If you were hungry, you probably wouldn’t go out and get a degree in culinary arts — you’d just go get a burger. Likewise, if you thought you needed more exercise, you wouldn’t go get a degree in physical education. You’d strap on your shoes, stretch your legs, and go out for a run.
However, if your finances are in trouble, a finance degree might actually be the solution. Having a degree in finance will give you a better understanding of how budgets work and how spending can either be managed or left to spiral out of control, but it’ll also do you one better–it’ll put you in the market for a high-paying, in-demand finance job.
As the educators at Bryant & Stratton College note: “There is a resounding call for qualified personal financial planners, particularly as the Baby Boomer generation begins to retire.” An online finance degree will put you on track to take advantage of this career path, and give you the freedom to help other people with their finances — at the same time that you’re improving your own finances by taking on these personal financial planner jobs!
The great thing about an online finance degree is that it sets you up for a variety of careers, enough to suit any personality type or working style. Want to be your own boss? Start up a financial consultancy and work one-on-one with different clients as you help them manage their finances. Prefer the structure and challenge of a big company? Fortune 500 companies and their slightly smaller cousins are chock-full of finance officers, finance assistants, and the all-important CFO.
If you want to work in non-profits and support a good cause, well, those organizations need finance officers too. Like theatre, dance, film, literature, or the arts? Every Shakespeare company, publishing house, dance studio, and Hollywood film set needs people who know how to manage finances. If you want to work in small business and support your local community, there are plenty of opportunities to use your finance degree to help build up your local mom and pop hardware business or organic grocery store.
Here’s what the US Department of Labor has to say about jobs in finance:
- Personal financial advisors earn a $67,520 median salary and have an estimated job growth rate of 27% “much higher than average.” These are the consultants who help other people manage their finances.
- Financial analysts earn $76,950 per year (median) and have an estimated job growth rate of 16%, or “faster than average.” These people work with investments, and work directly with either businesses or individuals, depending on their area of specialization.
- Accountants and auditors earn $63,550 per year (median) and have an estimated job growth rate of 13%, also “faster than average.” Accountants and auditors manage the legal aspect of business finance, particularly regarding taxes.
- Financial managers earn $109,740 per year (median) and have an estimated job growth rate of 9%, right on par with the average job growth rate. These are the people who work with businesses to manage budgets and other aspects of day-to-day finance.
As you can see, there is a lot of potential and job opportunity in the world of finance. This is because everyone needs help managing their finances. Why not jump into the world of finance and see where it takes you?
How to get started with a career in finance
If you want to start your new career in finance, first take some time to learn the day-to-day tasks involved in a few different financial jobs. Yes, a financial career involves a lot of spreadsheets, figures, and math, but once you reach the higher levels of your financial career, a finance assistant takes care of the data work and your job focuses on strategic planning and finance management — what many people consider the truly interesting part of finance work.
So if you can handle a lot of detailed data work and calculations, especially during the early years of your finance career, and have a good handle on basic math and how to use programs like MS Excel, it’s time to think about the next step. There are many ways to get a finance degree, but the smart people choose an online finance degree, because it allows you to get your degree and work a full-time job at the same time. (People interested in finance are generally interested in earning money; it’s an essential part of the game.)
As you get your finance degree, start thinking about how you are going to brand yourself and make the networking connections that lead to the all-important first job. Then, start reaping the success of your career in finance, and use your salary to boost your own finances as well!