Financial advisors, accountants, and bookkeepers are some of the most critical professionals in the business world. These individuals are responsible for balancing books, keeping track of finances, analyzing financial metrics, and maintaining public trust in business organizations. You can earn an online finance certificate and acquire one of these positions, plus boost your resume in months. Read on for a breakdown of the best online finance certificates.
What is a Finance Certificate?
An online finance certificate is an important credential that qualifies individuals to work in finance and accounting positions. Note that there are differences between finance certificates and finance certifications.
Positions likerequire a finance certificate. However, finance certificates are available at many universities and frequently online. Finance certificates can bolster your resume, help you qualify for positions like , and so on.
Finance certificates are excellent ways to improve your career prospects and open new doors in finance and accounting. Many finance certificates include knowledge or college credits that you can put toward CPA or other finance certifications.
Types of Finance Certificates
There are many different types of finance certificates you can pursue, such as:
- Financial analyst certification: This program prepares you to work as a financial analyst at various organizations, like small businesses or restaurants. Financial analysts look at accounting books and analyze the financial health of institutions or organizations.
- CFSA or certified financial services auditor certification: This credential provides you with the skills needed to work at savings and loan organizations, banks, credit unions, and so on.
- CFM or certified in financial management certification: This in-demand certification also equips you with the skills needed to head financial apartments and work at institutions like banks and credit unions.
- Financial advisor certification: This designation allows you to provide financial advice to business owners and executives
- FMVA or financial modeling and valuation analysis certification: An incredibly in-demand credential mastering financial modeling and analysis techniques.
- Financial management certification: This certification equips you to work as a manager of economic analysis or advising department or as a freelance advisor sometimes.
- Financial modeling certification: This program provides the statistics and other skills necessary to construct and explain detailed economic models to executives and business owners.
- Investment banking certification: With this certification, you will have the required skills to make wise investment banking decisions and to work at banks as an investment advisor or supervisor.
Difference Between a Finance Graduate Certificate and a Master’s Degree in Finance
A finance graduate certificate is a concentrated, specialized academic credential. It focuses on one aspect of a financial or accounting topic. Finance graduate certificates are more narrowly focused than.
In comparison, a master’s degree in finance will equip you with a broader range of tools and knowledge. Many positions, such as CPA, require a master’s degree in finance instead of just a graduate certificate.
Still, a finance graduate certificate could benefit your career ambitions.
Overview – Online Finance Certificate
Online finance certificates are available at both the undergraduate and graduate levels. However, no matter where you take your certificate, you’ll encounter certain core similarities in your program.
What To Expect
Most online finance certificates are available 100% online or asynchronously. You can take classes and review course materials on a schedule that suits your lifestyle. Online finance certificates include the same courses as in-person finance certificate programs.
Online Finance Certificate Courses
Most online finance certificates include courses covering financial analysis, statistical methods, financial modeling, and so on. The specific classes will depend on the certificate’s concentration or specialty.
Undergraduate online finance certificates don’t have high admission requirements, usually just a high school diploma or GED. Graduate online finance certificates typically require a few prerequisite courses covering financial topics, plus GPA minimums like 3.0 or 3.2.
An online finance certificate will provide advanced financial analysis and statistical modeling skills. You will learn how to draft and understand financial statements, offer financial advice to clients and customers, and more.
Most online finance certificates take less than one year to complete, though some take between one and two years.
Paying for Your Online Finance Certificate
Financial aid may cover the costs of many online finance certificates. However, students may also cover the expenses out-of-pocket. Typically, undergraduate finance certificates cost less than $7,000. Graduate finance certificates may cost significantly more.
Good Candidate for a Finance Certificate
The best candidates for online finance certificates are those who:
- Like mathematics
- Enjoy critical thinking and problem-solving
- Like handling financial statements
- Aren’t intimidated by large groups of numbers
- Find analyzing financial statements to be exciting and interesting
How To Choose The Right Program
Choosing the right online finance certificate program means considering a few significant factors.
First, consider how much a given program costs. Out-of-state programs usually cost more than in-state programs, even if you take them online. Graduate programs also cost more than undergraduate programs.
Next, consider the admission requirements for an online finance certificate. Graduate certificates usually have requirements like GPA thresholds, letters of recommendation, or statements of intent.
Many online finance certificate programs are 100% online and asynchronous. However, some may require you to visit your school’s campus at least once a semester for intensive experiences.
Out-of-state programs may be more costly and require you to travel further for any required in-person visits. Consider this factor when choosing a program.
