Online Masters in Finance

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Derick de Souza

Derick is a business and education consultant working on various projects and scopes. With about 25 years of experience in different settings, he loves to tell others about “how not to be a failure” rather than “how to be successful.” Derick writes and edits articles on online learning, business, employment, and skill development, among others. His hobbies include photography, web design and development, and traveling.

Degrees

Master of Social Work, Master of Health Psychology

Areas of Expertise & Credentials

None to disclose in particular; the basics are covered in the short bio.

By Derick de Souza

Updated January 10, 2024

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Finance is the study and understanding of how individuals, businesses, and organizations raise, allocate, and utilize monetary resources over time while considering the risks involved in their initiatives. It can also be defined as the study of money and other assets, their management, risk profiling and mitigation, and organizing funds for business. Finance is the broadest category of all business activities and requires a thorough understanding of the entire business, if not the entire economy. An Online Masters in Finance degree program provides students with the information and abilities they need to excel in business and grow in finance occupations. Students learn to analyze and solve complex real-world problems in finance and investment and deal with practical issues in the areas of investment analysis and portfolio management, financial markets, corporate finance, financial engineering, financial modeling, derivatives, risk management, and financial policy and strategy, among others. Graduate students interested in careers in asset management, corporate finance, options and futures, and financial markets and institutions are best suited for this program. Employment in finance occupations is projected to grow 8% from 2020 to 2030, about as fast as the average for all occupations and the median annual wage for finance occupations was $72,250 in May 2020, promising good potential for graduates of a finance master’s. This page covers the master of finance – its curriculum, degree types, available funding options, scholarships, the best masters in finance programs, and more.

Online Masters in Finance

Best Online Masters in
Finance Programs

A good school, quite naturally, should have excellent infrastructure, well-structured programs, trained, qualified, and experienced teaching staff, robust students support services, and more. Accreditation is also what defines a well-recognized school that offers quality through and through. Many schools in the United States offer top masters in finance programs, and most of these are on par with each other, making finding the best ones rather tricky. Factoring several vital components and parameters, various teams at FBD have identified and assessed hundreds of schools to zero in on the best ones to prepare a master in finance ranking. The following is a list of the best masters in finance programs online: *

Harvard University is a private Ivy League research university in Cambridge, Massachusetts. Founded in 1636 as Harvard College and named for its first benefactor, the Puritan clergyman John Harvard. It has a total undergraduate enrollment of 5,222 (fall 2020), its setting is urban, and the campus size is 5,076 acres. It utilizes a semester-based academic calendar. It is the oldest institution of higher learning in the United States and among the most prestigious in the world. The tuition and graduation rate are as below:
Univ Address Tuition Grad Rate
Harvard University Massachusetts Hall, Cambridge, Massachusetts 02138 $49,448 98%

Universities and programs are ranked by various factors, such as affordability, curriculum and coursework, reputation and availability, program length, statistics, the potential of employment, and return on investment for the students. For a more in-depth analysis, please read about our rankings methodology page

Find Online Masters in Finance
Programs Near Me

Most colleges follow the system of charging a lower tuition fee for in-state students and a higher tuition fee for out-of-state students. Although online programs, in many instances, do not differentiate between in-state and out-of-state students, the location of the college may still be a crucial deciding factor for students who want to pursue their online master’s in finance degree program closer to home. Besides, the cost of the program combined with location can influence one’s choice of a college and program. To make it easy for students to find the best and most affordable college in a location of their choice, here is a list of ‘finance master’s colleges near me’:

What to expect from the Online
Masters in Finance?

Is a masters in finance hard to do? Yes, and no – it depends on the student’s abilities and academic prowess and the courses they choose. In a typical online master’s in finance degree program, students can expect some 30 to 35 credits of coursework that include core courses, electives, and sometimes a capstone as well. It is also not uncommon for some universities to insist on an internship as part of the program. Additionally, depending on the specialization one chooses, additional courses or specific courses will have to be taken up. Students may have a choice of doing their finance degree either entirely online, on-campus, or in a hybrid mode that consists of online and offline classes.

