Is a Finance Degree Worth It? (Benefits and Types of Degrees)
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If you're interested in pursuing a career in finance, you may wonder how necessary it is to obtain a degree in the field. As a finance major, you may have an easier time gaining the essential skills and knowledge to apply to your career. Understanding what you can do with a finance degree can help you decide if it's something worth pursuing to achieve your career goals. In this article, we explore what a finance degree is, the different degrees you can pursue, what jobs you can get with it and the benefits of getting one.
What is a finance degree?
A finance degree is coursework you complete as an undergraduate student, which includes accounting, statistics, economics and business law. As a finance professional, you're responsible for managing money and advising clients on investment strategies.
An investment strategy is a set of rules, procedures or behaviors specifically customized to each client and their financial needs. Additionally, a finance degree prepares you for your life after graduation by providing an understanding of money, stocks, bonds, markets and financial instruments. Financial instruments are what you exchange for something else, which can include:
Letters of credit
Types of finance degrees
There are various specializations you can choose from when you're deciding on a finance degree. Here are three types of finance degrees you can choose from:
Bachelor's in financial management: This degree prepares you to help individuals or small business owners manage their assets to prepare a plan for their financial future. With this degree, you can pursue a career in estate planning, health care planning, retirement saving and income planning.
Bachelor's in financial planning: This degree prepares you to analyze financial health for businesses and financial institutions to help them increase their profits and financial performances. With this degree, you can pursue a career in cash management, portfolio management, financial analysis and forecasting and international finances.
Bachelor's in accounting: This degree prepares you to become a CPA, which allows you to work in government, private practices or in various corporate settings. It mainly focuses on financial reporting, taxation, auditing and financial management.
What jobs can you get with a finance degree?
Here are some jobs you can pursue with a finance degree:
Personal financial advisor
Personal financial advisers assess the financial needs of individuals to help them make informed decisions with their investments, such as their stocks and bonds, on tax laws and insurance.
Professionals in this field monitor their clients' accounts and make recommendations on what they can do to improve their financial health or how to accommodate major life changes, such as having a child or getting married. They can also invest their clients' money with client approval.
A financial analyst examines financial data to help their clients make business decisions. Advising recommended courses of action, such as when to buy or sell stocks based on performance and outlook, is part of their role.
Professionals in this field prepare financial models to predict the future of economic conditions. Additionally, they maintain an understanding of the current developments in their field.
A loan officer reviews, authorizes or suggests approval of applications for personal or business loans for situations such as paying for college or purchasing a home. Professionals in this field speak with loan applicants to gather information and answer questions they have about the loan process. Additionally, loan officers can explain to loan applicants what they're eligible to apply for and what different loans there are.
Commercial real estate agent
A commercial real estate agent uses their financial skills to analyze an organization's financial status and upcoming projects. Professionals in this field can help advise potential home buyers on their finances by suggesting price ranges, explaining to them how to apply for a loan or helping them create a plan to accommodate their finances with a major life change or purchasing a home. The real estate industry doesn't require this position to have a degree, but it can help you differentiate yourself from other candidates, which may help you get the job.
A financial examiner focuses on banks and other financial institutions to ensure they're complying with local and federal laws. Professionals in this role review balance sheets, evaluate loan risk levels and look at bank management.
They prepare reports with details on an institution's safety and stability, train other examiners in the financial examination process and review guidelines for procedures and policies to determine their impact on an institution. They also establish new guidelines and regulations.
A financial manager is responsible for the financial health of a company. Professionals in this field create financial reports, direct investment activities and develop long-term goals for financial plans for their organization. Additionally, they analyze market trends to ensure maximum profits and seek expansion opportunities. They often work on a team as an adviser for the company's top executives.
Benefits of getting a finance degree
There are a variety of benefits to pursuing a degree in finance, including:
Real-world preparation: This degree can help you master in-demand skills required in this field, including data analytics, risk management, capital allocation and investment strategies. You can also learn soft skills that can help advance your career, including teamwork, communication and adaptability.
Wide range of opportunities: This degree can allow you to pursue various career paths, including working for either a small business or a large corporation. This is because your coursework provides you with knowledge of in-depth specialties in finance.
Potential to earn certifications: Getting a degree in finance can allow you to work toward certification in finance to help further your career and differentiate you from other candidates with similar backgrounds. Certifications offer you a chance to extend your finance education and develop your skills.
Leadership and self-employment opportunities: This degree offers you a chance to enter a leadership position for an existing company or to work for yourself. Becoming a financial advisor offers an opportunity to work for yourself because you can work with individual clients to help develop their financial plans.
Positive job growth: This field is rapidly growing and may continue to increase, which can provide undergraduates studying finance with many opportunities for work after graduation.
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