Is a Finance Degree Worth It? - Intelligent (2024)

Is a Finance Degree Worth It? - Intelligent (1)

Regarding higher education, choosing a major is one of the most important decisions a student can make. Finance is a popular major that can prepare you for a wide range of careers, but it’s essential to carefully consider your options before deciding if a finance degree is right for you.

Earning a finance degree requires significant time, money, and energy, but the results can be advantageous.

To help you determine if this is the right path for you, here’s what you need to know about the types of jobs you can get with a finance degree, how much a finance degree costs, and the pros and cons of majoring in finance.

Types of Finance Degrees

There are several types of finance degrees, including a Bachelor of Science (BS) in Finance, a Master of Science (MS) in Finance, and a Master of Business Administration (MBA) with a concentration in finance. Some universities also offer specialized finance degrees, such as a Master of Financial Planning (MFP) or a Master of Investment Management (MIM).

A BS in Finance is typically a four-year program that provides students with a foundational understanding of finance and related topics such as accounting, economics, and statistics. An MS in Finance is a more specialized degree that students can complete in one to two years and focuses on advanced finance topics such as financial modeling, risk management, and investment analysis. An MBA with a concentration in finance is a versatile degree that combines business skills with a focus on finance.

Your long-term career goals will determine which degree is right for you. Bachelor’s degrees are generally adequate for entry-level and mid-level positions, while a master’s degree might be necessary for higher-level leadership positions.

Why Get a Finance Degree?

People pursue a finance degree for several reasons. A finance degree can provide a strong foundation for a career in finance or related fields. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, jobs in business and finance are expected to grow by 7% over the next decade, and professionals in this field earn a competitive median annual salary.

Nearly all organizations need a finance professional, providing this field with job security, stability, and countless opportunities for advancement.

Types of Jobs Can You Get With a Finance Degree

Many jobs are available to those with a finance degree. Some typical roles include financial analyst, investment banker, financial planner, risk manager, and corporate treasurer. If you pursue a master’s degree, you’ll qualify for more leadership positions.

Here are a few of the most common types of jobs in finance.

Financial Analyst

Financial analysts help businesses and individuals make investment decisions by analyzing financial data and trends. Financial analysts often work for banks, investment firms, or other financial institutions.

Median Salary (2021): $95,570

Financial Planner

Financial planners help individuals and families manage and plan their finances, including retirement planning, tax planning and strategizing, and managing investments.

Median Salary (2021): $94,170

Risk Manager

Risk managers help businesses identify and mitigate potential risks, such as financial, legal, or reputational risks. Typically, risk managers work for banks, insurance companies, or other financial institutions.

Median Salary (2021): $95,570

Budget Analysts

Budget analysts are similar to financial planners and managers. They typically work with businesses and organizations to plan for the future by analyzing their current finances and allocating their budgets accordingly.

Median Salary (2021): $79,940

Accountants & Auditors

Accountants and auditors work with businesses, organizations, and individuals to prepare, examine, and analyze financial records. Sometimes, you may need additional certifications to pursue a career in this subfield.

Median Salary (2021): $77,250

How Much Does It Cost to Get a Finance Degree?

The cost of obtaining a finance degree can vary widely depending on the institution and program. Private institutions, for example, are typically substantially more expensive than public schools.

According to the College Board, the average annual tuition and fees at a four-year public institution for the 2022-2023 academic year was $10,950 for in-state students and $28,240 for out-of-state students. A four-year private institution’s average annual tuition and fees was $39,400.

Aside from tuition and fees, students should also consider the cost of textbooks, room and board, transportation, and other expenses.

Students who need help financing their education should fill out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) and check with their schools for scholarship opportunities.

Students can also save money by completing the first two years of their degrees at a community college before transferring to a four-year university.

Pros & Cons of Majoring in Finance

Earning a finance degree can be very rewarding, but that doesn’t mean it’s necessarily the right choice for everyone.

Here are some of the pros and cons of getting a finance degree.

Pros of getting a finance degree

  1. High earning potential: Many jobs in finance offer high salaries and growth potential, making it a lucrative career choice.
  2. Diverse career opportunities: With a finance degree, you can work in various roles and industries, from investment banking to risk management to financial planning.
  3. Develop valuable skills: A finance degree can help you develop skills such as critical thinking, problem-solving, and financial analysis, which can be applied to a wide range of careers.
  4. Job security: Finance is a stable and growing field, meaning there are always opportunities for skilled professionals.

Cons of getting a finance degree

  1. Competitive industry: The finance industry is highly competitive, and job openings can be limited in some areas.
  2. Long hours: Many finance jobs require long hours, particularly in investment banking and other high-pressure roles.
  3. Stressful work environment: The finance industry can be stressful, particularly during economic uncertainty or market volatility.
  4. Cost of education: Obtaining a finance degree can be expensive, particularly if you attend a private institution or pursue a graduate degree.

How to Find the Best Finance Program for You

If you’re considering a finance degree, it’s important to research and find a program that meets your needs and goals. Here are a few tips to help you get started:

  • Research different programs: Look for finance programs that offer courses and opportunities that align with your interests and career goals.
  • Check accreditation: Ensure that the program you’re considering is accredited by a reputable organization, such as the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB).
  • Consider location and cost: Consider whether you want to attend a school close to home or relocate, and consider the cost of tuition, fees, and living expenses.
  • Look for networking opportunities: Consider programs that offer networking events, internships, and other opportunities to connect with professionals in the finance industry.
  • Talk to current students and alumni: Reach out to current students and alumni to get their perspective on the program and their experience in the finance industry.

