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Online Banking Degree Programs, Courses and Schooling Options

Those looking to build or advance their banking and finance knowledge can choose from a variety of online courses and programs to get the skills they're looking for. To learn about distance learning options in this field and where to find them, keep reading.

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Overview of Online Programs

Banking manager, financial services advisor, finance analyst, investment officer -- these are just some of the options available to those with the right academic background focused on financial markets, economics, global business and banking institutions. Students can get this knowledge from a variety of online education options, including undergraduate programs, graduate degrees and continuing education courses. Many institutions offer distance learning banking and finance coursework, including community colleges, four-year universities and private online schools. These programs can typically be completed without ever setting foot on campus.

Distance Learning Options

Online banking courses are usually instructor-led or self-paced. The latter typically take two to four hours to complete. Subjects include retail, small business and commercial banking fundamentals, Microsoft Office use and basic business skills. The course choices also include a large selection on regulatory compliance, wealth management and other current topics.

Instructor-led classes require a textbook and start and end on specific dates. Coursework includes consumer, agricultural and mortgage lending, financial planning, accounting, financial analysis and other banking topics; it also prepares students for various certification exams. These types of courses can be found in online formal education programs, such as those described below.

Certificate Programs

Usually four or five courses in an online banking certificate program survey banking systems, money and financial markets and business law. Elective courses cover banking-related material, including accounting, economics, commercial and consumer lending, the selling of bank products and services, management, international banking and other subjects. One may take similar courses in a certificate or associate's degree program in finance or financial services.

Undergraduate Degree Programs

Students can earn a two-year associate's or four-year bachelor's degree in accounting or business administration with a specialization in banking through an online program. Course subjects include the following:

  • Banking fundamentals
  • Consumer and mortgage lending
  • Banking laws and regulations
  • Marketing bank financial services
  • Banker career development

Candidates for these programs are usually expected to have already completed basic coursework in accounting, economics, calculus and statistics; however, some online programs offer classes in these subjects. Distance learners must also complete general education courses to meet degree requirements.

Master's Degree Programs

Students who want to pursue graduate-level education in this field must have a bachelor's degree and possibly some level of relevant work experience. Online master's degree programs in banking typically require about 32-36 credits post-baccalaureate, equaling ten to thirteen courses, to graduate. More may be required if certain courses were not taken as part of an undergraduate course of study. Banking and financial services online master's programs take around two years to finish and typically include study in the following areas:

  • Corporate finance
  • International economics and finance
  • Financial markets and institutions
  • Investments and portfolio management
  • Mergers and acquisitions
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