Lastly, you should only choose an online finance certificate program if it has been accredited by a regional accrediting organization like SACSCOC, MSCHE, HLC, etc. Accreditation is required so that employers recognize the value of your education. Plus, students may put credits from an accredited program toward a graduate degree if they choose to pursue one in the future.
Undergraduate Finance Certificate Programs Online
Undergraduate finance certificates are available to those who haven’t yet graduated with a bachelor’s degree in any subject. They’re perfect for those who don’t have a degree or only have an associate degree but want to improve their employment prospects in the financial and accounting sectors.
1. Clovis Community College
Accreditation: ACCJC, WASC
Program: Certificate of Achievement in Income Tax Preparation
Duration: 1 year or less
Clovis Community College’s finance certificate is 100% online and is perfect for preparing you for entry-level positions in accounting or bookkeeping. The program comprises seven courses, one of which is only available in spring, so students must consider this when applying for the certificate program.
Students can complete this finance certificate in less than a year. It teaches all students how to use relevant software and computer equipment commonly needed for financial analysis, statement preparation, budgeting, etc. It’s an excellent foundational program if you don’t have any financial experience yet.
2. Metropolitan Community College Area
Program: Certificate of Achievement in Financial Planning
Duration: 1-2 years
Metropolitan Community College Area’s financial planning certificate can be a good stepping stone to becoming a Certified Financial Planner, a professional certification. This certificate program teaches students how to apply ethical reasoning based on the CFP Boards Code of Ethics.
It also teaches students how to analyze investment tools, evaluate finances for income taxes, and much more. This certificate of achievement allows students to put “FPPCA” next to their name as a professional title, which can be advantageous when applying to a financial analyst or advisor position. Note that some classes are only available at specific times of the year. For example, the Investment Planning class is only available in spring.
3. Bladen Community College
Program: Certificate in Banking & Finance
Duration: 1 year or less
Bladen Committee College’s online certificate covers various topics, from business finance to customer service and bank lending. It is 100% online and operates within the associate business administration program. Thus, credits from this certificate can contribute to your college progress if desired.
The program is very accessible and doesn’t have high admission requirements. Graduates will be prepared to work as financial analysts in financial institutions, businesses, and government agencies. The Certificate in Banking and Finance can be completed in less than a year, though most students take one year to complete it.
4. Pitt Community College
Program: Office Finance Certificate
Duration: 1 year or less
Pitt’s Office Finance Certificate is technically a concentration under this school’s Office Administration Associate program. The program contains courses on office computations, finance solutions for offices, oral communications, records management, and more.
By the end, graduates will be prepared to work in public and private business offices. The program focuses explicitly on performing financial tasks within business contexts. It’s appropriate for future secretaries or financial advisors. It is an excellent entry-level online certificate as it enhances your professional workplace skills and makes you a more attractive hire in various industries.
5. Central Carolina Community College
Program: Small Business Financial Advisor Certificate
Duration: 1-2 years
Central Carolina Community College’s Small Business Financial Advisor Certificate is 14 credits in total and consists of five classes: Keyboarding, Office Applications I and II, Office Finance Solutions, and Financial Accounting. Students can complete the program over two semesters. It is perfect for a variety of career paths.
The program is available in online or hybrid formats. It is ideal to pursue positions like payroll accounting expert, small business financial advisor, income tax preparer, etc. Credits from this undergraduate certificate can be applied toward an associate program at Central Carolina if you choose.
Finance Graduate Certificate Online Programs
Graduate certificates are only available to those with a bachelor’s degree in finance, accounting, mathematics, or a related subject. They rely on students having foundational knowledge from those degrees. Many graduate certificates in finance may contribute toward a master’s in finance should you pursue a graduate degree later.
1. University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Program: Graduate Certificate in Financial Management
Duration: 1 year
The University of Illinois’s Financial Management Graduate Certificate is entirely online. It includes 12 hours of coursework from the related MBA program. Therefore, students can take this certificate and transfer credits to the MBA program should they pursue a graduate degree later.
All students in this program learn how to understand complex financial statements and manage and evaluate financial portfolios. Furthermore, the program teaches students how to incorporate risk and uncertainty when making investment decisions. It is ideal for future CPAs or financial advisors at big business firms who need to know how to make the proper recommendations.
2. Missouri State University
Program: Graduate Certificate in Financial Analysis
Duration: 1-2 years
Missouri State University’s graduate certificate is ideal for students who want to become financial analysts. The certificate’s course materials help students prepare for Level I Chartered Financial Analysis Exams, which are necessary to acquire CFA certification.
All students must complete four specific prerequisite courses to qualify. After gaining admission, you’ll need to take between 12 and 18 credit hours and at least six classes to graduate. Topics covered include international financial statement analysis, investment management, and more. Applicants must have a 3.0 GPA or higher to qualify for this program.