A finance degree can be a valuable investment in your future, providing a solid foundation for a career in finance or related fields. However, weighing the pros and cons and researching to ensure that a finance degree is the right choice for you is important.

Interested in another degree instead?

Learn more about online degrees, their start dates, transferring credits, availability of financial aid, and more by contacting the universities below.

Is a Finance Degree Worth It? - Intelligent (2024)

FAQs

Is a Finance Degree Worth It? - Intelligent? ›

A finance degree can provide a strong foundation for a career in finance or related fields. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, jobs in business and finance are expected to grow by 7% over the next decade, and professionals in this field earn a competitive median annual salary.

Is a finance degree impressive? ›

Overall, a finance degree is worth it for many aspiring professionals. According to the BLS, careers in business and finance can pay above-average salaries and are projected to have above-average growth over the next several years.

What are the cons of a finance degree? ›

They can include high stress, big responsibility, long working hours, continuing education requirements, and, in some cases, a lack of job security—the finance industry is generally quite cyclical.

Can I become a millionaire with a finance degree? ›

There is a reason people in finance who work in private equity or a hedge fund make millions. These industries make money by investing in companies, and after a certain level you get an equity stake in the profits of the firm through carried interest.

Is finance a happy major? ›

Overall, finance students rate their satisfaction with their degree a 3.1 out of 5.

Is a finance degree smart? ›

Develop valuable skills: A finance degree can help you develop skills such as critical thinking, problem-solving, and financial analysis, which can be applied to a wide range of careers. Job security: Finance is a stable and growing field, meaning there are always opportunities for skilled professionals.

Is finance math heavy? ›

One thing that's for sure is the high amount of math you will need to study. Finance is a mathematical discipline, so if you aren't as comfortable with math as with other ways of thinking, you may find it more challenging. Additionally, finance also makes use of a vast, highly specific vocabulary.

What is the hardest job in finance? ›

One of the most difficult jobs in Finance is to be the CFO of a PE firm or a PE-backed company. According to a Big 4 firm's survey, turnover of CFOs in PE and PE-backed companies is notoriously high, reaching 80% in less than five years; half of whom are gone within three years.

Is finance hard as a major? ›

Finance degrees are generally considered to be challenging. In a program like this, students gain exposure to new concepts, from financial lingo to mathematical problems, so there can be a learning curve.

Is finance a stable career? ›

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projects that business and finance jobs will be in demand from 2022 to 2032, with 911,400 openings on average each year. Certain roles within finance, like financial examiner, are expected to grow over six times faster than the rate for all occupations nationwide.

What do most billionaires major in? ›

Others who were business majors include Oracle of Omaha Warren Buffett, Salesforce's Marc Benioff and Walmart heir Jim Walton. That makes it the most popular undergraduate degree of America's richest, but only by a slim margin — economics and engineering ranked a close second and third.

Can you make 6 figures with a finance degree? ›

Finance can be a fiercely competitive field. It's a famously high-paying industry known to deal out six or seven figures in salaries and bonuses for those at the top. Even those on the bottom rung can expect to start at a good wage compared with other fields.

What percent of finance majors get jobs? ›

On Barnard's campus, there has been a consistent increase in the number of graduates working in finance between 2020 and 2022: 13% of graduates in the class of 2020 entered the finance field, while 18% of the class of 2022 found finance jobs. Aronstein expects this number to be even higher for the class of 2023.

What type of person should major in finance? ›

Understanding money is central to the finance major, so you should be detail-oriented and comfortable working with numbers. At the same time, work in finance also involves a lot of interaction with other people, so communication skills are also important.

Is finance harder than accounting? ›

Is finance harder than accounting? Accounting relies on precise arithmetic principles, making it more complex, whereas finance requires a grasp of economics and accounting without as much mathematical detail.

Is finance major oversaturated? ›

The Most Oversaturated College Majors: Finance, Computer Science, Marketing. Discover the most oversaturated and competitive college majors like finance, computer science, and marketing. Find out why these majors attract a high number of graduates but struggle to find jobs in their field.

Is finance considered a hard major? ›

Finance degrees are generally considered to be challenging. In a program like this, students gain exposure to new concepts, from financial lingo to mathematical problems, so there can be a learning curve.

How competitive is a finance degree? ›

You don't need an MBA to work in finance, but the field is highly competitive, especially at the entry-level. Internships offer experience, exposure, and a tryout for a full-time gig.

Can you be successful with a finance degree? ›

Careers in finance are often a popular choice in that they can offer a high paying position shortly after completing your degree. The different opportunities for working within the finance field are vast, with a multitude of specialties to choose from.

What is the highest paying job with a finance degree? ›

Highest-paying finance jobs
  • Investment banker. ...
  • Hedge fund manager. ...
  • Financial analyst. ...
  • Information technology auditor.
  • Financial software developer. ...
  • Private equity associate. ...
  • Chief compliance officer. ...
  • Chief financial officer.
Apr 18, 2024

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