People with analytical minds and a strong focus on detail are great candidates for in-demand finance careers. This field includes many roles other than trading on the stock exchange floor, though many positions still include financial forecasting and investments for businesses and clients.
As the finance and technology worlds merge more and more, professionals in these fields can maximize returns on investments for individuals and organizations. This guide analyzes if finance is a good career path, along with salary data for finance jobs and projected employment growth rates.
The Advantages of Working in Finance
Finance degree careers can offer relatively high pay, security, career advancement, and constant demand projections. Finance careers may also provide employees with flexibility by permitting them to work remotely or in hybrid environments.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), employment in business and finance will expand by 8% from 2020 to 2030, pairing the average projected growth for all occupations in the United States. Certain financial roles, such as financial examiner, are expected to grow at a rate more than double the national average.
Financial professionals also earn higher-than-average pay. According to BLS data, personal financial advisors earned a median annual salary of nearly $95,000 in 2021, which was more than double the median annual salary for all professions nationwide. Financial analysts, one of the most common finance jobs, earned a median annual salary of $81,040.
In fact, the BLS reported that total pay for business and financial occupations were relatively high. These professionals earned a median annual salary of $76,570, nearly $31,000 more than the national average for all jobs.
Finance professionals can stay up to date in an ever-changing field thanks to cutting-edge developments at the intersection of finance and technology. The need for knowledgeable workers to evaluate investment opportunities will drive demand for finance careers in the future.
Finance professionals can also develop their careers to take on more responsibilities and earn more money.
Professionals with more education, experience, or certification in specific areas of finance can work as portfolio managers, chief financial officers, and senior financial analysts.
Accountant Annual Median Salary: $77,250
+7% projected growth rate (2020-2030)
Job Objective: Accountants keep financial records for both public and private organizations. They maintain detailed, organized reports in accordance with regulations and legal standards. Accountants must be able to communicate effectively in order to report their findings to decision-makers and stakeholders. Individuals working in finance can specialize their work to focus on specific sectors such as healthcare, insurance, and tax preparation.
These professionals track government spending and examine records at all levels of government to ensure that tax laws are followed. Accountants also work with private businesses to manage cash flow, analyze risk, improve efficiency, and make recommendations to boost profits.
Auditor Annual Median Salary: $77,250
+7% projected growth rate (2020-2030)
Job Objective: Auditors audit organizations’ finances to ensure that they are in compliance with government regulations. These professionals, like accountants, make recommendations for financial improvements and solutions for complying with tax laws. This finance degree job is commonly found in two varieties: internal auditor and external auditor.
Internal auditors work for the companies they audit, overseeing financial records to assess risk, compliance, and potential fraud. These experts present their findings to management and may recommend changes to company processes or best practices.
External auditors collaborate with outside companies to review financial statements for organizations. They report their findings to regulators and investors to ensure that the company keeps accurate financial records.
The financial analyst’s average annual salary is $81,410.
+6% projected growth rate (2020-2030)
Job Objective: These analysts assess financial information for individuals and businesses. They conduct economic and business research, analyze financial statements and make investment recommendations to maximize profits.
Financial analysts are typically classified as either buy-side or sell-side analysts. Buy-side analysts assist companies in acquiring investments through mutual funds, pension funds, and hedge funds in order to earn a return. They evaluate each client’s investment portfolio based on the client’s long-term plans and goals.
Sell-side analysts conduct research on stocks and investments in specific industries in order to generate financial forecasts for potential investors. They collaborate with industry stakeholders to develop investment projections, which are then aggregated by financial professionals into a consensus estimate.
Under the financial analyst framework, other finance degree jobs include fund manager, portfolio manager, securities analyst, and financial risk specialist.
Advisor or Personal Financial Planner
The annual Median Salary is $94,170
+5% projected growth rate (2020-2030)
Job Objective: Personal financial planners meet with individuals and families to provide financial advice and assess financial objectives. These professionals provide advice on taxes, estate planning, investments, mortgages, and other financial issues.
These professionals are sought out by families during significant life events such as retirement, marriage, and pursuing higher education. Financial planners assist individuals in assessing the risk associated with investments in order to meet short-term and long-term objectives. Clients are advised on how to maximize their returns. Financial planners can invest in stocks, bonds, and annuities for their clients.
