Finance is a field that deals with the study of investments. It includes the dynamics of assets and liabilities over time under conditions of different degrees of uncertainty and risk. Finance can also be defined as the science of money management.
Highly sought-after jobs for finance majors
Earning a degree in finance is certainly not a dead end. Read on to learn more about four desirable jobs in finance that could be yours with the right training and education.
1. Financial analyst
Potential job titles: finance analyst, treasury analyst, risk analyst
Preferred qualifications: A bachelor’s degree is commonly required for entering this field. Recommended majors include accounting, finance, economics or statistics.
Financial analyst in-depth: Individuals, businesses, non-profit organizations and governments employee financial analysts to gather and dissect financial data and guide their investment decisions. Financial analysts look for market trends and investment opportunities while using formulas and statistical analysis to calculate risk and potential outcomes. In this role you’ll need to have a strong understanding of statistics and a knack for interpreting data into practical investment advice.
2. Financial Manager
Potential job titles: finance manager, controller, chief financial officer, treasurer
Preferred qualifications: A bachelor’s degree in finance, accounting or a related field with several years of experience working in the field. Addition credentials such as the CFA or an MBA are also recommended.
Financial manager in-depth: Financial managers work in roles that are primarily responsible for the overall financial health of an organization. The specific roles performed by these professionals will vary, but duties like preparing financial statements, managing employees within the department, reviewing financial reports and documents, analyzing market trends and assisting senior management with important business decisions are common. Candidates will need significant experience and a strong educational background when applying for these positions.
Upper-level financial management positions like chief financial officer, controller, or treasurer have a large influence on the direction of a business or organization. Fortunately for those in these positions, the responsibility that comes from such an influential role means financial managers typically earn substantially more than analysts.
3. Personal financial advisor
Potential job titles: financial advisor, investment consultant or financial planner
Preferred qualifications: A bachelor’s degree in finance or accounting is recommended. You may also need to earn different licenses or certifications that may be required by the SEC in order to manage client investments.
Personal financial advisor in-depth: Personal financial advisors are probably the most identifiable finance professionals — and with an impressive 30 percent projected job growth that appears unlikely to change. Personal financial advisors help individuals plan financial goals and review options for investments such as retirement and life insurance.
One major differentiator for this finance job is the sales-focused nature of the work — personal financial advisors need to possess strong interpersonal skills to build a base of clients. While that may require some extra work; success leads to increased earning potential.
4. Financial services sales agent
Potential job titles: broker, investment banker or financial consultant
Preferred qualifications: A bachelor’s degree with a major in finance, accounting, economics or business. Advanced positions generally require an MBA. Professional licenses such as the Series 7 or additional certification may also be required.
Financial services sales agents in-depth: Pretty much any movie about Wall Street features a hectic scene of sales agents working at a breakneck pace, shouting on the phone with off-screen investors as they try to process transactions.
While these portrayals may be a bit exaggerated for dramatic effect, the gist of their work is shown correctly. Professionals in this field buy, sell and trade commodities on behalf of clients. If working in an investment banking role, these professionals look to secure capital for clients by finding buyers for bonds or stock.
An understated aspect of these positions is the reliance on computer models to assist with analysis and to complete high-frequency trades. Because of this, many finance positions require a strong understanding of advanced mathematics and computer science.
How can a degree in finance prepare you for these positions?
Now that you’ve learned a bit about some common jobs you can get with a finance degree, you may be curious about what exactly a degree in finance entails. The job overviews above have given you a taste of the variety of job duties associated with different careers in finance, but much of the fundamental knowledge needed to succeed stems from the same basic subject matter.
While earning a degree in finance, you can expect to gain the basic knowledge and skills to succeed in today’s financial market. From learning how to evaluate an institution’s financial policy and detecting fraud in financial statements, to understanding business laws and examining moral and ethical issues that arise in business, you will develop the skills necessary to fulfil your job duties.
Start your future in finance
You likely have a much better understanding of the different types of jobs you can get with a finance degree and are excited to hit the ground running. Just remember, it won’t be easy — these are highly sought-after positions. If you think you have what it takes to make it in finance, check out Rasmussen College’s finance degree program to learn more about how you can get your start in this exciting field.
Types of Finance Degrees
Finance degrees can be found at all degree levels and in a variety of settings. Over the last several years, online degrees in finance have become a popular way for business students and finance majors to earn the necessary credentials for securing employment within their chosen industry.
Online programs are particularly well suited to many types of business degrees, including those in finance. Because much of the material is theory based and requires little or no hands-on requirement, courses in finance translate extremely well to the online learning environment.
Additionally, due to the nature of online learning, an online finance major can study at a time that is convenient for them. This is especially helpful for working adults and those with families, many of whom may be attempting to increase their level of formal education in order to advance their careers.
Certificate and Diploma Programs in Finance
Certificate programs in finance are helpful for those looking to boost their business credentials, and are often used as a supplement to an undergraduate business degree. Students pursuing a certificate in finance may also use the program as preparation for further study in the business or finance arena. These programs can take anywhere from a few months to one year to complete. Topics covered may include:
- Introduction to Accounting
- Fundamentals of Finance
- Market Basics
- Fundamentals of Banking
Associate Degrees in Finance
Associate degrees in finance can be earned at a traditional on-campus college or in an online learning environment. Students generally complete these programs within two years of full-time study. Associate degrees in finance are best suited to those who wish to continue their studies at the bachelor’s degree level. Common courses in these programs include:
- Introduction to Business
- Fundamentals of Financial Accounting
- Basics of Management
- Introduction to Securities and Investments
Bachelor’s Degrees in Finance
In most cases, entry-level positions in finance require applicants to hold at least a bachelor’s degree. Studies at this level should prepare students with the knowledge needed to start a career in the financial sector, as well as provide a well-rounded education through general educational requirements. Typical courses in a bachelor’s program include:
- Foundations of Corporate Finance
- Analysis of Fixed Income and Derivative Securities
- Concepts in Strategic Management
- Analysis of Financial Accounting
- Portfolio Management
Master’s Degrees in Finance
While a bachelor’s degree in finance is generally considered the minimum requirement for employment in the field, many positions, including middle and upper management roles, often require a master’s degree for consideration.
Opportunities for pursing an online master’s degree in finance are plentiful, and can be found at many of the top finance schools in the nation. Some schools may require a short, on-campus practicum assignment. A bachelor’s degree in finance or another business major is typically needed for entrance to these programs. Core courses usually include some of the following:
- Advanced Analysis of Financial Markets
- Quantitative Methods for Finance
- Advanced Portfolio Theory
- Issues in Financial Accounting and Reporting
Ph.D. in Finance
Students seeking a Ph.D. in finance are typically interested in research or teaching careers at institutes of higher learning. Admission to doctoral programs often requires students to have a background in economics, statistics, engineering, or other related fields. Graduation usually depends on the successful completion and defense of a dissertation. Ph.D. candidates may take the following courses while pursuing their degree:
- Advanced Microeconomic Theory
- Empirical Methods in Finance
- Behavioral Finance
- Finance and Macroeconomics
- Finance Theory Methods