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Degrees for a Career in Finance

Are you interested in a career in finance? The hardest part about getting there could be choosing among your many options. If investments tickle your fancy, then you may have a rosy future as a financial analyst. If you're a people person, then personal financial advising could be the job you love to wake up for every morning. Other common careers in finance include:

    • Credit analyst
    • Investment manager
    • Stock broker
    • Budget analyst
    • Loan officer
    • Public accountant

While each career has some similar education requirements -- a strong background in math is a must, for example -- there are top degrees in finance for any career you choose. Learning about the best degree programs can help you select an educational pathway that leads to your dream job.

What You Can Do with an Associate's Degree in Finance

If you're starting from square one and want a relatively quick education to enter the world of finance, consider an associate's degree. An associate's degree in finance could be the best college degree if you want to work as a bank teller, collector, or in an administrative support position at a financial agency, whether insurance company, investment firm, or other financial business.

Bachelor's Degree: College Degrees for Entry-Level Jobs

Most other careers in finance require a minimum of a bachelor's degree, the best degree for many entry-level jobs:

    • Loan officers usually need a bachelor's degree in finance, economics, or a related field.
    • Accountants and auditors generally enter the field with a bachelor's in accounting or finance.
    • Financial advisers and financial analysts with a bachelor's degree in accounting, finance, economics, or business mathematics usually have the best opportunities.
    • Top degrees for financial services sales agents include a bachelor's in finance, accounting, economics, or marketing.

Degree Programs at a Master's Level

Many professionals in finance don't want to hold entry-level jobs indefinitely. Sometimes employees move up the ladder through additional training and job experience, while in other situations, a master's degree is what's needed to move into a higher-level job.

For example, in the realm of investment banking, college graduates are generally hired as analysts. After two or three years on the job and extensive training, successful employees move to the associate level. Job applicants who recently obtained an MBA, however, often start their careers at the associate's level and can move more quickly into a position as a vice president.

For other careers, the best degree in finance -- that is, the one you need to secure a job -- is a master's degree, whether a master of business administration (MBA) with a concentration in finance, or a master of science in finance. They are the best degrees for:

    • Budget analysts
    • Treasurers
    • Financial analysts (non-entry level)
    • High-level financial managers

In general, a master's degree is a top degree for anyone with experience working in finance who wants to broaden his knowledge of the field and significantly increase his job opportunities and earning potential.

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