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What Career Options are Available for Finance Majors?

When people think of Florida, they often remember sun-drenched vacations to the beach or family fun at one of the amazing resorts. In fact, Florida is the world's largest travel destination and 10% of the state's GDP is due to visitors. Plus, the state is very attractive to retirees from northerly states who are ready to thaw out in the state of perpetual summer sun. With these trends in mind, it may come as no surprise that Florida's economy is led by real estate, a sector that ranks #4 nationwide with over $170 billion in revenues.

The rest of Florida's economy is led by sectors that are seemingly less tied to sunshine and bungalows. The state's #2 industry is professional and business services, which is the 4th strongest of its kind nationwide with revenues that exceed $135 billion annually. Then the 3rd largest Florida industry is social services, an economic area that includes education and healthcare. Florida's population is heavily weighted with retirees, which might account for the $100 billion valuation of this sector. Retail trade and wholesale trade round out the top five industries for the Sunshine State with $74 and $70 billion in revenue, respectively.

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Online Finance Education in Alabama

Finance is an industry that doesn't have any hard and fast degree requirements for entry. There are many jobs that are sales oriented and thus don't require specific credentials. On the other hand, many firms do have degree requirements for their professionals. Investment banking roles, for instance, are nearly impossible to get into without a master's degree, especially an MBA in finance or accounting. Then those who aspire to an accounting career may want a CPA license, which has a bachelor’s degree as a minimum requirement.

There are also finance professions that may require licensure, such as financial advisor, but not necessarily a specific degree level. However, the training and tests required for such a license tend to favor those with formal, academic financial training. For instance, the Series 7 exam is very difficult, but it allows the holder to buy and sell any sort of security on the public markets. Finance professionals will need a Series 3 to work with commodities, however.

Online Associate Degree in Finance (AS)

A two-year associate finance degree from a Florida community college is a great way to get started in the field. A two-year degree will impart the core fundamentals needed to work in the financial arena. Graduates may then pursue entry-level positions with banks, brokerages, or any sort of firm that has a finance department. The degree also makes great sense from a long-term perspective.

This is because Florida's community colleges charge less per credit hour than their four-year counterparts. A student who desires a four-year degree might choose to start their college work in a community college, which brings their total bill down considerably. Community colleges also benefit students by requiring that they complete the core general education curriculum required for any undergraduate degree.

Students might also choose to graduate with their associate finance degree and then work for a few years prior to returning for their bachelor’s finance degree. When they then return to complete their bachelor’s, they will have a stronger idea of what they want to do and how to best plan the rest of their four-year degree.

Online Bachelor's Degree in Finance (BS)

A four-year bachelor’s finance degree is perhaps the gold-standard for the financial industry. Students who complete a rigorous four-year degree are often recruited by firms to work in their banking, lending, or accounting areas, to name a few. That's because a four-year degree requires that students dive deep into their field. They are able to initiate and complete complex projects in the field that prepare them for success in the working world.

Bachelor’s finance degree students can also expand beyond the classroom with internships that provide much needed experience. Interns get to see the inner workings of a financial institution, whether that is the lending wing of an automobile dealership or the lofty offices of a venture capital firm in downtown Miami.

Furthermore, bachelor’s finance degree students can expand their education when they meet and befriend fellow finance majors. After all, business often hinges on networking and contacts. Finance students can also broaden the limits of their knowledge with courses in related fields such as mathematics, economics, and international business.

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Online Master's Degree in Finance (MS)

To reach the pinnacle of the financial industry it's necessary to earn a master's finance degree. In particular, an MBA is vital for any finance student to reach the C-suites in their firm. Not only does an MBA impart deeper knowledge into business and finance than an undergraduate finance degree, but students expand their network to include likeminded business professionals. In fact, many finance professionals enter an MBA program explicitly to expand their network of financial friends.

Some who are interested in corporate finance may enroll in dual-MBA programs that strengthen their resumes in extraordinary ways. For instance, some enroll in joint MBA/JD programs that yield a law degree and an MBA in a mere four years. Other options can include mathematics or computer science, two fields that complement an MBA in finance very well. Students can determine their specific academic needs after a year or two of experience in the financial industry.

Online PhD Degree in Finance (PhD)

A doctorate degree in finance isn't exactly a hot item in the world of business and finance, but that may be changing. As the world becomes increasingly more complex, financial experts who have completed doctorate-level research and coursework are sure to be in ever-higher demand. After all, the financial world is becoming glutted with MBAs, so a doctorate may soon be necessary for those who need to differentiate themselves in the employment marketplace.

