Finance Careers - Find the Highest Paying Jobs in Finance

The financial industry offers challenging, diverse and lucrative career opportunities for self-motivated, diligent candidates. Change is constant in the field of finance careers, requiring continued education in technology, government regulations and the globalization of the marketplace.

In this article you will find outlines of available finance careers, including potential paths for advancement, general salary information and educational requirements. If you do not have a 4-year degree under your belt just yet, there is a section towards the end, which covers finance careers with flexible educational requirements.

Evaluate your career options, choose a direction and know exactly what you want to accomplish. Employers select highly ambitious and efficient people to join the ranks and those who are most successful in the industry are focused on their professional goals from the start. Research the career possibilities and the steps involved in reaching your desired level of accomplishment and continually prepare through formal education and personal study.

Geographical Considerations for Finance Careers

If you are interested in accounting, insurance underwriting, or becoming a personal financial advisor, you will likely find opportunities nationwide. Various careers in finance such as stock / commodities brokers, securities analysts and portfolio or mutual fund managers will require you to live in major metropolitan areas such as New York City, Chicago, London or Tokyo. It is important to consider this when planning, goal setting and designing your course of study.

International Finance Career

international Finance Careers
international Finance Careers

Finance Careers

Financial Services Brokers

Also called stockbrokers, securities sales representatives or account executives, they work to represent individuals or organizations that wish to buy and sell stocks, bonds and other financial products. Financial services brokers analyze companies offering stocks and advise clients on investment strategies. The most important aspect of this position is developing a client base with which to work. A 4-year college degree is desired for this position, but not always required. Brokers must pass the Series 7 Examinations in order to gain licensure and to register with NASD. Brokers work in brokerage firms across the country, with the largest opportunities being in New York City and other major financial centers worldwide including Chicago, London, and Tokyo.

Depending on skill, brokers may advance quickly, and may become branch managers, or partners in their own firm. This is a commission-based career, so salaries can be vastly different. Average salaries are between $50,000 and $75,000 annually, not including bonuses.

Commodities Broker

A commodities broker, also known as a futures commission merchant, carries out sales and purchases of commodities for traders and customers. Brokers work either in a brokerage house or on the floor of a commodities exchange. They work on a commission basis for conducting and completing trades.

There are no formal educational requirements for this career, although a bachelor's degree in finance or a related field is always preferred. Licensing is required. A broker must pass the Series 3 Examinations in order to satisfy legal registration requirements of federal, state and industry agencies. A broker should possess a combination of research and money management skills, along with a stable and assertive personality that can withstand working in a volatile environment.

A successful broker can advance from simply executing trades to become a full service broker or a commodity-trading advisor. The average salary of a commodities broker is approximately $70,000 - $90,000 annually. These numbers do not include bonuses, which can substantially change a brokers income level.

Financial Managers

Financial managers design and direct investment and cash management strategies, and oversee financial reporting for their organization. Financial managers can be employed in different positions, such as controller, finance officer, credit or cash manager, and international banking manager or risk manager. They may be influential in mergers and global expansion or other related finance projects.

The minimum educational requirement is a bachelor’s degree in finance, business administration, economics, or accounting. Many employers seek candidates with a master’s degree in one of these specialties. The exception in these requirements is in banking. Banks often fill branch management positions by promoting employees, such as loan officers, from with in their existing organization.

There are also professional certifications that can be obtained, which is helpful for advancement in this highly competitive field. The median salary for a financial manager is $92,000 annually, with the highest paid managers earning close to $150,000. Salaries fluctuate geographically and across industries. Financial managers in the securities and commodities field are the highest paid, while those employed by local governments earn the least.

Financial Analysts

Financial Analysts evaluate and study financial information, and provide investment recommendations based on their research. Additionally, they analyze a company’s financial statements, sales and tax rates to project earnings and determine value. Financial Analysts are also known as investment analysts, security analysts or ratings analysts. Banks, mutual funds, insurance companies and securities firms primarily employ financial analysts.

A bachelor's degree is required and a master's degree or professional certification (such as CFA or Chartered Financial Analyst) is advantageous to career growth. Licensing may be required, depending on the position and specialty. Growth opportunities for experienced financial analysts include handling greater responsibilities by managing more important products and advancing to the level of portfolio or fund manager.

