Updated on May 6, 2024
Edited by Evelyn Keener
Learn more about our editorial process

University Headquarters (HQ) is an industry-leading, independent educational organization that provides independent college rankings using a proprietary formula to create first class unbiased rankings. The team at University HQ strives to provide accurate and trustworthy rankings that highlights the best programs for finance in Rhode Island.

Get Matched With Finance Programs

What Career Options are Available for Finance Majors?

Rhode Island is a small state with a small economy. However, it has an important role to play in the economy of New England. Where the state excels is in industries like finance, insurance, and real estate. In fact, real estate leases, rents, and property sales are the biggest drivers in the Rhode Island economy. The sector generates $9 billion in annual revenue and is the 43rd largest real estate sector in the nation.

The third largest part of the Rhode Island economy is found in the sector known as professional and business services. This is a broad category that includes any service needed by a business. For instance, waste management and landscaping are a part of this industry. Other sectors under this umbrella include financial consultation, commercial laboratories, and management services. This economic activity generates $8 billion annually and ranks 42nd nationwide.

The fourth largest economic driver in the Rhode Island economy is finance and insurance. In fact, Rhode Island is considered the financial hub for New England. That's somewhat surprising, given Boston's strength in national and global financial markets. Surely, Providence is home to smaller regional banks that work with New England's smaller businesses. Nevertheless, finance and insurance yield almost $6 billion in annual revenues for Rhode Island.

Read More

Compare Popular Online Finance Programs

Top Ranked Campus & Online Finance Programs in Rhode Island

  • Undergraduate Tuition
    • In-State: $60,848
    • Out-of-State: $60,848
  • Net Price: $43,970
  • Acceptance Rate: 53%
  • Retention Rate: 90%
  • Graduation Rate: 86%
  • Total Enrollment: 4,473
  • Undergrad Students: 3,996
  • Graduate Students: 477
  • Grads Salary: $83,000
  • Student-to-faculty: 11:1
  • Providence College
View All Their Popular Majors and Rankings

Bryant University

Score: 81.55

  • Undergraduate Tuition
    • In-State: $51,169
    • Out-of-State: $51,169
  • Net Price: $40,361
  • Acceptance Rate: 69%
  • Retention Rate: 86%
  • Graduation Rate: 83%
  • Total Enrollment: 3,536
  • Undergrad Students: 3,204
  • Graduate Students: 332
  • Grads Salary: $86,000
  • Student-to-faculty: 13:1
  • Bryant University
View All Their Popular Majors and Rankings
  • Undergraduate Tuition
    • In-State: $16,408
    • Out-of-State: $35,804
  • Net Price: $20,695
  • Acceptance Rate: 76%
  • Retention Rate: 85%
  • Graduation Rate: 72%
  • Total Enrollment: 17,473
  • Undergrad Students: 14,768
  • Graduate Students: 2,705
  • Grads Salary: $76,000
  • Student-to-faculty: 17:1
  • University of Rhode Island
View All Their Popular Majors and Rankings
  • Undergraduate Tuition
    • In-State: $47,930
    • Out-of-State: $47,930
  • Net Price: $37,997
  • Acceptance Rate: 70%
  • Retention Rate: 82%
  • Graduation Rate: 76%
  • Total Enrollment: 2,872
  • Undergrad Students: 2,190
  • Graduate Students: 682
  • Grads Salary: $81,000
  • Student-to-faculty: 13:1
  • Salve Regina University
View All Their Popular Majors and Rankings
  • Undergraduate Tuition
    • In-State: $10,986
    • Out-of-State: $26,519
  • Net Price: $11,014
  • Acceptance Rate: 88%
  • Retention Rate: 71%
  • Graduation Rate: 44%
  • Total Enrollment: 5,787
  • Undergrad Students: 4,719
  • Graduate Students: 1,068
  • Grads Salary: $72,000
  • Student-to-faculty: 11:1
  • Rhode Island College
View All Their Popular Majors and Rankings

Online Finance Education in Rhode Island

Finance is a field that employs workers at nearly any degree level. Workers with lower-level degrees, such as an associate finance degree, are hired by insurance companies for work in claims or they may find work as a bookkeeper. However, for more success, finance professionals need higher level degrees.

