If you’re interested in finance, there’s a good chance that part of your motivation is, well, financial. Salary is a major reason finance is such a popular career field. When you take your first step on the path to a finance career by earning a Bachelor of Arts (B.A.) or Bachelor of Science (B.S.) in Finance degree, you are setting yourself up for a number of profitable career paths. Many careers in finance have a median salary of $70,000 or more.

What Is the Salary Potential for Someone with a Finance Degree?

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Chief Financial Officers (CFOs)

It’s no coincidence that the highest-paying roles in finance are also the most senior-level jobs you can attain. A chief financial officer (CFO) is a type of chief executive management role. Working alongside chief executive officers (CEOs) in the upper echelon of business leadership, a CFO in today’s business world is the financial manager of a company, responsible for overseeing financial operations, budgetary support, finance-related company policy shifts and progress toward financial goals. The overall median salary for all chief executives is $183,270, according to the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). The eight percent of CFOs and other chief executives who work in the professional, scientific and technical services industry and the seven percent who work in manufacturing earn the highest wages, with a median salary of $208,000 or more for both industries.

Many chief executives are self-employed and enjoy the freedom of managing their own company or organization in addition to the high salary.

Personal Financial Advisors

Outside of senior management roles, the best-paid finance professionals in America are personal financial advisors. The $90,640 overall median wage for this career path is well above the $37,690 median salary the BLS reports for all occupations. Within this field, the most lucrative opportunities are in the industry of securities, commodity contracts and other financial investment activities, where the median wage is $98,560. More than half of all personal financial advisors are fortunate enough to work in this top-paying industry, the BLS reported.

Personal financial advisors who work in other industries make considerably lower salaries, though they still earn a good living. The median wage for financial advisor jobs in management of companies and enterprises is $82,330. The 13 percent of the occupation working in credit intermediation earn a median salary of $78,550. Five percent of personal financial advisors work for insurance carriers, earning a median wage of $70,290.

Personal financial advisors also enjoy a huge job growth, with the BLS projecting a 15 percent rate of job growth – more than double the seven percent growth expected for all occupations – over 10 years.  

 Highest Paying Analysts Fields

Many finance degree graduates go one to hold business jobs that include the word “analyst” in the job title. Financial analyst is the best-paid of these roles, followed by management analyst.

For financial analysts, the median annual wage is $84,300, well above the $70,120 median salary for all financial specialist roles. Again, the securities, commodity contracts and other financial investments activities industry is the most lucrative, with a median salary of $100,180. Nearly one in four financial analysts work in this sector. Financial analysts who work in professional, scientific and technical services have a median wage of $83,970, just above the $82,580 median for management. Not far below are jobs with the credit intermediation industry, with an $80,870 median wage, and jobs with insurance carriers, which pay $76,860.

Management analysts, also known as management consultants, earn a median wage of $82,450. The BLS considers these workers to be part of the job category of business operation specialists, for whom the median wage is considerably lower, at $66,390. The best-paying roles for management analysts are in the professional, scientific and technical services industry, which pays a median salary of $87,840 and accounts for 30 percent of the occupation. Next most profitable are management analyst roles in the management of companies and enterprises industry, which pay a median wage of $82,970.

Another analyst role you could get with a finance degree is budget analyst, for which the BLS reports a $75,240 median salary.

Financial Examiners

If you’re interested in finance laws and regulations, you could earn an excellent salary as a financial examiner. These business and finance workers are responsible for ensuring that financial institutions comply with these laws. As a whole, financial examiners earn a median salary of $81,690, but the industry you work in plays a big role in determining your income. The 14 percent of financial examiners enjoy a median salary of $118,040, well above their peers in other industries and almost triple that of all occupations.

The 11 percent of financial examiners working in securities, commodity contracts and other financial investments activities also earn more, with a median wage of $90,800 for that industry. Management of companies and enterprises, an industry which employs another 11 percent of this occupation, has an $82,360 median salary. One-third of all financial examiners are employed by the industry of credit intermediation and related activities, where the median wage is $76,300. Interestingly, the eight percent of financial examiners who work for state governments earn way less than their peers at the federal level, with a median salary of $68,990.

Finance majors can find jobs under a multitude of names, including insurance underwriter, purchasing agent, loan officer, manufacturing cost estimator, and appraiser or assessor of real estate.

Additional Resources

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