Last Updated on January 23, 2022
Finance can be a fiercely competitive field to break into. After all, it’s a famously high-paying industry known to pay six or seven figures in salaries and bonuses for those at the top. Even those on the bottom rung can expect to start at a good wage compared to other fields
You may not walk into your dream job right away, but the good news is that finance is a vast industry, so once you’re in, there’s plenty of room to evolve, move around, and find your niche. First, however, you have to get your foot in the (entry-level) door
- Finance-sector jobs pay much higher than the median salary, even at the entry level.
- The Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates that finance sector jobs are projected to grow 5% from 2019 to 2029.1
- You don’t need an Ivy League background to get in on the finance action, but an undergraduate degree is required at the very least, and economics- or math-oriented majors are preferable.
- The most popular entry-level jobs include analysts, tax associates, auditors, and financial advisors.
A Look At Entry-Level Careers In Finance
Entry-level finance compensation averages $88,774 a year, according to the job-search website Glassdoor, in January 2021.2 The National Association of Colleges and Employers’ (NACE) Winter 2020 Salary Survey projects starting paychecks in the finance, insurance, and real estate fields for the class of 2020 to range from $56,750 to $62,500 annually, as of Jan. 21, 2021.3https://0c9a82703f672a0dd33c5b25f1673459.safeframe.googlesyndication.com/safeframe/1-0-38/html/container.html
To get a sense of how high an income is: the median U.S. household income was $68,703 in 2019.4 And in the 4Q of 2020, the median individual income was $984 per week—according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS).
What’s more, the BLS estimates that employment in business and financial operations occupations is projected to grow 5% from 2019 to 2029—faster than the overall average for occupations.
But how do you go about it? Well, the good news is you don’t need a Harvard Business School degree. It is often preferable to have several years of financial or business work experience before acquiring an MBA.
However, an undergraduate degree is required for a position at almost any reputable financial institution. While companies claim they hire majors of all types, ideally, your academic background should demonstrate your ability to understand and work with numbers. That requires knowledge of economics, applied mathematics, accounting, business, and computer sciences.
Interestingly, the NACE study found that breaking down financial sector salaries by major concentrating on engineering and computer sciences realized the highest compensation and those in sales and communication the lowest. If your primary major is in a different field, try to minor in something finance-related.
Internships Are a Stepping Stone
Even more critical are internships. Many firms visit campuses to recruit for summer internships or hold symposia, workshops, or networking opportunities. For example, events like the Goldman Sachs Undergraduate Camp or the Morgan Stanley Career Discovery Day.
Internships can be tough to secure, as tough as an actual job, but they’re invaluable. Not only do they provide contacts and experience, but they often lead directly to a spot in the company’s training program after graduation—or, at least, to the innermost circle of consideration.
Continuing Financial Education
If you’ve already graduated, continuing education is another great way to boost your financial IQ and demonstrate your commitment to a financial sector career. Finance-specific credentials such as the chartered financial analyst (CFA), certified public accountant (CPA), or certified financial planner (CFP®) designations can all help your job prospects, depending on the particular facet of finance you are targeting.
Looking for Finance Jobs: Best Entry-Level Positions
The key is to identify the most rewarding entry-level jobs—both in terms of salary and future career prospects—and think hard about which might be the best fit for your abilities and interests. Once you have narrowed down what interests you the most, you can begin your search.
Besides your personal network of friends and family, online job sites are a logical place to search for entry-level finance roles. LinkedIn, Indeed, and Monster are good sites. Still, it might be more efficient to scour sites that specialize in finance-industry jobs or resources, such as eFinancialCareers, Broker Hunter, or 10X EBITDA (for investment banking).
Financial analysts work for investment companies, insurance companies, consulting firms, and other corporate entities. Responsible for consolidating and analyzing budgets and income statement projections, they prepare reports, conduct business studies, and develop forecast models. Financial analysts research economic conditions, industry trends, and company fundamentals. They also often recommend a course of action for investments, reducing costs, and improving financial performance.
Along with a B.A. in finance, accounting, or economics, you should have strong IT skills for an analyst role.
The BLS estimated that there were about 487,800 financial analyst jobs in the American economy in 2010 and projected a faster-than-average growth rate of 5% through 2029 for them. As of January 2021, according to the most recent figures from the BLS, financial analysts earned a median salary of $81,590 in 2019.8
Investment Banking Analyst
Investment banking is one of the most prestigious areas of the financial sector; investment banking professionals assist individuals, corporations, venture capital firms, and even governments with their requirements related to capital. Investment banks underwrite new debt and equities for all types of corporations, aid in the sale of securities, take companies public, and facilitate mergers and acquisitions, reorganizations, and broker trades for both institutions and private investors.