The median salary for a financial analyst is approximately $67,000 with the highest paid analysts earning more than $130,000 annually.

CPA Careers

Personal Financial Advisors

These advisors work with individuals to assess a financial situation, make investment recommendations, and formulate a plan for long and short-term interests. They can assist with estate and retirement planning, provide tax advice, and develop strategies for saving for college. Some advisors also sell life insurance. A large portion of a personal financial advisor’s time is spent on marketing and sales tasks to establish a client base, and therefore increasing their income.

Strong communication skills are needed to effectively assist clients in comprehending financial markets. A bachelor’s degree is strongly preferred, but not always a necessity. Licensing is required to advise on securities investments and insurance sales. A professional designation, such as Certified Financial Planner is also helpful for advancement. Advancement opportunities include working with a larger client base or moving to a management role. The median income is $67,000, with the highest paid financial advisors earning over $145,000 annually. These salary estimates do not include self-employed personal financial advisors.

Loan Officer

The majority of loan officers work for commercial banks and savings institutions. A loan officer guides a client through the entire process of applying for a loan, from the initial information gathering to setting up a repayment schedule. Loan officers sometimes function as salespeople, and usually specialize in business, commercial, mortgage or consumer loans. A bachelor’s degree in finance or a related field of study is usually required and additional training or experience in sales and banking is advantageous. Yearly earnings will fluctuate with the number of loans generated.

Insurance Underwriter

An insurance underwriter considers a wide variety of factors to determine the risks involved in an insurance application, and whether that risk is acceptable or will likely result in a loss. A bachelor’s degree is preferred (with concentrations in finance or law) for these types of positions and continuing education credits are necessary for advancement. Candidates must possess strong communication skills and be proficient at using related technologies. Opportunities for advancement include senior underwriter and management positions. The average salary is $52,000, with the highest paid underwriters receiving annual salaries over $92,000.

Budget Analyst

Budget analysts estimate the financial needs of their company or organization and analyze and develop a budget accordingly. They evaluate ways to increase profits by efficiently distributing available funds. They may be involved in the implementation of the budget, the analysis of related policies and exploration of alternative funding.

A bachelor’s degree is the minimum requirement for this position, but many employers now prefer a master’s degree. Close to half of budget analysts employed in the U.S. work for the government on a federal, state or local level. Many entry-level employees will have extensive training, both on the job and in a classroom environment. Opportunities for advancement can be expected within 1-2 years to an intermediate level, and with additional experience, to the senior level.

High ethical standards are a requirement for these positions due to the confidentiality of financial information. Budget analysts often work with significant time restraints.

The median salary for budget analysts is $62,000, with the highest paid positions earning $93,000 or more per year.

Actuaries

Actuaries assess risks and create policies to minimize the financial impact of such risks to the company. Pension actuaries evaluate and report on the financial soundness of pension plans. Actuaries are employed primarily, but not exclusively in the insurance industry. Actuaries are also employed in the financial service industry to assist in pricing securities offerings and devising investment tools.

A bachelor’s degree in mathematics, finance or statistics or a related field is required. Additionally, actuaries need to pass a series of exams for certification.

Advancement as an actuary will depend greatly on performance record, in addition to the number of examinations passed. Possible advancement tracks include management and executive level positions, like Chief Risk Officer or Chief Financial Officer . Entry level actuaries earn between $55,000 and $70,000 per year, while high level actuaries can earn as much as $150,000 annually.

Accountants and Auditors

There are various specialties within the accounting field, including management accountants, public accountants (also known as external auditors), government auditors and accountants, tax accountants and internal auditors. General responsibilities include analyzing financial data, ensuring efficient and accurate record keeping and preparation of financial documents. Accounting plays a major role in management decision-making, by providing financial information that has been carefully analyzed and reported with recommendations.

Accountants are employed in essentially every corporation and organization in the country. Most positions require a bachelor’s degree in accounting or a closely related field of study. Licensure and certification is often necessary for advancement.

Salaries vary according to experience and specialty, with entry-level accountants earning between $35,000 to $50,000 annually. Accounting managers and directors can earn between $100,000 to $210,000 annually.

