According to Data USA, the finance workforce is 11.2 million workers strong. The study and practice of finance is complex, as markets and their inner workings are not always simple to understand, but earning a master's degree in finance online can be a great step towards making sense of the complexity. Finance is constantly evolving and changing, and students interested in this field must tackle the ever-shifting landscape of the field. Are you intrigued by derivatives and mortgage-based securities? Does the idea of helping manage other people's wealth sound like a great challenge you'd like to take on? If that's you, then perhaps an online master's degree in finance is a good fit for you.
Loving numbers and math is important for those who want to study finance, but understanding complex concepts and applying them in practice may be even more important. From financial markets to econometrics to private equity to risk management, a master degree in finance can help you nurture a deep understanding of financial concepts as you enhance your skills to improve your job performance. Continue reading to find out if this program is the right fit for you.
Some programs are conducted entirely online, while others have online and in-person components. Although the majority of concepts covered in a finance master's degree can be taught online, some programs may require that students come to campus for a capstone course.
Whether you have been working in the industry for a while or you just completed your bachelor's degree in finance, earning a master of science in finance can be worth the investment. These programs can help you build on your technical knowledge and skills, which can make you more attractive to employers and clients alike.
Accreditation is important because it allows prospective students to choose a school that can give them the skills and knowledge they need to be successful — and the competencies that employers are looking for when hiring. As a result, when determining the best choice for your educational and career goals, you should only consider online master's in finance programs that are accredited by the Accreditation Council for Business Schools and Programs.
It takes many skills to be successful in finance, and not all of them can be taught in the classroom (instinct for great investments, for instance). However, in general, students can expect to acquire the following skills during their master's degree in finance:
To learn more about what finance master's programs entail and how you can be able to hone these skills, continue reading this section.
How long does an online finance degree program take?
It depends on the program. Generally, as a full-time student, you can expect to complete an online master's degree in finance in one to two years, and as a part-time student, you may finish your degree in about three years.
What are the requirements to start an online master's finance degree?
Since finance master's degrees are rigorous, schools expect prospective students to have a bachelor's degree from an accredited school with a 3.0 minimum grade point average and a high GMAT or GRE score. Also, you may be expected to have a certain amount of professional experience under your belt when you apply.
Why earn a master's online finance degree?
Enrolling in an online master's in finance program is a great opportunity for you to gain new skills, enhance your existing skills, and get the knowledge you need to achieve a higher level of success in your career. In addition, participating in these programs allows you to network with your professors and peers, which can help you with future career development.
Years one and two
While all online master's degrees are a bit different from each other and no two universities offer the exact same curriculum, you may study derivatives, risk analysis and management, portfolio management, behavioral finance and retirement planning during your first year in the program. During the second year, your studies can become more advanced and specialized.
Choose a specialization and take elective courses:
Specializations allow students to build proficiency in a specific part of the finance field. Your program may allow you to choose a concentration so you can build your expertise in one part of finance. Also, you can explore additional interests by taking elective classes.
Depending on the program, finance master's degree students may be expected to take a capstone class, where you can bring together all of the information you learned throughout the program into one project.
If there is a part of finance that you're passionate about, you can benefit from enrolling in a program that allows you to concentrate your studies on that topic. Concentrations can help you hone specific skills and make you an expert in a subsection of finance, which can go a long way toward helping you advance in your career. For example, the financial planning specialization focuses on how professionals can help clients with their personal insurance and monetary planning, which may include assessing risk and finding retirement solutions. Likewise, if you enroll in a fraud management concentration, you can become proficient in detecting financial fraud in an organization and have a deep understanding of how to mitigate it, as well as address it after fraudulent activity has occurred. You may also choose a concentration in analytics, where you learn how to leverage data and research to make financial decisions.
An MBA in finance provides a broad knowledge of business that can be applied to the finance field. As a result, students primarily study entrepreneurship, marketing and management, which is augmented by finance courses. If you want to determine if an MBA finance online is the right fit for you, review our MBA page here.
Since the finance industry has such a wide reach, there are several career paths that you can explore, such as the following:
Most organizations big and small have at least one professional who ensures that financials are in tip-top shape and can stand up to an audit if need be. With or without pocket protectors, these financial experts work on reports, communicate with senior management about goals, challenges and trends, and stay abreast of changes in the financial sector, particularly as they apply to their industry. Many financial managers are responsible for direct reports and employers usually look for applicants who hold a graduate degree either in finance, accounting or a closely related field. Working in finance at this level requires deep knowledge of accounting, finance and complex financial models as well as the ability to draw conclusions from data.
