What You Should Know About This Degree
A degree in finance prepares you to become a financial analyst, loan officer, personal financial adviser, or accountant, among a variety of other career paths. Finance degrees are distinct from business degrees in their focus on advanced mathematics principles and application.
When researching finance degree programs, look for accreditations from the AACSB, HLC, and MSCHE. Another reputable accreditation may come from the International Accreditation Council for Business Education (IACBE) or the Commission on Colleges of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACSCOC).
An accredited finance degree program ensures your courses and subject matter are held to quality standards. This will be important if you choose to gain employment with an established company, transfer credits, or pursue a graduate-level degree.
Certifications aren’t required but are highly recommended. A professional certification immediately proves to clients or potential employers that you have demonstrated competency in a financial specialty. Becoming certified also gives you a competitive edge in the workforce. The most popular certifications are Certified Public Accountant, Certified Financial Planner, and Financial Risk Manager.
Ask yourself the following questions when researching a finance degree program:
- Am I eligible for this program? Undergraduate programs that culminate in a bachelor’s degree generally require a minimum high school GPA and a minimum SAT score for admission. An associate’s degree is a good way to gain broad finance knowledge if you don’t meet these requirements. Additionally, credits earned at an accredited community or state college might be transferable to a university.
- How long does it take to complete this degree? Most bachelor-level finance degrees require 120 credits, or four years of full-time study. It’s important to understand that 45 to 60 credits of the total 120 are general education classes and not specific to finance.
As you search for the best finance degree program, pay attention to important dates, such as application and financial aid deadlines. Ensure you have all components of the application (transcripts, admission essay, and so on) in order before the deadline.
Learn about financial aid options by completing the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) and speaking with your prospective school’s financial aid office. New or transfer students might be eligible for college- or program-specific funding available on a first-come, first-served basis.