Some of the typical courses students can come across in an online master’s in finance program include but are not limited to:

In most cases, coursework will also contain mandatory electives that students need to opt for. Some examples of electives include but are not limited to:

Types of Online Masters
in Finance

The Master of Finance, also sometimes referred to as M.Fin. has more than one way for students to pursue it online. In addition to a variety of degree programs through which students can major in finance, most universities offer two standard degree options – the Master of Arts (MA) and the Master of Science (MS) degrees.

Master of Arts in Finance (MA) or MAF Online

The Master of Arts (MA) in Finance, sometimes known as MA Finance Online, is based on liberal arts and humanities departments and takes a holistic approach to finance. This degree is primarily suitable for students who want to further their studies with a Ph.D. and/or work in academia.

Master of Science in Finance (MS) or MSF Online

The Master of Science in Finance, sometimes known as MS Finance Online or MSF degree, is a technical and scientific approach to finance that emphasizes math and science. This degree type is better suited to people who want to enter the job market right away or continue studying with a Doctor of Business Administration (DBA) in finance.

As an alternative, many schools offer a finance majors degree or business degrees with a concentration in finance. These include but are not limited to:

Areas of Specialization for Online
Masters in Finance

Specializations help students dive ever further into their career goals. They provide specialized knowledge and skills in a particular area of finance that can be used in targeted sectors of business and industry. Concentrations and specializations also significantly drive up one’s earning potential and career prospects. Here are a few online masters in finance specializations that students could opt for:

Specialization Description Careers
International Finance – Online Masters in Global FinanceThis specialization, as the name suggests, focuses on international finance and matters related to it, such as currency, international business law, cross-border trade, international investments, etc.An Investment Finance Specialist can work in banks, multi-national corporations, governmental agencies, wealth management companies, or independent consultants.
Risk Management – Masters in Risk Management OnlineThis specialization deals with the identification, assessment, and mitigating of pure risk situations for businesses and individuals. Students learn how to minimize investment risks, hedge funds, and deploy various solutions to manage risk.A Risk Management Specialist can work in businesses, insurance companies, government agencies, wealth management companies, or as an independent consultant, portfolio manager, and asset manager.
Corporate Finance – Online Masters in Corporate FinanceThis specialization focuses on the management of financial resources of non-financial firms and business houses. It involves the planning, acquisition, and financing of resources for businesses.A Corporate Finance Specialist can work in businesses, non-banking financial corporations, banks, or independent consultants.
Financial Analysis – Masters in Financial Analysis OnlineThis specialization emphasizes analytical and quantitative approaches to analyze and interpret data and create data-driven investment strategiesA Financial Analyst can work as an independent consultant, portfolio manager, or in insurance companies, wealth management firms, and businesses.
Applied Quantitative Finance – Masters in Quantitative Finance OnlineThis specialization combines the in-depth study of finance theories and principles with advanced technologies, communication, and teamwork. It also focuses on ethics and values in finance.An Applied Quantitative Finance Specialist can work in corporate finance, investment banking, asset management, portfolio management, or wealth management.
Real Estate Finance – Masters in Real Estate Finance OnlineThis specialization focuses almost entirely on the real estate market, what drives and influences it, how buying, selling, renting, leasing, and mortgaging affect the market and property valuations, and more.A Real Estate Finance Specialist can work in corporate finance, banking, asset management, portfolio management, wealth management, or small or large real estate and construction firms.

Some examples of other concentrations/specializations include:

Why should I do Online Masters
in Finance?

Why master of finance? A master’s in finance online degree delivers students a targeted education that keeps them up to date on the ever-changing global economy. Students of this master’s program get a comprehensive and in-depth understanding of finance and financial markets. Quantitative methods, economics, financial reporting and analysis, corporate finance, equity investments, fixed income, derivatives, alternative investments, and portfolio management are among the skills that are focused on and emphasized. Moreover, a master’s degree in finance will make students eligible for various certifications required for specific professions and by employers.

