Online Finance Degrees

Interested in learning the ins and outs of managing money? Consider yourself an excellent problem-solver with strong interpersonal skills? If so, an online finance degree can take you to new heights in your career. Pursuing finance education online will give you a foundational knowledge of stocks, bonds, marketing trends, and managing funds for individuals, organizations, institutions, and other entities.

Graduates holding finance degrees will be prepared to work in business-oriented professions, performing tasks including — but not limited to — underwriting, investment banking, and portfolio management. The field of finance is both highly lucrative and growing every day. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), jobs openings in areas such as personal financial advising are growing at a rate of 30%. Median salaries in finance range from around $80,310 for financial analysts to $117,990 for financial managers.

Many projects require teamwork, and advanced positions involve managing subordinates. Self-motivation and time management are other skills needed to succeed in the field. If you are interested in pursuing a career in finance, hone your collaboration and leadership skills while you earn your degree through an online finance program. Read on to learn about online finance programs and get started on your new career today.

Online Finance Degree Overview

Degree Avg Degree Cost Avg Loan Default Rate Time Commitment Early Career Pay Mid-Career Pay Unemployment Rate
Associate $11,664 13.8% 2 years $40,700 $50,000 6.9%
Bachelor's $17,175 10% 4 years $47,000 $83,000 4.4%
Master's $18,673 7.8% 1+ years $75,000 $107,000 3.5%
Whether you are new to the field, or looking to advance in your current career, you should weigh the costs and time of getting a new degree against its benefits. There is no one-size-fits-all degree. The best choice for you will depend on your current educational background, financial standing, employment history, and area of interest. For instance, those with no experience may want to consider an associate degree, due to its shorter time commitment and lower cost. If finances are tight for you, then you should prioritize the student loan debt and default categories, as you will want to choose a degree that offers you the best chance of improving your financial standing with minimal risk. If your employer or someone else is paying for your education, then you might want to consider the degree that will offer you the highest salary. All salary information is sourced from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics and/or PayScale

While online finance degrees are available at the associate level, the majority of financial professions require more comprehensive education. A bachelor’s in finance online qualifies students for a number of careers, such as budget analyst, financial services sales agent, and financial advisor. In addition to a bachelor’s in finance online, students can also pursue a master’s in business administration (MBA), which often leads to higher level positions, hefty signing bonuses, and larger overall compensation.

Choosing Your Finance Career

Average Finance Salaries

$71,550
$71,590
$117,990
$89,160
$80,310

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Financial Services Sales Agent

Salary: $71,550
Growth Rate 2014-2024 Number of Jobs: 2014 Degree Certifications
10% 341,500 Bachelor's N/A

Financial services sales agents sell their company’s services to prospective clients. They are responsible for making sales pitches, determining a customer’s financial needs, and maintaining contact with clients. Agents will need superb customer service skills as well as knowledge of their company’s policies and services. Undergraduate finance degrees will be extremely helpful in finding employment.

Budget Analyst

Salary: $71,590
Growth Rate 2014-2024 Number of Jobs: 2014 Degree Certifications
3% 60,800 Bachelor's N/A

Budget analysts provide financial assistance to both public and private institutions, focusing exclusively on budgets. Common job duties include developing concise budget reports and tracking spending within an organization. Given that budget balancing requires knowledge of complex financial concepts, undergraduate finance degrees such as an online bachelor’s in finance are mandatory, and some positions may require a master’s degree.

Financial Manager

Salary: $117,990
Growth Rate 2014-2024 Number of Jobs: 2014 Degree Certifications
7% 555,900 Bachelor's Certified Financial Planner (CFP)

Financial managers are tasked with managing the financial strength of entire organizations, as opposed to individuals. These professionals generate reports, lead investment activities, and direct initiatives to support the organization’s financial goals. A bachelor’s degree in finance online or a related field is required, although many positions now require a master’s degree, typically in business administration. Financial managers must manage multiple projects simultaneously, calling for superior organizational skills.

Financial Advisor

Salary: $89,160
Growth Rate 2014-2024 Number of Jobs: 2014 Degree Certifications
30% 249,400 Bachelor's Certified Financial Planner (CFP)

Personal financial advisors analyze the financial needs of their clients and offer advice about insurance, tax law, and investments. Advisors also develop short- and long-term plans, which can include saving for retirement or education. Some advisors also sell insurance. Aspiring advisors will need finance degrees, such as an online bachelor’s in finance. In addition to standard financial knowledge, these professionals will also need excellent interpersonal skills in order to communicate with clients.

Financial Analyst

Salary: $80,310
Growth Rate 2014-2024 Number of Jobs: 2014 Degree Certifications
12% 227,600 Bachelor's N/A

Financial analysts provide guidance to those making investments. Common job duties include monitoring and assessing stock and bond performance. Financial analysts generally concentrate on a specific industry, but as investment continues to globalize, some professionals choose to specialize in a certain country or geographic area. Degrees from online finance programs can help students find employment, as most positions require formal education. Prospective analysts should also be detail-oriented and proficient in the latest software programs.

