Banking is one of the most rewarding careers in today's workforce. For those who are considering entering into this promising career, obtaining an associate in banking is the first step. An associate in banking and finance is ideal for students who enjoy helping others achieve their goals, employing mathematics, building customer relationships, and balancing short-term and long-terms budgets. An associate in banking covers risk management, capital raising strategies, securities markets, estate planning, baking technology, human resources, leadership, and a myriad of other important banking and finance skills.
Why an Associate Degree?
A large percentage of professionals that end up working in banking start their careers with an associate degree. By obtaining a degree in banking, students will cultivate a deep, thorough knowledge about the modern banking industry, which will help them become informed and dependable bankers. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, bankers need to acquire analytical skills, interpersonal skills, math skills, selling skills, and speaking skills in order to succeed in their profession. The BLS also emphasizes that those who desire to advance in the banking industry should enroll in courses that discuss investments, taxes, estate planning, and risk management.
Inside a Banking Associate Degree Program
While pace may vary depending on the program, most students complete their associate degree in banking in two years. During the first year of their degree program, students are expected to take a combination of general studies courses in subjects such as English, math, history, science, and social studies. Upon completion, students take courses pertaining more closely to their major to round out their degree. Popular banking classes include personal finance, money and banking, introduction to financial institutions, and banking operations.
Not all students are cut out for traditional degrees. Some are better suited for an online format, in which courses may be taken remotely to accommodate conflicting schedules and priorities. Similar to most online degrees, banking materials are presented through a compilation of slideshows, podcasts, pre-recorded video lectures, and PDFs. Students primarily communicate with their professors and peers through email and Blackboard forums.
What’s Next for Banking Degree Holders?
Upon graduating with a banking associate, students will be qualified for entry-level banking positions. The average annual wage for personal financial advisors is $108,090, with the lowest 10% of advisors earning an average of $35,500, while the top 10% earn over $185,000 on average. A percentage of bankers also choose to work as self-employed financial advisors, often earning a salary solely from commissions. The BLS reports that employment for bankers is expected to grow by 30% from 2014 to 2024, which is much faster than other occupations. The reason for this predicted growth is due to the aging baby boomer population, which will soon be seeking financial planning advice as they reach retirement and post-retirement years.
Because the majority of financial institutions require employees to have specific certifications and expertise, many students also choose to work towards a bachelor’s in banking or a related field after completing their associate. For example, the Certified Financial Planner Exam requires students to have at least three years of relevant work experience and a bachelor’s before testing for certification. For those bankers who also want to work their way up towards a management or leadership position, a master’s in banking is highly encouraged.