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Overview of a Bachelor’s in Finance


A bachelor’s is the most common entry degree for most careers, and it’s the same for finance degrees. While an associate can earn you some lower-level positions, the majority of work in finance requires at least a Bachelor of Science in Finance (or of Arts). One of the best things about earning a bachelor's degree in this field is that it is easily accessible through online or hybrid (online and in-person) learning. Because this field doesn't require hands-on learning, online options have sprouted like weeds since the advent of online/distance education. The broader the finance program and deeper level of knowledge gained with this gives finance students everything they need to earn a position as accountants, personal financial advisors, financial managers, financial analysts, actuary, budget analysts, or a number of other options. It will also give you access to certifications and higher education; which employers may prefer or even require you to have. Finance professionals may choose to earn certifications, such as those of a Chartered Financial Analyst or a Certified Financial Planner (CFP), or others. This degree will give you the best chance at advancing quickly into a profession where, at the higher levels, you can be making close to $100,000 annually.

Finance students may choose to focus in on whatever type of learning suites them best, but their courses may already include:

  • Corporate Finance
  • Risk Management
  • Understanding Financial Markets and Institutions such as Banking
  • Financial Management
  • Business Administration and Business Management
  • International Finance
  • Financial Analysis
  • Personal Financial Planning
  • Portfolio Management
  • Business Law
  • And More

Compare Popular Online Finance Programs

PROS

The benefits and advantages of earning an online or on-campus bachelor's degree will greatly impact a finance professional's quality of life in the long term. You will be able to earn significantly more money than someone with a high school diploma or an associate degree. You may also be able to secure jobs over individuals who only have an associate's, even if they have more experience. As your career progresses and you wish to advance your career, you will be required to continue your training and education. With a bachelor’s, you can complete a variety of professional certificates at colleges and universities and through professional organizations. It is also possible to take online courses as you work to complete a master’s to increase your pay and advance your career even further.

CONS

Just as someone with a bachelor’s has an advantage over those who do not, someone with a master’s will be paid more and be hired over those who do not have an advanced degree. Today, most top companies require their managers and executives to have at least a master’s. Any other degree will also limit the type of professional and industry certifications you will be able to complete. The most respected certifications require a master’s as a basic requirement for entrance into a program or to sit for an exam. Also, if you do not complete a master’s, your salary will cap at a much lower income level.

25 best Online Bachelors in Finance Programs


1

Northeastern University

Score: 76.69

  • Undergraduate Tuition
    • In-State: $60,192
    • Out-of-State: $60,192
  • Net Price: $35,827
  • Acceptance Rate: 7%
  • Retention Rate: 97%
  • Graduation Rate: 91%
  • Total Enrollment: 30,013
  • Undergrad Students: 16,302
  • Graduate Students: 13,711
  • Grads Salary: $82,000
  • Student-to-faculty: 16:1
  • Northeastern University
2

University of Massachusetts-Amherst

Score: 75.71

  • Undergraduate Tuition
    • In-State: $16,952
    • Out-of-State: $38,171
  • Net Price: $22,291
  • Acceptance Rate: 64%
  • Retention Rate: 90%
  • Graduation Rate: 83%
  • Total Enrollment: 32,229
  • Undergrad Students: 24,391
  • Graduate Students: 7,838
  • Grads Salary: $78,000
  • Student-to-faculty: 18:1
  • University of Massachusetts-Amherst
3

Florida International University

Score: 73.18

  • Undergraduate Tuition
    • In-State: $6,565
    • Out-of-State: $18,963
  • Net Price: $9,881
  • Acceptance Rate: 64%
  • Retention Rate: 91%
  • Graduation Rate: 69%
  • Total Enrollment: 55,609
  • Undergrad Students: 45,688
  • Graduate Students: 9,921
  • Grads Salary: $68,000
  • Student-to-faculty: 24:1
  • Florida International University
4

LeTourneau University

Score: 72.19

  • Undergraduate Tuition
    • In-State: $34,470
    • Out-of-State: $34,470
  • Net Price: $26,974
  • Acceptance Rate: 49%
  • Retention Rate: 77%
  • Graduation Rate: 67%
  • Total Enrollment: 3,536
  • Undergrad Students: 3,350
  • Graduate Students: 186
  • Grads Salary: $85,000
  • Student-to-faculty: 13:1
  • LeTourneau University
5