An analyst usually fills an entry-level role at an investment bank, hedge fund, or venture capital firm. The most common duties include producing deal-related materials, performing industry research and financial analyses of corporate performance, and collecting materials for due diligence. Recommendations based on the interpretation of financial data often play a role in determining whether certain activities or deals are feasible.
The average investment banking analyst starting salary was $67,817 in November 2020 (the most recent figure, as of January 2021), according to PayScale, a compensation-analysis site. Candidates have B.A.s in economics, finance, or management, though this is one job where an M.A. in these areas helps too.
Junior Tax Associate/Accountant
Some financial services remain in constant demand, especially those associated with taxation—the need to comply with changing internal revenue regulations (IRS) regulations and local and state laws. These professionals implement measures and develop policies relating to taxes, including calculating and estimating payments, conducting research, reviewing internal fiscal systems, preparing returns and other tax-related documents, and working with auditors.
The duties may sound arcane, but tax-related jobs can often lead to corporate positions like the controller (also known as a comptroller), accounting manager, budget director, and even treasurer or chief financial officer.
For this sort of work, candidates need a bachelor’s degree in accounting (or at least accounting skills), and eventually—if you want to advance—a CPA license. However, companies often offer the opportunity to obtain one while on the job.
With this in mind, a junior tax associate’s role is ideal for college graduates seeking work experience in the financial sector. According to the BLS, the annual median salary was $54,890 in 2019 (the most recent figures available as of January 2021), but this field might see a 4% decline in jobs by 2028.
Personal Financial Advisor
Personal financial advisors evaluate the monetary needs of individuals and help them with decisions on investing, budgeting, and saving. Advisors help clients strategize for short- and long-term financial goals, from tax planning to retirement planning to estate planning.
Many advisors provide tax services or sell insurance in addition to providing financial counsel. They might offer financial products such as mutual funds or even directly manage investments or serve as a liaison between the individual and an assets manager.
The BLS estimates the median annual wage (in 2019) for personal financial advisors at $88,850. It also projects growth of 4% through 2029, which is as fast as average, citing such demographic trends as the retirement of the Baby Boom generation, the growing numbers of self-employed people, and the dwindling of private-sector employer pension plans, all of which drive a need for advisory services.
The profession doesn’t require any specific bachelor’s degree. However, financial advisors can benefit from the study of economics, math, and finance. They also need to be good communicators since they must interpret and explain complex subjects to non-experts. So, the critical thinking and analytical and writing skills honed in liberal arts fields can be useful too.
Personal financial advisors who directly buy or sell stocks, bonds, or insurance policies or who provide specific investment advice must pass various licensing examinations. However, this is done on the job since you have to be employed or sponsored by a securities or investment firm to take them. Anyone can take the basic Securities Industry Essentials Exam, however. Many advisors also earn industry credentials, such as the certified financial planner crediential, to enhance their prestige and networking opportunities.
Corporate Finance Professional
Major corporations often have entire departments tasked with helping the company raise and manage the capital that fuels their operations. Finance majors can pursue a number of different paths in corporate finance, most of which tend to pay very respectably.
Those who work on the treasury team, for example, help the company manage its cash, develop a strategy for short-term investments, and analyze foreign exchange (forex) transactions. A job as an entry-level treasury analyst pays $57,500 a year on average. However, corporate treasurers, who have more experience, make an average salary of $192,750.
Meanwhile, the median pay for budget analysts—the professionals who examine how the organization spends money—is a solid $78,970.
People who work in wealth management roles help high-net-worth individuals manage their assets, with an eye toward maximizing returns and mitigating financial risks.
Junior-level associates may find themselves handling an array of tasks, including helping to research different investment options and preparing presentations. Later in their career, however, they may take on management roles and shoulder greater responsibility for investment strategies.
Individuals who develop this expertise typically make a good living, with the average wealth management professional enjoying a base salary of $75,418, according to the job-search website Indeed.6
While the responsibilities of financial analysts can vary based on where they work, their basic role is to help large organizations make prudent investment decisions. They may examine economic trends, meet with a company’s management team, and pore over financial statements in order to develop an appropriate investment plan. Typically, they use that information to develop financial models that help predict the potential outcome of different strategies.
