Regarding higher education, choosing a major is one of the most important decisions a student can make. Finance is a popular major that can prepare you for a wide range of careers, but it’s essential to carefully consider your options before deciding if a finance degree is right for you.
Earning a finance degree requires significant time, money, and energy, but the results can be advantageous.
To help you determine if this is the right path for you, here’s what you need to know about the types of jobs you can get with a finance degree, how much a finance degree costs, and the pros and cons of majoring in finance.
Types of Finance Degrees
There are several types of finance degrees, including a Bachelor of Science (BS) in Finance, a Master of Science (MS) in Finance, and a Master of Business Administration (MBA) with a concentration in finance. Some universities also offer specialized finance degrees, such as a Master of Financial Planning (MFP) or a Master of Investment Management (MIM).
A BS in Finance is typically a four-year program that provides students with a foundational understanding of finance and related topics such as accounting, economics, and statistics. An MS in Finance is a more specialized degree that students can complete in one to two years and focuses on advanced finance topics such as financial modeling, risk management, and investment analysis. An MBA with a concentration in finance is a versatile degree that combines business skills with a focus on finance.
Your long-term career goals will determine which degree is right for you. Bachelor’s degrees are generally adequate for entry-level and mid-level positions, while a master’s degree might be necessary for higher-level leadership positions.
Why Get a Finance Degree?
People pursue a finance degree for several reasons. A finance degree can provide a strong foundation for a career in finance or related fields. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, jobs in business and finance are expected to grow by 7% over the next decade, and professionals in this field earn a competitive median annual salary.
Nearly all organizations need a finance professional, providing this field with job security, stability, and countless opportunities for advancement.
Types of Jobs Can You Get With a Finance Degree
Many jobs are available to those with a finance degree. Some typical roles include financial analyst, investment banker, financial planner, risk manager, and corporate treasurer. If you pursue a master’s degree, you’ll qualify for more leadership positions.
Here are a few of the most common types of jobs in finance.
Financial analysts help businesses and individuals make investment decisions by analyzing financial data and trends. Financial analysts often work for banks, investment firms, or other financial institutions.
Median Salary (2021): $95,570
Financial planners help individuals and families manage and plan their finances, including retirement planning, tax planning and strategizing, and managing investments.
Median Salary (2021): $94,170
Risk managers help businesses identify and mitigate potential risks, such as financial, legal, or reputational risks. Typically, risk managers work for banks, insurance companies, or other financial institutions.
Median Salary (2021): $95,570
Budget analysts are similar to financial planners and managers. They typically work with businesses and organizations to plan for the future by analyzing their current finances and allocating their budgets accordingly.
Median Salary (2021): $79,940
Accountants & Auditors
Accountants and auditors work with businesses, organizations, and individuals to prepare, examine, and analyze financial records. Sometimes, you may need additional certifications to pursue a career in this subfield.
Median Salary (2021): $77,250
How Much Does It Cost to Get a Finance Degree?
The cost of obtaining a finance degree can vary widely depending on the institution and program. Private institutions, for example, are typically substantially more expensive than public schools.
According to the College Board, the average annual tuition and fees at a four-year public institution for the 2022-2023 academic year was $10,950 for in-state students and $28,240 for out-of-state students. A four-year private institution’s average annual tuition and fees was $39,400.
Aside from tuition and fees, students should also consider the cost of textbooks, room and board, transportation, and other expenses.
Students who need help financing their education should fill out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) and check with their schools for scholarship opportunities.
Students can also save money by completing the first two years of their degrees at a community college before transferring to a four-year university.
Pros & Cons of Majoring in Finance
Earning a finance degree can be very rewarding, but that doesn’t mean it’s necessarily the right choice for everyone.
Here are some of the pros and cons of getting a finance degree.
Pros of getting a finance degree
- High earning potential: Many jobs in finance offer high salaries and growth potential, making it a lucrative career choice.
- Diverse career opportunities: With a finance degree, you can work in various roles and industries, from investment banking to risk management to financial planning.
- Develop valuable skills: A finance degree can help you develop skills such as critical thinking, problem-solving, and financial analysis, which can be applied to a wide range of careers.
- Job security: Finance is a stable and growing field, meaning there are always opportunities for skilled professionals.
Cons of getting a finance degree
- Competitive industry: The finance industry is highly competitive, and job openings can be limited in some areas.
- Long hours: Many finance jobs require long hours, particularly in investment banking and other high-pressure roles.
- Stressful work environment: The finance industry can be stressful, particularly during economic uncertainty or market volatility.
- Cost of education: Obtaining a finance degree can be expensive, particularly if you attend a private institution or pursue a graduate degree.
How to Find the Best Finance Program for You
If you’re considering a finance degree, it’s important to research and find a program that meets your needs and goals. Here are a few tips to help you get started:
- Research different programs: Look for finance programs that offer courses and opportunities that align with your interests and career goals.
- Check accreditation: Ensure that the program you’re considering is accredited by a reputable organization, such as the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB).
- Consider location and cost: Consider whether you want to attend a school close to home or relocate, and consider the cost of tuition, fees, and living expenses.
- Look for networking opportunities: Consider programs that offer networking events, internships, and other opportunities to connect with professionals in the finance industry.
- Talk to current students and alumni: Reach out to current students and alumni to get their perspective on the program and their experience in the finance industry.
A finance degree can be a valuable investment in your future, providing a solid foundation for a career in finance or related fields. However, weighing the pros and cons and researching to ensure that a finance degree is the right choice for you is important.
Interested in another degree instead?
Learn more about online degrees, their start dates, transferring credits, availability of financial aid, and more by contacting the universities below.