Financial planners help clients with tax preparation, insurance purchases, and personal budgeting. These professionals monitor people’s accounts to see if they are on track to meet their financial goals and make changes as needed.
Annual Salary of a Financial Examiner: $81,410
+18% projected growth rate (2020-2030)
Job Objective: Financial examiners monitor banks and financial institutions to protect customers and borrowers from unexpected losses and predatory lending practices. These professionals typically work in either consumer compliance or risk assessment as one of the most in-demand careers in finance.
Customers are assured by financial examiners that their lenders are held to high standards of consumer compliance. This prevents institutions from making loans with unreasonably high-interest rates that borrowers are unable to repay. These professionals also monitor lending practices to prevent banks from discriminating on the basis of ethnicity, race, gender, or disability.
Examiners have all been operating in risk assessment, reviewing the income and expenses of banks and institutions in order to ensure the stability of the entire financial system. They even construct and present reports on the broad fiscal fitness of financial institutions.
The average actuary base salary is $99,340 (total pay is $59,340 – $171,400).
24% projected growth rate
Education requirements for actuaries: A 4 degree in actuarial sciences, math, statistics, or a business-related field such as finance, economics, or business, as well as coursework and a series of professional exams from the Casualty Actuarial Society (CAS) or Society of Actuaries, are required (SOA).
Actuaries use math, statistics, and financial theory to assess the monetary consequences of risk. These professionals collect, compile, and analyze data in order to estimate the likelihood and likely costs of events such as injury, sickness, disability, death, and property loss.
Actuaries work for risk-management organizations such as insurance companies (the most common employer), pension plans, banks, investment firms, accounting firms, consulting firms, governments, and hospitals. Their advice and expertise are critical in assisting these organizations in managing their assets to minimize risk and maximize returns.
A strong math background and a four-year degree in actuarial sciences, math, statistics, finance, or economics are required to work as an actuary. To achieve full professional status, you must join the Casualty Actuarial Society (CAS) or the Society of Actuaries as an associate or fellow (SOA). At the associate level, the certification process takes four to seven years, with an additional two to three years required to earn fellowship status.
What to Think About Before Starting a Finance Career
What degree do I require for the job I want?
A bachelor’s degree in business, accounting, finance, or a related field is typically required to pursue an entry-level career in finance. Master’s degrees in these fields enable professionals to advance their careers in finance, insurance, investment, and government.
Are there any available jobs in my city?
Individuals seeking or currently employed in finance degree jobs can search for local job opportunities on sites such as Indeed, LinkedIn, and Glassdoor. Finance jobs are typically more plentiful in major metropolitan areas where there are more financial institutions, insurance companies, banks, and trading organizations.
Can I work from home?
Finance professionals can find work in fully remote and hybrid positions. Risk monitor analyst, revenue accountant, accounts payable specialist, and accounting policy specialist is some common remote finance careers.
Is an additional certification required for the job I want?
Some finance professions require certification and/or licensure, though requirements vary by state. For example, certified public accountants (CPAs) must have significant professional experience and education before taking the CPA Exam and earning certification.
Other certifications demonstrate commitment and expertise in specific finance sectors. These credentials may help professionals increase their earning potential, but they are not typically needed by employers.
Is Finance a Decent Career Path?
That is determined by your personal interests. If you enjoy numbers, money, and math, a career in this field may be an option worth considering. Working in finance has many advantages, including a good salary and a variety of jobs to suit different personalities and skill sets. It is the sector that is hoped to grow in the coming years.
Is Finance a Secure Profession?
In general, yes. While the industry is known to be quite cyclical, banks and brokerages tend to lay off a large number of people during major recessions; qualified professionals are in such high demand that they will not be out of work for long.
Financial careers frequently have high entry barriers, intense competition among applicants, and a lot of stress. It also provides multiple benefits, such as a difficult work environment, dealings with highly motivated and intelligent colleagues, possibilities for advancement, and outstanding pay. While many people enter the financial field for income potential, the most successful have a strong passion for their work.