The professional who wishes to enter the banking industry can choose from a number of schools dedicated to specific bank careers. Schools can range from bank teller school offered at many local community colleges to trade schools offering specific trade education, such as mortgage loan processing, to universities with bachelor’s and master’s degrees in finance, accounting, information technology, law, and other related subjects. Courses to enhance bank careers or promotions within the field can be found through online or web based-universities and schools, or a student may prefer to attend classroom courses at a local college or university.
The banking and financial industry in the United States today is a multi-trillion dollar industry, employing millions of people in private and public firms as well as in the federal government, typically in regulatory agencies. Obviously, with so many people employed in this huge industry, many career opportunities are available, but competition for promotions can be fierce. Experienced professionals who wish to move up in this industry and gain promotions to more senior levels, will need to obtain certifications, diplomas, or degrees in their chosen field in order to gain knowledge and status within the ranks of employed staff. While many schools and colleges offer courses that may lead to banking degrees or certifications, it is important that the professional make certain that the degree or certificate offered is awarded by a learning institution or organization that is well respected in his or her field of banking, and that the learning institution is fully accredited.
Choosing a School
When choosing a school in pursuit of a banking career, one must first determine which designation, degree, or certificate is desired. The banking professional might want to discuss the subject with his or her banking supervisor, and determine which degrees or certifications for banking careers will be advantageous for the student in his or her current position, or for the promotion desired. The student might also ask other banking professionals at his or her bank to recommend courses or schools that they have attended or that are known to be accredited and well-respected. Many banking firms will aid the professional student by reimbursing or paying tuition costs and arranging for time off to take courses, if the student is a valued employee and passes all courses.
Each course offered at either a school, university, or association will have a course syllabus, or outline, of the details in the course to be taught. The student can request a summary of the syllabus, in order to determine whether the workings of the course will be the type of learning that the student needs. If the student is interested in enrolling in a brick-and-mortar campus, the college or university will encourage the student to visit the campus and the specific banking department in order to receive a first-hand impression of the school and the department. If the student has either professional or personal demands on his or her time, an online or web-based school or course may be easier for the student to commit his time to study. At the campus visit, or when discussing the online or web-based school with a campus representative, the student may wish to ask the representative questions about the course and the school, such as, what percentage of the students who enroll in the course complete the course and pass the required exams? What is the teacher-to-student ratio of the department? If a student needs study help or has questions throughout the course period, what kind of course assistance is available, such as a professor with open office hours or a teacher’s aide with availability by phone or email? If the student does not pass the course, what additional help is available? And finally, the student who wishes to obtain financial aid should ask details regarding the requirements for loans and/or scholarships or grants available from the school or university.
Applying to School
To apply to a university, a college, or an organization that offers degree or certificate programs for careers in banking, it is advised that the student visit the school’s website and review the requirements for enrollment into the school. Each learning institution will have its own set of requirements for application. These can include, but are not limited to, residence requirements, (community colleges typically require the student to be a county or city resident) prior schooling requirements (most colleges and universities require a high school diploma or GED prior to enrollment) or prior education grade point standards (some colleges accept only a small percentage of applicants, and typically limit enrollment to a set percentage of students with upper grade point averages). Many universities courses of study aimed related to banking will require students to take the SAT exam and many higher institutes of learning require a minimum test score for enrollment. Banking associations that offer certificate programs often require a letter of recommendation to the program from a senior banking official in order for the person to gain acceptance into the certificate program. Often, the student will be asked to write a letter or essay stating his or her reasons for applying to the program, or an essay chronicling the applicant’s experience in the chosen field of study and why he or she wishes to obtain the degree or certificate. The student is advised to write positive but honest details about his or her work or life experience. Remember that the student will be chosen from many applicants and the school will want students who will exemplify the mission and standing of the school or university in the community.
Applying to a university, college, or trade school usually starts with an online application, but some institutions will accept paper applications. The application will ask for many details about the student, including name, address, citizenship, and prior schooling. The application might also ask many essay-type questions, in order to gauge the student’s qualifications, abilities, and background. A transcript showing the student’s prior education is always required, and the learning institute may even ask for recommendations from teachers, professors, or work supervisors. Most all learning institutions will require an application fee to be included with the application. A student is well advised to be aware of the application deadlines and also of the application requirements that will need to be submitted with the application. An application will not be accepted if all details are not submitted as required, and if any details are submitted past the application deadline.
Banking School Accreditation
The Council for Higher Education Accreditation along with the United States Department of Education oversees the accreditation certificates and details of all higher distance education in the U.S. To ascertain that a school, university, or college offers a quality education, accreditation certification is required. Many schools and colleges are not accredited, and may or may not offer a quality education. The U.S. Department of Education also today oversees accreditation for all online schools, in conjunction with the Distance Education and Training Council (DETC). The Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB) provides accreditation services for schools in the fields of accounting and business at the bachelor’s, master’s and doctorate level. Each accreditation organization will have different but stringent requirements that must be met by the learning institution in order for it to obtain and maintain accreditation. The accreditation standards serve as a measure of quality of the education provided. Standards can include academic standards, research and governance standards, and even facilities and their quality. The institution for learning’s mission, philosophy of learning, and long- range or strategic plans can also be scrutinized for accreditation.
Unless the student is enrolling at a well-known university or institution, it is advised that the student verify the accreditation status of the institution, and most particularly of the courses related to banking related degrees. An educational institution that has fulfilled the requirements to be accredited by the responsible accrediting organization or council will have shown that they subscribe to a higher level of excellence in education. In addition, a degree or designation from an accredited organization is held in higher prestige than one from an unaccredited institution. An accredited institution is not necessarily more expensive than a non-accredited school. Most community colleges are fully accredited, but typically charge lower tuition rates than a university or a trade or professional school. The student is advised to do his or her homework regarding the status of the school prior to applying for any course of study related to banking careers.