Like on-campus programs, online finance degree programs focus on investment, capital allocation and funding. Some colleges and universities offer distance learning undergraduate programs specifically in finance, while others may focus in another field of study, such as business administration, with an optional concentration in finance.
Associate degree programs, which typically take two years to complete, are usually found at community colleges, but many online finance programs at this level are at vocational schools or four-year private universities. Public and private institutions offer bachelor's degrees through distance learning. These programs generally take four years to finish, but this varies based on a student's enrollment status and how many general education credits he or she has completed prior to admission. Some schools require that applicants already hold an associate's degree before enrolling in the online bachelor's program.
Who These Programs Are For
Students interested in an online undergraduate degree program in this field of study may seek business, financial and accounting knowledge that's useful across a number of industries. Associate's programs provide a foundation in financial principles, managerial issues, business law, types of accounting and more. These could enhance students' qualifications in their careers but also prepare them for further study in the field.
Bachelor's-level programs have similar content but go more in-depth and also cover more finance- and business-related subjects ranging from banking practices and investments to personal financial management and taxation. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, a bachelor's degree is the standard educational requirement for a number of finance positions, including those for financial analysts, personal financial advisors and financial examiners (www.bls.gov).
Common Program Requirements
Schools design online programs to mirror the content of those held on campus. Online students access a virtual classroom environment through a school's website and often complete their studies when it's convenient for them.They can obtain lecture materials, watch instructional videos, complete assignments and interact with classmates or instructors.
Many schools offer associate's and bachelor's degree programs in finance totally online, but some institutions require that students take proctored exams on campus or at an approved location in their area. Additionally, students could be required to complete an internship in a real business setting; these typically last a semester and require on-site participation on a regular, part-time basis.
Associate's Degree Coursework
Online associate's degrees in finance or business include a number of courses in management, marketing and statistics. Classes in accounting, business strategies and professional ethics are also a part of the curriculum. Additional finance courses in online associate's programs might include the following:
- Business law
- Managerial principles
- Business writing
- Financial decision making
- Finance principles
- Financial markets
- Financial accounting
Bachelor's Degree Coursework
In an online bachelor's program, students can expect to complete a set of core business courses along with the finance major requirements. Communication and computer skills may also be emphasized in these programs, as the latter is essential for using financial or accounting software. Students can expect to study the following:
- Income tax
- Corporate finance
- Risk management and insurance
- Financial institutions
- Investments and securities
- Information systems
- Financial reporting
- Financial management
Online undergraduate degrees in finance are commonly available. Typical levels include both associate's and bachelors, both of which provide complex course content to prepare students for future employment.
Employment and Salary Information
Employment for business and financial occupations was expected to grow at a rate of 7% between 2018 and 2028, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) (www.bls.gov). The growth is faster than the average for the occupations in the field. The reported median annual wage in May 2019 was $69,820.