Job applicants can obtain entry-level banking positions with nothing but a high school degree, but a higher education is necessary in order to be eligible for promotions and advancement opportunities. The more education an applicant has, the greater his chance of being hired and the faster he will be able to advance his banking career.

Associate Degree

An associate degree is a good place to start for a person beginning his banking career. Students can earn an Associate of Arts or Associate of Science degree at almost any community college, occupational school or two-year university. An emphasis in banking-related fields such as accounting, business, finance or statistics can provide students with some of the foundational skills necessary for working in a bank.

Bachelor's Degree

A bachelor’s degree allows banking employees access to higher-level positions in management, equipping them with specialized knowledge in banking-related fields. Students interested in banking should pursue a Bachelor of Science in accounting, business, economics or finance in order to obtain the necessary experience and skills for management-level banking. Some schools offer banking-specific degrees, such as a Bachelor of Applied Science in Banking or a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration with a focus in banking and finance. Such programs offer courses in banking principles, investment, financial planning, marketing and business law. These programs equip students to transition into careers as loan officers, credit analysts, financial planners, investment bankers, and branch managers.

Master's Degree

A graduate degree in banking-related fields exponentially increases an employee’s chance of being promoted into management and other senior-level positions, leading to increased pay and more diversified responsibilities. Employees with an eye on managerial positions should pursue a master’s degree in accounting, business, economics or finance. Master’s degrees normally take two to three years to complete and frequently include some form of field internship.

American Bankers Association Courses

The American Bankers Association, which represents large and small regional banks throughout the United States, offers a variety of courses to expand and diversify bankers’ knowledge in subjects such as bank marketing and management, commercial lending, compliance and risk management. In addition, ABA courses can help banking professionals receive or renew their certification in bank compliance, mortgage and commercial lending, retail, retirement services, risk management and wealth management and trust. While these professional education courses are not mandatory, completing them provides bankers with expertise in their fields, enabling them to better serve their clients.

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