Regis University

Score: 71.69

  • Undergraduate Tuition
    • In-State: $42,220
    • Out-of-State: $42,220
  • Net Price: $26,377
  • Acceptance Rate: 76%
  • Retention Rate: 72%
  • Graduation Rate: 67%
  • Total Enrollment: 4,668
  • Undergrad Students: 2,398
  • Graduate Students: 2,270
  • Grads Salary: $86,000
  • Student-to-faculty: 9:1
  • Regis University
6

University of Cincinnati

Score: 69.77

  • Undergraduate Tuition
    • In-State: $13,176
    • Out-of-State: $28,540
  • Net Price: $20,149
  • Acceptance Rate: 86%
  • Retention Rate: 86%
  • Graduation Rate: 72%
  • Total Enrollment: 41,155
  • Undergrad Students: 29,663
  • Graduate Students: 11,492
  • Grads Salary: $72,000
  • Student-to-faculty: 18:1
  • University of Cincinnati
7

University of Alabama at Birmingham

Score: 69.64

  • Undergraduate Tuition
    • In-State: $8,832
    • Out-of-State: $21,216
  • Net Price: $16,834
  • Acceptance Rate: 87%
  • Retention Rate: 82%
  • Graduation Rate: 64%
  • Total Enrollment: 21,639
  • Undergrad Students: 13,032
  • Graduate Students: 8,607
  • Grads Salary: $74,000
  • Student-to-faculty: 18:1
  • University of Alabama at Birmingham
8

California State University-East Bay

Score: 68

  • Undergraduate Tuition
    • In-State: $6,995
    • Out-of-State: $18,875
  • Net Price: $11,464
  • Acceptance Rate: 96%
  • Retention Rate: 75%
  • Graduation Rate: 46%
  • Total Enrollment: 13,673
  • Undergrad Students: 10,796
  • Graduate Students: 2,877
  • Grads Salary: $80,000
  • Student-to-faculty: 22:1
  • California State University-East Bay
9

East Carolina University

Score: 67.84

  • Undergraduate Tuition
    • In-State: $7,325
    • Out-of-State: $23,602
  • Net Price: $14,410
  • Acceptance Rate: 92%
  • Retention Rate: 80%
  • Graduation Rate: 65%
  • Total Enrollment: 27,151
  • Undergrad Students: 21,688
  • Graduate Students: 5,463
  • Grads Salary: $67,000
  • Student-to-faculty: 18:1
  • East Carolina University
10

University of Michigan-Flint

Score: 67.72

  • Undergraduate Tuition
    • In-State: $13,242
    • Out-of-State: $25,506
  • Net Price: $10,840
  • Acceptance Rate: 66%
  • Retention Rate: 77%
  • Graduation Rate: 46%
  • Total Enrollment: 5,985
  • Undergrad Students: 4,609
  • Graduate Students: 1,376
  • Grads Salary: $70,000
  • Student-to-faculty: 13:1
  • University of Michigan-Flint
11

University of Wisconsin-Whitewater

Score: 66.93

  • Undergraduate Tuition
    • In-State: $7,864
    • Out-of-State: $17,039
  • Net Price: $13,322
  • Acceptance Rate: 82%
  • Retention Rate: 74%
  • Graduation Rate: 62%
  • Total Enrollment: 11,079
  • Undergrad Students: 9,367
  • Graduate Students: 1,712
  • Grads Salary: $66,000
  • Student-to-faculty: 19:1
  • University of Wisconsin-Whitewater
12

University of Houston-Clear Lake

Score: 66.79

  • Undergraduate Tuition
    • In-State: $7,698
    • Out-of-State: $20,994
  • Net Price: $17,871
  • Acceptance Rate: 69%
  • Retention Rate: 67%
  • Graduation Rate: 54%
  • Total Enrollment: 8,562
  • Undergrad Students: 6,352
  • Graduate Students: 2,210
  • Grads Salary: $75,000
  • Student-to-faculty: 15:1
  • University of Houston-Clear Lake
13

University of Minnesota-Crookston

Score: 66.5

  • Undergraduate Tuition
    • In-State: $13,010
    • Out-of-State: $13,010
  • Net Price: $12,894
  • Acceptance Rate: 57%
  • Retention Rate: 71%
  • Graduation Rate: 53%
  • Total Enrollment: 2,303
  • Undergrad Students: 2,303
  • Graduate Students: N/A
  • Grads Salary: $67,000
  • Student-to-faculty: 17:1
  • University of Minnesota-Crookston
14

