A fintech degree is a relatively new way of entering an exciting new field. Financial technology, or fintech, is the fastest-growing job sector in finance. Longer-term, it may be one of the only growing job sectors in finance, as large banks are projecting hundreds of thousands of job losses. fintech positions, however, will be largely protected against redundancy.
Over the next decade (or two), banks and governments worldwide will update their systems to 21st century standards, which means employing tens of thousands of fintech professionals.
For the most part, an upgrade to the financial system means adopting blockchain and distributed ledger technology. Regardless of whether public blockchains like Ethereum and Bitcoin play a role, blockchain will be widely adopted for various purposes. Central bank digital currencies, smart contracts, private stablecoins like the JPM coin, and so much more.
Job seekers who complete a fintech bachelor’s degree stand to graduate into a robust job market, a market that’s only going to improve as more companies and governments seek to capitalize on the latest financial technologies. While tech hubs like Singapore, Tel Aviv, Hong Kong, New York, and London are where most jobs will be, fintech professionals can work in almost any city. A fintech degree gives the graduate lots of flexibility in where they choose to work and live.
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Steps in Choosing a Fintech Degree Program
Prospective students interested in taking a bachelor’s degree in financial technology may wish to consider the following factors.
- Prerequisites – Students graduating from high school with elective classes in math and finance may find it easier to get admitted to a university that offers a fintech bachelor’s degree
- Degree requirements – To graduate from a fintech bachelor’s degree program, students will need to complete classes in finance, computer science, and data management
- Admission requirements – The admission requirements depend on the university where the student is applying. The university may or may not have special requirements for students to get accepted by a fintech degree program
- The application process – Students may begin applying for a bachelor’s degree program up to a year in advance. Many schools have an online application process
- Cost – According to U.S.News, the average price for in-state tuition at a public university is $9,687 per year. Out-of-state tuition at a public university costs $21,184 per year
The Best Schools for a Fintech Degree
Unfortunately, at this time, there are only a few universities in the United States that are offering a bachelor’s degree in financial technology. There are several reasons why this is the case. Many fintech job seekers elect to get a master’s degree, which has led to a proliferation of fintech master’s degree programs rather than bachelor’s degree programs.
At the other end of the spectrum, fintech bootcamps have also become quite popular. A bootcamp is a fast and comparatively inexpensive way for a student to get a solid grounding in fintech without having to take a college degree.
Seton Hall is one of the few universities to offer a fintech bachelor’s degree. According to the campus’s degree page, the program enables students to “bridge the gap between the finance and technology staffs, uniquely preparing you for the most well-paid and sought-after positions in the financial industry. You will study financial strategy and investment analysis alongside courses in programming and information modeling.”
The New Jersey Institute of Technology (NJIT) also offers a bachelor’s degree program where students study machine learning, cybersecurity, cryptocurrency, investment analysis and management, and artificial intelligence. NJIT’s full curriculum will be covered in detail in a later section of this guide.
Job seekers who want to take a fintech bachelor’s degree may also consider international financial centers like Singapore and Hong Kong, which have plenty of educational opportunities. Alternatively, a job seeker can complete an undergraduate degree in finance and supplement that education with a fintech course, a fintech bootcamp, or a master’s degree in fintech.
The Advantages of an Online Fintech Degree
An online fintech degree offers several advantages over a traditional, classroom-based degree.
- Flexibility – While some online lectures are presented live, many are pre-recorded, which means that students can watch them at any time. Online learning may be especially convenient for students who plan to work and study
- Location-independent – Online lectures can be viewed from anywhere; students needn’t go to campus
- A wider variety of subjects – Online degree programs can sometimes offer a greater degree of flexibility in what students study since students may have access to a variety of lectures from outside of their degree path
- Affordability – Online bachelor’s degree programs tend to be cheaper than campus-based programs
- Professor availability – Students may have even more access to their professors in an online setting than they would in a classroom-based model. Online programs typically offer students multiple ways to connect and work with their professors
Fintech bachelor’s degree programs don’t typically have admission requirements separate from those of the university. If a student is admitted to a university, they will typically have the option to complete a degree in fintech.
The following are some of the most common requirements to be admitted to a four-year university.
- SAT Score – The average SAT score for students who get admitted to university is 1,050
- High School GPA – Most students who plan on attending university have a GPA of 3.0 or higher
- Extracurricular activities – After school activities like sports and club memberships may help a student to get admitted to more universities
- Elective classes – Elective classes in math, computer science, and economics can be beneficial for students who are planning on getting a fintech bachelor’s degree
The New Jersey Institute of Technology, which offers a four-year undergraduate degree in fintech, has higher than usual admission requirements. The average incoming freshman has an SAT score of 1,285 and an ACT score of 26.
