Do I Need a Master’s Degree to Become a CFO?

Managing financial-related procedures within a company or organization is an extremely important position, one that carries a lot of responsibility. Obviously, someone that has so much responsibility managing the financial health of a company needs to be an expert in the field of finance and have adequate experience. If you are wondering if a Master’s degree is a requirement to attain employment, read on and learn what educational path you should take to become a CFO.

Gaining a Broad Range of Skills to Compete

The Chief Financial Officer will need to understand all aspects of business and how finances play a role in each and every area of the company. Because of this, a CFO needs to have a broad range of skills in finance and in business. Many people will advance from an accounting position to a CFO position because they have the experience, but it is important that professionals who are ready to do this are ready to also switch their focus from accounting to more strategic aspects of business.

To gain the business skills you need to compete in a highly competitive occupation, you will need to complete a formal degree program. While a Master’s degree is not always a requirement, if you are applying for a position with a high-ranking company you almost always need a Master’s degree to even be considered. If your goal is to become a CFO with a smaller company where competition is not as fierce, a Bachelor’s degree and the right amount of experience in a finance-related position may suffice.

Professional Experience Requirements

Once you attain your Bachelor’s degree in Business Administration or Finance, the next step is gaining the professional experience that you will need to be awarded with the Chief Finance Officer title. If you want such a high-ranking corporate title, you will need to posses corporate experience as a controller or another related position in finance management.

You must have experience that shows that you are a facilitator, a strategist, and a leader, and a technical professional. If you work your way up to a controller position, you can start applying for CFO positions within 3 to 5 years. Once you are promoted to the officer in charge of finance, you will make 30 to 60 percent more than you did as a controller.

It will take you between 3 to 4 years to attain a Bachelor’s degree in a business-related field, and then 1 to 2 additional years to earn your Master’s if you are enrolled full time. By choosing to commit just 1 to 2 more years to attaining a Master’s degree, you can strengthen your chances of getting a higher paying CFO position.