Bookkeeping, Accounting, and Auditing Clerks

Finance Careers Without a Degree

If you are interested in a finance career, but are lacking a 4-year degree, there are still many opportunities available to gain experience in this field and advance your career. A higher level of education is always desirable, but the following positions are flexible in their requirements.

Brokerage Clerk

Employed by commodities and securities firms and banks, brokerage clerks support brokers in processing transactions, taking phone calls from clients and maintaining records on client accounts. Some firms may offer on the job training or formal training classes and may assist a clerk in preparing for exams to get a series 7 license. Licensing will make an employee more valuable to the firm, and allow for advancement to a broker position. A brokerage clerk should have strong sales and customer service skills, be comfortable working under pressure and have an aptitude for numbers.

The median salary is $36,400, with the highest paid clerks making more than $57,000 per year.

Bookkeeping, Auditing and Accounting Clerks

Clerical positions are available in various types of businesses, providing ample opportunities for financial record keepers. Some of the tasks performed by bookkeeping and accounting clerks include maintaining accurate records, tracking accounts payable and receivable and profit and loss reporting. Auditing clerks verify records of transactions performed by other employees, to ensure efficiency and accuracy.

A clerk in this field must be a proficient in use of spreadsheets, although many businesses offer on the job training. A minimum educational requirement of a high school diploma is necessary and some college will always be preferred. An associate’s degree may be required in some situations. Experience in a related job or working in an office environment is helpful as well.

The average salary for an accounting clerk is approximately $30,600 with the highest paid earning $46,000 annually.

Credit Checkers, Authorizers and Clerks

These positions are generally concerned with verifying credit and authorizing and processing credit requests from consumers or small businesses. Additionally, they update credit information for credit reports. An experienced clerk with proven abilities may move into a supervisory or management position. A high school diploma is usually the basic requirement, but a familiarity with computers and good communication skills are helpful. Many organizations will provide training. The average salary is approximately $25,000 annually.

Claims Appraisers, Examiners and Adjusters

Claims adjusters and examiners authorize payments, investigate claims filed, and negotiate settlements with policyholders. Insurance companies and firms that specialize in adjusting and appraisals are the largest employers for these positions. Claims are investigated by interviewing the claimant and any witnesses, consulting official records from hospitals and law enforcement authorities or inspecting damage. Adjusters, examiners and appraisers usually have an area of specialty, such as auto, health, property or life insurance.

Many employers prefer to hire college graduates, but it is not a strict requirement. Annual earnings vary greatly in this profession. Median salaries are approximately $43,000 with the highest earning close to $70,000 annually.

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Comments 72 comments

prasadjain profile image

prasadjain 8 years ago from Tumkur

Eloborate material Mrs.Amy. Much useful for youngsters.


amy jane profile image

amy jane 8 years ago from Connecticut Author

Thanks for reading, Prasadjain. I hope it will be helpful!


Jason Stanley profile image

Jason Stanley 8 years ago

An excellent article showing the breath and depth of the field from a very positive perspective. It assumes an ongoing healthy economy which I am afraid is not the case. Our economy is in very bad condition due to a long term (60+ years) of accumulated debt that will take a number of years or financial disaster to reduce. When the inevitable happens and the economy begins to shrink, these jobs will become very hard to find. Hopefully I am wrong and these great paying jobs will remain on the scene.

There is a light elsewhere. Countries like Vietnam, and Cambodia which have been under communist rule and the banking infrastructure was virtually nonexistent have a huge need for qualified banking professionals. If a person is willing to live as an expat (generally nice lifestyle) they can carve out a wonderful career in these places.


amy jane profile image

amy jane 8 years ago from Connecticut Author

Thank you for your comment, Jason. I agree, this is a view of opportunities in a normal, healthy ecomony, and not all of these positions will be desireable or profitable in the current situation. Accountants will generally always be able to find work easily, but some of the other positions will become far more competitive obtain.

