Is Finance a Good Degree For Me?

A degree may open the door to a variety of opportunities and diverse career paths. The degree programs offered at AIU will not necessarily lead to the featured careers. This collection of articles is intended to help inform and guide you through the process of determining which level of degree and types of certifications align with your desired career path.

If you have an interest in learning more about money, investments, and the various markets that affect the global economy, you may have looked into finance programs. However, is finance a good degree choice for you just because of these interests? It can be difficult to say for sure what the right degree specialization is for your specific professional goals and career path without also knowing what exactly you hope to get from a program. One benefit of a finance degree or a BBA with a finance specialization is that while such programs offer a specific and targeted focus of study, they can also offer flexibility and growth potential in other ways.

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You're Interested in Learning About Investing and the Economy

In a finance degree program, you study how money flow is regulated, how various financial markets work and interact, foundational investing principles, and different financial aspects of business. Students in finance programs can work to develop their knowledge of the most relevant areas in finance, including investment, capital planning, international finance and financial analysis. If you're interested in more than just a consumer-level knowledge of these and other complex financial concepts, you may want to pursue a finance degree program.

Finance as a Growing Profession

While a degree never guarantees you a position in your chosen field, it's good to look at the general trends and employment predictions in the industry. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) currently lists a number of finance positions with projected growth rates faster than the national average. For example, employment of the following positions are all projected to experience faster than average growth from 2016 through 2026:

  • Financial Managers – Projected 19%1
  • Financial Analysts – Projected 11%2
  • Personal Financial Advisors – Projected 15%3
  • Financial Examiners – Projected 10%4

You Can Pursue Work in a Variety of Industries

While there are certainly a number of positions specific to the financial sector, not everyone moves from a finance program to a job on Wall Street or in banking. There are actually many things you can do with a finance degree. This means that a degree or specialization in finance doesn't need to limit you to a certain type of company or industry, but instead may be able to open up career path options among various types of businesses or nonprofits. Most types of companies and organizations need some degree of help managing budgets and investments, and finance-related roles can include not only financial firms, but also positions in hospitals, schools, government organizations, and civic organizations.

Job Candidates Need More Than Just Strong Math Skills

While math and bookkeeping skills are essential to finance, it's not all about the numbers. Many finance positions also require interpersonal skills like strong written and oral communication and active listening, and even persuasive speaking and social perceptiveness when working with clients or other employees.5,6,8 Additionally, finance roles may involve a mixture of monitoring and analyzing financial data and helping communicate these findings to management, clients, and other departments within a company in order to help advise others on various important decisions. This means that finance professionals need strong critical thinking and problem-solving skills depending on the specific position.5,6,7

Therefore, regardless of the position or career path you decide to pursue with a finance degree, numbers are just one aspect of the job.

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1. “Financial Managers: Job Outlook.” U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Retrieved from: https://www.bls.gov/ooh/management/financial-managers.htm#tab-6 (Visited September 7, 2018). Conditions in your area may vary.
2. “Financial Analysts: Job Outlook.” U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Retrieved from: https://www.bls.gov/ooh/business-and-financial/financial-analysts.htm#tab-6 (Visited September 7, 2018). Conditions in your area may vary.
3. “Personal Financial Advisors: Job Outlook.” U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Retrieved from: https://www.bls.gov/ooh/business-and-financial/personal-financial-advisors.htm#tab-6 (Visited September 7, 2018). Conditions in your area may vary.
4. “Financial Examiners: Job Outlook.” U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Retrieved from: https://www.bls.gov/ooh/business-and-financial/financial-examiners.htm#tab-6 (Visited September 7, 2018). Conditions in your area may vary.
5. “Personal Financial Advisors.” O*Net Online. Retrieved from: https://www.onetonline.org/link/summary/13-2052.00#Skills (Visited May 29, 2018).
6. “Financial Examiners.” O*Net Online. Retrieved from: https://www.onetonline.org/link/summary/13-2061.00#Skills (Visited May 29, 2018).
7. “Financial Analysts.” O*Net Online. Retrieved from: https://www.onetonline.org/link/summary/13-2051.00#Skills (Visited May 29, 2018).
8. “Financial Managers, Branch or Department.” O*Net Online. Retrieved from: https://www.onetonline.org/link/summary/11-3031.02#Skills (Visited May 29, 2018).

For important information about the educational debt, earnings, and completion rates of students who attended these programs, go to www.aiuniv.edu/disclosures. AIU cannot guarantee employment or salary. Not all programs are available to residents of all states.
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Classes Start October 24, 2018