The Top Careers in Finance

by Jordan Fabel | Last Updated: December 4, 2021

By 2022, the financial services market is estimated to reach $26.5 trillion. With North America being the second largest financial sector globally after Asia-Pacific, you can feel comfortable choosing this career path regarding job security.

Pursuing a job in finance can allow you to obtain a stable career that also gives you room to grow. This industry can often be quite exciting and enjoyable, depending on what your strengths and skills are.

Are you interested in careers in finance but aren’t sure which one would be right for you?

Let’s look at the best careers in finance, along with the median salary for each position.

Top Careers in Finance

Financial Analyst

Financial analysts are professionals that can work with corporations or individuals. In this role, they might oversee individual portfolios, manage mutual funds, or analyze the risk of different investments. In addition, it is common for financial analysts to specialize in the trends of specific markets or industries.

It is standard to have a bachelor’s degree to become a financial analyst. Common majors include economics, finance, or accounting. If you also plan to sell insurance products in this role, you will also need a license.

Additionally, this finance professional can also get certified by the CFA (Chartered Financial Analyst) Institute.

The median salary for a financial analyst is $85,660.

Budget Analyst

This is a role in applying finance principles to proposals and projects in the governmental, educational, business, and not-for-profit sectors. As a budget analyst, you will evaluate the financial impact of new and continuing ventures and analyze the organization or business’s budget.

It is necessary to have good communication skills in this position. This is because budget analysts frequently have to interview managers to learn more about proposals and projects. It is also common to train staff about the budget development process.

Receiving a bachelor’s degree in finance can help individuals develop the communication and analytical skills necessary to succeed in this role.

The average salary for this position is $76,540.

Financial Advisor

This is a role where you will often find yourself working one-on-one with clients. Financial advisors help individuals effectively manage their money. They help people by making investment recommendations and then monitoring the performance of their funds.

Some people in this role might also help their clients with tax guidance, insurance needs, and identifying financial goals.

Roughly one out of every four financial advisors are self-employed. More than half of the people in this role are employed in the investment or securities sector of the economy. It is common for financial advisors to have a bachelor’s degree.

Depending on the services they offer, it might be necessary also to receive a license from your state. It is also possible to earn designation as a CFP (Certified Financial Planner).

The median salary for financial advisors is $88,890.

Investor Relations Associate

If you majored in finance and have strong communication, writing, and organizational skills, you might find that being an investor relations associate would be a good fit for you.

As an investor relations professional, you will be tasked with preparing and presenting financial information about corporate clients or their companies to analysts, investors, and the business media.

The average salary for people in this field earns $61,076 a year.

Financial Manager

One of the top careers in finance is the role of a financial manager. In this position, it is your job to ensure that an organization or business’s finances stand on firm ground. You might find yourself working closely with department heads or executives to prepare reports, analyze data, and make recommendations.

Some financial managers might choose to specialize in a specific area of finance. Examples include insurance, risk, or credit. People who want to differentiate themselves in finance might consider becoming a certified FRM (Financial Risk Manager) by taking the FRM exam.

It is standard for financial managers to have a bachelor’s degree in a field such as economics, finance, business administration, or accounting. However, in some more sought-after positions, a master’s degree might be preferred.

The median salary for financial managers is $127,990.

Actuary

If math and statistics were your favorite subjects in school, becoming an actuary might be a good role for you. As an actuary, you will be responsible for determining the risk of different decisions and analyzing data.

A majority of actuaries work in the insurance and financial sector.

Becoming an actuary requires a bachelor’s degree in actuarial science, statistics, mathematics, or a related field. There are two different organizations from which you can pursue professional certification. These are the Casualty Actuarial Society and the Society of Actuaries.

The median salary for actuaries is $102,880.

Credit Analyst

This occupation consists of assessing the risks of offering loan prospects financing after evaluating their financial standing. Those majoring in finance will learn how to interpret financial data and records while also learning how to appraise whether entities are financially viable.

It is necessary to have good communication skills for this position. This is because they will need to convey your analyses to colleagues and extract information from prospective clients.

The median salary of credit analysts in the US is $73,650.

Accountant

Accountants keep the books for a business by recording transactions and making sure that financial statements are accurate. However, there is a lot more to this job than just that. They also might find themselves filing tax forms, making financial recommendations, and analyzing data.

Many find this job to offer an excellent work-life balance, and it is considered a relatively low-stress job in the financial sector. Most employers will require a four-year degree in accounting or a similar field.

However, you can pursue jobs at large accounting firms to earn more money by becoming certified as a CPA (Certified Public Accountant). This requires additional education and passing an exam.

The median salary for accounts in the US is $70,500.

Attorney

When you think of financial careers, becoming a lawyer might not be the first thing that comes to mind. However, attorneys can specialize in matters that have to do with money.

For example, tax attorneys can work with both corporations and individuals to navigate tax laws. Securities lawyers specialize in the realm of purchasing and selling stocks.

To become a lawyer, you must obtain a Juris Doctor degree. Typically, this takes seven years in school between undergraduate and law studies. After finishing law school, attorneys have to pass their states’ bar exam.

Being a lawyer can come along with long hours and a lot of stress. However, it is a profession that typically comes with a good income.

The median salary for a lawyer is $120,910.

Cost Estimator

If you are looking for a career in banking and finance that is relatively low stress, you might consider becoming a cost estimator. This position also comes along with promising future growth.

Most workers in cost estimation are employed by construction companies, trade contractors, or manufacturers. These companies hire them to determine how much projects will cost.

Having a bachelor’s degree in this field is standard, though having appropriate experience might land you a job in this role without an undergraduate degree. Sometimes cost estimators will also be able to receive training on the job for software specific to the industry they are working in.

The median salary for cost estimators is $64,040.

Loan Officer

A loan officer’s job is to review applications for loans and determine whether or not the applicant should receive funds in the form of a loan. They might specialize in a particular type of lending, such as commercial loans, mortgages, or consumer loans.

It is necessary to be licensed if you choose to become a mortgage loan officer. However, other types of loan officers usually only need a bachelor’s degree and some training on the job. It is common to work full-time in an office for this position.

The median salary for loan officers is $63,040.

Careers in Finance: Is It Time For a New Start?

There are so many careers in finance that we could never list them all here. However, these top careers give you a good sense of the type of work you might be doing if you choose to work in the financial sector.

If you are looking for an edge in your industry, you might consider gaining an additional certification. Having these certifications can frequently make you seen as more trustworthy and professional than your peers, along with other benefits.

Jordan Fabel

Jordan Fabel

Covering different 'paths' that people's lives can take. Creative, foster parent, ticket dismissal, you get the idea. Exploring the requirements, certifications, exams, and obviously, approved courses along each path. I, personally, am the high school dropout son of two teacher parents. So how did I get here? That story is coming soon!