Career opportunities in the Asian markets is a topic that deserves deeper investigation, and could certainly be an entire article on its own.


crystal.cunning 8 years ago

thanks for the amazing hub, it has so much info in it that im gonna have to come back. one of the fields that i was looking into was a financial consultant but anything with numbers is good!

http://jacksfinancialconsultantlist.com


amy jane profile image

amy jane 8 years ago from Connecticut Author

You are welcome. Glad you found it interesting:)


02SmithA profile image

02SmithA 8 years ago from Ohio

Good information amy jane! These finance careers are getting tougher and tougher to find right now!


amy jane profile image

amy jane 8 years ago from Connecticut Author

Thanks 02SmithA, I agree, the job market is tougher than ever! The financial industry is no exception, unfortunately.


JohnKhoo profile image

JohnKhoo 8 years ago

A very good informatin and source. Sadly, Asia's salaries is not as high as financial development countries like you mentioned though. Adding that there is also some major impact on this industry after recent financial crisis, the salaries are not attractive at the moment.


amy jane profile image

amy jane 8 years ago from Connecticut Author

Hi John- Thanks for commenting. I think the financial industry has been impacted worldwide by the current crisis. A finance career may not be the easiest choice at the moment! Jobs in finance are getting cut down quickly, but there are always a few very solid areas to enter.


nancydodds1 profile image

nancydodds1 7 years ago from Houston, Texas

Really its good information you provided. As iam searching for this now i got more information from your hub. Here i posted a hub on http://hubpages.com/business/MortgageCalculator


amy jane profile image

amy jane 7 years ago from Connecticut Author

Thanks Nancy!


Team Beachbody profile image

Team Beachbody 7 years ago from Connecticut

Amy This is nice that you put in place ,good job


Finjobs 7 years ago

Thanks for the hub. Very useful article.


amy jane profile image

amy jane 7 years ago from Connecticut Author

Thanks to you both!


Kalvin 7 years ago

thanks for post it's great information for me.


amy jane profile image

amy jane 7 years ago from Connecticut Author

You're welcome, Kalvin! Glad this was helpful to you.


vonowen profile image

vonowen 7 years ago from USA

your hub is really interesting amy. It is very informative.. I guess I have to pass this hub to my friends who are taking finance in college. I think this will be very helpful to all of them. Nice post indeed!

_________________________

http://www.loanmodifyexpress.com


samuilgr8 profile image

samuilgr8 7 years ago

Heyyyyyyyy, good information....!!


amy jane profile image

amy jane 7 years ago from Connecticut Author

Thanks vonowen, I hope you do pass this info on to your friends heading for finance careers.


amy jane profile image

amy jane 7 years ago from Connecticut Author

Thanks sophieqd!


Loan Modifications help 7 years ago

I wish I had read your page before. It is very nicely organised and written. Thanks


amy jane profile image

amy jane 7 years ago from Connecticut Author

Thanks - I'm glad you found this helpful!


C. Whitaker profile image

C. Whitaker 7 years ago from Indianapolis, IN

You're an excellent writer, very accurate, relavent information, especially for me because I just got my 4 year degree in finance. Keep up the good work!


amy jane profile image

amy jane 7 years ago from Connecticut Author

Thank you C.Whitaker! My intention was to offer a complete overview of careers in finance. I'm glad to hear that you found it to be accurate.


Mortgage Loan Modification 7 years ago

Great website links for finance jobs. Another job to consider is Commercial Mortgage Broker / Account Executive. AE's typically work 20-30 hours / week and are usually in the field visiting mortgage brokerages signing up new accounts and (hopefully) answering questions on bank guidelines and making sure files are processed and typically make between $50k-$140k depending on territory and accounts, good Commercial Mortgage Brokers will close 2-4 multi-million $$ deals per year and make anywhere from low to mid six-figs to $1 mil.

http://www.modificationzoom.com


amy jane profile image

amy jane 7 years ago from Connecticut Author

Thanks for the additional career information. Account Executive's certainly have the potential to make a great living, but I do think it requires a "people person" personality to be successful!


barryrutherford profile image

barryrutherford 7 years ago from Queensland Australia

This is literally the best Hub I have read !


amy jane profile image

amy jane 7 years ago from Connecticut Author

Thank you Barry! I spent a tremendous amount of time researching this in an attempt to put together a comprehensive hub covering finance careers. I'm glad you enjoyed it! :)


Russ 7 years ago

great hub Amy. Lots of useful information. This site helps employers match job seekers and visa versa...

http://www.jobs-on-monster.com


Mitch King profile image

Mitch King 7 years ago from Wilsoville, OR, USA

The current economic times are reshaping these jobs in finance, but they will always be needed professionals.


amy jane profile image

amy jane 7 years ago from Connecticut Author

I agree, Mitch, that some of these jobs are changing, but a degree in finance will always be of value in the marketplace!


