If you aren’t intimidated by working with numbers, majoring in finance could be your first step to a great business career. There are plenty of jobs you could get with a finance degree, including leadership roles, self-employment opportunities, jobs that involve a great deal of client interaction and those in which you spend most of your time analyzing the investment market or financial documents. Among the most popular jobs in finance are financial analyst, personal financial advisor, financial examiner and financial manager.
Nearly 300,000 Americans are already employed as financial analysts, and the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) is predicting a faster than average job growth rate of 11 percent that will add 32,200 new jobs within a decade. While the job title might give you the gist of what these finance professionals do, what you might not know is that financial analysts are concerned specifically with investments. They analyze investment opportunities to help people and organizations make good investment decisions, which is why they sometimes go by the title investment analyst or securities analyst.
Banks, mutual funds, pensions funds, insurance companies and securities firms are some of the businesses that most commonly employ financial analysts. Almost one-quarter of financial analysts work in the securities, commodity contracts and financial investments industry. Professional, scientific and technical services, credit intermediation, management and insurance carriers are other top-employing industries of financial analysts.
Working overtime is a part of life for financial analysts, 30 percent of whom report working more than 40 hours a week, according to the BLS.
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Personal Financial Advisor
If you enjoy analyzing investment opportunities but you also like the human side of doing business, then you might want to put your finance degree to work in a career as a personal financial advisor. These finance professionals meet directly with individuals and help them plan for their financial goals. As a personal financial advisor, you will be a bigger part of your clients’ lives, since the financial topics you are advising them on include not just investments but also college and retirement savings and life changes such as marriage, buying a home and having children. The BLS reports a median annual salary of $90,640 for personal financial advisors.
Personal financial advisor is an ideal career choice for those who want to be their own boss. Almost one-quarter of all personal financial advisors in the United States are self-employed.
In many ways, financial examiner is a little different from other finance occupations. For one thing, this finance career is one of the smallest, employing just 52,500 American workers, according to the BLS. Unlike most finance roles, in which the goal is to grow money through making profitable investments and other financial moves, financial examiners focus on how companies comply with laws and regulations. A third of all financial examiners work for the credit intermediation industry, and a combined 22 percent work for federal or state government entities.
Financial examiners as a whole earn a median annual wage of $81,690, but the BLS reports that financial examiners working for the federal government enjoy a much higher median salary of $118,040.
Management Jobs in Finance
In the finance field, management jobs take many forms. There are controllers, who are responsible for overseeing the preparation of a company’s financial documents, like income statements and balance sheets, that demonstrate the organization’s financial health. In a position like finance officer or treasurer, you might make sure budgets are being used in the right ways to reach your company’s financial goals as well as developing strategies to support company growth, acquisitions and mergers. There are credit managers, who look at a company’s credit, and cash managers who oversee incoming and outgoing cash flow. Risk managers and insurance managers both seek to protect their organization from risks, but they approach that goal in different ways. A chief financial officer (CFO), the highest financial manager role in a company, is the one who directs and determines the organization’s big-picture financial strategies and direction. What all of these financial manager roles have in common is that their most important job duty is to work toward getting and keeping the business financially healthy and stable, the BLS reported.
As a whole, financial managers earn a median salary of $125,080. However, CFOs fall under the category of chief executives, for whom the median salary is $183,270 a year.