The trend of advanced financial technologies that’s driving innovation has created extensive employment opportunities in the financial sector for those with the right skillset. Consequently, a number of universities throughout the country offer fintech certificate programs, helping employees attain the necessary knowledge and skills to maximize an organization’s ability to implement these technologies.
This guide will help readers learn how these programs work and what to expect from them. Additionally, to make it easy for readers to find a program, we’ve included a directory of all fintech certificate programs at the end of the guide.
What Is a Fintech Certificate?
Fintech certificate programs are offered by a number of universities as a way to help students gain the skills they need to use fintech products and processes in the workplace. These programs typically involve fewer credit units than a master’s program in fintech, or either a finance master’s or MBA with a fintech concentration. Unlike the one to two years of study a master’s usually requires, certificate programs generally involve coursework that only takes from 4 to 6 months to complete, usually in one or two semesters.
The focus of these certificate programs usually centers on fundamental elements of implementing fintech products and processes in a business environment. Topics of study include payments processing, blockchain, cryptocurrencies, quantitative trading and portfolio management techniques, AI, machine learning, and data analysis.
A number of these programs are aimed at working professionals, offering evening and weekend classes along with online attendance options.
Currently, approximately 10 undergraduate and 20 graduate fintech certificate programs are available across the country.
Undergraduate vs. Graduate Fintech Certificates
While undergraduate and graduate fintech certificate courses share many similarities in subject matter, the latter tends to be more focused on preparing students for employment in the financial sector. Undergraduate fintech certificate programs are often aimed at providing a solid understanding of the subject for students who may want to pursue graduate studies in finance or get an MBA, in addition to those who want to get a master’s in fintech.
Graduate certificate programs generally require that students have received an undergraduate degree, although this can often be in any subject. Preferred undergraduate minimum GPA levels may be indicated but are not usually required for entrance into a program.
A major difference between undergraduate and graduate programs is that a number of the latter programs are designed to be accessible to working professionals and thus may offer more flexible schedules and coursework that is employment-oriented.
What’s the Difference Between Fintech Certificates and Certifications?
Many fields offer a variety of professional certifications awarded by industry organizations, associations, and nonprofits that enable professionals to develop and demonstrate their expertise. These can be very beneficial from the standpoint of increased salary and job opportunities.
Given that fintech is still an emerging field, at the time of this writing there aren’t any professional certifications available. As a result, in most contexts, there’s not much, if any, difference between fintech certification and certificates. Both refer to university fintech certificate programs, executive coursework, or even bootcamps.
What to Expect from a Fintech Certificate Program
Fintech certificate programs are generally structured around a core curriculum consisting of certain required and elective courses. These programs usually require from four to six months of academic coursework and can generally be completed over one or at most two semesters. Some programs require that all certificate coursework be completed within a certain time frame, for example, 180 days, while others allow the courses to be finished over an extended period of time.
Three to six total courses are typical, comprising 9 to 18 credit hours. Subject matter might range from blockchain and cryptocurrencies to employing quantitative analysis, AI and machine learning for portfolio management and trading, and advanced payments technology implementations.
Examples of schools and their course offerings include
Dallas Baptist University: Advanced Certificate in FinTech
- Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning
- FinTech: Latest Trends and Digital Strategies
University of Florida: Doctorate Fintech Certificate
- Advanced Engineering Economy
- Empirical Asset Pricing, Machine Learning, and AI
- Introduction to Stochastic Optimization
New Jersey Institute of Technology: Fintech Graduate Certificate
- Data Driven Financial Modeling
- Advanced Financial Data Analytics
- Derivatives Markets
- Data Mining and Analytics
University of Missouri–St. Louis: Fintech Graduate Certificate
- Introduction to Fintech
- Blockchain: Applications in Finance
- Portfolio Analysis and Management
- Financial Data Analytics
- Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning in Finance
How Much Do Fintech Certificates Cost?
The costs of these programs vary from $2,000 at the low end up to $30,000 or more at the high end. Examples of fintech certificate program costs include
University of Missouri–St Louis: Fintech Graduate Certificate
Missouri or Illinois residents: $548.10 per credit hour, $6,577.20 for 12 credits
Out-of-state residents: $1,345.60 per credit hour, $16,147.20 for 12 credits
Mercer University: Graduate Certificate in Compliance, Regulation, and Analytics in Fintech
$7,434 for 9 credit hours, $9,912 for 12 credit hours
New Jersey Institute of Technology: Fintech Graduate Certificate
In-state: $6,966 for 9 credit hours, $9,256 for 12 credit hours
Out-of-state: $13,941 for 9 credit hours, $17,486 for 17 credit hours
Oakland University: Graduate Certificate in Financial Technology
In-state: $834 per course
Nonresident: $1,027 per course
University of Connecticut: Graduate Certificate in FinTech
$18,000 total tuition and fees for 12 total credits (9 core, 3 elective). In-state and out-of-state students pay the same tuition.
Georgia State University: Graduate Certificate in Fintech Innovation
Georgia residents: $3,654 per semester
Nonresident: $8,508 per semester
Why Complete a University’s Fintech Certificate Program?
Fintech is an emerging field with strong job growth, driving a desire among those seeking jobs in the sector to acquire the skills and knowledge that will give them a leg up in competing for employment opportunities.
How fast is the sector growing? The Global Fintech Talent Report, from recruitment firm Robert Walters, found that in the first quarter of 2022 there was an 182% increase in tech job growth, with the fintech industry’s growth post-pandemic coming in red hot, at three times the broader market.
Fintech certificates require less time and coursework than a formal master’s in fintech, thus enabling professionals to quickly acquire relevant skills in the sector while continuing to work. This offers them the ability to improve their competitiveness for promotions, increased salary, and general employability in the field without investing a huge amount of time or money. As such, a fintech certificate constitutes a fairly low-risk opportunity to improve a holder’s ability to pursue and land lucrative positions in the sector.
For undergraduates or graduate students yet to join the workforce, a fintech certificate can serve a similar purpose. Because it requires a smaller time and financial investment than a fintech master’s, a certificate offers a more affordable and faster way to gain expertise in a promising field of study.