Graduates of an online master’s in finance are trained how to handle transactions and develop strong analytical abilities and superior quantitative understanding to understand a client’s financial objectives. The financial services industry includes a variety of jobs that assist individuals and businesses in tracking, managing, and spending their money. Work can be found in banks, investment firms, government agencies, private companies, universities, credit unions, mortgage companies, non-banking financial institutions, insurance companies, start-ups, and more.

But is a master in finance worth it? Going by statistical figures and the demand for jobs in the financial world, yes, a master’s in finance is worth it. Take, for example, the occupation of a Financial Manager – the U.S Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reports that the median annual pay of Financial Managers is $134,180 with job growth of 17% between 2020 and 2030, much faster than the average for all occupations.

Upon graduating from an online master’s in finance degree, students would have acquired the following skills and have the ability to:

How to get into the Online Masters
in Finance program?

The admission requirements for a master’s in finance degree program are pretty much the same as those for other master’s degrees. Students are generally required to have a bachelor’s degree in finance or in another discipline that is closely related to finance or that included finance-related coursework. In instances where the applicant is not from a finance background, the program may require students to take up masters in finance prerequisites, such as Financial Accounting, Marketing, Business & Global Issues, Management Theory & Practices, Introduction to Statistics, Ethical Issues in Business, Survey of Economics, etc. Having work experience will improve the chances of admission and may also lower the cost of the master’s degree by way of fewer credits required. The list below contains most of the general admission requirements for an online masters in finance degree program:

Note: Students are advised to check with the admissions office of their chosen college for exact and specific admission requirements, as they vary by college and program.

How long does it take to complete the Online
Masters in Finance?

Like most other master’s degrees, a master’s in finance typically requires 12 to 24 months to complete, requiring at least around 30 credits. However, there are several factors that can either shorten or lengthen the duration of the program, such as the masters in finance syllabus, part-time or full-time study, coursework load, electives opted for, specialization, internships, projects or theses, mode of program delivery – offline, online, or hybrid, and credit transfers. Additionally, colleges that offer year-round intakes (fall, spring, summer) can also influence the timeline. Students who opt for accelerated or fast-track programs that present the opportunity to complete more classes in lesser time, or sometimes combine a bachelor’s degree with a master’s degree, usually reduce the time it takes to graduate.

It is worth noting that part-time students will take longer to complete their programs, the permissible upper limit usually being 5 years, while full-time students can complete in 24 months or less.

Accreditation for Online Masters
in Finance

Accreditation is a key component of the credibility of an institution. It is confirmation that the college meets and maintains set in administrative support and policies, instructor hiring and evaluation, quality of programs, infrastructure, and curriculum requirements, which in turn is an assurance to students and employers that the college or program is of value and reputation. Accreditation from one of the six major regional accrediting bodies recognized by the Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA) and the U.S Department of Education is essential for both legitimacy and transferability. The following are the six regional accrediting bodies:

  • New England Commission on Higher Education (NECHE)
  • Middle States Commission on Higher Education (MSCHE)
  • Higher Learning Commission (HLC)
  • Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC)
  • Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities (NWCCU)
  • Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC) Community and Junior Colleges Accrediting Commission (WSCUC)

Specialty accreditors, who analyze the same qualities as general accreditors but with a focus on the expert capabilities required of students, can also provide accreditation. They ensure that programs are well-rounded in terms of business knowledge, that instructor standards are grounded in real-world experience, and that the curriculum is up to date. Furthermore, a specialist accredited degree signifies that the school meets subject-specific criteria specified by the business world, such as those set forth by the National Association of State Boards of Accountancy (NASBA). The following are the three most well-known CHEA-recognized specialty accreditors in the United States:

International Assembly for Collegiate Business Education (IACBE)

The International Assembly for Collegiate Business Education (IACBE) accredits over 2,000 business and accounting programs worldwide and provides a supportive environment for members to develop high-quality, innovative business programs.