DeSales University

Score: 65.84

  • Undergraduate Tuition
    • In-State: $42,600
    • Out-of-State: $42,600
  • Net Price: $29,104
  • Acceptance Rate: 77%
  • Retention Rate: 78%
  • Graduation Rate: 68%
  • Total Enrollment: 2,991
  • Undergrad Students: 2,225
  • Graduate Students: 766
  • Grads Salary: $74,000
  • Student-to-faculty: 11:1
  • DeSales University
15

Northern Arizona University

Score: 65.49

  • Undergraduate Tuition
    • In-State: $12,274
    • Out-of-State: $27,536
  • Net Price: $17,115
  • Acceptance Rate: 80%
  • Retention Rate: 76%
  • Graduation Rate: 59%
  • Total Enrollment: 28,086
  • Undergrad Students: 23,204
  • Graduate Students: 4,882
  • Grads Salary: $69,000
  • Student-to-faculty: 20:1
  • Northern Arizona University
16

Western Carolina University

Score: 65.27

  • Undergraduate Tuition
    • In-State: $4,453
    • Out-of-State: $8,453
  • Net Price: $13,022
  • Acceptance Rate: 85%
  • Retention Rate: 71%
  • Graduation Rate: 61%
  • Total Enrollment: 11,635
  • Undergrad Students: 9,956
  • Graduate Students: 1,679
  • Grads Salary: $62,000
  • Student-to-faculty: 16:1
  • Western Carolina University
17

University of North Carolina at Greensboro

Score: 65.14

  • Undergraduate Tuition
    • In-State: $7,498
    • Out-of-State: $22,657
  • Net Price: $10,979
  • Acceptance Rate: 92%
  • Retention Rate: 73%
  • Graduation Rate: 58%
  • Total Enrollment: 17,978
  • Undergrad Students: 14,198
  • Graduate Students: 3,780
  • Grads Salary: $62,000
  • Student-to-faculty: 17:1
  • University of North Carolina at Greensboro
18

University of Massachusetts-Dartmouth

Score: 65.08

  • Undergraduate Tuition
    • In-State: $14,854
    • Out-of-State: $30,992
  • Net Price: $19,700
  • Acceptance Rate: 96%
  • Retention Rate: 67%
  • Graduation Rate: 55%
  • Total Enrollment: 7,457
  • Undergrad Students: 5,517
  • Graduate Students: 1,940
  • Grads Salary: $76,000
  • Student-to-faculty: 15:1
  • University of Massachusetts-Dartmouth
19

Trine University

Score: 64.96

  • Undergraduate Tuition
    • In-State: $34,890
    • Out-of-State: $34,890
  • Net Price: $24,276
  • Acceptance Rate: 92%
  • Retention Rate: 78%
  • Graduation Rate: 65%
  • Total Enrollment: 4,088
  • Undergrad Students: 3,819
  • Graduate Students: 269
  • Grads Salary: $72,000
  • Student-to-faculty: 16:1
  • Trine University
20

Dakota State University

Score: 64.56

  • Undergraduate Tuition
    • In-State: $9,633
    • Out-of-State: $12,735
  • Net Price: $17,977
  • Acceptance Rate: 79%
  • Retention Rate: 74%
  • Graduation Rate: 49%
  • Total Enrollment: 3,241
  • Undergrad Students: 2,757
  • Graduate Students: 484
  • Grads Salary: $74,000
  • Student-to-faculty: 18:1
  • Dakota State University
21

Indiana Tech

Score: 64.31

  • Undergraduate Tuition
    • In-State: $29,560
    • Out-of-State: $29,560
  • Net Price: $22,179
  • Acceptance Rate: 65%
  • Retention Rate: 60%
  • Graduation Rate: 37%
  • Total Enrollment: 2,595
  • Undergrad Students: 1,490
  • Graduate Students: 1,105
  • Grads Salary: $87,000
  • Student-to-faculty: 15:1
  • Indiana Tech
22

Rasmussen University-North Dakota

Score: 63.96

  • Undergraduate Tuition
    • In-State: $10,849
    • Out-of-State: $10,849
  • Net Price: $17,412
  • Acceptance Rate: 100%
  • Retention Rate: 100%
  • Graduation Rate: 55%
  • Total Enrollment: 496
  • Undergrad Students: 467
  • Graduate Students: 29
  • Grads Salary: $61,000
  • Student-to-faculty: 11:1
  • Rasmussen University-North Dakota
23

