Everything regarding the management of money, from saving, borrowing, budgeting, lending, investing to forecasting, falls under the finance umbrella. A Master’s Degree in Finance, like many graduate degrees, can help you advance your career, make a career change, get paid more money, or qualify for certifications, licenses, or a promotion.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, jobs in financial occupations are expected to grow seven percent by 2028. This is faster than the average growth of all other occupations.
The field is competitive, as there is job stability and above-average salaries in most available positions. Many employers look for applicants who have above-average qualifications and experience. This means getting a Master’s Degree in Finance is a great way to stand out from the piles and piles of applications recruiters sift through.
In general, finance professionals optimize the use of capital by analyzing revenue and expenses and making financial decisions over projects and investments. In this article, you’ll find a breakdown of a few common finance concentrations, the benefits of taking online courses, what you can expect in the average master’s in finance program, potential job opportunities, the value of this degree, and information about becoming a chartered financial analyst.
Online Master’s Degree in Finance Program Concentrations
Many institutions that offer an online Master’s Degree in Finance program allow students to choose a concentration of study to align their coursework with their education and career goals. Below are some options you will find in most online finance programs.
The general finance concentration focuses on broad knowledge to prepare finance professionals for their careers. This includes the study of markets, wealth management, theoretical frameworks, and business functions.
This finance concentration focuses on the way corporations manage their funding sources, investment decisions, and capital structuring. The three main areas of corporate finance are working capital, capital structure, and capital budgeting.
Wealth managers and financial advisors often help with investment management, along with a few other services like financial planning, retirement planning, and estate planning.
Finance professionals in the energy industry link the energy and financial markets together. Pricing mechanisms and green finance/investment are common topics of interest.
Real Estate Finance
In real estate finance, investors get capital from outside sources so they are able to buy and renovate properties. There is a strategy involved in securing the funds needed for the impending deal.
Private Equity Finance
Private equity is the capital that does not get listed on a public exchange. It often refers to investment funds, often organized by limited partnerships, that will be sued to buy and restructure companies not publicly traded.
Benefits of Online Master’s Degree in Finance Programs
Taking your Master’s Degree in Finance online has quite a few benefits. A few perks of online school include:
- No Commute: When there is no designated classroom, you can do your schoolwork from the comfort of your own home.
- Cheaper Tuition: Because schools do not need to hire as many staff members to support a campus experience, they are often able to offer cheaper prices for online programs when compared to face-to-face courses.
Tuition fees for an online Master’s Degree in Finance range from $12,300 (at Georgia Southern University) to $73,312 (at Georgetown University); the average is around $30,000.
- More Flexibility: There is usually no required time for students to attend online courses. Many students also find it is easier to select courses for a semester because there are no time conflicts between classes. An online master’s in finance program typically takes between one to three years to complete.
- No Relocation: Because there is no location requirement, many students can save thousands in expenses that come along with moving into a dorm or apartment closer to campus.
There are many different reasons to pursue a Master’s Degree in Finance online. While getting a master’s degree will never hurt your future career, it is important to think about your career goals before applying so you can pick the best program, concentration, and courses to meet your goals.
Getting further education can set you apart when applying for jobs. Adding a master’s degree and projects you completed during the program to your resume shows your expertise.
A Master’s Degree in Finance can allow graduates to move up the ranks in their careers. High-ranking positions often pay more and are more rewarding job roles; they often require education beyond a bachelor’s degree.
Completing a Master’s Degree in Finance program can also count toward the 150 post-graduate credit hours needed to work as a licensed CPA (Certified Public Accountant).
Before we move on to listing the best schools and some potential jobs you can land after graduation, here’s some course you can expect in most online Master’s Degree in Finance programs.
Common Master’s Degree in Finance Courses
Every program offers different courses, but there is typically a large overlap in the core courses required. Looking at the names of potential courses can help you decide which ones will best suit your career goals. Below is a list of common courses offered in a master’s in finance online program.
- Financial Management
- Financial Accounting
- Investment Theory
- Managerial Economics
- Statistics for Financial Applications
- Practicum in Finance
- Private Equity
- Portfolio Management
- Computational Finance
- Valuation of Energy Investments
- Advanced Accounting
- Raising Capital
Best Online Master’s Degree in Finance Schools
John Hopkins University offers a Master of Science in Finance degree within its business school. It is designed for working professionals, so the program is part-time.
Core courses include corporate finance, business communication, accounting, and financial reporting. Students have the opportunity to customize their education with six advanced electives. The elective options include courses like financial crisis, big data, and machine learning. There are also options for students interested in consulting careers through courses about portfolio and wealth management.
