As children, we all dreamed about what we would become one day. From an astronaut to a professional athlete, many of us imagined a career that would knock the socks off our loved ones.
Fast forward a few years and things may not have gone exactly as planned. You may still be looking for that career you can be proud to show off. And why shouldn’t you? Life is short. Why not live it to the best of your potential?
Maybe a career in finance will do the trick. We can’t all be chief financial officers, but there are plenty of other impressive finance job titles within field. We used real-time job analysis software to examine more than 190,000 finance jobs posted over the past year to determine which titles are most in demand with employers.*
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the jobs listed below all feature median earnings of more than $50,000 annually. Not only that — they look pretty impressive on a business card. While this is not a list of entry-level finance jobs, it is a list of positions worth working toward. If you are feeling unenthusiastic about your current career path, read up on some options for an exciting and impressive career in finance.
Brag-worthy finance job titles
1. Financial analyst
What you do: As a financial analyst, you dive deep into business trends, company resources and investment opportunities in order to guide the business toward smart financial decisions. You’ll also interact with company officials to better understand your organization’s prospects and recommend investments. The BLS notes that more and more companies are looking for financial analysts who have a global perspective and can understand the culture, language and business environment of the country or region they cover. This worldly focus makes sense — globalization has led to businesses with operations on multiple continents and businesses need analysts who understand the challenges and opportunities this presents.
Median annual salary** (2015): $80,310
Basic requirements to become one: Companies typically require a bachelor’s degree in finance or a related field. The more advanced ranks will likely ask for a master’s degree in business as well.
What you do: As a controller, you manage the accounting operations of your company to oversee financial reports, forecast the company’s financial position and maintain a set of controls and budgets designed to mitigate risk and ensure the accuracy of the company's reported finances. Controllers also play an important part in keeping an organization’s financial reporting in line with generally accepted accounting principles and other regulatory standards.
Basic requirements to become one: You’ll need a bachelor's degree in finance, accounting, economics or business management. Depending on the position you’re pursuing, it may also be beneficial to pursue professional certifications like Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) or the Certified Treasury Professional credential after completion of a bachelor’s degree program.
What you do: As an accountant, you prepare and examine financial records for accuracy and ensure that taxes are paid properly and on time. This level of insight into an organization's finances also allows for accountants to assess financial operations and find inefficiencies to cut, helping the organization’s bottom line.
The role of an accountant is versatile, which makes this a perfect starting point for many higher-level finance positions.
Median annual salary** (2015): $67,190
Basic requirements to become one: Most accountants will need a bachelor’s degree in accounting. Earning credentials, such as Certified Public Accountant (CPA) or Certified Management Accountant (CMA) will show specialized expertise to help you stand out in the field.
What you do: As an actuary, you analyze the financial costs of risk and uncertainty. In this role you use mathematics, statistics and financial theory to forecast future financial events, assess risks and advise your organization on how to minimize their exposure to financial threats.
As you might imagine, an understanding of potential risk and financial probabilities is a huge part of the insurance industry. The insights an actuary provides from estimating probabilities become the standard by which these companies price their coverage.
The actuary job title is gaining traction within the finance field and there is a strong outlook for job growth. The BLS projects an 18% growth in employment for actuaries by 2024 — which is more than double the 7% growth rate for all occupations.
Median annual salary** (2015): $97,070
Basic requirements to become one: You need a bachelor’s degree in mathematics, statistics or a similar field for this position. After the degree, you must pass a series of exams to become a certified actuary.
5. Business systems analyst
What you do: A business systems analyst is a computer analyst within the business sector. In this job, you’ll need to be proficient with technology.
As a business systems analyst, you study your organization’s computer systems and design information systems solutions to help everything operate more efficiently. You act as the bridge between the business world and the information technology (IT) world, so you’ll need a thorough understanding of both.
Business systems analysts also prepare cost analyses to help management decide if IT systems and computing infrastructure upgrades are financially worthwhile.
Median annual salary** (2015): $85,800
Basic requirements to become one: A bachelor’s degree in computer science is most common for this career, though it isn’t necessarily a must-have. Like many tech careers, there is more of an emphasis placed on your technical skills instead of how you developed them — whether that’s through self-teaching or a degree program.
A career worth bragging about
Now that you have a glimpse of the high demand for these impressive finance job titles, you are probably wondering if any of these jobs are a good fit for you and if you’ll be able to thrive in these roles. We can help with that! Check out the 8 Signs You Have What it Takes to Major in Finance.
* Source: Burning-Glass.com (analysis of 196,313 finance jobs with annual salaries over $50,000, Mar. 01, 2015 - Apr. 30, 2016)
** Salary data represents national, averaged earnings for the occupations listed and includes workers at all level of education and experience. This data does not represent starting salaries and employment conditions in your area may vary.
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