Accreditation Council for Business Schools and Programs (ACBSP)

The Accreditation Council for Business Schools and Programs (ACBSP) is a global business education accrediting body and the first organization to offer accreditation to all levels of collegiate business education degree programs, from associate to doctoral.

Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB)

The Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB) provides quality assurance, business education intelligence, and learning and development services to over 1,700 member organizations and more than 900 accredited business schools worldwide.

Students can check if their MS finance online AACSB or any other online masters in finance AACSB are authentic on the Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA) or U.S Department of Education websites.

Online Masters in Finance no
GMAT Programs

Many universities do not require the Graduate Management Admission Test (GMAT) or Graduate Record Examinations (GRE) tests to be taken or scores to be submitted at the time of applying to a finance master’s program. However, applicants should examine if taking one of these exams and submitting test scores may help their candidacy. In some instances where test scores are usually required, they are waived off if the applicant has at least 3 to 5 years of work experience, another master’s degree, or a high Grade Point Average (GPA).

Here are a few examples of online masters in finance no GMAT:

The University of Scranton – Master of Science in Finance

The University of Scranton offers an online MS in Finance program that does not require the GMAT/GRE score; it has been waived through the Spring 2021 term due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Even otherwise, applicants with three years of professional work experience in finance may be waived from the GMAT.

Bellevue University – Master of Science in Strategic Finance

Bellevue University offers an online MS in Strategic Finance program that entirely does away with the GMAT/GRE requirement.

Pace University – Master of Finance for Professionals

Pace University offers a Master of Finance for Professionals, essentially an MS degree type, in the hybrid learning format (consists of online and in-person classes). The program does not require the GMAT/GRE score for entry.

Accelerated Online Masters
in Finance

Accelerated masters in finance online are growing in popularity by the day to save time and money and join the workforce as early as possible. Although most MS finance online degrees can be earned in a little less than 2 years, students who want to graduate quicker can opt for accelerated or fast-track finance degree master’s. Some schools combine a bachelor’s in finance with a master’s in finance in 3+1 years or 4+1 years packages, while others provide the option to take on extra course loads and complete their master’s in finance degree in 1 year.

Here are a few examples of one-year finance masters programs:

The University of Scranton – Master of Science in Finance

The University of Scranton offers an MS in finance online program that not only does away with the requirement of a GMAT/GRE score but can also be completed in 12 months. The program is AACSB accredited and prepares students for CFA certification.

The Seattle University – Master of Science in Finance

The Seattle University, Albert School of Business and Economics, offers a masters of science in finance program in three tracks – financial analysis/investments, risk management, and corporate finance, with the ability to complete the degree in 1 year (full-time) or 2-years (part-time).

Florida International University – Master of Science in Finance

Florida International University offers an online master of science in finance that prepares students for the CFA credential. Students can also opt for a specialization in financial innovation. The degree program can be completed in 12 months.

Colorado State University – Master of Science in Finance

Colorado State University offers a master of finance program that meets the federal definition of STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) and emphasizes technical skills combined with options for science coursework. The program can be completed in 1 year, with the flexibility of up to 2 years.

University of Arizona – M.S. in Finance

The University of Oklahoma – M.S. in Finance

Colorado State University Global – Master’s in Finance

Ivy League Masters
in Finance

Admission requirements for a master’s degree program in most ivy league schools are similar to non-ivy league ones. In general, students will have to fulfill and meet the following admissions requirements to be eligible to apply to an ivy league masters in finance degree program: 

  • Application Form
  • Non-Refundable Application Fee
  • Minimum education of a bachelor’s degree or equivalent
  • Official Academic Transcripts from all Undergraduate and Graduate Academic Institutions Attended
  • A relatively high Grade Point Average (GPA)
  • Standardized Test Scores (GMATGRE, or LSAT)
  • Personal Statement or Statement of Purpose
  • Resume or Curriculum Vitae
  • At least 3 Letters of Recommendation

Although these requirements are pretty much the same as at many non-ivy league universities, the differentiator is that ivy league schools usually only accept students who have the highest test scores. Here are the approximate average test scores that students are expected to have to seek admission into an ivy league program:

