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Finance

45,221 Bachelor's Degrees Annually
5,163 Master's Degrees Annually
#3 in Popularity
$100,990 Median Salary

Types of Degrees Finance Majors Are Getting

The following table lists how many finance graduations there were in 2018-2019 for each degree level.

Education Level Number of Grads
Bachelor’s Degree 45,223
Master’s Degree 5,163
Basic Certificate 232
Graduate Certificate 209
Associate’s Degree 120
Undergraduate Certificate 55
Doctor’s Degree 47

What Finance Majors Need to Know

O*NET surveyed people in occupations related to finance and asked them what knowledge areas, skills, and abilities were important for their jobs. The responses were rated on a scale of 1 to 5 with 5 being most important.

Knowledge Areas for Finance Majors

According to O*NET survey takers, a major in finance should prepare you for careers in which you will need to be knowledgeable in the following areas:

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  • Economics and Accounting - Knowledge of economic and accounting principles and practices, the financial markets, banking and the analysis and reporting of financial data.
  • English Language - Knowledge of the structure and content of the English language including the meaning and spelling of words, rules of composition, and grammar.
  • Mathematics - Knowledge of arithmetic, algebra, geometry, calculus, statistics, and their applications.
  • Administration and Management - Knowledge of business and management principles involved in strategic planning, resource allocation, human resources modeling, leadership technique, production methods, and coordination of people and resources.
  • Customer and Personal Service - Knowledge of principles and processes for providing customer and personal services. This includes customer needs assessment, meeting quality standards for services, and evaluation of customer satisfaction.

Skills for Finance Majors

When studying finance, you’ll learn many skills that will help you be successful in a wide range of jobs - even those that do not require a degree in the field. The following is a list of some of the most common skills needed for careers associated with this major:

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  • Critical Thinking - Using logic and reasoning to identify the strengths and weaknesses of alternative solutions, conclusions or approaches to problems.
  • Reading Comprehension - Understanding written sentences and paragraphs in work related documents.
  • Speaking - Talking to others to convey information effectively.
  • Active Listening - Giving full attention to what other people are saying, taking time to understand the points being made, asking questions as appropriate, and not interrupting at inappropriate times.
  • Judgment and Decision Making - Considering the relative costs and benefits of potential actions to choose the most appropriate one.

Abilities for Finance Majors

Finance majors often go into careers where the following abilities are vital:

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  • Oral Expression - The ability to communicate information and ideas in speaking so others will understand.
  • Written Comprehension - The ability to read and understand information and ideas presented in writing.
  • Oral Comprehension - The ability to listen to and understand information and ideas presented through spoken words and sentences.
  • Deductive Reasoning - The ability to apply general rules to specific problems to produce answers that make sense.
  • Inductive Reasoning - The ability to combine pieces of information to form general rules or conclusions (includes finding a relationship among seemingly unrelated events).

What Can You Do With a Finance Major?

People with a finance degree often go into the following careers:

Job Title Job Growth Rate Median Salary
Budget Analysts 6.5% $76,220
Credit Analysts 8.3% $71,520
Financial Analysts 10.8% $85,660
Financial Managers, Branch or Department 18.7% $127,990
Financial Quantitative Analysts 9.6% $70,280
Fraud Examiners, Investigators and Analysts 9.6% $70,280
General and Operations Managers 9.1% $100,930
Investment Underwriters 9.6% $70,280
Loan Officers 11.4% $63,040
Personal Financial Advisors 14.9% $88,890
Risk Management Specialists 9.6% $70,280
Treasurers and Controllers 18.7% $127,990

Who Is Getting a Bachelor’s Degree in Finance?

45,223 Bachelor's Degrees Annually
29% Percent Women
26% Percent Racial-Ethnic Minorities*
This major tends to be male dominated. About 71% of recent graduates are men.

