21 answers

How many years of study are for the finance career?

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I am interested in a finance career especially in accounting. But I wanted to know how long the career lasts and how easy it is to get a position in a company. #accounting #business #finance

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21 answers

Derrick’s Answer

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You should be able to get a good job in finance with a college degree. So, that will be 4 years. Now, if you want to focus in accounting meaning you want to become a Certified Public Accountant (CPA), you will need some additional courses. This is because a requirement to sit for the CPA exam is to have 150 credit hours of college education. Thus, many college graduates take additional courses in a community college or pursue a 1-yr master in accounting
Once you get your finance or accounting education, you will find opportunities almost anywhere. That's because any business needs an accountant and major corporations even hire dozens of college hires in these disciplines.
Thank you !! Lidibet G. Translate
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Juan Carlos’s Answer

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Fully concur with Derrick's reply. I would just add that Finance and Accounting functions have grown in complexity, becoming key areas in terms of data management, analytics and strategy, becoming a key business partner for the top management , sales and other relevant areas in any organization. Combining some business and strategy related courses could leverage even more the future growth from a career development perspective.
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Jarenn’s Answer

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A 4-year Bachelor's degree in Business- Finance and/or Accounting is typical to start with an entry level role. I would also recommend doing internships if possible. Additionally, like Derrick mentioned, a CPA and/or Master's degree ay be very helpful and/or required for certain roles and you could pursue those as well. Often times, companies will pay for those advanced degrees/certifications.
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Jason’s Answer

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Hi Lidibet ,

I cannot speak for all careers in finance/accounting, but I work in public accounting as a CPA. To work as a CPA you generally need 4 or 5 years of education as the CPA requirements include 150 college credits, compared to the standard 120 for a college degree. This applies to working in auditing or tax within the firm. Other consulting roles (and certain tax roles) do not require a CPA license.

For most other accounting and finance jobs, a college degree (standard 4 years) is required but certain positions may require advanced degrees such as an MBA (generally two years). Some programs will accept students right out of college but many others prefer students to have a few years of work experience prior to starting the program.

If you have a better idea of what career path you are looking for, answers can be specified for the best approaches to enter that field.

I hope this help.
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Jim’s Answer

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Hi Lidibet - - My perspective is you'll need a college degree. If you know you're interested in business, you'll have basic core classes that will give you exposure to the different areas of business. When I went to college, I knew I wanted to be in the business school, but it took a while before I narrowed my major to finance. Once I narrowed my area of expertise down within the major, it focused me on wanting to pursue an advanced degree to deepen my understanding. Most folks in my grad school had 5-10 years of work experience and were returning to school because they found this same interest in focused development. If you have a passion for the topic, you will not stop learning or questing additional knowledge. Academics is really concentrated while work puts the knowledge into practice. At minimum, a four year degree is typically necessary, but expect a lifetime commitment to self-development and improvement to succeed. Hope this helps. - - Jim

Jim recommends the following next steps:

  • Work with your school counselor to see if you can get informational interviews with people in the industry. Most bigger firms have social outreach to give people exposure to the industry and firm. Be prepared with insightful questions about the challenges and pitfalls within the niche they operate.
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Richard’s Answer

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Just college is standard (4 years)! You can do a CPA or CFA during college or while working afterwards.

As for how long the career lasts, the sky is the limit, as there is always work to be done. Burnout is the bigger constraint, especially in more intense settings.
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Jarenn’s Answer

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A 4-year Bachelor's degree in Business- Finance and/or Accounting is typical to start with an entry level role. I would also recommend doing internships if possible. Additionally, like Derrick mentioned, a CPA and/or Master's degree ay be very helpful and/or required for certain roles and you could pursue those as well. Often times, companies will pay for those advanced degrees/certifications.
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Richard’s Answer

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One of the major perks of finance is that you can enter directly from your undergrad career. Same for accounting if you study accounting in undergrad. Look into the CFA/CPA which isn't a degree as such but is a huge help. Then, 4 years!
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Emma’s Answer

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A four year program with specific accounting / finance qualifications will set you up for success in a number of areas. In the era of big data, companies are increasingly focused on what insights can be gained from data analysis so skills in this area will place you well to excel in a finance role within a bank or another industry you are passionate about. Some companies provide opportunities to continue further education in this field whilst working. This can be a great opportunity to further develop your skills.