3. Georgia Southern University
Accreditation: SACSCOC, AACSB International
Program: Graduate Certificate in Applied Economics
Duration: 1-2 years
Georgia Southern University’s Graduate Certificate in Applied Economics, or GCAE, is 18 credit hours. The courses for this certificate make up more than half of the credit hours required for an online Master’s in Applied Economics, making it an excellent choice for future graduate students.
Regardless, this online finance certificate program includes nine core credits. Students can choose between classes that offer skills like market analysis, financial economics, economic development, and more. This program is desirable because class sizes are small, usually including eight to 15 students. Online students will engage in multimedia presentations and simulations during the program and receive the same quality of education as their in-person counterparts.
4. Wichita State University
Program: Graduate Certificate in Economic Development
Duration: 1-2 years
Wichita State University’s graduate certificate is in economic development, so it’s perfect for current or future government professionals who want to work at the county level and higher. The program’s courses can be counted toward this university’s Master of Public Administration program.
All students will complete 12 credit hours covering four courses on planning processes, public-sector economics, and public and nonprofit financial management. Students already enrolled in Wichita State University’s graduate school can gain automatic admission to the program.
5. University of St. Francis
Program: Graduate Certificate in Finance
Duration: 3 years or less
The University of St. Francis’s certificate allows all credits earned during the program to be contributed to a relevant master’s degree. It is 100% online and equips students to become leaders and financial managers in the accounting sector. The program covers capital budgeting, advanced cash management, and risk management skills in finance.
Online classes and materials are accessible 24/7, so it is fully asynchronous. Students must only complete four courses to earn this graduate certificate. However, they must complete those courses within three years of admittance. Thanks to this generous deadline, there’s plenty of schedule flexibility.
Careers in Finance
Once you have graduated from an online finance certificate program, you can become employed as a secretary, financial advisor, bank worker, or something else. You can also use that certificate as a stepping stone to earning a bachelor’s or master’s degree in finance or financial planning. Pursue that path long enough, and you can eventually become a CPA or certified public accountant.
Having a certificate in finance is a great way to maximize your career prospects and stability. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, accountants and auditors are necessary for today’s society. Job openings for these professionals should increase by 6% until 2031.
Essentially, financial planning and analysis is a universally desirable skill set. Whether you pursue an undergraduate or graduate finance certificate, you’ll find your employment opportunities to be much better.
You can pursue many career paths once you have the proper finance certificate. These include:
- Financial managers earn $131,710 per year. These professionals often need experience and a few extra certificates before they qualify for open positions.
- Financial analysts who earn $95,570 per year
- Personal financial advisors, who earn $94,170 per year
- Budget analysts, who earn $79,940 per year
- Accountants and auditors earn $77,250 per year. If you earn CPA certification, you could earn significantly more.
- Bookkeeping, accounting, and auditing clerks earn $45,560 per year. These individuals do not require any degree and can acquire their positions with a suitable online finance certificate.
Each career path requires a certificate or a bachelor’s degree, not a master’s. However, earning a graduate degree in finance or financial analysis will help you acquire competitive positions and make more money over time.
Furthermore, even if you have a job in accounting or finance, earning a certificate could qualify you for more specialized positions or responsibilities. Those with finance certificates or degrees earn good money relative to the general population.
All CPAs and professional accountants must complete continuing education or CE credits from time to time. These include a couple of classes each year or two to ensure your skills are still sharp and inform you about any changes or new techniques in the industry.
As you continue your education and decide whether to pursue a graduate degree in finance, you may benefit from the resources and networking opportunities of the below professional organizations:
Which certification is best for finance?
That depends on your professional goals. A basic online finance certificate is excellent if you want to work as a secretary or financial officer at a small business. But suppose you want to become a CPA or other highly paid financial analyst. In that case, you’ll need an advanced graduate certificate or a master’s degree in finance.
Is a finance certificate worth it?
It can be, especially if you want to bolster your resume cost-effectively and in less than a year.
What is personal finance certification?
Personal finance certification includes classes covering retirement, risk management, investment, and estate planning. They give you the skills to successfully manage an individual or family’s finances.
Is a financial modeling certification worth it?
A financial modeling certification can be worth it if you want to work in the accounting or economic sectors for your professional career. It gives you the skills to analyze financial data and model it to make predictions or present conclusions to executives or clients.
Online finance certificates are excellent ways to bolster your resume and open up new professional doors for your career. Check out the above finance certificates, or use GetEducated’s resources to determine which online school best suits your needs and budget. Contact us today to learn more!