Neil Ashworth profile image

Neil Ashworth 6 years ago from Ireland

Great content for a hub. I'll bookmark this one for later...


writerguy88 profile image

writerguy88 6 years ago

very helpful and interesting thanks


First Time Home Buyers 6 years ago

Brilliant posting........It is very informative."there is great opportunity in finance to build a career"


ziamae85 profile image

ziamae85 6 years ago

I am gathering and searching about financing and come across to this hub...Very informative! thanks...


projectfinancing profile image

projectfinancing 6 years ago

People with good financial backgrounds could really have a good career waiting on them...especially nowadays, the market is badly in need of people in finance.


vhwang7 6 years ago

Thanks so much for the International Finance Career video. I really identified with the interviewee because I didn't like mathematics so much despite the fact that I am pursuing a career in finance. It's very encouraging. Thanks again amy jane!


Chris Fletcher profile image

Chris Fletcher 6 years ago

Packed with good info, thanks! Hint: ResumeRabbit and other employment resume publishing sites can help a lot, too. Blast your resume out there. Did that, and companies still call years later :)


Majid Ghauri profile image

Majid Ghauri 6 years ago

awesome information....thanks for sharing with us


amy jane profile image

amy jane 6 years ago from Connecticut Author

Thank you all for the comments and thanks Chris for the resume building tips!


Chris Fletcher profile image

Chris Fletcher 6 years ago

Agree, great info for students. Passing this along to some job hunters out there. Thanks for the tips!


adorababy profile image

adorababy 6 years ago from Syracuse, NY

Those good with numbers and analysis could really prosper a career in finance.


Finance Train 6 years ago

For risk management, you can opt for Financial Risk Manager (FRM) Exam, or Professional Risk Manager (PRM) Exam. They both qualify you as risk managers.

http://financetrain.com


amy jane profile image

amy jane 6 years ago from Connecticut Author

Thanks, all,for the comments and sharing this hub!


Blair Stover 6 years ago

This is a great reference for students who are finance majors that haven't decided specifically which route to take.


debt-management profile image

debt-management 5 years ago

Some cool tips, thanks. With training at the right university a career in finance can really pay off (:


gina 5 years ago

I am in the university to study accounting but now an Interesting to study finance. But a need some information about finance. I am a little confuse sto study accounting or finance. can you give some advice


Alex 5 years ago

Advice for students. Unless you have good connections in the business world, I would recommend staying out of finance in the academic world. Finance has become vastly overpopulated since the 90s when it promised a wealthy career. The fields of science and medicine lost great talent because of these promises. I know this article was written two years ago, but the competition now is just overwhelming, it seems. My advice to those in school is: Don't correlate intellect to a successful career in finance. Your connections and your prestige are two important factors that I've found very handy in my career thus far. Another piece of advice: Treat finance as a minor. Focus on another area. That will definitely give you the leg up.


AmpV1223 5 years ago

Great article.I am studying finance and although there may be far less opportunities in this field,I believe it takes more than the prize of future wealth to succeed.If you are passionate about your chosen field then wealth will come in abundance later.Don't be deterred by the current economic situation.Go hard in school,making contacts and gaining real world experience and everything will fall into place.Thank you Amy for the information in this article.


amy jane profile image

amy jane 5 years ago from Connecticut Author

I think you have a great outlook on the future of finance careers Ampv! It is the type of field where it helps if you are passionate about what you are doing. And the opportunities are changing and increasing rapidly. Good luck to you! :)


anna.smith profile image

anna.smith 5 years ago from Germany

Thanks for the hub. Very useful article.


amy jane profile image

amy jane 5 years ago from Connecticut Author

Sure. Glad you found it helpful!