General and Operations Manager
One of the beautiful things about being an operations manager is that this kind of job — also known as general manager — is needed for every business in every industry and is thus easily transferable, which means you are usually not tied to a particular sector or industry. So be it a nonprofit that does homelessness prevention, an aviation consulting group or a high-tech start up that invented a better way to deliver Wi-Fi to homes, operations managers lead daily operations, formulate plans and policies, may administer human resources and much more. These professionals also oftentimes interact with suppliers, vendors and other personnel to ensure smooth operation and delivery of items and services that meet their business needs.
Personal Financial Advisor
Where there is money — or more elegantly, investment funds — there are usually personal financial advisors. These professionals advise individuals and businesses on investment strategies, estate planning, retirement, etc. They make recommendations, provide research and advice on growing the portfolio and they can oftentimes be self-employed. Many also provide tax advice or sell insurance.
Budget analysts use their expertise to advise organizations on how to manage their finances. In this role, professionals work with clients to create budgets and monitor spending to determine if they need to be adjusted, review an organizations' assets and make forecasts about future financial needs.
Chief Financial Officer
Professionals in this role are responsible for overseeing all of an organization's finances, which entails creating monetary goals and policies, working with other executives to draft budgets and ensure that they are being adhered to, monitoring the company's cash flow and making decisions about investments.
|State Name||Average Salary||Annual Job Openings||Projected Job Growth Potential|
|District of Columbia||$172,680||730||9.1%|
If you're concerned about how you can pay for your graduate education, there are options you can explore to help. Review the table below to find out what types of financial aid you can qualify for in order to help you defray the cost of your degree.
Applicant must be a current or potential member of NABA of ethnic minority, be enrolled full-time in an United States college or university, and meet a minimum GPA. Personal statement, resume, two letters of recommendation and an essay are required to be submitted.
Applicants must be women of any age pursuing a business or business-related program who demonstrate outstanding potential. Applicants must also have an outstanding academic record in their college career, and they must show intent to complete a business program.
Applicant must be a high school senior or college freshman, sophomore, or junior who will graduate or have graduated from high school in Middle Tennessee and will be enrolling in a four-year not-for-profit college or university. Applicant must be a business major or STEM major and be able to demonstrate financial need. Minimum 2.5 GPA required.
Applicant must be a full-time undergraduate or graduate student (enrolled in at least 12 semester hours, or equivalent per term) at an accredited four-year college or university pursing a declared major in either accounting, business and finance, or criminal science. Junior college, community college, and high school students including graduating seniors are not eligible to apply. Application, official transcript, three letters of recommendation (including one from a Certified Fraud Examiner or local Association chapter), original essay explaining why applicant deserves the scholarship, and how fraud awareness will affect his or her professional career development, are required to be submitted.
Applicants must be current FFA members and high school seniors or college students planning to enroll or currently enrolled full-time. Students must be pursuing a four-year degree in one of the following agricultural fields: business management, economics, sales and marketing or finance. They must be residents of California, Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, Minnesota, Montana, Nebraska, North Dakota, South Dakota or Texas. Applicants must have at least a 3.0 GPA. Students only need to complete the online application one time to be considered for all FFA-administered scholarships. The application requires information about the student's activities and a 1,000-word essay. Awards may be used for books, supplies, tuition, fees and room and board.
Applicant must rank in the top 15% of class and demonstrate leadership skills.
Applicant must be enrolled at the University of Missouri at Columbia.
Applicant must be an undergraduate or college student or researcher who demonstrates an interest in the money transfer and remittance industry and who conducts/participates in studies in fields directly related to the international transfer of funds in any country in the world.
Applicants must be high school seniors enrolled in a Washington State public or private high school, or are home-schooled and reside in Washington State. Students must plan to use their scholarship within the 12 months following the award by enrolling in any public or private school, vocational institution, community college or four-year college or university.
Applicant must be attending Washington State University who has the intent of going to or is currently in the business school. Preference will be given to finance and marketing majors.