The work of financial analysts breaks down into two basic categories: Buy-side analysts often work on behalf of insurance companies, foundations, and other institutional investors, providing advice to the money managers responsible for those clients. Sell-side analysts, on the other hand, are employed by brokerage firms and provide their clients with recommendations on whether to buy or sell certain securities.
The median pay for analysts in 2020 was $83,660 per year, according to the BLS.
Major investment banks such as J.P. Morgan and Goldman Sachs need people who can advise companies on how to raise capital as well as how to go about acquiring or merging with other businesses.
It’s a fast-paced career that can involve some very long hours—especially at top Wall Street firms—but it certainly pays well for those who are successful. According to data from Wall Street Oasis, analysts, who are on the lowest rung, start at anywhere from $70,000 to $150,000. Once you become an associate, you’ll likely bring in between $150,000 and $350,000 a year (and those who make it to “vice president” earn even more)
The role of a management analyst—sometimes known as a management consultant—is another well-paid career you can seek out with a finance degree. According to BLS data, the median pay in 2020 was $87,660.
Management consultants help businesses identify ways to cut costs and boost revenue. To do that, they have to possess strong financial analysis skills as well as an understanding of the competitive landscape in which a firm operates. They may, for example, help a company focus its resources on markets where the firm can achieve greater profitability.
The most obvious path to becoming an accountant is to get a bachelor’s degree in—you guessed it—accounting. But an undergraduate finance degree lets you cast a wider net when it’s time to get a job. And with some extra coursework, you can still sit for the CPA exam, an accreditation that leads to higher pay than non-CPA accounting roles.
Most states require students to obtain 150 semester hours of coursework in order to obtain a CPA license. Strictly speaking, you don’t need a master’s degree to take the exam. But if you’re a finance major, getting there may require a graduate degree in accounting or a Master of Business Administration (MBA) with a concentration in accounting.
According to Payscale, the average annual salary for CPAs was $68,762, with the high end of the range coming in at $115,00 per year.
Before lending money to businesses or individuals, banks need to have a reasonable expectation that the borrower will pay them back. One of the main responsibilities of loan officers is to assess that risk. They’ll often talk to loan applicants and evaluate their borrowing history before making a recommendation to the bank or mortgage company for which they work.
According to the BLS, the median pay for loan officers in 2020 was $63,960 per year. It appears that the job market for these professionals will remain strong over the next few years, with the BLS estimating 3% employment growth between 2019 and 2029
Best Degrees/ Majors for Banking & Finance Careers
When it comes to a career in banking, an MBA is still the gold standard. The finance world is dominated by MBAs as they are generalists who can understand all types of client businesses and perform a variety of roles from sales to trading to advisory to leadership and management and everything in between. There are various reasons an MBA is still your best bet:
- An MBA essentially allows you to get in at a more senior level. Many banks directly take in MBAs at the Associate level for a number of their top business divisions. You not only get a significant head start to your career, but it also really helps you later on when its time for a promotion. Some companies require an MBA for candidates to be considered for certain senior management or even mid management roles.
- Another common way for MBAs to get into banking is through the various Management Trainee (MT) programs. Most large banks have a global MT program which they use to cherry pick the top talent from various business schools worldwide. The MTs spend the first 6 to 24 months rotating across various bank divisions in different geographies learning the tools of the trade. At the end of this period, they are placed into various roles depending upon their performance. The advantage to this route is an unparalleled opportunity to build a network across multiple business divisions and learning how they work. Both of these opportunities can prove to be indispensable later on during your career.
- MBA programs offer some of the best networking opportunities and networking is key to getting ahead in banking.
There are thousands of MBA programs for you to choose from but not all of them have the same brand recognition or value. Luckily for us, distance hardly matters anymore as you can enroll in the best MBA programs from the worlds top universities right from home. Here’s a good online MBA degree from Boston University. Alternatively, you can look for good MBA programs here.
A finance degree is all but mandatory for certain banking roles. Anything which requires handling a lot of numbers or doing a lot of analysis would really benefit from a finance degree. Some examples include – treasury management, financial planning, credit analysis, and even more specialized roles in capital markets and investment banking.
A finance degree is another staple for banking just like a business degree. The key difference is that a finance degree is preferable for roles which have a more analytical bend while business degrees are more suited for more sales-oriented roles. This is certainly not a hard and fast rule though and your skillet and experience are usually more important deciding factors.
A Masters in Finance would allow you to target more senior roles in more sought-after divisions. While a Bachelor is ideal if you just want to get some experience under your belt before pursuing higher studies. Here is an excellent, fully online finance program from MIT’s Sloan School of Management which is one of the worlds top ranked business schools. You can also find more Finance programs here.