In fact, many who complete a doctorate in a field such as mathematics, computer science, or physics might choose to apply their knowledge in the realm of finance. Since each of the fields requires a high level of analytical skill and knowledge, the transition is often quite smooth. In fact, a financial firm may place a high value on such a doctorate since the holder will surely be able to think outside the box.

Become a Finance Professional in Alabama

Florida offers a strong showing in the business and professional services sector, ranking #4 nationwide. Miami is one of the nation's hubs for finance and many wealthy individuals retire to the Sunshine State to not only escape cold weather but to protect their funds under Florida's generous taxation policies. Thus, finance students are sure to find an employment marketplace that suits nearly any sort of career they desire. They could work in real estate financing, corporate banking, or wealth management, to name three top choices.

However, students might still be eager to know how they can become a finance professional in Florida. One simple answer is that there are as many paths to success in finance as there are individuals in the field. However, if students follow some simple guidelines, they are sure to blaze their own unique trail to success.

For starters, high school students who recognize that they want to work in finance should start preparing as soon as possible. One key way to prepare is to take as much math as possible. Students who complete Calculus I while still in high school will be ahead of the curve when they enter college. Students should also look for any accounting courses they can find. Those who prepare in high school will have a more rewarding college experience, for sure.

When it comes time to choose a college degree program, Florida's students need to look for the strongest business and finance degree opportunities they can find. The programs they consider should be fully accredited, with a minimum of CHEA-approved regional accreditation. Another option is a program specific accreditation from AACSB, ACBSP, or IACBE. Those agencies accredit business and finance degree programs starting at the associates finance degree level.

Once enrolled in an accredited undergraduate degree program, students should start considering graduate school. Finance is a field that richly rewards those with an MBA, so undergraduate students might even try to find an accelerated MBA program so that they can complete both their bachelor’s and master's degrees in a shorter, though intense, five years.

Regardless of their degree level, once a student starts work as a financial professional, they should strive to learn as much as they can. The world of finance is constantly evolving, so every day should be a learning experience for any financial professional. New rules are constantly being enacted and ever more clever strategies for financial maneuvering are devised. Thus, students with a strong academic background in finance should be able to thrive.

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Potential Careers for Finance Graduates

  • Public Accountant
    This is the top level of the accounting profession. Accountants who can pass the CPA examination are highly sought by accounting firms, investment banks, and more. Their level of financial knowledge is unparalleled in business. Furthermore, the CPA examination is one of the most difficult professional examinations, so they automatically enjoy high status in business and financial circles.
  • Claims Adjuster, Examiner, and Investigator
    The world of insurance often is asked to write checks to cover their client's claims against their policies. When an incident occurs, claims adjusters assess the damage and the relative liability of their insured client. If the situation looks suspect in some way, they may call on an investigator to determine whether the claim is valid. This can be for claims dealing with fire damage, automobile accidents, or even alleged professional wrongdoing.
  • Budget Analyst
    Every business operates with budgets, so a budget analyst is vital to their success. To land this position, students should have a strong background in accounting and finance. They will then get to work assessing projects in terms of a firm's cash on hand, credit, and overall debt. Analysts should also assess their team's skill level and track record. Budget analysts may also work for governmental agencies who must work within strict budgetary confines.
  • Financial and Investment Analyst
    Every firm wishes to expand its cash reserves with sound and profitable investments. Financial and investment analysts look at the overall market and seek to place their firm's money in financial instruments or in equity stocks that hold great promise. Financial and investment analysts may also work for individuals who want to expand their wealth.
  • Auditor
    Publicly traded firms, and those that are otherwise regulated by the SEC or FINRA must submit to periodic audits. Auditors may also be called upon by a firm to assess their management policies and outcomes. Auditors are often CPA-level accountants, but some may have only passed one of the four parts of the CPA examination.
  • Insurance Agent
    These financial professionals work to sell clients on insurance policies. There are a number of possible specialties for these professionals such as automobile insurance or personal health insurance. Others may sell commercial insurance and professional liability policies. Some agents make a great career by putting together unique insurance packages for their clients.
  • Financial Advisor
    Individuals with a certain level of wealth typically look for personal financial advisors to help them maintain and grow their wealth. Advisors need to hold a FINRA approved credential, such as Series 7 or Series 6. While no specific degree is required to become a financial advisor, clients typically place more trust in a professional who holds a finance degree, if not an MBA.
  • Investment Banker
    This field is often considered the peak of the financial world. Investment bankers work exclusively with top companies and extremely wealthy individuals. They may specialize in financial deals, such as mergers and acquisitions. They also help firms sell stock, including a firm's initial public offering. While the first two years in investment banking typically only requires a bachelor’s degree, to achieve the associate level requires an MBA.

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