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Best Online Finance Certifications

Explore the top 10 schools across the U.S. that offer online finance certificate programs. Learn what graduate and undergraduate programs consist of and what careers they can lead to.

Top Online Finance Certificate Programs

When choosing a school for an online finance certificate, it's important to consider things like cost, admissions requirements, program length and coursework. Listed below are 10 of the best schools with online finance certificate programs.

1. Missouri University of Science and Technology

Location Tuition & Fees (in-State) % Receiving Financial Aid
Rolla, MO $9,440 97%

Missouri University of Science and Technology is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission and has a student-to-faculty ratio of 18:1. The school offers two online graduate certificates in finance, which each consists of 12 credit hours (4 courses) and have a tuition rate of $1,200 per credit hour. The finance certificate includes coursework in financial markets, corporate finance, investments and financial statement analysis. The financial technology certificate program covers topics such as financial analysis, enterprise software, business analytics and financial infrastructures.

2. University of Arizona

Location Tuition & Fees (in-state) % Receiving Financial Aid
Tucson, AZ $12,467 92%

The University of Arizona boasts more than 3,000 faculty to serve a thriving online student body of more than 14,000 undergraduate students. The school offers an online undergraduate finance certificate program that consists of 4 courses (12 credits), has a tuition rate of $500 per credit and can be completed in just one semester. Courses include topics in personal finances and investing, business finances, real estate finances and financial management.

3. Colorado State University-Fort Collins

Location Tuition & Fees (in-state) % Receiving Financial Aid
Fort Collins, CO $11,707 80%

Colorado State University at Fort Collins is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission and has a student-to-faculty ratio of 16:1. The school offers an online applied finance graduate certificate program that includes 11 credit hours and has a tuition rate of $998 per credit. The certificate program is eligible for financial aid and provides students with the skills to work in a variety of financial and business settings. Students in the certificate program will take courses in business analytics, financial investments as well as financial practice, and can choose several other areas of interest to study using electives.

4. University of Minnesota-Crookston

Location Tuition & Fees (in-state) % Receiving Financial Aid
Crookston, MN $11,822 95%

The University of Minnesota at Crookston offers a more close-knit experience to students, with around 900 online students and 900 on-campus. Part of the Minnesota public university system, the school is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission and has an online tuition rate of $452 per credit hour. Students at UMC can get an undergraduate certificate in finance by completing 28 to 29 credit hours through 100% online coursework. Students have a chance to learn about financial markets and capital structure through courses such as accounting, corporate finance and economics.

5. University of St Francis

Location Tuition & Fees (in-state) % Receiving Financial Aid
Joliet, IL $32,320 99%

The University of St Francis is a Catholic university that integrates Franciscan values with academic excellence and growth. The school takes a more intimate approach, with a student-to-faculty ratio of 13:1. Students can earn a graduate certificate in finance online by completing 4 courses (12 credits); each credit is $399. The program includes courses in international financial topics, financial instruments and managerial finance.

Rank School Name Location Tuition & Fees (in-state) % Receiving Financial Aid
6 Davenport University Grand Rapids, MI $18,414 97
7 Nova Southeastern University Fort Lauderdale, FL $30,900 100%
8 Northwestern Oklahoma State University Alva, OK $7,471 90%
9 Upper Iowa University Fayette, IA $30,450 99%
10 George Washington University Washington, DC $55,230 81%

All table data is provided by the National Center for Education Statistics, tuition represents the 2018-2019 undergraduate school year

Learn.org's school ranking methodology categorizes and assesses data from schools and other reliable sources, such as the U.S. Department of Education, and weighs the information based on quality, cost, value and other factors critical to students' academic decisions.

Overview of Online Finance Certificate Programs

Characteristics of online finance certificate programs vary by school and level of study, as some are undergraduate and others are only available to students at the graduate level. Key differences between undergraduate and graduate programs are discussed below.

Undergraduate Online Finance Certificate

Undergraduate online finance certificate programs are usually open to students who have previously earned a high school diploma or GED. Some programs may require students to have completed some prerequisite coursework, such as an algebra class, and have a qualifying GPA on their high school diploma/GED. These programs may take one semester or one academic year to complete, depending on the courses included and any previous credits that students have completed. The programs enable students to develop an understanding of financial processes and topics that can be applied in a range of business, financial and other settings.

Common Courses

While courses vary by school, undergraduate online finance certificate programs can include some of the courses listed below.

  • Principles of Accounting - This course introduces students to basic accounting methods and variables, such as cash accounts, receivables, assets and financial statements.
  • Managerial Finance - Students learn about financial processes and structures, including capital structure, financial statement analysis, budgeting and ratio analysis.
  • Economics - Within this course, students explore economic movements and factors, such as supply and demand, that occur both domestically and internationally.
  • Corporate Finance - Students further examine capital structures as well as how companies raise money, how their finances are regulated and how they're evaluated, both externally and internally.
  • Financial Investments - This course provides an overview of common financial investments and portfolio strategies, as well as investment practices and problems.

Cost

The cost of undergraduate online finance certificate programs vary by school and program length. Most programs have a per-credit tuition rate as well as other applicable fees (such as registration fees). Tuition is usually the most expensive component of online finance certificate programs. Tuition can vary significantly by school, with some charging as little as $300 a credit and others requiring around $700.