A bachelor’s degree in business is a flexible option for an entry level banking role. The biggest advantage is that with a business degree, you have the option to apply for more roles than perhaps any other specialization. Bankers spend most of their time assessing the client’s business and thinking of products and services that can help them. A business degree can really add value to such a role and that is why it tops this list.
A good business course is almost perfectly suited for a career in banking – you learn everything from corporate finance, project management, marketing, business law, statistics, strategy and so many other things which will prove to be indispensable in any banking role.
When I first wrote this article a couple of years ago, FinTech wasn’t even on this list. Its not that FinTech wasn’t important back then, it most certainly was. It’s just that in the post-pandemic world, Fintech is not just a hot sector anymore, it is replacing entire business verticals at banks. If you are even marginally interested in finance and you are not fully in-sync with what is happening in the FinTech world, you are already a dinosaur!
FinTech is a fast moving world, it is competitive, it is ruthless, it’s almost like the wild west. Its not just start-ups that are the players anymore. Big banks are pouring in billions to develop Fintech platforms in a make or break struggle for survival. Even tech companies want a piece of the pie – its just too lucrative a sector to leave to the competition.
Banking is very closely related to economics. In fact, manipulating the banking levers (like interest rates, reserve ratios etc) is the preferred method to control the growth of an economy and manage inflation.
The best role for someone with an economics degree would be in the macro economic research division of a bank. These guys look at all the vital signs of the economy and produce research that is consumed by the rest of the bank’s divisions and even outside clients.
Economists are indispensable to banks as they provide information on the general sentiment in the economy which can eventually affect a bank’s individual clients and therefore, their bottom line. However, economics grads don’t really have to straight-jacket themselves into this one role. They would indeed fit well into a lot of other roles as well since their education makes them well suited for all sorts of financial analysis type roles.
Accounting degrees lend themselves better to roles which are inward looking in banks rather than client facing. For example, things like financial reporting, taxation and audit would be ideal roles for accounting degree holders. The accounting and audit roles in banks are generally no different than such roles in other large corporates. All that changes is that the balance sheet would look rather different.
That being said, accounting and audit specialists can move into a lot of other divisions as well. Risk and treasury management are obvious favourites but even sales roles are entirely possible based on your aptitude and experience.
7. Financial Engineering
Master’s in Financial Engineering (MFE) programs are highly quantitative and take a tech and data driven approach towards banking. You pretty much study the same topics as you would in a normal finance course, but with an exceptionally technical approach. For example, there are 5 minute YouTube tutorials that can teach you how derivatives work, but in a MFE course you look at complex computational and numerical solutions to derivative pricing,
MFE degrees are ideal for those who want to work in structuring or quantitative research type roles in banking. This means you will be assisting in the design of complex new products that never existed before. The best part is that there are some very prestigious universities offering these courses and that will provide your CV with a double boost. Like always, your compensation will match whatever you bring to the table.
8. Physics/ Engineering/ Mathematics
This might seem out of place at first, but physicists and engineers are very sought after for some of the more advanced roles within banking. These roles require complex trading models to be built and it’s not uncommon to find physicists with doctorates working in such advanced roles.
The glue that binds all of these roles together is the propensity for a mathematical focus and a research-oriented mindset. Banks obviously are able to offer very lucrative packages to these researchers which draws them away from their core fields and into mathematical finance. These are essentially the “quant” roles.
However, its not just quant roles that hire students with a science or engineering background. Investment Banking and Investment Management divisions are more than happy to take them as well.
Some universities offer business/ finance degrees with a banking concentration. This essentially just means that certain courses which are relevant to banking like risk management, accounting, corporate finance, banking regulations etc. are added on top. This is also a good option as such an education will undoubtedly better prepare you for some retail/ commercial banking jobs.
You’ll find that the curriculum of such courses is similar to business and finance courses but with an added focus on banking concepts, terminologies, risk management, compliance, financial regulations and so on. Columbia University offers this excellent online Corporate Finance program that lays the groundwork for what you need to know.
10. Computer Science/ Information Technology
CS and IT are popular for several reasons:
- Tech graduates generally tend to be analytical with high logical reasoning capabilities. They are well suited for banking roles much like their engineers or physicists.
- There are some high paying development roles within banking. Computational Finance roles can pay at par with investment banking. And while development roles don’t pay that much, the compensation is still very competitive compared to the broader IT industry.
- All sectors of the economy have become highly dependent on technology. Banking is no different and in fact, many traditional bankers now also sell their bank’s technology solutions to clients (for example, algorithmic or systemic trading solutions).
