A finance degree can be an excellent way to open the door to many new career opportunities. Even if you aren't looking to work in a traditional field of finance such as investment banking, a finance degree can provide you with the skills necessary to pursue any number of positions. Most corporate or business-oriented jobs require some knowledge of finance, and understanding the functions of the financial world is essential for navigating the global economy. With a finance degree, you gain a deep awareness of business and develop your analytical and problem-solving skills as well as a grasp of how emerging technologies impact financial modeling.
Read on to learn how a career in finance is an appealing option worth pursuing.
Which Finance Degrees Exist?
A bachelor's degree in finance is typically a four-year degree that can lead to a vast selection of career options in accounting and financial management, business, law, real estate, nonprofit work, and more. Finance students learn how markets, investments, and families interact with financial practices. Comprehensive courses such as corporate finance and banking, principles of accounting, economics and statistics, international business, business ethics, communications, and leadership are just some of the topics that finance students typically study. After graduation, finance students are equipped with the core foundational knowledge they need to stay competitive in their field. Some degrees also require the completion of a capstone project, which allows students to apply the hard and soft skills they’ve learned to a realistic situation such as performing a financial analysis of an enterprise with software that simulates the experience of a finance professional.
A master's degree in finance usually takes two or three years to complete. A master’s in finance is a graduate-level degree designed to equip students with the expert knowledge and analytical capabilities necessary to excel and rise to higher positions within financial analysis and management fields. Focusing on advanced topics such as economics, securities pricing and investment, financial markets, predictive analytics, and theories of corporate finance, this degree expands upon the knowledge and skills learned in a bachelor's degree. Master’s programs often place high value on leadership principles, project management, decision-making, and real-world experience.
A doctoral degree usually takes about five years to earn and is the highest level of education that you can attain in finance. This degree allows students to research a very specific area of study in economics, investment analysis, portfolio management, corporate finance, or other similar finance topics. Those with a doctoral degree become experts on theories within their specialization and the applications of those theories. Upon completing this degree program, students have the mastery and skills necessary to analyze investment decisions and make educated purchasing and selling decisions. Many students pursue a Ph.D. in order to become a professor.
Finance Degree: Key Learning and Skills
A finance degree offers students the opportunity to gain an excellent understanding of accounting, budgeting, quantitative analysis, and forecasting related to the world of business. Some courses may go beyond financial principles, introducing students to macroeconomic theories, leadership strategies, and global economic trends. Students with a finance degree develop versatile hard and soft skills, like data analysis, problem-solving, and communication, that can be used in many roles. The field also offers a higher-than-average salary when compared to other careers. A degree in finance could be the ideal choice for a student who is organized and detail-oriented, can communicate effectively, has strong mathematical skills, and is interested in forward-thinking business practices and trends in economics.
Reasons to Pursue a Finance Degree
Pursuing a finance degree can provide an abundance of career opportunities. A finance degree offers the chance to develop a skill set related to financial management and introduces students to the ever-changing global financial markets. Studying finances and economics can lead to jobs with corporations, financial service organizations, nonprofits, and government agencies. Even if you’re not planning on entering the finance industry directly, earning a finance degree can help further develop your critical thinking, math, and problem-solving skills, which will give you an edge in almost any profession.
A bachelor’s degree in finance allows you to:
- Master in-demand skills for real-world job responsibilities.
- Obtain the qualifications to work for a wide range of employers.
- Set the stage for earning professional certifications.
- Position yourself for a lucrative career.
- Join a popular industry that offers stable growth.
- Have the foundation to earn a higher degree in finance, accounting, law, business, or a related field.
While there are other degree programs that include principles of finance (such as a bachelor's degree in business or an MBA) if you're hoping to begin a career in finance, a bachelor's in finance is an excellent place to start.
Career Options with a Finance Degree
A finance degree is a valuable asset to any career. With a bachelor’s, you can apply for various roles, including financial analyst, accountant, financial advisor, auditor, or treasury analyst. You could also pursue a career in investment banking or stockbroking within the banking industry. Or you may find marketing or sales roles, where your finance degree will be put to great use through the analysis and interpretation of data. With the opportunity to build on your skills, earn higher wages, and expand your career opportunities, there's no denying that investing in a finance degree pays off.
Prepare Yourself for the Finance Market
A bachelor's degree in finance at WGU will allow you to develop critical professional skills like problem-solving, research data analysis, budgeting, and business principles that are highly sought-after by employers across various industries. WGU students benefit significantly from a competency-based education model, which allows you to use your past experience or understanding to help show mastery of the material and accelerate courses. Ultimately, you can enter the professional industry faster and increase your potential earnings sooner.