A bachelor’s degree should be the first goal of most finance professionals. With a bachelor’s degree, students can find an entry-level position in corporate finance, with a local bank, or in an investment firm. While many finance careers don't focus too much on licensure or certifications, like Chartered Financial Analyst certification, a bachelor’s degree is usually a minimum requirement for advanced finance credentials.

However, an MBA is best for many reasons. Undergraduate finance students sometimes start looking for the best MBA program for them as soon as they start college. If an accelerated MBA program is available through their undergraduate finance degree program, they may opt for that. With an MBA, all things are possible in the business world. An MBA will help students earn the most and may allow them to rise all the way to the C-suites.

Online Associate Degree in Finance (AS)

A two-year degree in finance is a great way to start a career. Community colleges can impart the fundamentals of finance alongside a comprehensive liberal arts education. Many use their associate finance degrees to land entry-level jobs with their local banks, or other companies that need financial expertise. Naturally the credential is a necessary part of a bachelor’s finance degree and, thus, a steppingstone to an MBA and the C-suites.

An associate finance degree also makes sense for financial reasons. Rhode Island community colleges typically charge far less per credit hour for their courses. This means that those who start their college career with an associate degree may have total net academic costs that are far less than those who did all four years in a university. Meanwhile, associate degree candidates all complete the core college curriculum required of all bachelor’s degree students, meaning they are ready to move into a higher degree whenever they are ready.

Our National Rankings for AS in Finance

Online Bachelor's Degree in Finance (BS or B.Fin.)

A four-year degree is the optimal start for someone wanting a career in finance. Most employers look for candidates with a bachelor’s finance degree when they seek to fill entry-level and trainee positions. This is because bachelor’s degree programs demand deeper inquiry into financial issues and focused work in special topics that may specifically apply to their organization. For instance, a student who does special work in corporate finance might be a good candidate for a financial analyst position with an investment banking firm.

Bachelor’s finance degree students are also able to add some experience to their resumes. Many business schools have strong internship programs that provide students the ability to experience the day-to-day work of a financial firm. This experience offers them the opportunity to further specialize and focus their education. Such experience is not only helpful for those seeking an entry-level position but will also help with graduate school applications.

Our National Rankings for BS in Finance

Online Master's Degree in Finance (MS or M.Fin.)

A master's finance degree should be a goal for all finance professionals. The business community places a high value on graduate finance degrees, so students need to make one choice. That is, whether to work toward an MS in finance or to earn an MBA. Both can result in a higher salary and promotions, but the MBA may have a slight edge over the MS finance degree. That's especially true for students who seek a dual MBA.

A dual MBA program is an intense academic program that combines two, two-year graduate degree programs into three years. For those who earn a law degree in addition to their MBA may have a fourth year added, but the results are tremendous. While the JD/MBA combo is terrific for those who desire a career in corporate finance, including corporate law careers, there are other options. For instance, some may choose a MS in finance or accounting, an MS in computer science, or really any degree. The only limits here are what a university has on offer.

Our National Rankings for MS in Finance

Online PhD Degree in Finance (PhD)

While top financial experts are sometimes dubbed wizards, that still doesn't mean that corporate America is looking for PhDs in their financial firms. That may change, however, due to the ever-changing nature of technology and the way that financial rules and products tend to become more, not less, complex. In that vein, a PhD in finance may be great for those who are interested in working as consultants or for a financial or economics think-tank.

However, most who pursue a doctorate in finance will be looking for a position with a college or university. A PhD can open the opportunity to pursue a full-time, tenure track job. These could be teaching positions, in which PhD degree holders work with undergraduate or graduate level students. It could also mean working as a research faculty member. Research faculty essentially continue their doctoral research for companies and individuals who provide grant funds for the work.

Check out our Financial Aid Guide

Become a Finance Professional in Rhode Island

Rhode Island is considered the financial hub of New England. The tiny state's financial institutions hold the savings and write the loans that serve many of New England's businesses. Finance is also well-known as a great career field. After all, finance is where the money is at. This is why many students will become finance professionals in Rhode Island and elsewhere.

Find Online Finance Schools

The first step toward becoming a finance professional in Rhode Island is found in high school. While no high schoolers will be able to start working at their local bank, students can take as many math courses as they can. After all, finance is based on analytical and mathematical thinking, so working through at least Calculus I will be very helpful. High school students should also take any business math or accounting courses they can. If their high school offers a co-op program with a community college, students should take advantage and try to take college level math or business courses as soon as possible.

