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Public Finance Major

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Public Finance

21 Bachelor's Degrees Annually
15 Master's Degrees Annually
#102 in Popularity
$100,990 Median Salary

Types of Degrees Public Finance Majors Are Getting

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

Education Level Number of Grads
Bachelor’s Degree 21
Master’s Degree 15
Graduate Certificate 14

What Public Finance Majors Need to Know

In an O*NET survey, public finance majors were asked to rate what knowledge areas, skills, and abilities were important in their occupations. These answers were weighted on a scale of 1 to 5 with 5 being the most important.

Knowledge Areas for Public Finance Majors

According to O*NET survey takers, a major in public 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.
  • Law and Government - Knowledge of laws, legal codes, court procedures, precedents, government regulations, executive orders, agency rules, and the democratic political process.

Skills for Public Finance Majors

A major in public finance prepares you for careers in which the following skill-sets are crucial:

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  • Reading Comprehension - Understanding written sentences and paragraphs in work related documents.
  • Critical Thinking - Using logic and reasoning to identify the strengths and weaknesses of alternative solutions, conclusions or approaches to problems.
  • 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.
  • Speaking - Talking to others to convey information effectively.
  • Writing - Communicating effectively in writing as appropriate for the needs of the audience.

Abilities for Public Finance Majors

A major in public finance will prepare for your careers in which the following abilities are important:

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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.
  • Written Expression - The ability to communicate information and ideas in writing so others will understand.
  • Deductive Reasoning - The ability to apply general rules to specific problems to produce answers that make sense.

What Can You Do With a Public Finance Major?

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

Job Title Job Growth Rate Median Salary
Budget Analysts 6.5% $76,220
Financial Analysts 10.8% $85,660
Treasurers and Controllers 18.7% $127,990

Who Is Getting a Bachelor’s Degree in Public Finance?

21 Bachelor's Degrees Annually
19% Percent Women
10% Percent Racial-Ethnic Minorities*
This major tends to be male dominated. About 81% of recent graduates are men.

Racial-Ethnic Diversity

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

Racial-Ethnic Diversity of Public Finance Students with Bachelor's Degrees
Race/Ethnicity Number of Grads
Asian 0
Black or African American 2
Hispanic or Latino 0
White 13
International Students 6
Other Races/Ethnicities 0

Geographic Diversity

Students from other countries are interested in Public Finance, too. About 28.6% of those with this major are international students.

How Much Do Public Finance Majors Make?

Salaries According to BLS

Average salaries range from $79,830 to $103,330 (25th to 75th percentile) for careers related to public finance. This range includes all degree levels, so you may expect those with a more advanced degree to make more while those with less advanced degrees will typically make less.

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 Public Finance Major  ( 79830 to 103330 )
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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 public 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.

Find out what the typical degree level is for public finance careers below.

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Education Level Percentage of Workers
High School Diploma - or the equivalent (for example, GED) 2.9%
Some College Courses 0.9%
Associate’s Degree (or other 2-year degree) 3.5%
Bachelor’s Degree 39.5%
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. 5.3%
Master’s Degree 25.5%
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. 0.9%
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. 0.2%
Doctoral Degree 21.5%

Online Public Finance Programs

In the 2018-2019 academic year, 4 schools offered some type of public finance program. 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) 0 0
Certificate (1-2 years) 0 0
Certificate (2-4 Years) 0 0
Associate’s Degree 0 0
Bachelor’s Degree 3 0
Post-Baccalaureate 0 0
Master’s Degree 1 0
Post-Master’s 0 0
Doctor’s Degree (Research) 0 0
Doctor’s Degree (Professional Practice) 0 0
Doctor’s Degree (Other) 0 0

Is a Degree in Public Finance Worth It?

The median salary for a public 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 public finance.

Major Number of Grads
Finance 51,049
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
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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