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Online Education Makes a Master's in Finance Possible

written by: Sylvia Cochran•edited by: Jacqueline Chinappi•updated: 7/5/2011

The finance profession -- and ancillary occupations -- are a growing and highly competitive field. Learn how to go about earning your MS finance degree through distance learning and becoming a competitive player in this industry. Best of all, there is no need to quit your career position!

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    Why the Virtual Classroom for a Finance Degree?

    If you are currently employed in the finance- or ancillary banking industry, you know that in order to get ahead, you could opt for the MS finance degree. Distance learning makes it possible to remain a competitive player at your place of employment while at the same time enhancing your chances of advancement within the company -- and also with the competition.

    It is the master’s degree that provides a leg up in the current economic climate, while the bachelor's degree is no longer sufficient. Affordable online master degrees make an education update possible. The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) concurs and suggests that employees aspiring to become financial managers should look to a business or MS finance degree -- that distance learning can provide -- to further their careers.

    Employability with an advanced finance degree is promising, although the competition is stiff. The advanced degree provides the cutting edge understanding of changes in the fiscal world brought on by globalization and also legislative changes. Jobs available are financial management, bank branch management, and also financial services sales. Salaries vary across the board, depending on the job title held by the graduate. The BLS reports that the median salary of a financial manager is right around $90,970, but financial directors may bring in between $79,000 and $184,000. On the flipside, the lowest 10% in the profession are said to earn less than $50,290.

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    Different Flavors of the Degree

    Although a Master of Science in finance is one choice, there is also the option of earning a Master of Business Administration with focal points in accounting and finance; in the alternative, there is the opportunity to go for a Master of Accounting and Financial Management.

    A great example of the degree comes from the Northeastern University in Boston, which is accredited by the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business . The program may be completed in about 1.5 years and virtual class size is limited to 15 - 20 students. This is an ideal setup for discussions on the complex nature of finance and related topics.

    If you are not sure you want to specialize with this degree, distance learning institution Capella University offers its MBA with a finance focus, which provides the broad applicability of a Master of Business Administration that is nonetheless coupled with the niche aspect of finance. This program takes about two years to finish.

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    Both master level programs offer a finance degree, although in the latter case it is not necessarily the MS finance degree; distance learning is a great vehicle for this type of coursework, especially since the majority of classes rely on reading, research, and presentation drafts. On the downside, while an MS finance degree attained by distance learning offers a solid education, it is simply not certain that such a single-minded educational focus is a smart undertaking in the current economic climate. After all, if being competitive is the name of the game, does a narrowly defined niche degree really offer this edge?

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    Photo Credit: "Dow Jones Industrial Average Jan 2006- Nov 2008 graph" by K.boroshko/Wikimedia Commons at