Determining the total tuition cost requires knowing how many credits are included in the program. The programs noted above have 12 to 23 credit hours; based on a lower-end tuition rate of $400 per credit, these programs would have total tuition costs of $4,800 to $9,200. Keep in mind that this range is an example and does not include additional fees.

Transferability

Graduates of these programs may choose to return to school later on and complete an associate's degree or bachelor's degree. In many cases, the courses completed as part of the online finance certificate program can be applied to future studies. For example, if a student completed 20 credits as part of a finance certificate program, they may only need to complete 40 for an associate's degree (rather than 60) and 100 for a bachelor's degree (rather than 120).

Some certificate programs allow students to transfer in credits as well. For instance, a school might let a student opt-out of up to a third of the program by transferring credits from previous coursework. Schools typically only accept transfer credits if they come from an accredited institution and they also typically require a minimum grade (such as a C or higher).

Graduate Online Finance Certificate

Online graduate finance certificate programs are typically available to students who have earned a bachelor's degree. Although requirements vary by school, many programs are open to students with a degree in any field who have a minimum GPA on their undergraduate coursework (such as a 3.0). These programs usually consist of around 4 courses (12 credits) and take 1 or 2 semesters to complete. As with the undergraduate certificate programs, these programs provide students with a broad knowledge of financial topics that can be used in many different careers. Key characteristics of online graduate finance certificate programs are discussed below.

Common Courses

Students whose undergraduate degree is in a non-business field may have to complete some bridge courses in order to establish a foundation for the finance certificate curriculum. The courses included in online finance certificate programs can vary slightly, but typically include some of the classes listed below.

  • Analysis of Financial Statements - This class teaches students how to carefully review and interpret financial statements, including income statements and balance sheets.
  • Financial Investments - In this course, students study key financial investments, including stocks and other securities, and examine the characteristics and benefits of each.
  • Corporate Finance - This class examines financial decisions and functions in corporations as well as topics such as capital structure, risk, portfolio balance and valuation tools.
  • Managerial Finance - Students learn key financial methods used in financial management, such as problem-solving, investment analysis and capital structure strategies.
  • Business Analytics - This course explores statistics in business, including inferential and descriptive types, and how statistics and statistical tools can be used in effective management.
  • International Finance - Students explore international financial topics such as trade, currency and exchange rates, national balances and international economic and monetary systems.

Cost

The cost of online graduate finance certificate programs varies by school and student. Graduate tuition can range from around $500 to more than $1,000 per credit hour. Since many finance certificate programs consist of around 12 credit hours, this means that students may have a total tuition of $6,000 to more than $12,000. In addition to tuition, most online graduate finance certificate programs have other fees, such as course materials fees and registration fees, which can add up to several hundred or thousand dollars.

Transferability

Just as undergraduate finance certificate credits can be transferred to undergraduate programs, graduate finance certificate credits can be often transferred to graduate programs. Credits have to be similar to those that they will replace in order to transfer, so a student interested in a master's degree in finance, for example, can often transfer in their finance certificate courses and have some of the master's degree courses waived. Since many master's degree programs consist of around 36 credit hours, this will save students a significant amount of time and money when completing a master's degree.

Careers for Finance Certificate Graduates

Depending on their previous work experience and education, graduates of online finance certificate programs can qualify for a variety of careers. Some careers in finance that are available to graduates of finance certificate programs are listed below.

  • Financial Examiners: Financial examiners review financial statements and activities to check for regulatory compliance, risk and efficiency. Their duties can include preparing and analyzing reports, training employees, keeping up to date with regulations and developing guidelines that comply with regulations. Financial examiners often need a bachelor's degree with some courses in finance and economics.
  • Claims Adjusters, Appraisers, Examiners and Investigators: These individuals work on insurance claims and determine if claims will be paid and what amount they should be. Their duties can include investigating claims, assessing lost value, collaborating with legal representatives, and negotiating and authorizing payments. They need at least a high school diploma/GED for entry-level roles, although some positions require a bachelor's degree.
  • Budget Analysts: Budget analysts assist organizations with improving and organizing their financial situations. Their duties can include meeting with managers, analyzing budgets for departments and programs, monitoring spending and estimating financial requirements. They typically have a bachelor's degree and some coursework in economics and accounting. Budget analysts working for a government organization often obtain the Certified Government Financial Manager.
  • Compensation, Benefits and Job Analysis Specialists: These professionals oversee the compensation and benefits operations of organizations. Their duties often include researching and comparing compensation and benefits programs, evaluating position information and salary as well as presenting research and recommendations. Compensation, benefits and job analysis specialists usually have a bachelor's degree and work experience in a related position, such as finance or human resources positions.
  • Financial Analysts: Financial analysts help individuals and organizations make decisions about investments. Their duties can include researching market trends and performance, making recommendations and adjustments, preparing reports and estimating company valuations. Financial analysts usually have a bachelor's degree and some coursework in fields such as finance, economics and statistics. In addition, many financial analysts acquire certification to increase their services, such as the Chartered Financial Analyst certification.

Job Title Median Annual Salary (2018) Estimated Job Growth (2018-2028)
Financial Examiners $80,180 7%
Claims Adjusters, Appraisers, Examiners and Investigators $65,670 -4%
Budget Analysts $76,220 4%
Compensation, Benefits and Job Analysis Specialists $63,000 6%
Financial Analysts $85,660 6%

All career data is provided by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics