Start your career in finance as a commercial banker, investment banker, financial planner, or public accountant. Which degrees are necessary to start?
Although the finance sector is well-liked and offers a variety of expanding job options, from accounting to investment banking, it is also renowned for being extremely competitive.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), employment in the banking industry will increase by 5% from 2019 to 2029. This 5% rise translates to almost 476,200 new employment.
Many things are responsible for the expansion, but the two biggest ones are the expanding economy and globalization.
Types of Careers in Finance
Finance is a competitive career field. That’s not surprising, considering the top earners range anywhere from six to seven-figure salaries.
Due to its famed competitiveness and high compensation, investment banking is a field that most people are familiar with;
But few are aware that many other finance occupations go beyond supporting banks and that yet provide comparably competitive pay packages.
Base pay for an investment banker typically ranges from $50,000 to $293,000.1 Growth rate forecast: 7%3.
Education requirements for investment bankers: a four-year degree in economics, finance, or a quantitative, business-focused discipline plus an MBA or master’s degree in finance (preferably from a prestigious university)
Investment banking is home to some of the most glamorous (and demanding) financial professions. Investment banks assist businesses and governments in raising funds through mergers and acquisitions (M&A), bonds, equities, and initial public offerings.
Investment banking companies typically consist of multiple groups and divisions, each with distinct goals and duties.
Dealing with securities issuers and M&A specialists is one of the benefits of working at a traditional investment bank.
Working on the trading desk and dealing in stocks, bonds, and other secondary market securities is another possibility.
Even if the field has become more egalitarian, it still maintains an air of elitism because MBAs from elite universities are frequently all but required. Nonetheless, compared to some other finance positions, investment bankers are less likely now to pursue professional certifications like the Series 7 or CFA.
Base compensation for an actuary averages $101,893 (total pay ranges from $50,000 to $155,000).4
Growth rate anticipated: 23%5. Requirements for actuary education: A four-year degree in actuarial sciences, math, statistics, or a business-related field like finance, economics, or business is required.
In addition, professional exams from the Society of Actuaries (SOA) or the Casualty Actuarial Society (CAS) are required. Actuaries use math, statistics, and financial theory to analyze the financial effects of risk.
These experts collect, compile, and evaluate data to calculate the likelihood and probable expenses of various occurrences, including illness, injury, death, and property loss.
Using statistics rather than crystal balls, actuaries are professionals in assessing the possibility of future events, as stated on the CAS and SOA’s Actuary website.
Actuaries are employed by organizations that have to manage risk, such as governments, hospitals, banks, pension plans, insurance companies, investment businesses, accounting firms, and consulting firms.
These entities rely heavily on their advice and experiences to assist them in managing their assets to reduce risk and optimize returns.
Base pay for a portfolio manager is typically $96,461 (total pay ranges from $61,000 to $182,000.8
Growth rate anticipated: 16%9.
Qualifications for portfolio managers’ education: a four-year degree in business, economics, or finance together with any necessary licenses issued by the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA)
One of the most prominent positions in the finance sector is portfolio management. Institutional and retail client investments are managed by portfolio managers, sometimes known as money managers.
They advise clients on customized investment plans and particular investment choices, and they typically have the authority to carry out those plans in a way that best serves the client’s objectives.
Portfolio managers frequently focus on particular asset classes, such as fixed-income or stocks. Alternatively, a manager might specialize in high-yield bonds, blockchain-related businesses, or specific stock kinds.
Specialized funds that work with these focused managers could look for someone with an analytical research background.
Some organizations have more expansive goals, such as managing many asset classes, and they typically search for managers who possess an equally wide range of financial expertise and experience.
The average base pay for a quantitative analyst is $92,089 (total pay ranges from $67,000 to $159,000).10
Growth rate anticipated: 8%11
Requirements for quantitative analyst education: a Ph.D. or master’s degree in a quantitative discipline with a strong computer background, such as math, statistics, finance, or economics; or a postgraduate degree in computational finance or financial engineering
While some jobs involving economic analysis include writing or public speaking, quantitative analysts, or “quants,” usually operate in the background.
Experts in this area of analysis develop mathematical models to assist businesses in making financial and operational choices.
Quants are used by asset managers, banks, hedge funds, insurance companies, and private equity organizations to assist them in managing risk and finding opportunities for investments.
The base wage average for a financial analyst: is $66,084 (total pay ranges from $50,000 to $91,000).16
Growth rate anticipated: 8%11
Qualifications for financial analysts’ education: An appropriate FINRA license, an MBA, a CFA certification, and a four-year degree in finance or a related field are beneficial.
Typically, analysts in the financial sector are in charge of investigating possible investments and providing advice and recommendations to traders and portfolio managers.
Financial analysts are employed by nonbank corporations as well, where they assist in creating budgets and examine the financial status of the business.
Strong analytical, mathematical, and communication abilities are prerequisites for becoming a financial analyst, as well as the capacity to handle pressure.
A four-year degree in finance or a closely related discipline is required. Eventually, you’ll also probably need an MBA and a FINRA license, such as the CFA certification.
Things You Can Do with a Finance Degree
A finance degree can prepare you to work in a variety of professions, whether your interests lie in financial data analysis or close collaboration with others.
Here are careers that go nicely with a degree in finance.
1. Financial Advisor
By analyzing a client’s existing financial situation and then developing a thorough plan, a financial advisor assists clients in achieving their financial objectives.
Financial advisors can offer advice on a variety of topics, from developing an investment portfolio to developing sound saving practices and increasing income.
2. Budget Analyst
Budget analysts monitor the organization’s finances to make sure that resources are distributed effectively and that goals are met.
One of the most important aspects of a budget analyst’s job is gathering information about their organization’s spending and producing reports for managers, who are ultimately responsible for the budget of the company.
3. Investment Banker
Investment bankers provide financial advice for businesses, as opposed to personal financial counselors, typically to raise cash.
With proprietary trading, which involves stocks and bonds, investment bankers may be of assistance. Additionally, they research how to handle trickier circumstances including mergers, sales, and rule changes.