Emma recommends the following next steps:

  • Take a look at job positions that interest you and see what education qualifications are preferred at those
  • Speak to people employed in the industry and ask about their education, both through school as well as any qualifications gained after graduating.
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Cherrelle’s Answer

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This is highly dependant on what direction you end up wanting to take. A bachelor's degree would be bare minimum. From there, either the additional hours needed to get certified or a masters degree (or both) would be a plus and often required for certain positions.
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Jason’s Answer

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A 4 year degree in Accounting or Finance is typically the bare minimum. I second Jarenn's recommendation of internships. They often get your foot in the door and will oftentimes lead to a full-time opportunity once you complete your undergraduate degree. If you're thinking of specializing in Accounting, I would definitely recommend getting the CPA certification. Nowadays, an MBA seems to be highly desirable for certain companies so that is definitely something to consider which is another 2 years. However, if you can get in to a company through an internship and receive an offer, they may be willing to pay a portion of your tuition for a graduate degree and/or certifications.
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Craig’s Answer

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Hi there,

I agree with the other comments - you would need a 4 year degree. I do like to say that learning never ends, especially in accounting. You will continue to learn when you start working (i.e. masters, additional educational credits for CPA, CPEs, skills training). Frequent changes in legislation, accounting standards, and technology essentially requires everyone to retool periodically; you need to be comfortable with having a learning mindset throughout your professional career.

Enjoy the learning journey,

Craig
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Anoosheh (Anna)’s Answer

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It is 4 years to get your bachelors degree and an additional two years if you want to get your masters degree. I myself got my BS in Management Information Systems and MBA with concentration in Finance. So even if you do your undergrad in a different field, you can do a MBA program with concentration in Finance. The great thing about Finance is that the principals don't change so your knowledge doesn't get outdated every few months like it does with IT fields.
Hope this helps.
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Nadia’s Answer

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With a 4 year degree in Finance field you should be able to find employment in the field. You can also expand to Accounting field and even become a CPA.
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Yasmeen’s Answer

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I got a B.A. in Economics (4 years) and then after working for a a few years, I got a Masters in Business Administration (MBA) in two years, full time. Certainly you can get a job in finance with a college degree. It's up to you how far you want to take it. There are other certifications which are even more specialized such as Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA). There are internship opportunities for students interested in Finance and I encourage you to pursue those so you can learn more about which areas of finance interest you.
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Ralph’s Answer

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A 4 year degree in finance or accounting is an excellent base to get you a job in the finance field. The nice thing about finance is that the principles don't change so you don't have to keep re-tooling ever so often as they do in some other professions. A good way to advance in this profession if to peruse a graduate degree like a Masters in Business Administration (MBA) or a CPA and many companies will finance it. I have a first degree business management and an MBA in finance.
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Alexandra’s Answer

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You can consider a graduate degree such as an MBA, Masters of Accounting/Taxation or an MFA. However, you should be able to start your career with just an undergraduate degree. Consider fields such as economics, math, and statistics, even if neither one is your major. Employers like to see that you have taken classes in these disciplines if you see yourself in science. If your college or university offers a degree in accounting or business administration, you can consider this major, especially if you would like to sit for the CPA exam. But you can also have a different major and take accounting classes.
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Riley’s Answer

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If you want to be an accountant, the minimum amount of school that you will need is a bachelor's degree in accounting, which is 4 years. However, if you do not want to start at an entry-level position you could consider eating your masters in accounting (6 years) or also pursuing a minor. You will be able to find a job with a bachelor's, but pursuing further education will make it easier for you to be hired or will be able to score you a better starting position.
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Jason’s Answer

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Obtaining a four year Bachelor's degree in Business Administration, Finance, Economics, and/or Accounting would be a good starting point. Beyond that, you can obtain a (MBA) Master's in Business Administration which is typically an additional 2 years.
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Regina’s Answer

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Hello Lidibet.

I would like to suggest acquiring a certificate first in Accounting or Finance. These programs usually take about a year or two to complete and a fraction of the cost of a university degree. This way, you can better gauge if this is really what you would like to pursue. Once you finish the certificate, you can go and seek out employment.

That's what I did. I acquired my Payroll Certificate in a local community college. It took me 1.5 years to complete. There was an internship component. The timing was right for me at the time. As I was finishing up my certificate, I got offered my first job where I did my internship.

This certificate opened up doors for me. I landed a Client Service Representative position in ADP, a payroll service provider, several years later. I am still with ADP 13 years after and I am Payroll Compliance Practitioner (PCP) certified with Canadian Payroll Association.

The beauty of being in payroll is everyone needs to get paid in any industry.

Things may be a little different in the US.

I encourage you to explore the certificate path if it's available regardless. You never know what may open up for you.

If you pursue a career in payroll, you can get certified through the American Payroll Association.
https://www.americanpayroll.org/

I did find some references for certificate in Accounting in Miami Dade College. [I believe you are several hours from Tampa.]
https://www.mdc.edu/accountingapplications/
https://www.mdc.edu/accountingclerk/

Wishing you all the best!

Regina
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Cricket’s Answer

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I completed my BA in Accounting as well as my CPA. Having an analytical mind, I found that I was drawn more into Finance, so completed my MBA in Finance. I did my MBA while working full-time, which was challenging, but also gave me the benefit of understanding how I would apply the learnings right away. In total I was in school for 5 years for my undergraduate and 5 years for my masters. It took me longer to finish the degrees, but life was more manageable for me this way.

Though my career has progressed into Program and Portfolio Management, I have always found that having a foundation in accounting and finance to very very beneficial in growing my career.

Good luck!
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