The curriculum at John Hopkins University aligns with the standards set by the CFA Institute. The private institution’s program is 36 credits long, with a tuition fee of $1,410 per credit hour. It can typically be completed within two years. There are online and hybrid options available. The graduation rate of students who attended John Hopkins University is 93 percent.
Prospective students can have their GRE and GMAT scores waived if they have at least a 3.0 GPA. This program requires at least two years of work experience.
Georgetown University’s Master of Science in Finance program is accredited by the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB accredited).
With courses like corporate valuation, principled financial leadership, and financial markets, Georgetown University is able to prepare its students for real-world experience in the field of finance. Because it offers one of the best online programs for a Master’s Degree in Finance, you can be sure you’re getting an excellent education.
Prospective students will have to prepare a personal statement as well as turn in their resume, a video interview, and two letters of recommendation.
Tuition for the 32 to 36 credit hour program is $2,379 per credit hour. Part-time students will take 32 credit hours and full-time students take 36. The program can typically be completed within 21 months and is a hybrid format.
Boston University has been offering remote learning since 2002. Its program is accredited by the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business.
The courses in the program include global supply chains, quantitative methods, and both financial and managerial accounting. Students can choose between investment analysis or international finance as a concentration. There are also certificate options like data analytics and supply chain management. Boston University’s online Master’s Degree in Finance program is very customizable.
Boston University’s program consists of 40 credits that can be completed in 18 to 24 months. It costs $27,360 per semester and students can choose between an online or hybrid format. Its graduation rate is 88 percent.
The University of North Carolina has a Master of Business Administration degree that offers a finance concentration. Its program prepares online students for an advanced career in finance.
Graduates of this program see a 39-percent increase in salary within one year of graduation.
This 62 credit hour program can be completed in about two years and costs $125,589 in total. Two years of work experience are required to apply and students with six or more years of work experience can get their GRE and GMAT scores waived. While the classes are online, there are required in-person summits.
Carnegie Mellon University is unique in that it has a STEM-designated Master of Business program that focuses on data and analytics. Students can personalize their education by choosing the finance track and also by choosing an optional track like entrepreneurship, product development, or energy business.
Students at Carnegie Mellon can choose which type of capstone project they complete, one being a trip to study abroad. About 94 percent of graduates from this program receive job offers three months after graduation. This program is 189 to 198 units that can typically be completed within 32 months.
Besides earning your Master’s Degree in Finance through an online program, becoming a chartered financial analyst will set your resume apart from others when applying for jobs. Let’s look more into this before listing those jobs.
How to Become a Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA)
CFA’s must be in their final year of getting a bachelor’s degree, or have their bachelor’s degree already. They must also have four years of either work or school experience, as well as an International Travel Passport.
The cost of completing the CFA program is about $2,400 to $4,590. The educational goal of the Chartered Financial Analyst program is to provide students with a “deep knowledge of investment analysis, management, and ethics,” according to the CFA Institute.
There are more than 167,000 CFA Institute members who have completed the 900+ hours of self-study and 4,000 hours of qualified work experience.
Steps to Become a Chartered Financial Analyst
Pass CFA Exams
There are three exams professionals in the CFA program will need to pass to become a Chartered Financial Analyst.
Get Qualified Work Experience
Work experience directly related to making investment decisions is required, although it can be completed at any time during the CFA program.
Submit Reference Letters
Two to three professional reference letters are required. These reference letters will need to comment on professional character and work experience.
Apply to Become a Chartholder
After your application is approved, you have become a Chartered Financial Analyst.
Potential Jobs With a Master’s Degree in Finance
Every single organization needs a finance consultant or team. Many companies and people need assistance in handling their money. There is no shortage of firms hiring financial experts to join their staff. There are many jobs you can get into with a finance degree. You can also work for a company in any industry as all require finance professionals as part of their team.
The opportunities are endless, but here are some common jobs you can get with a Master’s Degree in Finance and their median yearly income:
- Accountant: $50,900 per year
- Financial Advisor: $58,500 per year
- Financial Analyst: $60,150 per year
- Financial Services Sales Agent: $64,100 per year
- Financial Manager: $72,500 per year
- Financial Planner: $74,000
- Actuary: $88,600 per year
- Chief Financial Officer (CFO): $132,200 per year
If you are looking for a cheaper and more accessible Master’s Degree in Finance program, then you should look into applying for an online program. Online programs allow working professionals to gain their degree without having to sacrifice their careers. In fact, gaining your master’s while still working will eventually lead to advancing your career upon graduation.
If you are keen to advance your career in finance and are looking for a flexible program, be sure to carry out some more research and choose the right program for you. Remember, many of the options listed above could be the perfect fit for you.