  • An average GPA of 3.71 on a scale of 4.0 
  • A score of 100 or higher on the internet-based TOEFL test*
  • A score of 7.5 or higher on the IELTS Test*
  • A GRE average scores range between 155 & 170 for all subjects
  • An LSAT score of 173 or higher
  • An MCAT score of 36.6 or higher

The University of Pennsylvania, The Wharton School

The University of Pennsylvania’s The Wharton School offers a Master of Business Administration (MBA) with a major/specialization in finance. Courses in this program include descriptive, institutional, and historical aspects of the field, with emphasis on the theory and methods of analysis that make extensive use of relevant techniques of economic analysis, mathematics, and statistics.

Harvard University, The Harvard Division of Continuing Education

The Harvard Division of Continuing Education is a division of Harvard University dedicated to bringing rigorous programs and innovative online teaching capabilities to distance learners, working professionals, high school students, and those seeking higher learning in retirement. The Harvard Extension School offers a Finance Graduate Program that will culminate in earning a degree titled – Master of Liberal Arts (ALM) in Extension Studies, field: Finance.

Cornell University, SC Johnson College of Business

Cornell University’s SC Johnson College of Business offers a Master’s in Business Administration (MBA) with a concentration in Corporate Finance. The program includes core courses focused on accounting, finance, financial policy, and governance.

Columbia University, Columbia Business School

Columbia University’s Columbia Business School Finance Division offers a Master of Science in Financial Economics, which is a two-year STEM-eligible master’s degree. The program provides academically distinguished and industry-oriented students the opportunity to obtain a rigorous, graduate-level finance acumen.

Yale University, Yale School of Management

Yale University’s Yale School of Management offers a STEM-eligible Master of Management Studies (MMS) in Asset Management, with a deep understanding of the application of data science and quantitative techniques to investment decisions that emphasizes ethics, fiduciary responsibility, and investment performance.

Princeton University (New Jersey)

Brown University (Rhode Island)

Dartmouth College (New Hampshire)

How to Pay for Online Masters
in Finances?

A master’s in finance degree program can cost in the range of $4,450 to $108,000 per year in a public institution. Studying at a private college and out-of-state enrollments will cost more, making the program rather expensive for many to fund by themselves. When one adds up transportation, stationery, food, accommodation, etc., the total cost of the finance program will add up to a lot. And although online students may not have to incur some of this expenditure, students may still find the tuition fee alone quite steep. Fortunately, there are several forms of financial aid that can either pay for tuition entirely or at least reduce the burden of educational costs to a large extent. Some examples of financial aid for an online master’s in finance are:

Scholarships are the most popular form of financial aid for master’s students. Individual contributors, private organizations, alumnae bodies, cultural, religious, or commercial organizations grant scholarships to students. Merit is the primary criterion for receiving a scholarship, and the academic performance and achievements of applicants are considered foremost. Scholarships are also given out based on a variety of other characteristics, including community service, cultural background, religious membership, and so on. (Note: To avoid being defrauded, read about Scholarship Scams.)

Students who may excel academically but come from low-income families are more likely to receive grants. Grants, unlike scholarships, are typically awarded depending on the family’s financial standing, making them need-based rather than merit-based.

A Teaching Assistantship is an option for students, where they can work as assistants for professors – assisting them with instructional constraints, assisting in a lab or workshop, or teaching and demonstrating for undergraduates, for which they are provided a fee waiver or stipend. Another option is the Research Assistantship, which also provides a fee waiver or stipend, but differs by allowing students to help a professor with their research rather than teaching.

work-study

Students can work part-time for their college or university in exchange for free or reduced tuition, housing, or books. Work-Study positions can be anything from working in residence halls, fitness centers, and libraries to bookstores, research labs, and even off-campus. Although work-study requires a significant amount of time to be invested, it can pay dividends in terms of professional experience. Eligibility for this type of financial aid can also be determined by the FAFSA.