Old Dominion University

Score: 63.95

  • Undergraduate Tuition
    • In-State: $11,220
    • Out-of-State: $31,170
  • Net Price: $16,098
  • Acceptance Rate: 95%
  • Retention Rate: 74%
  • Graduation Rate: 48%
  • Total Enrollment: 23,107
  • Undergrad Students: 18,375
  • Graduate Students: 4,732
  • Grads Salary: $72,000
  • Student-to-faculty: 16:1
  • Old Dominion University
24

PennWest Clarion

Score: 63.88

  • Undergraduate Tuition
    • In-State: $11,223
    • Out-of-State: $16,102
  • Net Price: $13,840
  • Acceptance Rate: 99%
  • Retention Rate: 75%
  • Graduation Rate: 55%
  • Total Enrollment: 3,922
  • Undergrad Students: 3,156
  • Graduate Students: 766
  • Grads Salary: $65,000
  • Student-to-faculty: 17:1
  • PennWest Clarion
25

Northwood University

Score: 63.8

  • Undergraduate Tuition
    • In-State: $31,600
    • Out-of-State: $31,600
  • Net Price: $24,616
  • Acceptance Rate: 80%
  • Retention Rate: 81%
  • Graduation Rate: 63%
  • Total Enrollment: 2,246
  • Undergrad Students: 1,940
  • Graduate Students: 306
  • Grads Salary: $65,000
  • Student-to-faculty: 8:1
  • Northwood University

Associate Vs. Bachelor’s


Certificates can be highly confusing, as the significance of the certificate depends greatly on the education level required to complete the degree. A basic finance certificate does not require the completion of any degree. These certificates are typically offered by online colleges and universities rather than traditional four-year higher learning institutions. They offer a basic understanding of finance that is roughly equivalent to one semester in a bachelor’s finance program. Such a certificate may qualify you for entry-level positions, although it would be easier to get a job with a Bachelor of Science in Finance.

A graduate certificate from a traditional college or university requires at least an undergraduate degree and most require a master’s. Many people use these types of certificates to specialize or to continue their education throughout their career. Other finance professional certificates are offered by reputable industry organizations may require a master’s or a Master's of Business Administration (MBA) with a finance emphasis.

Find Your Finance School

What Finance Bachelor’s Degrees are Available?


There are typically only two different types of bachelor’s degrees in the finance area. However, it is important to note that you can major in nearly a huge variety of specializations of the finance sector including financial management or business administration, risk management, banking, portfolio management, international finance, and more.

  • Bachelor of Arts in Finance: A Bachelor of Arts (BA) in Finance degree from an accredited college or university will focus on areas that are somewhat different from a Bachelor of Science (BS) in Finance. With a BA in Finance, most programs will focus on a more general and broad educational experience that includes subjects outside of the finance sector such as history, religion, psychology, English, and writing. With a light emphasis on science, these degrees are perfectly suited to online study.
  • Bachelor of Science in Finance: A Bachelor of Science in Finance will focus on more technical areas of finance, as opposed to a BA in Finance. You will have far more courses in science, math, statistics, and IT-related curriculum. As part of a business degree, you will also have courses in economics, accounting, and entrepreneurship. When you graduate with a BS in Finance, you will be prepared for finance careers that rely on analytical and technical skills, such as those of financial analysts and personal financial advisors.
  • As you determine which type of online bachelor’s is right for you, it is important to consider whether you prefer a more general education or a more technical education. This should help guide you with your decision. If you are strong in, or enjoy, math and science, a BS is likely a good fit. If you are better at communication and writing, a BA might better serve your long-term finance career interests. And, if you choose to earn your degree online, then you may need to go with whatever option is available, though, there are so many online options these days, you'll likely be able to find both choices through an appropriate online platform.

Admission Requirements


In general, an undergraduate degree in any business field has the same as entry requirements as any reputable college or state university with a finance degree. This means you will require a high school diploma or its equivalent, with a minimum GPA, dependent on the specific college, university, or online program you are applying to. The GPA could be anything from a 2.0, to a 3.5, or higher depending on the school. It will also help to have been active in extracurricular activities, giving back to the community, being involved in volunteering through your religious, spiritual, or another organization, and work experience is also considered a positive by admissions offices. If you transfer schools, a degree in finance requires that you have strong mathematical skills, computer skills, and communication skills, so be sure that you study hard in these areas before you transfer.

How long does it take to earn a Finance Bachelor's online?


