Business Finance Degree Program Overviews by Degree Level
Students interested in finance degrees have several options, including business programs at the undergraduate and graduate degree levels. Associate, bachelor's and master's degrees in finance prepare graduates for career options including lending, financial planning and financial management.
Associate's Degree in Business Administration
Most associate's degree programs in business administration have an option to concentrate in finance or economics, which both offer similar coursework. These introductory programs present the basics of business while teaching finance and investing, accounting, economics and business law.
Graduates may consider applying their associate's degree credits to a bachelor's degree program in finance. Students are typically required to have a high school diploma or GED to enroll in most associate's degree programs.
Introductory business theory, concepts and law classes teach students the tools to analyze current financial positions and potential investments. These are some of the basic courses:
- Introduction to accounting
- Finance basics
- Corporate and personal finance
- Introduction to marketing strategy
Popular Career Options
Associate's degree programs in finance prepare graduates for entry-level careers. Students can apply their education, analytical skills and understanding of the economy to jobs, such as the following:
- Credit authorizer
- Loan officer
- Financial planner
Bachelor's Degree in Business Finance
Through a bachelor's degree, such as the Bachelor of Science (B.S.) in Business with a concentration in finance, B.S. in Finance or Bachelor of Business Administration (BBA) in Finance, students can learn basic principles and strategies, as well as techniques for understanding the emerging patterns as the field grows. Students typically need a high school diploma or GED to apply to bachelor's degree programs and are prepared for many entry-level positions in finance or business.
Coursework primarily covers general practices of local and international economics, business and law, with a heavy background of math and statistics. These are some of the general courses:
- Principles of economics
- Financial law
- Business statistics
- Financial management
- Business strategy and economics
Bbachelor's degree program graduates can work as economists, financial analysts or financial managers. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), analysts in this field held almost 250,000 jobs in 2008, with an expected increase of 20% from 2008 to 2018 (www.bls.gov). The BLS reports that almost 47% of these professionals were working for major financial center, and as of May 2008, these professionals earned a median annual salary of more than $73,000.
Master's Degree in Business Finance
Master's degree programs, such as the Master of Business Administration (MBA) in Finance and Master of Science (M.S.) in Business-Finance, are typically designed for students with positions in business or finance, providing them with advanced studies in the theory and methods of financial investing and decision-making in the current and past markets. Some programs offer several concentrations that include investing, econometrics, financial management and corporate finance. These programs can prepare graduates for high-level executive positions as they begin or advance their career in the field.
Most programs require a bachelor's degree in a related field, including finance, business or economics, in addition to GRE or GMAT scores and personal reference letters. Students who do not have a bachelor's degree in a business-related field may need to take introductory business courses. Some programs accept professional experience in the business field for academic credit or to meet course prerequisites.
Most programs analyze current and potential problems in the financial market, both locally and internationally. Students may be expected to create solutions to these problems and analyze how the market will fluctuate through courses similar to the following:
- Advanced financial management
- Advanced financial analysis
- Advanced marketing techniques and methods
- Risk management and derivatives
Graduates of the M.S. or MBA program may consider advanced career opportunities in financial management. According to the BLS, finance managers held more than 539,000 positions in 2008, with an expected job growth of eight percent between 2008 and 2018. The BLS also reported that financial mangers earned almost $100,000 in May 2008, which does not include potential earnings from stock options and yearly bonuses.
Doctoral degree programs, such as the Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) in Business Administration, are available to teach quantitative methods in finance and economic theory, as well as advanced research methods and techniques. Professionals with a Ph.D. in this field may consider research or teaching in economics, finance and other business areas. Graduates may also consider certification from the American Academy of Financial Management, which offers professional designations for financial managers, business analysts and wealth managers (www.financialcertified.com).
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