Do you love number-crunching? Enjoy watching the financial markets experience their inevitable dips and climbs? Like the idea of helping people make the most of their money?

If you answered “yes” to the above questions, an online finance degree might be perfect for you. Financial careers are as lucrative as they ever were, but many potential students worry they don’t have the time or the money to earn a degree that will enable professional growth in finance.

Never fear, the solution is simple. Online degrees allow you to make the most of your time and money, all while continuing to work and care for your family. Plus, there are other online education benefits as well, not to mention the range of lucrative careers you could pursue once you’ve earned your degree.

Let’s examine why you should consider an online finance degree, including 10 of the best jobs you can get, skills you can develop to enhance your career prospects, and how to get started today.

Why an Online Finance Degree?

The Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts financial sector growth, with the employment outlook for careers such as financial analyst and securities, commodities, and financial service sales agents growing faster than the average for all occupations. There’s never been a better time to start your finance career. 

The good news is that online finance degrees are super flexible. You can go at your own pace, taking as many or as few classes as you can handle each term. If you’re ready to get started with a new career but don’t want to have to come to campus, it's an ideal option.

Not only can financial literacy and a firm grasp of accounting principles help you in your own life, but it can open the doors to a great career like the ones below.

10 Jobs You Can Land with an Online Finance Degree

So, you took all those finance, accounting, and economics courses … now what? Luckily, there are plenty of career opportunities in finance. Here are 10 of the best to consider today.

1. Financial Analyst

A financial analyst—which you may also see referred to as a chartered financial analyst (CFA)—works for insurance companies, pension funds, or banks. They assess current market dynamics and use that information to guide their companies toward smarter financial decisions.

As part of their job, they keep careful track of the company’s financial data and use it to inform leadership through reports, budgets, and financial models. Successful financial analysts help keep companies viable and growing. The median pay for financial analysts is about $96,000 a year and the job is growing at a rate of 8 percent, which is faster than average.

2. Personal Financial Advisor

Anyone who likes the idea of working with the public, assisting with portfolio management, and providing financial consulting and asset management will love working as a personal financial advisor. You can provide such services by becoming a certified financial planner (CFP) or work in another capacity, such as a tax preparer or accountant.

Financial advisors, also known as financial planners, can work for accounting firms, large financial services companies, or themselves. Personal financial advisors specifically work with wealthy individuals to help them manage their portfolios, make sound investments, and plan for retirement. They make a median annual salary of about $95,000 and the job growth is much faster than average at about 13 percent.

3. Budget Analyst

Budget analysts help public and private organizations create budgets and make smart financial decisions. As the name implies, the main job of a budget analyst is to ascertain the health of a company’s budget and recommend adjustments where necessary.

Budget analysts can work at institutions of higher learning, for private businesses, or in government offices. The median salary for a budget analyst is about $82,000 a year and the job is growing at a rate of 3 percent, or about as fast as average.

4. Risk Management Specialist

A risk management specialist, whose title might also be financial risk specialist, financial risk manager (FRM), or a similar variation, is responsible for assessing the risk of a given financial decision. They analyze market trends, consider fintech developments, monitor financial regulations, and adhere to securities trading policies to keep companies out of trouble.

As a risk management specialist, you will have the opportunity to make a real difference in the health of the company for which you work—as well as to keep the market stable, which can have significant ripple effects across your nation and the world. It’s an essential finance role and pays a median of $116,000 annually.

5. Financial Examiner

Financial examiners are responsible for ensuring that consumers are treated fairly and that lending institutions (banks, credit unions, etc.) adhere to financial regulations governing their behavior.

The role of financial examiner is in high demand at the moment. Jobs are growing at a rate of 20 percent, which is much faster than average, and they make about $82,000 per year.

6. Investment Banker

An investment banker is responsible for helping the institution for which they work—from governments to corporations—generate income and manage their finances. Their duties may include floating bonds, negotiating acquisitions, issuing stock, coordinating the sale of the company, and more.

Investment bankers make a mean annual wage of around $109,000, with the possibility of climbing significantly higher the longer you’re in the field and the higher you rise through the ranks.

7. Financial Manager or CFO

CFOs (chief financial officers) or financial managers are responsible for overseeing the financial health of entire institutions. They may work for universities, nonprofits, private businesses, or public companies.

CFOs and financial managers make a very nice living, pulling in a median $140,000 per year. The industry is growing at a rate of 16 percent, which is much faster than average.

8. Forensic Accountant

Forensic accounting is a career dedicated to unearthing the truth about what institutions are doing with their money. Forensic accountants review books, balance sheets, and audits to determine if an organization is engaged in any wrongdoing.

Forensic accountants, like other accountants and auditors, make a median salary of $78,000 a year, and the field is growing about as fast as average at a rate of 4 percent.

9. Real Estate Appraiser

If you’re looking for a position that keeps you on top of job market trends, allows you to perform ongoing equity research, and gets you out of the cubicle, then real estate appraiser could be right for you. In this position, you’re responsible for providing estimates about the true value of homes and other property—not the often-baseless numbers one finds online.

Many people enjoy this job because it allows them to visit different parts of their city and serve a valuable role in the real estate market. Plus, property appraisers and assessors make a median of around $62,000 per year, which can increase considerably if you stay in the field for several decades.

10. Insurance Underwriter

An insurance underwriter’s job is to assess insurance applications and decide whether they meet the requirements for approval. To make their decisions, underwriters analyze the provided information, determine the risk involved, use dedicated risk assessment software, and choose the levels of coverage and premiums depending on their findings.

Insurance underwriters make a nice living at about $76,000 per year. However, the job market for underwriters is declining at a rate of about -2 percent, so if you want to be competitive in this field, make sure your grades and professional development efforts are top-notch.

Skills to Enhance Career Prospects in Finance

Taking online courses and earning a degree is one of the best ways to enhance your skill set and increase the profitability and enjoyability of your career. Even once you have earned a degree, it’s smart to stay current in your field with professional development and certifications.

Whether you’re already in finance or considering a career change, the following skills can increase your chances of landing a dream job or getting that raise:

  • Data analytics
  • Communication
  • Leadership
  • Risk management
  • Problem-solving
  • Time management

It’s always good to brush up on these skills by taking courses and certifications throughout your career. Continuous education will keep you fresh and employable for the duration of your career—may it be long and gratifying!

Learn More, Today

Learn more about an online finance degree from the University of Minnesota. Our thoughtfully designed programs are geared toward lifelong learning, inclusivity, collaboration, and access for all. Contact us today!