Student Loans

Students can also consider taking out federal, bank, or private loans, requiring interest payments if they are eligible. However, loans paid back late will attract additional interest and penalties that will almost certainly increase student debt.

The FAFSA, or Free Application for Federal Student Aid, is a form students can fill in and submit to check their eligibility for financial aid against various criteria. More FAFSA-related information is available here.

To know more about various types of financial aid, read the best Financial Guide.

Scholarships for Online Master’s
Degree in Finance

Scholarships are made and awarded to students who exhibit strong academic potential and performance but may lack the finances to fund their education. Several graduate-level scholarships are available to eligible students, handed out by universities, individuals, communities, interest groups, governmental agencies, and more. Here are a few scholarships for a master’s in finance degree program:

Scholarship Description Amount/AwardDeadline
Goldberg-Miller Public Finance ScholarshipFunded by the Girard Miller Foundation, the Daniel B. Goldberg Scholarship is awarded to graduate students to recognize their outstanding performances and those who are preparing for a career in state and local government finance.$20,000January 14, 2024
Rhonda J. B. O’Leary Memorial (Seattle Chapter AFWA) ScholarshipThe Rhonda J. B. O’Leary Memorial Scholarship is a one-year scholarship for women, awarded to an undergraduate or graduate student attending an accredited school within the State of Washington.Up to $2,000Closed for 2021 | TBA for 2024
Collaratory.org ScholarshipsCollaratory.org, by the Southwest Florida Community Foundation, offers scholarships for students and adult learners seeking or continuing education at vocational/technical colleges, community colleges, state colleges, and universities.VariesJanuary 12, 2024
Dennis Greeno & Joan Signorille ScholarshipThe Dennis Greeno & Joan Signorille Scholarship is awarded to students with academic potential who lack the finances to pursue their education. One or more scholarships will be awarded to Davidson and Sumner County students with academic merit and financial needs.VariesFebruary 01, 2024
Minorities in Government Finance ScholarshipThe Minorities in Government Finance Scholarship, awarded by the Government Finance Officers Association, recognizes and encourages outstanding minority students enrolled in a course of study preparing for a career in state or local government finance.$10,000January 14, 2024

Free Courses for Online Masters
in Finance

Free online masters in finance courses are available to students pursuing a master’s degree in finance who wish to learn more while keeping their educational costs low. Although many of these free courses do not lead to a certificate or culminate in a master’s degree in finance, they provide sufficient knowledge and information to widen one’s horizons and study beyond the textbook. Here are some resources where free courses and classes can be found:

Course Description Offered by
Finance and Finance-related TopicsEdX, a leading study portal, offers a host of finance and finance-related topics across different learning levels. Topics include ‘Deal Structures in Project Finance’, ‘Managing Personal Cash and Credit’, ‘Risk Management’, ‘Fintech: AI & Machine Learning in the Financial Industry’, ‘Financial Development and Financial Inclusion’, and more.EdX
Finance and Finance-related TopicsOpenLearn (The Open University) works with and collaborates with other institutions to provide free courses and resources to students. The site offers 4 free masters in finance courses – ‘Equity Finance’, ‘Introducing Corporate Finance’, ‘Quantitative and Qualitative Research in Finance’, and ‘Stakeholders in Marketing and Finance’.OpenLearn
Finance and Finance-related TopicsMIT Open Courseware has several free graduate-level courses on various finance topics, such as ‘Behavioral Economics and Finance’, ‘Consumer Finance: Markets, Product Design, and FinTech’, ‘The Law of Corporate Finance and Financial Markets’, ‘Financing Economic Development’, and more.MIT Open Courseware – Massachusetts Institute of Technology

FAQs about Online Masters in
Finance Programs

What is MS in finance?

An online Master of Science in Finance degree equips business professionals with the specialized skills and knowledge they need to excel in today’s financial services market. This degree is designed for people who desire to pursue a profession in finance or advance their careers in finance.

Is a masters in finance hard?

Can you get a masters in finance online?

What can you do with a masters in finance?

