Many soon-to-be college applicants often consider getting a degree in a financial discipline, and it isn’t hard to see why. There are plenty of lucrative and secure jobs in this field, but that’s a major part of the problem. With so many options to choose from, it’s hard to settle on just one.
7 Great Careers in Finance and How to Choose the Right Option
Before learning how to conduct a job search for one of the following career choices, you’ll need to determine if one of these options is right for you. Here are some great jobs you may like.
1. Auditor or Accountant (finance career)
Accountants and auditors analyze, interpret, examine, organize, and maintain financial records for the purpose of preparing financial or tax statements. They’re mostly in charge of reducing costs, increasing profits, sticking to tax laws and financial regulations, and advising businesses.
Auditors and accountants often work for small businesses or large banks and make $50,000 to $60,000 per year on average. Every industry needs an accountant, so you’re bound to find a job. If you want to increase your job prospects further, consider getting a CPA certification.
2. Broker or Trader (finance career)
Brokers and traders are responsible for selling securities, like stocks and bonds, but they may sell other investments like real estate, provided they have the right licence. These traders often buy and sell based on the wishes of their manager or clients and help investors make a profit.
To become a broker or trader, you’ll need a few licences from the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority, like the Series 7. Studying for the Series 7 is more than worth it, as you have the potential to make $60,000 to $75,000 per year, depending on the type of employer you work for.
3. Credit Analyst (finance career)
Credit analysts analyze the credit and financial data of individuals and companies to determine their lending risk. They’ll complete a loan application or a financial analysis of a company's risk assessment by looking at a business's current income against its potential profitability.
You’ll need a chartered financial analyst credential and strong decision-making, research, critical thinking, and communication skills to excel in this field. You can make $50,000 to $60,000 per year, but if you’re looking for a job change, risk specialists tend to make more money yearly.
4. Financial Analyst
Financial analysts are professionals who provide guidance to individuals or businesses making investment decisions, but they aren’t legally allowed to buy or sell stocks. They may research potential investments, report their findings to their employer, and suggest different securities.
While you will work in a high-stress industry that includes long hours, this career can set you up for other careers in finance. If you earn a CFA certification, an MBA, or certain FINRA licences, you could earn $70,000 or more per year and work for large investment firms or Wall Street.
5. Financial Planners or Advisors (finance career)
Financial planners or advisors help individuals with their overarching financial goals, including retirement, education, investments, estate planning, and more. While some financial planners or advisors will work for banks, most of the time, these professionals will work for themselves.
Depending on their relationship with a client, they may advise them for a short time (advisor) or for an extended period (planner). Financial planners need to become certified if they want to attract long-term clients. Both positions can earn $70,000 or more if they’re independent.
6. Budget Analyst (finance career)
A budget analyst will create, review, and monitor spending towards budgets for businesses. They may take a holistic approach if they’re tracking the entire organization, or they may focus on certain departments, programs, or projects. Most budget analysts will do both at some point.
Most budget analysts won’t need anything else but a bachelor’s degree in finance to work in their field. If they want to work on larger accounts or with the government, they’ll need an extra certification or an MBA. On average, a budget analyst will make $60,000 to $65,000 per year.
7. Actuary (finance career)
An actuary will use statistics and math to evaluate probabilities and risks that specific events, like property damage, will occur. They’ll use this information to design insurance policies and other such models, so they primarily work for investment firms, banks, and governments.
Actuaries can make over $90,000 per year, but you’ll need to become certified by the Society of Actuaries or Casualty Actuarial Society to earn that amount. You’ll also be subjected to a long on-the-job training process that can take years to complete, so you’ll need to be highly skilled.
Conclusion for your options for a career in finance
Getting a job in the financial sector can be lucrative, but most jobs require much more than a bachelor’s degree to make more than $60,000 per year. Still, if you’re willing to put in the time, you’ll be placed in an industry that will always need your financial talents and analytical skills.