What Can You Do with a Finance Degree? 7 Careers to Consider
Business is a broad field with many paths and options; it can be overwhelming trying to pick a place to start. The field of finance sounds like it could be appealing option to you—the buzz of following stocks and international business news just seems interesting. But there’s more to finance than stock exchanges—it’s a large field with several unique paths and job titles you can obtain throughout your professional career.
To help you understand what you can do with a finance degree, we’ve analyzed over 360,000 job postings from the past year to identify some of the most common positions seeking candidates with this degree.1 But we didn’t stop there—we’ve also included key information like job duties, projected employment growth and salary information to give you a better look at whether a career in finance fits your interests and goals.
It’s important to note that not all of these are entry-level positions, but they can be achieved with proper education and experience in the field. So what can you do with a finance degree? See for yourself below!
7 Jobs employers are seeking to fill with finance degree holders
The good news is that earning a degree in finance is no dead end. There are several career paths you can take with this education under your belt. Let’s take a closer look at seven finance degree jobs that could be yours.
1. Financial analyst
A lot of thought—and work—goes into the financial decisions made by businesses and organizations. Financial analysts are the professionals tasked with researching and advising these organizations on financial investment decisions. They take a deep dive into the financial health of investments, research market trends and help businesses make the most of the market they’re operating in.
- Research investment opportunities for businesses
- Buy and sell stocks and bonds on behalf of institutional investors
- Study industry trends and manage portfolios
Projected employment growth (2016–2026): 11 percent (faster than average)2
Median annual salary (2017): $84,3002
2. Personal financial advisor
Personal financial advisors are some of the most visible to the public finance professionals out there. They’re the people who assist clients in managing their personal investments to fit their needs—for example, planning for retirement, managing investment risks, or planning what to do with their estates. These professionals depend on gaining clients and maintaining relationships so they’ll need strong interpersonal skills. People feel strongly about their personal finances so it helps to be an advisor who can explain their options in a clear, calm and confident manner.
- Attracting clients through networking events and prospecting
- Meeting with clients to discuss investment opportunities and priorities
- Researching investments and educating clients about potential risks and rewards
Projected employment growth (2016–2026): 15 percent (faster than average)2
Median annual salary (2017): $90,6402
3. Management analyst
Management analysts are the people businesses turn to when they need help improving the profitability and efficiency of a process or specific area of their business. These experienced professionals often work as outside consultants—which helps them give an unbiased and objective view of what might be going wrong and what could be done to make a change. They work closely with stakeholders to gather information about what is currently being done, identify problem areas and then develop and propose potential solutions to management teams.
- Analyze revenue, expenditure and financial data to solve or improve a procedure
- Develop solutions and recommend changes to increase an organization’s efficiency
- Advise organizations on ways to reduce costs and increase revenues
Projected employment growth (2016–2026): 14 percent (faster than average)2
Median annual salary (2017): $82,4502
4. Director of finance (or other financial manager positions)
Directors of finance, along with other types of financial managers, are senior-level financial professionals responsible for guiding the financial policy of entire organizations or large divisions of a company. They review financial reports and profitability forecasts to help plan where organizational investments are made—and, if necessary, where cuts should be made to improve profitability.
- Manage the overall financial health of an organization
- Study market trends to maximize profits, find opportunities and create forecasts
- Create financial statements and reports to help management make decisions
Projected employment growth (2016–2026): 19 percent (much faster than average)2
Median annual salary (2017): $125,0802
This entry-level finance position is responsible for the recording of all financial transactions made by an organization or department. They maintain a general ledger by recording (and verifying) costs and income, as well as produce reports used by other financial professionals for higher-level decision-making.
- Enter financial information and transactions into spreadsheets and databases
- Create balance sheets, income statement and totals by account
- Ensure accuracy in all data and report any differences
Projected employment growth (2016–2026): -1 percent (little or no change)2
Median annual salary (2017): $39,2402
6. Tax examiner/revenue agent
A Finance degree doesn’t necessarily mean you’ll be working in the private sector. Tax examiners and revenue agents work for federal, state and local governments to investigate the tax filings and financial information of individuals and organizations. They identify any potential under- or over-payment of taxes owed and work with these entities to receive clarifying documentation or development plans for resolving the difference.
- Verify that citizens and companies are paying the proper amount of taxes
- Audit and investigate tax returns to ensure accuracy
- Issue refunds or contact clients to request additional payment if proper amount was not paid
Projected employment growth (2016–2026): -1 percent (little or no change)2
Median annual salary (2017): $53,1302
7. Loan officer
Whenever money is lent from one entity to another, there’s an expectation of repayment—and the risk if this expectation isn’t met. A loan officer is the person responsible for vetting a borrower’s ability to pay back a loan. They evaluate the financial information of loan applicants with the help of underwriting software to help lenders decide if a loan agreement is worth making.
- Meet with loan applicants to record information and answer questions
- Explain loan options, types and agreements to clients
- Analyze applicants’ financial information, such as credit score and income for loan eligibility
Projected employment growth (2016–2026): 11 percent (Faster than average)**
Median annual salary (2017): $64,660**
Start on your finance career path
As you can see, a degree in finance can add up to a lot of career options. Now that you know more about some of the opportunities, you should have a clearer picture of whether or not this fits your career goals. If this sounds like the right fit for you, the next step is getting an education. Check out Rasmussen College’s Finance degree page to learn more about how they can help you reach your goals.
1Burning-Glass.com (analysis of 360,590 Finance job postings, Jun. 01, 2017 – May 31, 2018)
2Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, [information accessed July 18, 2018] www.bls.gov/ooh/. Salary ranges represent national, averaged earnings for the occupations listed and include workers at all levels of education and experience. Ranges do not represent starting salaries and employment conditions in your area may vary.