Racial-Ethnic Diversity

At the countrywide level, the racial-ethnic distribution of finance majors is as follows:

Racial-Ethnic Diversity of Finance Students with Bachelor's Degrees
Race/Ethnicity Number of Grads
Asian 3,412
Black or African American 2,015
Hispanic or Latino 4,888
White 27,867
International Students 4,676
Other Races/Ethnicities 2,365

Geographic Diversity

Americans aren’t the only ones with an interest in Finance. About 10.3% of those with this major are international students.

How Much Do Finance Majors Make?

Salaries According to BLS

Finance majors often go into careers where salaries can range from $79,830 to $123,880 (25th to 75th percentile). This range includes all degree levels, so the salary for a person with just a bachelor’s degree may be a little less and the one for a person with an advanced degree may be a little more.

To put that into context, according to BLS data from the first quarter of 2020, the typical high school graduate makes between $30,000 and $57,900 a year (25th through 75th percentile). The average person with a bachelor’s degree (any field) makes between $45,600 and $99,000. Advanced degree holders make the most with salaries between $55,600 and $125,400.

Median Salary for a Finance Major  ( 79830 to 123880 )
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250K
Median Salary for a High School Graduate  ( 30000 to 57900 )
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250K
Median Salary for a Bachelor's Degree Holder  ( 45600 to 99000 )
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250K
Median Salary for an Advanced Degree Holder  ( 55600 to 125400 )
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250K

Some careers associated with finance require an advanced degree while some may not even require a bachelor’s. Whatever the case may be, pursuing more education usually means that more career options will be available to you.

How much schooling do you really need to compete in today’s job market? People currently working in careers related to finance have obtained the following education levels.

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Education Level Percentage of Workers
Less than a High School Diploma 0.6%
High School Diploma - or the equivalent (for example, GED) 6.7%
Post-Secondary Certificate - awarded for training completed after high school (for example, in agriculture or natural resources, computer services, personal or culinary services, engineering technologies, healthcare, construction trades, mechanic and repair technologies, or precision production) 2.8%
Some College Courses 6.3%
Associate’s Degree (or other 2-year degree) 6.0%
Bachelor’s Degree 42.8%
Post-Baccalaureate Certificate - awarded for completion of an organized program of study; designed for people who have completed a Baccalaureate degree but do not meet the requirements of academic degrees carrying the title of Master. 9.6%
Master’s Degree 16.3%
Post-Master’s Certificate - awarded for completion of an organized program of study; designed for people who have completed a Master’s degree but do not meet the requirements of academic degrees at the doctoral level. 0.7%
First Professional Degree - awarded for completion of a program that: requires at least 2 years of college work before entrance into the program, includes a total of at least 6 academic years of work to complete, and provides all remaining academic requirements to begin practice in a profession. 1.3%
Doctoral Degree 7.1%

Online Finance Programs

In 2018-2019, 796 schools offered a finance program of some type. The following table lists the number of programs by degree level, along with how many schools offered online courses in the field.

Degree Level Colleges Offering Programs Colleges Offering Online Classes
Certificate (Less Than 1 Year) 36 10
Certificate (1-2 years) 12 5
Certificate (2-4 Years) 2 0
Associate’s Degree 33 5
Bachelor’s Degree 40 9
Post-Baccalaureate 36 10
Master’s Degree 196 51
Post-Master’s 17 0
Doctor’s Degree (Research) 17 1
Doctor’s Degree (Professional Practice) 0 0
Doctor’s Degree (Other) 0 0

Is a Degree in Finance Worth It?

The median salary for a finance grad is $100,990 per year. This is based on the weighted average of the most common careers associated with the major.

This is 153% more than the average salary for an individual holding a high school degree. This adds up to a gain of about $1,221,800 after 20 years!

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You may also be interested in one of the following majors related to finance.

Major Number of Grads
Financial Planning & Services 3,238
Banking and Financial Support Services 1,157
Other Finance and Financial Management Services 403
Investments and Securities 229
International Finance 53
Public Finance 50
Credit Management 7

References

*The racial-ethnic minorities count is calculated by taking the total number of students and subtracting white students, international students, and students whose race/ethnicity was unknown. This number is then divided by the total number of students at the school to obtain the racial-ethnic minorities percentage.

More about our data sources and methodologies.

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