AnkushKohli profile image

AnkushKohli 5 years ago from India

I am searching about financing and come across to this hub.. These finance careers are getting tougher and tougher to find right now.


Alexzander profile image

Alexzander 5 years ago from web

Thanks for the hub


htodd profile image

htodd 5 years ago from United States

Thanks ,Great hub


stefanwirawan1 profile image

stefanwirawan1 5 years ago from Malaysia

what a great hub especially for me who just looking for information in finance


markr75 5 years ago

Nice post. In my experience finding a job in finance has always been a challenge. Especially now when competition is fierce with a record number of graduates compete with each other in an increasingly limited job pool.

In my experience recruiters are increasingly using Reasoning or Aptitude Tests to select the ideal candidate.

Taking practice tests on sites such as www.PracticeReasoningTests.com can help in the days leading up to a real test, as job seekers will know what to expect and learn how to approach questions quickly and accurately.

By practising I managed to land a job I actually wanted although it took patience and involved several interviews. It's worth putting some effort into practising the tests to get that job.


audalex 5 years ago from United Kingdom

This is a very interesting read and I found it to be very informative since I aspire to pursue a career in Finance. Thanks very much for this wonderful article!


Matt Hagens profile image

Matt Hagens 4 years ago from New York, New York

This is a good list too of the highest paying jobs in the US http://highestpayingprofessions.com/


StaceyD profile image

StaceyD 4 years ago

well put together, given me a few idea's


fifthliz 4 years ago

Thanks for the info. Now I need opinions/advice...

I am currently pursuing a degree a finance. My goal is to head to graduate school and become a private banker. My dilemma? I am struggling in my corporate finance class. I have a B in class, but it has been difficult for me (and I know my finance professor doesn't think I would do well in the finance world). Should I keep on going? I really, really, really want to continue working towards my finance degree, but if there is a good chance I will not be good at it, I may as well get out now. Thanks!


Clerk education and job requirements 4 years ago

This is the unique stuff worth sharing. thanks for this information.

http://www.educationrequirements.org/clerk.html


Nazanin 4 years ago

thank you for your useful site, I worked 12 years in a private bank in my country,and I was Assistant manager for 6 years,i am 34 years old now i decide to work and study in USA banks, I think finance Analyst or finance management is perfect adjustment, I would like to know your advice!!!!!


Koteswar 4 years ago

very much Informative, thank U :)


T. R. Brown profile image

T. R. Brown 4 years ago from Nashville, TN

Hey there Amy Jane, a couple of additions. You mentioned the Budget Analyst title, but there are several options within Financial Planning and Analysis (FP&A). A Budget Analyst is among the lower levels working in FP&A. In large organizations you would expect to find a hierarchy of analysts, mangers, with a director or VP as leader. These titles would pay from $50k up into the $200s (plus bonus). Another Financial path is that of Treasury. Again you would expect to see positions ranging from analyst to corporate Treasurer. These positions generally pay slightly less than FP&A.

Great Hub!


wba108@yahoo.com profile image

wba108@yahoo.com 4 years ago from upstate, NY

I have a BA in Economics but have never used it in the last 25 years, I've been a house painter for most of that time. I live in upstate NY and Albany is 40 miles away but I would commute if I thought I could land one of these good entry level financial jobs. I know the big cities have most of the jobs but I hope there's closer jobs than that! If you have any advice, I'd appreciate it.


dicaslotofacil profile image

dicaslotofacil 4 years ago

Great article I have a better view now


timothy r 3 years ago

Thanks Amy... your information was very useful.


doodlehead 3 years ago

Thanks for putting in the additional finance career resources. This is very helpful. I have been in financial services for 30 years with a BA and am only just now completing a master's in finance. It is a field I have never grown tired of.


Deepak Chaturvedi profile image

Deepak Chaturvedi 3 years ago from New Delhi, India

Good hub with full of info about finance related jobs.These keys might be helpful for those who seeking careers in this field. Thanks to share, booted it up and shared.


Tom Schumacher profile image

Tom Schumacher 3 years ago from Huntington Beach, CA

Excellent information on jobs in the finance industry! May I ask your source for income pay ranges? Thank you.

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