While you may not be the next Jesse Jackson, Justin Timberlake or Jay Z, pursuing a career in finance can help you put on your own suit and tie and steal the show by building the successful career you have always imagined.
But before you’re forced to learn the difference between tying a Windsor or Four-in-hand knot, let’s start by reviewing the jobs you can get with a finance degree. These job descriptions were taken from the Bureau of Labor statistics and were included here to help you identify which elite opportunity is right for you.
Highly sought-after jobs for finance degree holders
An analysis of more than 300,000 job postings* from the past year revealed four finance-related jobs that offer great opportunities for financial security and professional development.
1. Financial analyst
Projected job growth: 23 percent
Average annual wage: $74,350
Job openings over the past year: 111,534
Potential jobs you can get: finance analyst, portfolio manager or pricing analyst
Preferred qualifications: A bachelor’s degree is commonly required for entering this field. Recommended majors include accounting, finance, economics or statistics.
It’s time to suit up because financial analysts often provide assistance for helping businesses and individuals make investment decisions. This is the big leagues. In this position you’re the guy who is often behind the scenes analyzing past and present data trends, reviewing at financial statements, preparing written reports and meeting with investors or management to make recommendations on investment options.
People in these positions often meet with decision-makers and provide them with insights into reaching their investment goals. In laymen’s terms, it means you make your living by telling wealthy people where, when and why to buy or sell an investment.
2. Financial Manager
Projected job growth: 9 percent
Average annual wage: $103,910
Job openings over the past year: 206,025
Potential jobs you can get: finance manager, controller or chief financial officer
Preferred qualifications: A bachelor’s degree in finance, accounting or a related field with several years of experience working in the field. Addition credentials such as the CFA or an MBA are also recommended.
It’s time to straighten that tie because financial managers are primarily responsible for the overall financial wellbeing of an organization. The roles performed by these professionals might vary, but duties like preparing financial statements, managing employees within the department, reviewing financial reports and document, analyzing market trends and helping make financial business decisions are common.
These types of positions are often where the “cream of the crop” employees end up. Financial managers are responsible for their own duties, as well as those of their entire team. But that added responsibility often means higher compensation.
3. Personal financial advisor
Projected job growth: 32 percent
Average annual wage: $64,750
Job openings over the past year: 84,335
Potential jobs you can get: financial advisor, investment consultant or financial planner
Preferred qualifications: A bachelor’s degree in finance or accounting is recommended. You may also need to earn different licenses or certifications that may be required by the SEC in order to manage client investments.
You may already be somewhat familiar with this position. Perhaps you or your parents have an “investment guy”—also known as a personal financial advisor—who helps them plan financial goals, review options and execute investments such as retirement and life insurance.
Among the opportunities listed here, this is probably the most varied with regard to types of investments or client groups. But perhaps the single most attractive feature of working in this area is the income potential. Working for an investment firm usually means a steady salary and bonuses, but being a self-employed personal financial advisor allows you to earn a percentage of the assets you manage for your clients. More clients can equal more investment leading to more income for you.
4. Financial services sales agent
Projected job growth: 15 percent
Average annual wage: $70,190
Job openings over the past year: 71,647
Potential jobs you can get: financial services representation, banker or financial consultant
Preferred qualifications: A bachelor’s degree with a major in finance, accounting, economics or business. Advanced positions generally require an MBA. Professional licenses such as the Series 7 or additional certification may also be required.
Hollywood has for decades portrayed financial services sales agents in films like Trading Places and The Wolf of Wall Street. This position allows you to offer advice on particular securities or commodities—such as stocks, bonds, corn and gold—and connect buyers and sellers in the sale of securities and commodities.
Many of the positions we found involve working on the trading room floor at the New York Stock Exchange, but advances in technology also allow brokers and other sales agents to conduct business around the world.
Where are these finance jobs?
It’s understandable that not everyone can move to the financial hot spots of the world like New York City, Tokyo and London. We wanted to highlight these jobs across America so you can find great opportunities even in your own backyard.
Even if you don’t live near a major metropolitan area, there are elite opportunities for finance professionals in several markets in every corner of the country.
Now you probably have a much better understanding of the different types of jobs you can get with a finance degree. It won’t be easy—these are considered “elite” opportunities for a reason. But one thing is for sure: You’ll never be more prepared than you are now to pursue a career in the high-profile world of finance.
Check out our finance degree program to learn more about the field and suit up for the career you’ve always wanted.
- Burning Glass (An analysis of job postings for finance positions over the past year, Nov. 26, 2012 to Nov. 25, 2013)
- Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Employment Statistics, www.bls.gov/oes/
Note: Salary data represents national, averaged earnings for the occupations listed and includes workers at all levels of education and experience. This data does not represent starting salaries and employment conditions in your area may vary.