Seton Hall students can apply online for the fintech bachelor’s degree program. There is a non-refundable $55 application fee. After filling out the online application, students will need to supply a high-school transcript and a copy of their SAT or ACT results.
Fintech Degree Curriculum
The following are two example curriculums for real bachelor’s degree programs in financial technology. Although every university offers different classes, themes like financial analysis and blockchain technology are common in every fintech program.
- Fundamentals of Financial Accounting
- Computer Science with Business Problems
- English Composition: Writing, Speaking, Thinking I
- Calculus for Business
- Introduction to Business
- First-Year Seminar
- Introduction to Computer Science
- Quantitative Analysis
- English Composition: Writing, Speaking, Thinking II
- Business Law I
- Introduction to Management Information Systems
- Business Data Analytics
- History and Humanities
- Natural Science
- Fundamentals of Corporate Finance
- Principles of Marketing
- Management Science
- Introduction to Computer Science II 3
- Natural Science w/Lab
- Financial Markets and Institutions
- Organizational Behavior
- Data-Driven Financial Modeling
- Financing New Venture
- Career Planning and Major Field Test 1
- Web App Development for Mobile
- Database Systems for Managers
- Financial Data Analytics 3
- History and Humanities
- Blockchain Technology for Business
- Options and Futures Markets
- History and Humanities
- Investments Management
- Data Mining and Machine Learning
- Business With the Power of Technology
- Managing Technology and Innovation
- Artificial Intelligence for Business
- Humanities and Social Sciences Senior Seminar
A complete course curriculum is also available for Virginia Commonwealth University’s Financial Technology, Bachelor of Science (B.S.) with a concentration in financial engineering.
Tuition and Financial Aid
Students should expect to pay about the same for a fintech bachelor’s degree as they would pay for any undergraduate degree in the United States. According to US News, the average annual tuition cost for an in-state degree at a public university is $9,687. Tuition at an out-of-state public university costs $21,184 per year. In-state education at a private university costs $35,087 per year.
The annual, full-time tuition cost for the New Jersey Institute of Technology is $14,448 for residents of New Jersey and $30,160 for out-of-state students.
For Virginia Commonwealth University, the annual tuition for an in-state student is $12,094, while out-of-state students can expect to pay $32,742 per year.
Creighton University charges a flat fee of $42,618 per year.
Financial aid and scholarships are a few of the key ways to offset the cost of a four-year fintech degree.
Financial Aid and Scholarships
Qualifying students can reduce tuition costs through various scholarships and financial aid programs. Eligibility can be based on financial need or academic achievement. At Seton Hall, “Generally, the higher a student’s academic standing, the higher the scholarship award.” Seton Hall lists more than a dozen scholarships on their website, for awards ranging from $1,000 to $20,000 per year.
Students should apply for a scholarship before January 15th. Seton Hall also recommends that students “Visit some college scholarship web search services like that offered by the College Board, FastWeb.com or FinAid.org”
All university students in the United States can apply for federally subsidized financial aid and loans via the FAFSA program. The maximum FAFSA grant is $4,000, awarded annually, while the average student receives $670.
The New Jersey Institute of Technology claims that “Close to 80 percent of all our undergrad students receive some form of financial aid as well as 92 percent of our first time incoming first-year students and transfer students. Our office provides more than $100 million in financial assistance to our students.”
Before applying to any university with an undergraduate degree in fintech, prospective students should check with the institution to find out what financial aid opportunities are available.
Fintech Career Outlook
The job prospects for fintech professionals are excellent. Fintech is one of the fastest-growing fields in the United States, and employers are struggling to fill all of their vacancies with qualified candidates. According to Fintech Futures, “The global fintech market is predicted to grow at a rate of almost 25 percent annually over the next couple of years.”
According to ZipRecruiter, “The number of fintech jobs in ZipRecruiter’s employment marketplace has doubled each year since 2016.” Furthermore, an average salary for a fintech professional based on the top 10 job listings on ZipRecruiter is $77,677 per year.
One specific example of an opportunity available in fintech is from Atlanta. According to the Georgia Fintech Academy,
- 70 percent of all credit, debit, and gift card swipes are processed through a Georgia company
- Georgia’s fintech industry has an estimated need for 5,000 fintech-ready professionals by 2021 and 2,000 annually after 2023
- Salaries for certain positions in this field can reach six figures just out of college!
As distributed ledger technology becomes more popular, there will be even more opportunities for fintech professionals with blockchain experience will have even more opportunities. For example, in 2020, PayPal hired a group of blockchain engineers before enabling Bitcoin purchases later in the year. What other companies are integrating blockchain and cryptocurrencies into their business model? Imagine the demand for blockchain-certified fintech professionals if/when major entities like the USA and the EU release Central Bank Digital Currencies. Already high, the number of fintech positions will only increase as governments, organizations, and companies update their financial systems to 21st century standards.