Applicant must be a current student working toward a bachelor's, master's or doctorate degree in: accounting, actuarial sciences, banking, economics, finance, financial management, insurance, risk management, or related majors. Minimum 3.0 GPA and good standing in program required. Applicant must click the blue Apply button on the AfterCollege application page and complete their AfterCollege profile which will be the criteria (with specific emphasis on the personal statement) used to determine the recipient of the award.
Applicant must be a MBA graduate student. Preference will be given to applicants of notable academic achievement and demonstrating an interest in finance and/or entrepreneurship.
Applicants must be current FFA members and high school seniors or college students planning to enroll or currently enrolled full-time. They must be majoring in one of the following areas: animal nutrition, animal or dairy science, agricultural business management, finance, sales and marketing or agricultural engineering. Students must have at least a 3.0 GPA. Preference will be given to applicants who show strong leadership skills and an interest in pursuing a dairy-related career. Students only need to complete the online application one time to be considered for all FFA-administered scholarships. The application requires information about the student's activities and a 1,000-word essay. Awards may be used for books, supplies, tuition, fees and room and board.
Applicants must be working toward a degree in one of the following fields: animal science, animal nutrition, dairy science, poultry science, equine/equestrian science, agriculture, agricultural science, agricultural business management, economics, finance or marketing and sales. Applicants must attend college in and be residents of one of the following states: Connecticut, Delaware, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Missouri, Nebraska, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont, Virginia or West Virginia. Selection is based on the overall strength of the application.
Applicants must be matriculated students attending an accredited college or university located in Connecticut; matriculated students attending a non-Connecticut school who are also the spouse or child of an HFMA Connecticut Chapter member; matriculated students who are Connecticut residents and who commute to an accredited school that is located in an HFMA Region 1 state or matriculated students who are permanent healthcare industry employees working in the state of Connecticut. They must be studying or planning to study financial management or a healthcare subject. Selection is based on the strength of the applicant's essay.
Applicant must be from the Tri-state area with a minimum 3.0 GPA.
Applicants must be U.S. residents enrolling in or currently enrolled in an undergraduate or graduate institution with a major supporting a career in finance. Students must have a minimum 3.5 GPA and complete an essay for submission.
Applicant must be enrolled full time and have a minimum 3.5 GPA.
Applicant must have a minimum 3.5 GPA and a minimum SAT reading and math combined score of 1200 (composite ACT score of 26). Three recommendations and a 1,000-word essay describing the applicant's professional and personal long-range goals are required.
Applicant must be a junior or senior college student at the time of award who is majoring in business or a business related field. Financial need is required.
This certification is designed to help professionals demonstrate their knowledge in key areas of financial planning, analytics and performance, as well as strategic financial management. The credential is offered by the Institute of Management Accountants.
Requirements: Must have at least a bachelor's degree and two years of professional experience
Exam format: 200 multiple choice questions and four essays
How long does the certification last? One year
Investment advisors are able to receive this credential to prove their expertise in portfolio management and the ethical standards expected of finance professionals.
Requirements: At least five years of work experience
Exam format: N/A
How long does the certification last? One year
Finance professionals can illustrate their competency in areas such as debt portfolio management, financial ratio evaluations and cash balance reviews with this certification offered by the Association for Financial Professionals.
Requirements: Two years of work experience or a master's degree and one year of professional experience
Exam format: 170 multiple choice questions
How long does the certification last? Three years
This credential is for finance workers who have a diverse knowledge base that includes topics like M&A tax issues, investment banking structuring techniques and financial laws.
Requirements: Must have professional experience
Exam format: N/A
How long does the certification last? N/A
In order to stay abreast of what's going on in finance, you can participate in a professional organization — which can offer a wealth of resources that allow you to continue learning long after you have completed your degree. The following are some examples of finance associations for you to consider joining.
This group has been promoting financial economics since 1939. In order to do this, the association publishes The Journal of Finance, organizes an annual meeting, and provides news and educational videos.
Since it was founded in 1977, the International Federation of Accountants has provided advocacy and education for professionals all over the world. With three million members, the organization is a strong voice for the field and helps to set the standard for how accountants conduct themselves in the workplace.
Treasury and finance professionals can join this organization in order to enhance their knowledge and craft through webinars, events, roundtables and development courses. In addition, the association offers certifications and publications.
Since the HFMA seeks to help add value to finance professionals — and the industry as a whole — it offers education and professional development, including specialty certifications for knowledge of business intelligence, revenue cycles, healthcare finance and managed care. In addition, members of this association can access digital content and network at events.