What Can I Expect from an Online Master’s in Finance Program?

Individuals who love working with numbers and want to fast-track their careers might consider earning a master’s degree in finance. Graduates from master’s in finance programs have a variety of career opportunities available to them — everything from an actuary or accountant to a personal financial advisor.

Online programs for earning a master’s in finance offer the same quality as on-campus programs but in a more convenient format — working professionals can participate in distance learning programs that let them take classes online while completing certain milestones along the way. Online classes also allow students to balance work and family commitments with their education. When you research online master’s programs in finance, it’s important to find one that aligns with your short and long-term career goals.

Concentrations Offered for an Online Master’s in Finance

Curriculum for an Online Master’s in Finance

While the individual classes you take are going to depend on the program you enroll in and your chosen area of concentration, there are some common courses among many online master’s in finance programs that you can expect to take.

How Long Does It Take to Get an Online Master’s Degree in Finance?

The length of time required to complete an online master’s in finance degree is dependent upon several factors, including the program type, school and chosen area of concentration. Most students taking classes full-time can complete an online master’s in finance in two years or less. Schools that offer a fast-track program, which typically offers courses at an accelerated pace, could put the degree in your hand in as little as 14 months. Most online master’s in finance programs require about 30-36 credits to graduate.

Accreditation for Online Master’s in Finance

As you research programs, make sure to focus your search on master’s programs that are accredited, which ensures they provide you with a quality education. Schools that are accredited undergo a quality-assurance process that ensures they meet minimum standards put forth by the larger higher education community. The Council for Higher Education Accreditation provides a database where you can search for online master’s programs by program type or institution name.

In the world of finance, students may seek out program-specific accreditation for their master’s in finance degrees from organizations such as the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business. Some programs may also hold accreditation from the International Assembly for Collegiate Business Education.

Employment Outlook for Master’s in Finance Graduates

Job Placement: Master’s v. Bachelor’s

In general, those pursuing a master’s degree in finance have a favorable job outlook. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, many financial professions, including statisticians, accountants and actuaries, are predicted to experience fast rates of growth between 2016-2026.

Expected Salary

Those who pursue a master’s degree in finance open themselves up to a potential boost in salary along with additional job prospects. Below are some common careers individuals pursue with a master’s degree in finance and their median annual salaries.

While the type of degree you hold, type of workplace and years of experience can affect salary, geographical location also has an influence. Below is a map of the country for financial managers with their annual mean wages listed by state.

Career Opportunities

Based on their chosen specialty area, finance master’s degree holders can pursue a variety of career opportunities.

Professional Organizations

Professional organizations in the world of finance are excellent for networking opportunities and obtaining resources and support in the field. For students, they offer a great entry point for learning about their chosen career path. Below are some professional organizations in the finance world that host conferences and networking events, provide online training and have active job boards.

American Finance Association: The AFA is considered to be the leading academic organization in the field of financial economics. It has a regular flagship publication, the Journal of Finance, which has been in circulation since 1946. It hosts an annual conference for financial professionals and offers an affordable low-cost membership.

International Financial Management Association: The IFMA is a global organization and offers professional financial certification in five niche areas: management accounting, investment and law, investment banking, internet finance, and credit analysis and management. It also has an online career center with links to professional development opportunities and a job board.

National Association of Personal Financial Advisors: This organization was founded in 1983 and is the largest professional organization for personal financial advisors. The website provides resources such as video tutorials, links to networks for established financial advisor professionals and a “Find an Advisor” tool.

Financing Your Online Master’s in Finance

While it’s true that pursuing an online master’s degree is usually less expensive than taking on-campus classes, many students still need financial aid to help them pay for the cost of tuition.

Filling out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) is a good first step — this form provides you with information about grants, scholarships, loans and other forms of financial aid available to you from the federal government. In addition, you may be qualified for scholarships through the programs you’re applying to. Many nonprofit organizations and private companies also offer scholarship programs.



Interested in a degree instead?

Learn more about online degrees, their start dates, transferring credits, availability of financial aid, and more by contacting the universities below.