Investments and Securities Degree

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What are Investments and Securities?

Investments and Securities is a field of study emphasizing the use of money and tradable financial assets.  The investment and security curriculum program will prepare students to understand the basics of the security industry along with an array of complex investments available in the capital markets.  A cross-section of programs may include: equity analysis, security instruments, capital markets, debt analysis, securities markets, investment strategies, high frequency trading, portfolio management, computer-assisted investment research, portfolio analysis, derivatives, hybrid investments, secondary market, foreign exchanges, trading, over-the-counter exchanges, regulation, licensure, insurance, banking, collateral, dividends, lending, and settlements.

Top Investments & Securities Degrees

Students interested in finance, economics, analysis, and wealth management may find a lucrative future in the investment management sector.  By understanding how to evaluate risk and predict investing opportunities, professionals are able to capitalize on market undulations to create substantive value.  Leveraging top tier technologies, deep analysis, simulations, and market insights can lead to a robust book of business for wealth managers.

Earning a degree in investments & securities may come via a direct degree program or an adjacent degree path.  More specifically, some accredited colleges and universities offer an investment management degree.  These programs are focused just on the investment industry with core classes arranged accordingly.  On the other hand, a large percentage of colleges and universities provide students with a more broad-based business degree with an emphasis in investment management.  Key aspects of business management, finance, economics, commerce, accounting, statistics, entrepreneurship, and operations management combine to prepare students for a future in the wealth management industry.

Investment & Security Certificate Programs

Degree programs can include certificate programs, bachelor degrees, and graduate programs.  Certificate programs are hyper-focused programs offered by colleges to help students understand a specific aspect of the wealth management industry.  A certificate program can often be earning in a shorter period of time when compared to a degree program.  College certificate programs can be utilized to bolster your resume, learn new skills, remain competitive, and help professionals make career moves.

Investment & Security Bachelor Degrees

Online bachelor degree programs along with their classroom-based counterpart program are 4-year programs.  Bachelor degrees in this field of study are conferred as either a Bachelor of Science (BS) or Bachelor of Arts (BA).  How a school confers degrees is a function of the curricular design and program emphasis.  BA and BS degrees are designed to combine general education courses such as psychology, sociology, English composition, communications, and creative writing with core classes.

Core classes in a bachelor’s degree program will vary from school to school.  However, there will be a large percentage of classes that will aim to teach core concepts to prepare students for a viable future in the industry.  An example of classes you may find in a bachelor’s degree program include:

  • Portfolio Management
  • Global Financial Markets
  • Investment Theory
  • Market Fundamentals
  • Strategic Management
  • Applied Statistics
  • Microeconomics for Business
  • Macroeconomics
  • Financial Analysis
  • Commodities
  • Investment Vehicles
  • Advanced Securities and Investing

What will students learn in a securities and investment degree program?

Prospective students considering this degree path will need to understand the learning objectives and academic pillars of the program.  The learning objectives of most investment management degree programs include the following three objectives:

1)     Analyzing financial records, equities, debt securities, and derivative instruments

2)     Effectively evaluating risk, portfolio management, and recognizing opportunities

3)     Obtaining real-world experience with hands-on learning opportunities, apprenticeships, and/or internships

How to Become an Investment Manager

The 5 Steps to Become an Investment & Security Managers are listed below.  One step builds on the next to help you effectively move from phase to phase towards your ultimate goal.  Professionals must achieve mastery at each step before moving to the next step.  In order to become an investment manager, you will need to complete the following steps.

Step 1: Earn a Bachelor's Degree from an Accredited College or University

Security managers and investment managers begin by investing in their education.  Degree programs can be either a Bachelor of Arts (BA) or a Bachelor of Science (BS).  You may find degrees listed in investments explicitly in a course catalog or embedded within the business department.  If a university or college does not have a dedicated investment degree program, students can major in finance, business management, statistics, economics, accounting, or a related business degree.  These degree programs will provide a solid business foundation and allow you to add specific investing knowledge on your journey towards becoming a securities manager.  After earning your degree in investments or an adjacent degree program, you may elect to start your career in an entry-level position in the investment world or continue your academic experience with a graduate degree.  Your choice at this point must be weighed carefully to determine the best path to follow given your personal priorities, goals, and objectives.

Step 2: Enroll in an MBA Program and Earn a Master’s Degree

After earning your bachelor’s degree at an accredited university or college, students may elect to pursue a master’s degree in business or finance.  A graduate degree will most likely be a Master of Business Administration or MBA degree.  MBA can be earning in class or online and will generally take 1-2 years to complete depending on the program you select.  An MBA degree program can be a general degree program or teach specific skills in a specialized field.  Examples of a specialized MBA program may include financial management, investment management, risk management, wealth management, accounting, or financial analysis.  Each area of specialization will compound to add valuable knowledge and skills on your career path.  It is important to note, students should be mindful of taking classes with an emphasis in investing, wealth managing, securities, and trading to ensure you have the proper arrows in your quiver.

