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The best finance curriculum typically covers all the required topics in sufficient depth that will allow students to obtain the level of knowledge required to complete the tasks of their positions, or pass an examination. Finance can be divided into three areas: business, personal, and public. All of these areas primarily are concerned with the management of money. The primary aspects that drive finance are time, risk, and money.
There are two motivations behind the development of a finance curriculum: career-specific training and certification. Students and employers both rely on academic institutions to provide a finance curriculum that results in employable graduates who have the skills and knowledge required to complete the tasks of his or her position. The curriculum itself is used to create the individual courses, select textbooks, and create examinations.
A common way to ensure a specific quality level in these programs is the use of third-party certification programs. This practice is common in the financial industry, as many of these skills are invisible to potential employers. It can be important to confirm a specific level of knowledge and comprehension in all candidates due to the sensitive nature of the finance industry.
When selecting a finance curriculum, the first thing to consider is your desired outcome. If you want to pass a specific certification program or exam, make sure that the course outlines and descriptions relate directly to the materials covered in the examination. Most schools provide a list of the examinations and programs that are related to a specific course. Take the time to personally check with the certifying institution before registering for the course.
Look at the textbook or reference material associated with the course and browse through it. This often is the most practical way to evaluate the level of a course. Compare the course topics to the chapters in the book and determine how much of the course is related to the book. Some courses list a well-known book, but only use it for one or two chapters. Students then are left to review the material independently, which usually is less than ideal.
Talk to former students and program administrators about the finance curriculum to determine if it will meet your current and future needs. Ask about the last revision date, and a list of people who were on the academic review board. These people all should be experts in the subject with a deep understanding of the topics and skills required in the current labor market.
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