BS in Finance: The Definitive Guide & Top Schools

Finance is a specialized branch of economics that is concerned with originating and managing money, investments, credit, and banking services.

Finance majors study a variety of topics that cover risk management, corporate finance, and investment banking.

Risk management explores how individuals/companies can limit exposure to volatile risk positions.

Corporate finance studies the ways companies can raise investor capital and then invest these funds to earn profits that are distributed back to investors.

Investments refer to the study of various financial securities and instruments – and this includes both sales and analysis.

What Will I Learn in a Finance Program? (Curriculum)

Finance students explore the many variables that contribute to the relationship between risk and reward.

finance professionals help make decisions related to how capital should be used to maximize future outcomes, growth, and expectations.

Finance professionals utilize technical skills that can evaluate and analyze quantitative data sets, complex computer software results, statistical analysis, and more.

These experts are often talented communicators with the ability to creatively problem-solve and offer investment guidance based on professional analysis and client objectives.

Finance programs might offer specialized classes or unique concentrations in these finance-related areas:

  • Entrepreneurial Finance.
  • Finance & Technology – a.k.a. FinTech.
  • Financial Accounting.
  • Personal Finance Planning.
  • Risk Management and Insurance.
  • Real Estate.

Earning a Bachelor of Science in Finance degree provides degree candidates with the knowledge and skills to prepare and review financial reports and statements and analyze related market trends.

Finance professionals use their analyses and conclusions to help decision-makers create long-term strategies to ensure that a business succeeds.

In other words, a BS in Finance degree includes coursework that prepares graduates to understand how to plan and raise capital, make wise investment decisions, and control expenses/costs.

How to Choose a Good Program?

Deciding on which academic program or degree to enroll in is an important life decision with effects that often impact you for many years to come.

To start, try to be as certain as possible of your professional and personal objectives before you begin the selection process.

A degree program like the Bachelor of Science (BS) in Finance will include a wide range of related topics, and each school creates a unique finance curriculum to set its program apart from the competition.

In addition to sufficiently researching each school’s reputation, it is also important to consider the following when deciding which finance program will meet your academic, professional, and budgetary goals:

  • The type of campus if considering an on-campus program.
  • Check out the distance-learning platform if studying online.
  • The college or university’s academic and extracurricular facilities.
  • The student-to-teacher ratios.
  • Check if the Program Has Received Accreditation

Accreditation is a procedure or process in which a school or program is evaluated against a set of criteria or standards.

Accreditation happens at the regional level and is administered by one of the U.S. Department of Education’s regional accrediting agencies.

The accreditation of a school impacts the transferability of earned credits and a student’s eligibility for federal financial aid, so degree candidates need to select a finance degree program that has earned regional accreditation if they plan to further their education.

In addition to regional accreditation, postsecondary programs may also earn a voluntary accreditation known as Specialized Accreditation.

At this time, there are no separate accrediting organizations for finance degree programs.

Instead, institutions of higher education use accrediting bodies that evaluate the broader skills typically taught in business schools.

The Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business.

The AACSB is recognized as the industry’s “accrediting gold standard” of business schools globally.

The AACSB was established in the 20th century to accredit programs offered by Ivy League Schools and Public Ivies – those schools that are state-funded.

The Accreditation Council for Business Schools & Programs.

The ACBSP is considered the industry’s second-largest accrediting body for financial and business education programs.

The ACBSP accreditation focuses on the program’s content and teaching methods.

The International Assembly for Collegiate Business Education.

The IACBE is an organization that accredits business programs at various levels of academic degrees.

Determine if the Curriculum Aligns With Your Academic/Professional Objectives

Does the planned curriculum feature specialties or concentrations that will help lead you to your preferred finance career?

This will ensure you receive the training you need to achieve your career goals.

Also, check out the finance program’s faculty and related credentials.

Determine If The Delivery of the Program Works

With online and distance education options, there are now more choices than ever with regard to financing degree programs.

In addition, online programs offer accelerated academic pathways and added convenience/flexibility.

How Long Does It Take to Earn a Bachelor’s in Finance?

A bachelor’s degree will prepare graduates with the foundational basics needed to succeed in a finance career.

Like other bachelor’s degree options, most standard Bachelor of Science degrees in Finance programs are designed for completion in about four years if studying at a full-time pace.

For those schools that align with a semester-based calendar year, the majority of these finance degree programs require 120 to 128 credits.

Obtaining your bachelor’s degree in finance also allows you to further your education to advance your career later on if you choose to do so.

How Much Does it Cost to Get a Bachelor’s in Finance?

The cost or expense of earning a bachelor’s degree in finance will vary widely as the ultimate price is dependent on the choice of school, the program’s delivery method, and the same academic program.

To keep costs down, consider these options:

  • Begin your general studies at a community college (where the tuition is always less) and then transfer to your preferred, more expensive school in your junior year.
  • Recognize that state schools offer state residents a more affordable tuition rate. The average yearly tuition cost for an in-state student (at their public in-state school) was $9,349, whereas tuition for out-of-state students at public institutions of higher education was $27,023 per year.
  • Consider an online or hybrid delivered program, as these tend to lower the cost of tuition and the costs required to travel to campus. Some even offer accelerated study paths, which further help to reduce education costs.
  • Determine if your previous work or military experience can be applied toward academic credit requirements.

Many students are eligible for federal financial aid.

Finance programs may also provide scholarship opportunities to potential degree candidates.

In a pinch, there are private loans or the option to work while studying as a way to help fund education fees.

What Can I Do With a Bachelor’s in Finance?

A finance career will vary for each person; however, earning a Bachelor of Science degree program in Finance qualifies graduates for a variety of entry-level jobs as bookkeepers, personal financial advisors, financial examiners, and more.

According to the statisticians at the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the median yearly wage for combined business and financial occupations was $76,570 in May 2021.

The average earnings for these business and financial professionals exceed the median annual wage for all U.S. occupations by more than $30,000 per year.

5 Entry-Level Finance Jobs for Graduates Without Experience

The following offers a few examples of entry-level positions for finance grads who have little to no experience:

A Financial Analyst

2021 Annual Median Pay – $95,579 (BLS)

Financial analysts offer businesses and individuals investment decision guidance.

They do this by assessing the performance of investment instruments (stocks, bonds, etc.) to help maximize their client’s return on investment.

A Loan Officer

2021 Annual Median Pay – $63,380 (BLS)

Loan officers work with homeowners and homebuyers to help them obtain the financing they need to purchase or refinance their home or investment property.

A Budget Analyst

2021 Annual Median Pay – $79,940 (BLS)

Budget analysts are the professionals who assist public and private institutions in organizing and adhering to their budgets and financial plans.

A Personal Financial Advisor

2021 Annual Median Pay – $94,170 (BLS)

Personal financial advisors work with individuals to provide financial guidance regarding insurance, mortgage, investments, estate planning, taxes, and retirement planning.

A Securities, Commodities, & Financial Services Sales Agent

2021 Annual Median Pay – $62,910 (BLS)

These professionals connect buyers and sellers within various financial markets by selling financial securities.

Accessing the mid-level and senior-level positions may require professional experience or more advanced education, such as a master’s in finance, an MBA degree, or graduate certificates in finance.

Should I Get a Bachelor’s in Finance?

Among the essential reasons to earn a bachelor’s in finance is that it is typically the minimum qualification for most entry-level positions in finance.

Finance jobs generally pay well and often provide excellent opportunities for career growth.