Online Finance Programs

Undergraduate and graduate programs are available in fully online formats to students interested in pursuing a career in the financial sector. These programs are designed to provide students with the financial expertise and management knowledge to recommend investments, research financial data, study business trends and prepare reports. (4-7) Careers in the financial sector are projected to remain stable in the coming years with high monetary gains for graduates. (1-3)
Online Finance Program Overviews
Government reform, regulatory changes and economic expansion are just a few factors driving the financial markets, creating the need for individuals with the financial expertise that could be gained through an online finance program. (2, 4-7) While bachelor’s degree programs appear to be the most prevalent online, students can find certificate, associate’s and master’s programs, as well. These programs are available fully online in both full- and part-time formats. (4-7)
Online associate’s degree and certificate programs should provide students with fundamental knowledge of finance principles, personal finance, macro and microeconomics, financial markets and business law. (5, 7 ) Bachelor’s degree programs typically add courses in management skills, leadership, statistical reasoning, portfolio management and enterprise to the equation. Additionally, online bachelor’s students could have the opportunity to complete a capstone course to gain real-world experiences, and may have the option to work on team projects. (6) Master’s degrees are research programs designed to further a professional’s knowledge in the field through in-depth study in financial computing, financial products, financial optimization and risk management. These programs generally allow students the freedom to tailor their programs to their personal interests, and may culminate in an advanced research project, thesis or comprehensive exam. (4)
Career Options
Financial experts are needed in most industries, but career opportunities are usually more prevalent in major financial epicenters like New York. While a bachelor’s degree is the standard for most careers, associate’s and certificate holders could find entry-level positions in personal finance, financial planning, cost estimating and real estate. Pursuing a bachelor’s degree could open the door to several more career titles including financial analyst, budget analyst, management analyst and financial examiner. Master’s degree programs usually prepare students for management and academic pursuits, like professor or financial manager. With experience, a graduate program could also prepare students for the coveted chief financial officer position. (4-7)
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), business and financial occupations are projected to see a 13 percent growth from 2012-2022, which is typical. However, this can vary by specialty. For example, financial analysts see a growth of 16 percent for that decade, which is higher than average. (1, 2) The mean annual wages for these workers were $71,020 in May 2013. Listed below are the 2013 mean wages for ten positions online financial graduates could find, according to the BLS. (3)
• Cost Estimator: $63,660
• Budget Analyst: $72,560
• Financial Specialists: $74,270
• Financial Analysts: $91,620
• Personal Financial Advisors: $99,920
• Financial Examiners: $86,980
• Credit Counselors: $44,960
• Real Estate Brokers: $82,380
• Financial Manager: $126,660
• Chief Executives (Chief Financial Officer): $178,400
1. Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2014-15 Edition, Business and Financial Occupations, on the Internet at (October 21, 2014).
2. Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2014-15 Edition, Financial Analysts, on the Internet at (October 21, 2014).
3. Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Employment Statistics, 2014-15 Edition, Occupational Employment and Wages, May 2013, on the Internet at (visited October 21, 2014).
4. Carnegie Mellon University, MS in Computational Finance, on the Internet at (visited October 21, 2014).
5. Ashworth College, AS in Finance, on the Internet at (visited October 21, 2014).
6. Capella University, Finance Specialization BS, on the Internet at (visited October 21, 2014).
7. UC Berkeley Extension, Certificate in Finance, on the Internet at (visited October 21, 2014).