Online Public Finance Certificate Overview
Students looking to learn more about the theory and practice of public finance can enhance their skills by enrolling in an online certificate program. Some certificate programs focus exclusively on public finance, while others combine the subject with the study of budgeting or financial management.
Upon completion of these programs, candidates can look for work in the financial sector. Some certificate programs allow students to transfer any credits earned towards a master's degree in such fields as public financial management and public administration, allowing students to improve job prospects. Graduates can also pursue professional certification to further improve job prospects.
Description of Online Public Finance Certificate Programs
Certificate programs can be found in completely online formats that allow students with busy work schedules to complete any self-study components of the curriculum at their convenience. Many programs consist of around 9-15 credits and can normally be completed in about a year. Programs often cover the exact same concepts as an on-campus program, minus the requirement to attend classes in person.
Coursework concentrates on financial management as it relates to government spending. Students can take courses in governmental auditing, public funds management, government accounting, and public management economics. Some programs that also focus on budgeting and financial management have offerings in revenue theory, public capital, public sector economics, and financial management for nonprofit organizations.
Certificates in public finance are typically graduate offerings, and anyone attempting to enroll will usually need at least a bachelor's degree. The degree does not need to be in a related field, and candidates do not need to demonstrate prior work experience, but some schools do recommend that applicants be familiar with financial concepts prior to beginning the program. Unlike most master's degree programs, certificate offerings rarely require a GRE or GMAT score.
Potential Careers for Graduates of an Online Public Finance Certificate Program
After finishing an online certificate program, candidates have a few options open to them, such as accountant, financial analyst, and financial manager. These careers require candidates to have a bachelor's degree, and candidates can improve job prospects by earning a master's degree. Graduates who meet education and experience requirements can also opt for a wide range of professional certifications in accounting that, while not mandatory, can serve as proof of one's knowledge and help applicants stand out during the job search process. Individuals interested in public finance could consider obtaining the Certified Financial Analyst (CFA) credential or the Certified Public Accountant (CPA) credential, which is required for any accountant filing a report with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC).
The job outlook in the financial industry is a promising one. The United States Bureau of Labor Statistics predicted a 6% growth for accountants, auditors, and financial analysts from 2018-2028, and financial manager job opportunities are expected to climb 16% in that same period. These professions also promise good earning potential, as the BLS reported in May 2018 that accountants and auditors had a median salary of $70,500 per year, while financial analysts earned $85,660 per year. Financial managers brought home a median salary of $127,990 in that same year. The BLS links this growth with the overall health of the economy and predicts that as globalization leads to a healthier and more complex economic system, more and more financial professionals will be needed.
Plenty of schools offer public finance certificate programs that afford the option of studying financial topics in a completely online environment. Candidates who complete these programs can either seek further education in the form of a master's degree, enter the workforce directly, or pursue a professional certification such as the Certified Public Accountant credential.