An online Bachelor’s in Finance will traditionally take four years to complete. Your first 2 years (associate in finance) will be core classes mixed with some entry level finance courses. It's important to note that you will have to maintain a certain GPA in core finance classes to complete most reputable programs. If you change majors several times or transfer schools during the process, it may take you longer, as some credits may not transfer, and you may have to take additional prerequisite courses before you can complete certain courses or graduate. This is why it's so vital to check for accreditation in online and traditional programs.

It is also a good idea to keep in mind that many of the top finance programs now offer a combined bachelor’s and master’s degrees program, as a way to reduce the amount of time it takes to complete both. The idea is that you complete your undergraduate degree from the same university as the master’s, often with some classes counting for both simultaneously. It will reduce the number of credit hours you have to complete, and you can often eliminate the need for a graduate school entrance exam to be completed before admission into the business school.

Potential Careers in Finance with a Bachelor’s


  • Budget Analyst:
    A budget analyst will work with project managers and various departments to determine the budget of an individual project. You might also be responsible for establishing the budget of the entire organization. In some instances, you will be asked to review the budget proposals of various departments or individual managers. During these reviews, you will ensure everything is compliant, accurate, and complete. You will also have to monitor budgets regularly to ensure everyone stays within the financial parameters of the project and proposals. The average annual income for budget analysts is $62,200.
  • Director of Corporate Finance:
    As the Director of Corporate Finance you will likely report to the Chief Finance Officer. Your day-to-day responsibilities will include providing financial management guidance to your department, meeting departmental and organizational goals, maximizing profits, and improving the transparency of finances throughout the business. You will require superior financial, communication, and leadership skills. The average annual income for Directors of Corporate Finance is $126,300.
  • Financial Planner:
    Financial planning is a steadily growing profession in the finance industry. You might work for a business or for individuals looking to save for retirement. It will be your job to help clients accomplish their goals and offer financial advice in nearly every area of one’s business or life, including reducing interest rates, eliminating debt, saving more, and spending less. The average annual income for financial planners is $63,200.
  • Portfolio Manager:
    Portfolio managers will create and manage the investment allocations for their clients. You will assess and determine the appropriate risk level for each client based on various elements, such as market conditions, expected returns, risk preferences, and timeframes in which to work. The average annual income for a portfolio manager is $86,800.
  • Underwriting Technician:
    Underwriting technician is more of an entry-level position. As a technician, you will determine whether or not a person or a business will be provided insurance by your employer and the terms under which they might become insured. This might include anything from premiums to coverage amounts. The average annual income for an underwriting technician is $45,100.

Options to Advance


The vast majority of management and executive jobs in the finance industry will require a minimum of a finance master’s degree or an MBA with an emphasis on finance. You can expect your pay to increase by roughly $20,000 a year with such advanced degrees for the same job of someone with a bachelor’s degree. Once you advance your career with the help of a higher degree, you can earn up to an additional $100,000 or more than with a bachelor’s degree. You can also increase your pay at a more modest increment from a bachelor’s degree by completing graduate certificates and professional certificates. In reality, if you want even an entry-level position at the top companies in the US, you might also require these additional education requirements.

Frequently Asked Questions


Is finance a good major for an undergraduate degree?

Yes. Finance is an excellent major for anyone looking to earn their undergraduate degree and get right into a lucrative career. The Bureau of Labor Statistics is only expecting a 5% increase in jobs in this field, but those jobs that do exist pay very well for a bachelor’s level education or above. With a few years of experience, you can be making more than many others in the business field, and you can earn even more if you choose to continue on and earn a master’s. The sky’s the limit in this career, and there are options when it comes to jobs as well, with choices for high-focus careers or those that offer better work-life balance.

What should you know before majoring in finance?

One thing that you should be aware of is the level of math courses you are likely to be taking in this degree field. Of course, it’s no shock that you will need to take courses in mathematics for a finance degree, but some people are surprised at the level of courses needed as they are sometimes above and beyond the requirements for accounting roles. For instance, you are likely to need to take all pertinent business math courses, strategic cost analysis, calculus, and general accounting classes. To know the exact requirements of any programs you are considering, you should check the course catalogs for those schools and programs.

Is finance a difficult major?

While some who have problems with mathematics might find finance a difficult major, it is still considered an easier major than many in the STEM fields. You will be required to complete more courses in math and business disciplines than in the humanities, but you are unlikely to take particularly high math or science courses, such as physics. This puts a finance degree squarely in the middle when it comes to difficulty level.

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