Online Finance Degree

online finance degree

What should companies and individuals do with the money they save? All of that money can't simply be left in a savings account to accrue a little amount of interest over dozens of years. There are far better investment options out there, but figuring out which route is both safe and profitable can be very complex.

That's what financial analysts are tasked with. They make recommendations to everyone from the biggest business institutions down to individuals about what the wisest options are for investing in stocks, bonds and other opportunities. They do this by studying current economic trends along with industry history and past financial statements.

In short, there are two types of analysts. They are either buy-side or sell-side. Buy-side analysts make recommendations to large businesses about how they should use their money. Sell-side analysts advise professionals who sell stocks, bonds and other investment opportunities.

Becoming a financial analyst is no easy task, as it requires an education that spans over various topics, including math, statistics, economics, finance, accounting and more. Some employers may also require post-graduate experience in a related field, such as business administration. For this reason, some individuals may use online courses as a way to pursue financial analyst employment opportunities. These courses may offer in-depth experience about the many subjects that are linked to professional financial analysis. Moreover, classes can often be completed at the leisure of the student and in a flexible time frame.

Are Online Financial Analyst Programs for You?

Here is what you may consider when choosing an online financial analyst program:

  • Employers require various amounts of skill and educational designations for employment. Many candidates must have at least a bachelor's degree. However, master's degrees are becoming increasingly necessary, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics[i].
  • Certifications are one way prospective financial analysts gain an advantage while searching for job opportunities. One such designation is the Chartered Financial Analyst certification offered by the CFA Institute. This certification requires a bachelor's degree as well as employment experience to apply for. Applicants must pass a series of exams as well.
  • Financial analysts usually begin their careers by focusing on trends in a specific area of interest, which can be a certain geographic location, industry or product.
  • Before signing up for online courses, consider what area of interest you may consider pursuing. Also, carefully evaluate the subject matter of particular courses and inquire whether they will help you gain certifications later in your professional career.

Financial Analyst Career Paths and Potential Salaries

There are many occupations closely related to financial analysis. The skills you learn from an online program may prepare you for work in fields with similar economic, mathematical, statistical and financial subject matter. Research which options may be available using statistics compiled by the BLS.

Financial Analysts[i]

Financial analysts help businesses and individuals make investment decisions. They study financial records, business trends, economic data and other resources to find the most profitable route for clients investing in stocks, bonds and more.

  • 2012 median annual salary: $76,950
  • Job growth through 2022: 16 percent (faster than average)
  • Entry-level education: Bachelor's degree

Budget Analysts[ii]

These professionals help organizations tailor their spending plans. They work with project managers and particular departments to see exactly where money is being used, evaluate areas where resources can be saved and predict where money will be needed in the future.

  • 2012 median annual salary: $69,280
  • Job growth through 2022: 6 percent (slower than average)
  • Entry-level education: Bachelor's degree

Financial Managers[iii]

Financial managers ensure that organizations are operating in a way that is financially beneficial. They put together reports regarding company financial plans and make predictions and plans for investments that coincide with the goals of their institutions.

  • 2012 median annual salary: $109,740
  • Job growth through 2022: 9 percent (average)
  • Entry-level education: Bachelor's degree

[i] bls.gov/ooh/business-and-financial/financial-analysts.htm

[ii] bls.gov/ooh/business-and-financial/budget-analysts.htm

[iii] bls.gov/ooh/management/financial-managers.htm