Is Finance a good career path?

by Jordan Fabel | Last Updated: November 15, 2021

The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reports careers in finance will grow by 5 percent between 2019 to 2029. That 5 percent growth amounts to about 476,200 new jobs. The growth is attributed to several factors, but globalization and a growing economy are the largest influencers.

Finance is a competitive career field. That’s not surprising, considering the top-earners range anywhere from six to seven-figure salaries.

Even entry-level finance jobs pay well when compared to most other fields. The average yearly salary for financial occupations was around $77,289 in 2020. In comparison, the average annual salary for most other occupations was $41,950.

You might not start earning a six-figure salary right away. And it might take a while to earn the job of your dreams. But several occupations fit within the finance industry. Once you get your first job, you can move around until you find exactly what you want.

Education Requirements

A bachelor of science in finance is your first step to a career in finance. There are different types of finance degrees. The degree you need depends on your career goals.

A bachelor’s degree prepares you for entry-level employment within the finance field. But limiting yourself to a bachelor’s degree could limit your career potential. A master’s degree in finance or a doctorate in finance will make it easier for you to progress in the field.

The Four Main Types of Finance Degrees are:

1. Bachelor’s Degree in Finance

A bachelor’s degree in finance is a basic requirement for beginning a career in finance. It will take about 4 years to earn this degree. You’ll hone your finance skills and learn the basics of becoming a finance professional. There’s also a focus on communication skills and leadership.

A bachelor’s degree in finance is a requirement for most entry-level finance positions. You’ll have a difficult time entering this field without a degree. If you have a degree, employers know you have a basic understanding of finance.

Deciding whether or not to pursue a higher degree is your choice. But doing so will allow you to advance further in your career.

Should you choose to take that next step, you’ll need to earn a master’s degree in finance.

2. Master’s Degree in Finance

You can pursue a master’s degree in finance after earning a bachelor’s degree in finance. It will take at least 2 years to complete the master’s program.

The master’s degree expands upon what you learned while earning your bachelor’s degree. But there’s a focus on specific areas of finance.

A master’s degree in finance gives you an edge over your competition. And the degree better prepares you for several areas within the field of finance. If you’re interested in trading, investments, or risk management, it’s almost guaranteed you’ll need a master’s degree in finance.

It’s possible to take your career even further by earning a doctorate in finance.

3. Doctorate Degree in Finance

A doctorate in finance makes you qualified for just about any position in finance. And if you’re interested in becoming a financial instructor or financial researcher, you’ll certainly need a doctorate in finance.

It takes four to five years to earn a doctorate in finance. And remember, you have to earn your bachelor’s and master’s degrees first. In all, it will take at least 10 years to earn all three degrees.

Most graduates with a doctorate in finance earn more than $180,000 a year. If you want to make the highest possible income in finance, a doctorate can help you achieve that goal.

4. Bachelor of Business Administration in Finance (BBA)

The BBA in finance is an undergraduate program that takes three years to complete. It’s for business students who want to specialize in financial management. You may choose this degree if you’re interested in business, are good with numbers, and want to manage finances for a business or organization.

It will take you three years to complete the BBA in finance. And you’ll complete six semesters for each of the three years.

The BBA in finance focuses on accounting, general banking, math, economics, international business, and corporate banking. Portfolio management, corporate finance, and business investments are covered as well.

Careers in Finance

There are several job options to pursue in finance. You have to decide which job is the best career choice for you. You’ll discover the path you want to take as you gain more education and on-the-job experience.

In finance, jobs generally fit into three categories:

  1. Public – generally involves working with the city, state, or federal governments.
  1. Corporate – generally involves working in the business sector.
  1. Personal – generally involves providing financial services to individuals.

Some popular finance careers include:

Commercial Banking

Financial professionals in commercial banking generally work at local bank branches. They commonly deal with checking accounts, savings accounts, personal and business loans. You might start this job track as a bank teller and eventually become a branch manager.

Entry-level commercial bankers can make up to $55,000 per year. Yearly salary rises with each step up the financial ladder.

Investment Banking

Investment banking involves trading and selling corporate securities. In addition to corporate securities, an investment banker provides financial advice to businesses and individuals. This position can also include trading and selling bonds and stocks on the stock market.

Investment banking is an extremely competitive and high-pressure occupation. It’s often considered the most stressful job in the financial industry. However, beginning salaries are often as high as $100,000 per year.

Financial Planning

Financial planning involves helping individuals get their current and future finances on track. A financial planner discusses strategies to help their clients reach specific financial goals.

If you’re interested in becoming a financial planner, you’ll increase your chance of success by becoming certified. Consider obtaining your Certified Financial Planner (CFP) certification. It generally takes between 18 to 24 months to become certified.

The average salary for a personal financial planner is $87,850.

Public Accounting

A public accountant generally works with corporations. However, a public accountant might also have private clients. This career involves maintaining financial records, auditing financial records, and preparing income tax returns.

The average salary for a public accountant is $63,907.

Finance Jobs and Salaries

Salaries vary when it comes to jobs in finance. Experience and education play a role in how much a person earns. Then there’s the issue of location, hours worked, and the type of work involved. However, it’s often possible to land a high-paid position straight out of college.

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!