About halfway through the third year of high school, students should start looking for the best bachelor’s finance degree program for them. They should start looking at local colleges and universities to see what sort of courses and concentrations are on offer in the finance departments. They should also look at complementary programs that will help bolster their financial careers.

Finance majors often complement their degrees with minor concentrations in fields such as economics, mathematics, computer science, statistics, accounting, or corporate law. A minor concentration is helpful in that it can impart special skills or insights into the world of finance that aren't directly available in finance courses. On top of this, finance students should seek out internship programs with finance firms. This is a great way to gain experience and insights into the workaday world of finance. Students in Rhode Island should look for internship opportunities not only in Providence, but in Boston and New York City, too.

Again, once the second half of a student's third year in college rolls around, it's again time to start considering the next academic step. This should be graduate school, specifically, an MS in finance degree or an MBA. Students might want to discuss options with their academic advisor or a mentor from their internship. As soon as possible, students should formulate a game plan for their eventual entry to a master's finance degree program. After all, a master's finance degree is the best step on the way to a C-suite position.

Potential Careers for Finance Graduates

Public Accountant

A public accountant is a licensed accounting professional whose credentials allow them to file tax returns. Public accountants also help clients with audits and other functions. To become a CPA (certified public accountant), candidates need to pass the CPA examination, perhaps the most difficult professional exam.

  • Education Requirement: Bachelor of Science in Finance or Accounting
  • Average Median Salary: $79,880

Financial Manager

These finance professionals work to help their clients save and build their wealth. A special license from the Securities and Exchange Commission is required to become a financial manager. These finance professionals may work with individuals or institutions who need advice on what to do with their funds.

  • Education Requirement
    1. Minimum: Bachelors in Finance or Accounting with experience
      Ideal: Master of Finance or Accounting with experience
  • Average Median Salary: $156,100

Claims Adjuster, Examiner, and Investigator

Every insurance firm needs claims adjusters, examiners, and investigators to manage claims against their insurance policies. While most claims are legitimate, there are those that may not be as honest. Further, each claim needs to be expertly scrutinized to make sure that the claimant receives a fair settlement.

  • Education Requirement
    1. Minimum: High school diploma with experience
      Ideal: Bachelors in Finance or Accounting with experience
  • Average Median Salary: $75,020

Budget Analyst

These finance professionals work on specific projects or time periods to make sure that all the necessary operations are fully funded. Budget analysts may look for ways to cut costs on projects or for other ways to maximize the outcome for their company or client. Often, they consult on projects such as new construction, but they may also work for government agencies or non-profit organizations.

  • Education Requirement: Bachelors in Finance or Accounting
  • Average Median Salary: $84,940

Financial and Investment Analyst

These finance professionals evaluate the short and long-term wisdom surrounding the investments their clients or employers want to make. They also scrutinize their organization's current investments to see where improvements can be made. Some analysts focus their careers on specific sorts of investment such as equity stocks, real estate, or equipment used to manufacture goods.

  • Education Requirement: Bachelors in Finance or Accounting
  • Average Median Salary: $99,890

Financial Advisor

Wealthy individuals often hire personal financial advisors to help them build and maintain their assets. To be qualified to give financial advice, the Securities and Exchange Commission requires a special license, often a Series 7 credential. Licensed financial advisors analyze their clients' accounts and may be able to help them make trades in the stock market, options exchange, or bond markets.

  • Education Requirement: Bachelors in Finance or Accounting with additional licensing
  • Average Median Salary: $99,580

Credit Counselor

These financial workers specialize in how firms or wealthy individuals manage their credit and debts. After all, most companies need to take on debt if they want to grow. Some also help consumers who have run into difficulty with their credit cards, mortgages, or other debt obligations.

  • Education Requirement: Bachelors in Finance, Accounting or Business
  • Average Median Salary: $53,440


This is a profession most often found in the insurance industry. Actuaries are statistical geniuses who can assess the relative risk associated with a particular item. They predict the likelihood that a particular sort of insured client will need to make a claim, be a bad driver, or never trouble the claims department at all.

  • Education Requirement: Bachelors in Finance or Accounting with experience
  • Average Median Salary: $120,000

Search All Programs