 What is the average fee charged by the colleges?

What are the best masters programs in finance?

What is the difference between accounting and finance?

Career Opportunities and Salaries after
Online Masters in Finance

Earning an online master’s degree in finance is, to a fair extent, a sure shot way to maximize one’s earning potential. Of course, graduates will be pushed to work hard and deliver and will have to constantly prove that they can perform – and perform under pressure, but those who do will reap well through high salaries, incentives, commissions, bonuses, stock options, and promotions.

What can you do with a masters in finance? Master’s in finance graduates can find work in a variety of settings spanning large and small businesses, manufacturing units, start-ups, insurance companies, health-care organizations and hospitals, educational institutions, real-estate firms, non-profits, and more. Some job titles include but are not limited to:

What does a masters in finance get you? Because occupations in finance may share the same title with different applications and job responsibilities, it is hard to estimate the exact compensation one can expect by way of salaries; assessing job growth is also not easy. But as an indicator, according to the U.S Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), employment in finance occupations is projected to grow 8% from 2020 to 2030, about as fast as the average for all occupations and the median annual wage for finance occupations was $72,250 in May 2020, which was higher than the median annual wage for all occupations.

Here is a list of a few examples of occupations in finance, online master’s degree finance graduates can explore, and their salaries and growth potential, as reported by the U.S Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS):

OccupationSkills RequiredMedian Annual SalaryJob Growth (up to 2030)Job Description
Accountant & AuditorComputer skills, communication skills, analytical skills, detail-oriented, critical-thinking skills, organizational skills$73,5607% (as fast as average)An Accountant or Auditor prepares and examines financial records. They also keep track of a company’s financial health by filing taxes and making recommendations to boost revenue and cut costs.
Financial ManagerDetail-oriented, communication skills, organizational skills, analytical skills, math skills.$134,18017% (much faster than average)A Financial Manager creates financial reports, directs investment activities, and develops plans for the long-term financial goals of an organization.
Personal Financial AdvisorMath skills, analytical skills, speaking skills, interpersonal skills, sales skills.$89,3305% (slower than average)A Personal Financial Advisor gives advice to help individuals manage their money and plan for their financial future.
Top ExecutiveCommunication skills, time-management skills, problem-solving skills, decision-making skills, leadership skills.$107,6808% (faster than average)A Top Executives (Finance) plans strategies and policies to ensure that an organization meets its financial goals.
Budget AnalystCommunication skills, writing skills, analytical skills, detail-oriented, communication skills, math skills.$78,9705% (slower than average)A Budget analyst helps public and private organizations plan their finances. They review budget proposals to see if they comply with state and federal rules. They also aggregate budgets from many departments to generate a single organizational budget.

Certifications and Licensing for Online
Masters in Finance

Many occupations in finance require an individual to shoulder large responsibilities, making it essential for them to have adequate education, training, and experience in the domain. Certifications are an extension of one’s education and skills and a stamp of assurance that the candidate has the required knowledge and expertise to work within a specific sub-field of finance. In most cases, certifications also double up as a form of licensure or lead to licensure, required by critical occupations. Depending on the career one chooses, such as accounting, securities, insurance, etc., specific certification and/or licensure will almost always be required by the employer. Some examples of certification and licensure are:

Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA)

The Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) charter provides expertise and real-world skills in investment analysis and is one of the highest distinctions in the investment management profession.

Certified Financial Planner (CFP)

The Certified Financial Planner (CFP) certification is the standard of excellence in financial planning. It opens the door to numerous opportunities to serve clients and help them reach their financial goals.

Certified Public Accountant (CPA)

The Certified Public Accountant (CPA) provides candidates with the information and tools to guide them to a successful entry into the accounting profession.

Certifications from AICPA

The AICPA offers several designations for accountants with a CPA, such as Accredited in Business Valuation (ABV), Certified Financial Forensics (CFF), Certified Information Technology Professional (CITP), Personal Financial Specialist (PFS), Certified in Entity and Intangible Valuations (CEIV), and Certified in the Valuation of Financial Instruments (CVFI). All these credentials require experience in the related area, continuing education, and passing an exam.

