If you’ve ever watch the movie Wall Street, you might have a general idea of what some people with finance degrees do — although it may be a warped perception of the real financial world. Most finance graduates aren’t wheeling and dealing on Wall Street, nor are the majority of them ever involved in insider trading or other illegal schemes. Instead, those who decide upon a finance degree are setting the stage for a well-paying career that can offer a variety of career paths and options, as well as building a foundation for a career in which there is good job stability and a definite need.

What is a Finance Degree?
Having a degree in finance can make you an attractive candidate to a broad range of employers, as well as possibly prepare you for a future graduate degree if that is something you are interested in pursuing. Typically, a degree in finance will be geared toward enabling a student to interpret, analyze and process financial data and utilize that information to forecast and make decisions regarding a company or organization’s financial future. Not only can a degree in finance instill the solid building blocks needed to succeed in the workforce, but it can provide a background that can be utilized in making decisions regarding one’s own financial future. Whether it is understanding investment options or making the best decision when it comes to finding a mortgage, taking out a loan, or paying off debt, a finance degree can be a valuable asset in both the working or personal financial world.

What do I Learn While Getting a Degree in Finance?
Certainly, as with almost any college degree program, while working toward your finance degree you will be offered more than just finance courses. Initially, you should be prepared for classes in management, general business, personal finance, accounting, and some general education courses. Once you reach your core concentration of finance classes, the curriculum will likely focus more upon subjects like corporate finance, capital management, investment banking, international finance, and banking.

While many of the job titles available in the financial world have a catchy sound to them, and the salaries are usually quite attractive, don’t be fooled, getting a degree in finance can involve quite a bit of effort and application on your part. It will help if you are skilled in mathematics, and you should be prepared for a course or two in statistics and economics. While the coursework is interesting, it can require much more effort than the average student realizes or is prepared for when starting out on the finance degree path.

So What Kind of Job Will a Finance Degree Get Me?
While you may never be certain of what lies just over the horizon when it comes to jobs and your career, there are certain jobs that graduates with finance degrees are more prone to enter. Financial advising, consulting or planning, banking, investing, and insurance, are just a few of the areas that holders of finance degrees might consider. A background in finance might also make it easier to enter such fields as law or real estate.

You may decide to work for a large corporation, a family owned business, a non-profit organization or government agency, as all these areas have a need for qualified financial professionals. And if you happen to be wondering just how much you might make in the finance field, according to the May 2008 National Occupational Employment and Wage Estimates put out by the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average annual income of a financial manager is $110,640, while the average annual income in financial operations occupations in general is $64,720.

For more information regarding finance degree programs, check out the Finance Schools directory.