulations relevant to economic crimes. These classes examine the role of institutional controls in handling fraud and how those controls are typically structured and implemented. Regulation courses may also cover constitutional issues and ethical concerns related to financial crime investigations.

Fraud Schemes

Students may have an opportunity to learn about methods financial criminals use to commit fraud. These classes cover effective methods of identifying fraud, and they may incorporate case studies so students can explore real-world contemporary schemes and investigations. Topics may include the Fraud Triangle and Fraud Diamond.

White Collar Crime

Since financial crime investigators work on crimes typically considered 'white collar', these certificate programs include classes focused on relevant laws and methods of evidence collection and analysis in financial crimes. Students learn to analyze financial data to identify fraudulent actions and compile data to serve as evidence of a crime. These classes often involve case studies to provide practical experience conducting analyses.

Economic Crime

Advanced courses in economic crime help students enrich their understanding of the theories impacting financial crimes and their regulation. Students learn about economic sanctions and how to assess their effectiveness. These classes also cover broad issues of economic policies and how they relate to national security concerns.

Career Information for Financial Crime Investigation Certificate Holders

After completing an online certificate in financial crime investigation, students may wish to apply for positions as fraud investigators. These professionals conduct financial investigations from start to finish by collecting evidence, interviewing relevant individuals, and constructing cases to illustrate and prove fraudulent activity. According to, the average annual salary for fraud investigators was $61,062 in April 2020.

Certificate holders can also pursue a career as a financial examiner to assess the practices of financial institutions. Financial examiners evaluate institutions' risk levels and advise financial organizations on how to protect themselves and enhance their stability. According to the U. S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, financial examiners earned an average annual salary of $92,330 in May 2019. The BLS predicts employment in this field will grow by about seven percent between 2018 and 2028 as financial institutions adapt to federal regulations.

Certificates in financial crimes investigation are available through fully online programs that prepare students for careers as fraud investigators, financial examiners or related positions. To earn the certificates, students complete a short series of courses in economic crime theories, methods of investigations, and schemes and tactics usually employed in white-collar crimes.

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