Chartered Global Management Accountant (CGMA)

The Chartered Global Management Accountant (CGMA) designation is administered by the AICPA and the Chartered Institute of Management Accountants (CIMA) and is an internationally recognized professional credential. Candidates must complete a program, pass an exam, and meet work experience requirements.

Certified Government Financial Manager (CGFM)

The Certified Government Financial Manager (CGFM) credential is offered by the Association of Government Accountants (AGA) to accountants or auditors working with the federal, state, or local government. To earn this certification, candidates must have at least an undergraduate degree from an accredited college or university, pass examinations, and have professional-level experience in government financial management.

Certified Internal Auditor (CIA)

The Certified Internal Auditor (CIA) credential is offered by the Institute of Internal Auditors (IIA) to graduates from accredited colleges and universities who have work experience as internal auditors and have passed an exam. The IIA also offers the Certified in Control Self-Assessment (CCSA), Certified Government Auditing Professional (CGAP), Certified Financial Services Auditor (CFSA), and Certification in Risk Management Assurance (CRMA) to those who pass their exams and meet educational and experience requirements.

Certified Management Accountant (CMA)

The Certified Management Accountant (CMA) certification is provided by the Institute of Management Accountants (IMA) to applicants who complete an undergraduate degree. Applicants must have work experience in management accounting, pass an exam, meet continuing education requirements, and comply with standards of professional conduct.

Certified Information Systems Auditor (CISA)

The Information Systems Audit and Control Association (ISACA) offers the Certified Information Systems Auditor (CISA) to candidates who pass an exam and have work experience auditing information systems. Information systems experience, financial or operational auditing experience, or related college credit hours may be substituted for some of the experience required in information systems auditing, control, or security.

Additional Resources for Online
Masters in Finance

With finance being a vast ocean and having a plethora of sub-fields in which one can specialize, staying relevant and up to date becomes very important. It is always good and advisable to connect with professionals in the industry, gain deeper insights into finance, collaborate with peers to solve complex problems and do much more than what one independently can. Below is a list of a few resources finance students and professionals can tap to acquire more specific knowledge and skills in addition to their master’s education.

American Finance Association (AFA)

The American Finance Association (AFA) is the premier academic organization devoted to the study and promotion of knowledge about financial economics. The association publishes journals, conducts meetings, presents news and events, and has several resources for students and working professionals in finance.

Business Professionals of America (BPA)

The Business Professionals of America (BPA) is the nation’s premier CTSO (Career Technical Student Organization), offering skill development and the chance to create personal connections to students and members. Through a variety of exciting study programs, membership provides the opportunity to expand one’s knowledge and prepare for a profession.

CFA Institute

The CFA Institute is a gold mine of information and resources for finance students and professionals on learning and events, ethics and standards, advocacy, research and analysis, and more. The CFA Institute also administers the Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) certification program.

International Financial Management Association (IFMA)

The International Financial Management Association (IFMA) helps its members maintain a competitive edge required in today’s business environment through timely publications, detailed surveys, and Forums on relevant issues. It also provides the opportunity to network with financial executives from a variety of businesses who are eager to share their experiences.

Chartered Alternative Investment Analyst Association (CAIAA)

The Chartered Alternative Investment Analyst Association (CAIA) is a global professional body dedicated to alternative investments, seeking greater alignment, transparency, and knowledge for all investors. The organization advocates for the industry through events, publications, and credential programs.

Author Bio:

Derick de Souza

Derick is a business and education consultant working on various projects and scopes. With about 25 years of experience in different settings, he loves to tell others about “how not to be a failure” rather than “how to be successful.” Derick writes and edits articles on online learning, business, employment, and skill development, among others. His hobbies include photography, web design and development, and traveling.

Degrees

Master of Social Work, Master of Health Psychology

Areas of Expertise & Credentials

None to disclose in particular; the basics are covered in the short bio.

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