Online Finance Degrees

Associate

An associate degree in finance offers a concise overview of the field. Most online finance programs at this level take about two years to complete, with the average cost around $11,500. Course topics cover a broad range of financial concepts, and graduates who earn this degree will be prepared for a number of entry-level jobs. You may also use credits from this degree to transfer to a four-year college and earn a bachelor's in finance online.

Sample Courses
Business orientation, financial accounting, principles of management, financial management, business statistics
Common Majors
Finance, banking & finance, financial services
Potential Jobs
Claims adjuster, appraiser, examiner, or investigator
Average Income
$64,300
Employment Prospects
3% growth

Bachelor’s

As the most common prerequisite for jobs in the field, a bachelor's in finance online is practically a necessity for professionals working in finance. The degree can take around four years to complete. Graduates from this program will have a comprehensive understanding of both basic and advanced financial topics.

Sample Courses
Financial modeling, statement analysis, investments, international applications
Common Majors
Finance, business administration, finance & accounting
Potential Jobs
Accountant, budget analyst, financial analyst
Average Income
Accountant: $75,280; budget analyst: $75,150; financial analyst: $95,320
Employment Prospects
Accountant: 11% growth; budget analyst: 3% growth; financial analyst: 12% growth

Master’s

Master's in finance degrees are essential for professionals looking to bolster their resume and qualify for senior positions. Whereas bachelor's in finance online programs tend to cover a wide range of topics, these degrees provide a concentrated and in-depth analysis of specific study areas. Program duration varies at this level, but students can expect to spend between one and two years earning this degree, with a total cost of around $18,700.

Sample Courses
Portfolio management, accounting, risk management, quantitative trading strategies
Common Majors
Finance, business-finance, financial management, business administration
Potential Jobs
Chief financial officer, financial manager, insurance manager
Average Income
$134,330
Employment Prospects
7% growth

The Top 5 Online Master's Degrees in Finance

Rank School Name School Logo City Cost
1

Northeastern University

Boston
  • annually: $41,686
2

Webster University

Saint Louis
  • annually: $23,760
3

Texas A&M University - Commerce

Commerce
  • in-state tuition: $6,583
  • out-of-state tuition: $17,203
4

Lehigh University

Bethlehem
  • annually: $43,520
5

California Lutheran University

Thousand Oaks
  • annually: $35,720

See full rankings

Doctorate

Doctorates are the most advanced finance degrees available. These programs are ideal for students looking to enter academia, with courses and projects concentrating on ethical theory, global perspectives, and contemporary financial technology. Curricula typically consist of a blend of theoretical research and practical applications, such as scholarly writing.

Sample Courses
Empirical asset pricing, agency theory, capital structure, executive compensation
Common Majors
Finance, financial economics, financial & retirement planning
Potential Jobs
Post-Secondary Professor, Economist, Mathematician
Average Income
Post-secondary professor: $92,220; economist: $109,230; mathematician: $112,560
Employment Prospects
Post-secondary professor: 13% growth; economist: 6% growth; mathematician: 21% growth

Professional Requirements

Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA)

The Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) credential is one of the most prestigious and universally recognized certifications for investment management. This is required for those looking to enter a number of finance-oriented professions, such as consultant, research analyst, or risk manager.Candidates must pass three exams sequentially. Level I tests comprehension of professional and ethical standards, while Level 2 focuses on the application of said standards in real-world situations. Level 3 tests a candidate’s knowledge of compliance context and portfolio management. To enroll in the CFA program, applicants will need a working passport along with either an undergraduate degree, four years of professional experience, or a combination of the two.

Is it required?

Yes

How long will it take?

Varies

Certified Financial Planner (CFP)

The CFP certification serves as proof of a professional’s extensive financial planning knowledge. It is required for those who want to become certified financial planners.
Those wishing to take the exam must hold a degree (such as an online bachelor’s in finance) from an accredited university, though students without a degree may be qualified if they complete university-level coursework through a CFP Board-certified program. The exam consists of three five-day testing windows, with one each in March, July, and November.

Is it required?

Yes

How long will it take?

8 months

Financial Risk Manager (FRM)

Individuals working in risk management can pursue the FRM credential. The exam has no prerequisites; candidates do not need academic or professional experience to register. In order to obtain this certification, candidates must sit for a pair of multiple-choice exams and complete two years of relevant work experience. Though not required, it is highly recommended that certified FRMs earn at least 40 hours of Continuing Professional Development (CPD) every two years to remain current on risk management practices.

Is it required?

No

How long will it take?

Varies

GMAT

Used as a primary consideration in the admissions process of online finance programs, the GMAT exam tests a student’s reasoning capabilities, with sections devoted to verbal, quantitative, and integrated reasoning. The GMAT has no mandatory prerequisites outside of a scheduling fee, but the exam does assume knowledge of business concepts, and students are strongly encouraged to complete a preparatory program before taking the exam.

Is it required?

Yes

How long will it take?

3.5 hours