Step 3: Start Your Career in Finance, Banking, Wealth Managing

Investment managers will typically need to enter the field of finance and financial management in an entry-level position or mid-level position.  To learn the skills needed to become a successful investment manager, you will need to aggregate a number of customer service skills and finance skills.  Whether you choose to sit at a trading desk, work for a large investment banking firm, or learn the trade from a private banker, the skills you need will take time to acquire.  Over time you will gain knowledge, experience, and skills to master the essential elements of the investing and financial management industry.

Step 4: Invest Time and Resources to Earn Your License

By maintaining a growth mindset and lifelong learning mentality, you will soon be ready to move your career to the next phase.   This phase is to obtain the necessary licensure to buy and sell investment vehicles and securities on behalf of your clients.  The regulatory body that governs this process of licensure, examinations, and validation is known as FINRA.  The FINRA acronym stands for the Financial Industry Regulation Authority.   It is important to understand the precise combination of tests, licensure, and continuing education courses will be a function of your state of residence coupled with the licensure you are seeking.  As an example, FINRA offers a Series 7 examination which is a General Securities (GS) exam and a Series 10 General Security Sales Supervisor Examination.  With several dozen examinations to choose from, make sure to consult your employer and state agency to understand the tests that will benefit you most.

Step 5: Become a Registered Securities Agent

In addition to obtaining a specific set of licensure for your state and corporate affiliation, you will want to register with the securities agency in your state of residence.  As a general rule of thumb, financial professionals can expect to complete an intensive application complete with a background check and fingerprinting.  This process helps ensure the general public individuals of high character are allowed to manage money and investment securities of others.  For professional money managers with a large portfolio under management, you will likely need to register with the SEC.  The Securities and Exchange Commission has their own set of federally mandates rules and regulations plus a unique application for financial professional managing money on behalf of their clients.

Bonus: Consider Additional Investment Certifications

Although not required, employers and customers may prefer to work with professionals with certain credentials.  For example, certifications such as a Certified Fund Specialist (CFS), Chartered Financial Advisor (CFA), and Certified Financial Manager (CFM) may be required or highly encouraged in your state or region.  Qualifications for each type of certification may vary and require you to carefully map out when you can take a specific type of certification.  For example, a CFA candidate must put in at least 250 hours of reading per examination with a total of three examinations in the test block.  Becoming a CFA is hard work and demanding as more than half of students will fail the Level 1 examination.  Tests associated with each certification will help build your resume, body of knowledge, expertise, and investing confidence on your path to becoming an investment manager.

Educational Requirements In Securities & Investments

In terms of educational requirements, Investments and Securities degree holders will have typically studied the following courses while in college:

Employment Information & Finance Specializations

For students that earn a college degree in Investments and Securities, there are several fields of specialization that one can pursue.  The options range from management, banking, advisor, marketing, advertising, finance, leadership, public relations, budgeting, recruiting, human resources, and sales training in the public or private domain to name a few possible career tracks.

Job Growth, Salary, and Related Finance Fields

The job growth in the greater Investments and Securities domain are well above average.  For example, the rate of job growth for financial analysts is expected to rise 12% through 2024 and for financial advisors a remarkable 30% growth rate is expected during the same period.  Given the broad nature of the Investments and Securities degree, compensation after graduation can vary greatly from career field to career field given prior experience and geographic location.  Related fields include banking, teaching, research, marketing, finance, and training.

Top Investments & Securities Careers

A career in the investment industry can be a rewarding and lucrative career to consider.  The following job titles in the investment world may help you decipher what makes sense for you.  As you consider each type of career path, you can quickly connect with accredited colleges and universities through our portal and collect admissions information to help you make a great decision for your future.  Career options in the field include:

  • Private Banker
  • Wealth Manager
  • Investment Manager
  • Stock Broker
  • Investment Broker
  • Private Equity Manager
  • Fund Manager
  • Asset Manager
  • Investment Banker
  • Trading Desk Manager
  • Bank Manager

Additional Resources for Investment & Security Majors

Below you will find a few of the best American securities and investment organizations and associations.  These associations provide students and working professionals with key learning platforms, continuing education, professional networking, regional chapters, and/or leadership opportunities.

  • American Finance Association (AFA)
  • American Finance Professions (AFP)
  • American Association of Finance & Accounting (AAFA)
  • American Bankers Association (ABA)

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Career Summary: Investments securities Major




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