Most Affordable Online Graduate Certificates in Finance 2021

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An online graduate certificate in finance prepares professionals for leadership roles in the field, like financial manager. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), financial managers earn a median annual salary of nearly $130,000, with much faster than average projected job growth between 2019-2029. 

Our list ranks the most affordable online finance graduate certificate programs to help prospective students find the best fit for their budget and career goals. This guide also includes information on common courses and scholarship opportunities for finance students.

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Graduate Certificate Finance Questions

  • What can I do with a certificate in finance?

    A graduate certificate in finance trains professionals for careers in areas like financial management, budget analysis, financial risk management, and corporate finance.

  • How do I get a certificate in finance?

    To earn a graduate certificate in finance, students typically need a bachelor’s degree from an accredited institution. They may also need to meet minimum GPA requirements.

  • Is a graduate certificate valuable?

    A finance graduate certificate offers advanced coursework in a specialized field, such as financial risk management or corporate finance.

  • Should I get a certificate or a master's degree?

    A certificate in finance takes less time than a master’s degree to complete. It offers focused courses for specific career paths. A certificate program can also prepare students for master’s programs.

Why Get a Certificate in Finance?

An online graduate certificate in finance offers multiple personal and professional benefits, including specialization options, flexibility, and career advancement.

Graduate certificate programs let finance professionals specialize their training in areas such as financial risk management, corporate finance, or global finance.
An online certificate program prioritizes flexibility, making it easier for learners to balance courses with work and other responsibilities. The distance learning format particularly appeals to working professionals.
Career Advancement
Many employers prefer to hire candidates with graduate-level finance training for managerial roles.
The online learning format lets graduate students attend top programs around the country without relocating.
Earning Potential
Managerial finance jobs offer high salaries. For example, financial managers earn a median annual salary of nearly $130,000. Graduate training helps professionals qualify for these roles.

Online Guide to Accredited Colleges and Universities

Courses in Finance

Finance graduate certificates provide focused training in areas like financial management, strategic decision-making, and public budgeting. Depending on the certificate, graduate students may take courses in financial risk analysis, international financial management, financial planning, and corporate finance.

Graduate-level finance courses build strong research and analytical skills, preparing graduates for leadership roles. Students learn how to develop financial strategies, analyze budgets, and recommend investments.

While each school sets its own curriculum, the following courses often appear in finance certificate programs.

  • Financial Decision-Making

    Classes in financial decision-making, a key part of financial management, train learners to apply financial analysis to the decision-making process. Graduate students strengthen their analytical skills and apply them to real-world business challenges. The course covers topics such as capital budgeting, investment strategy, and corporate structures.

  • Financial Strategy

    In this course, students learn how to design a financial strategy based on an organization’s goals and mission. Students learn how to consider legal restrictions, efficiency improvements, and technology when designing and implementing strategies.

  • International Financial Management

    Courses in international financial management explore topics like foreign markets, risk management in foreign exchanges, and international financing. Learners may also study international financing instruments, multinational budgeting, and political risk in international financial management.

Career and Salary Outlook for Finance

Finance graduates can pursue careers as financial analysts, budget analysts, and personal financial advisors. A specialized graduate certificate also prepares students for jobs like financial risk manager, finance officer, and controller.

This section introduces common career paths for professionals with a graduate certificate in finance.

  • Financial Analysts

    Financial analysts advise clients on investment choices. They evaluate stock and bond performance, manage investment portfolios, and analyze business trends to forecast financial growth. Financial analysts also evaluate financial statements to determine a company’s value. They may also recommend strategies to management teams and create reports on an organization’s financial health.

  • Budget Analysts

    Budget analysts create budget reports and analyze an organization’s spending. They review budget proposals and analyze the organization’s finances. Budget analysts also identify budget shortfalls and estimate the organization’s future financial health.

  • Financial Managers

    Financial managers oversee teams of finance professionals. They create and implement plans to reach an organization’s financial goals. They also prepare financial reports and forecasts, ensure financial statements meet legal requirements, and oversee corporate investments.

  • Personal Financial Advisors

    Personal financial advisors recommend investment and savings strategies to clients. They meet with clients to help them understand their financial goals, explain services and investment options, and recommend savings strategies. They may advise clients on insurance, educational savings plans, taxes, and retirement savings.

Career Median Annual Salary Projected Growth Rate (2019-2029)
Financial Analysts $81,590 5%
Budget Analysts $76,540 3%
Financial Managers $129,890 15%
Personal Financial Advisors $87,850 4%

Source: BLS

Scholarships for Finance Students

Professional associations, private foundations, and government agencies all offer scholarships for finance students. In addition to the following opportunities, finance students should research scholarships based on factors like their location, career goals, and university.

  • Daniel B. Goldberg Scholarship

    Who Can Apply: The Government Finance Officers Association offers the scholarship to graduate learners studying finance with the goal to work in state or local government. Applicants must provide a recommendation letter that addresses their commitment to working in the public sector.
    Amount: $20,000


  • Minorities in Government Finance Scholarship

    Who Can Apply: This scholarship supports minority students pursuing careers in state or local government finance. Applicants must be studying finance, governmental accounting, business administration, or a related field. The scholarship requires a recommendation letter.
    Amount: $10,000


Most Affordable Online Graduate Certificates in Finance 2021

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