The University of Texas at Austin offers an excellent fully online, Computer Science Master’s Degree. Its great to have such opportunities to not just learn form the best, but to actually get a formal Master’s degree for remote learners.
Is Finance Hard?
Like any subject, finance will be easier or harder for different people, depending on what they’re good at.
As an example, finance may end up being difficult for you if you don’t have skills, interests, or abilities in accounting, mathematics, or general financial skills, but if that were the case, then you probably wouldn’t consider studying it.
One thing to consider when choosing to study finance is that much of what you study during your degree program will include a mix of economics and accounting, which is naturally going to require at least some math, so if you absolutely detest math, then this may not be the right degree for you.
However, assuming you can do a little math and that you’re interested in general finance topics, or that you’re dedicated to actually working in the industry, we think pursuing your degree and a career in the field will be well worth the effort.
What Do You Need to Learn to Get a Job in Finance?
If you’re looking to break into the field of finance and want to serve as a financial manager or financial services professional, you’re going to need to develop your skills and abilities for handling some core responsibilities, including:
- Developing and nurturing relationships with both organizations and individual clients.
- Calculating debt repayment schedules.
- Estimating and managing financial risk.
- Implementing cash management strategies.
- Applying legislative, regulatory, and industry principles to financial scenarios.
- Assessing client and organizational financial status using interview and data gathering skills.
These may sound like difficult tasks to someone who’s never studied or worked in finance, but they’re not so difficult that you couldn’t develop the ability to complete them by enrolling in a degree program.
In fact, the single best way to build up your skills and ensure that you’ll be able to launch a successful career in finance is to get your degree, which is nearly certain to provide you with the skills and knowledge you’d need to break into the industry, including:
- Understanding proper terminology, theories, concepts, practices, and skills specific to the industry.
- Interpreting financial statements and ratios.
- Applying financial principles to practice business problems and personal financial situations.
- Examining investment opportunities and evaluating, then managing financial risk.
- Performing financial analysis using quantitative concepts and techniques.
These specific skills may require a bit of practice before you’ve achieved total proficiency in the complex processes, but it’s nothing that dedicated study and practice can’t overcome.
Who Should Consider Pursuing a Career in Finance?
Not everyone is going to be a great fit for the field of finance, but there are several character traits that would indicate you may be uniquely suited to find success in the industry.
Here’s a list of several character traits that may help predict a successful career in finance:
- Having a “people first” mentality. According to Forbes, this is a critical character trait for any would-be financial professional since you’ll need to put clients’ interests ahead of your own.
- Fast learners. Financial situations change rapidly, and strategies that worked last year (or yesterday), may no longer apply to the current situation. If you can’t learn quickly, adapt, and overcome, then you may not be cut out for finance.
- Communication skills. Math wizards don’t tend to make the best finance professionals, since knowing the numbers is one thing, but being able to explain them to clients is another entirely.
- Tenacity. eFinancialCareers.com includes both resiliency and persistence in their list of 10 personality traits needed to succeed in finance. This can be a stressful industry; being able to power through difficult times and keep pushing toward a goal is key to finding success in the industry.
- Analytical skills. The Ladders explains that you’ll need supreme analytics skills to succeed in the industry. Being able to see where markets are headed, where industries are moving, or what the long-term trend line predicts is of critical importance to anyone working in finance, and the better you are at seeing patterns and making accurate predictions, the higher your odds will be at achieving success in finance.
- Bravery and leadership. People who go far in finance tend to be capable of moving between the roles of being a team player and leading from the front, effortlessly changing their strategy based on the requirements of the situation.
- Confidence. Considering you’ll need to convince organizations and individuals to take your advice, you’ll need to confidently, but humbly, explain your logic, give advice, and get others to sign off on your plans.
There are many other traits that might indicate you could be a good fit for becoming a financial professional, but these are several of the most telling characteristics.
Do You Need a Degree to Break Into the Industry?
It’s certainly possible to launch a career in finance without a degree, but that’s likely to be far harder than landing your first job with reputable academic credentials attached to your name.
This is especially true for anyone looking to land one of the better industry jobs, or something above an entry-level role, where firms, organizations, and even individual clients are likely to be extremely selective about who they choose to work with.
As a result, getting your degree in finance isn’t only the best way to ensure that you’re able to develop the skills and abilities needed to find success when working in the industry, but it’s also the best way to increase the odds that you can break into the industry at all.
By completing a Bachelor’s or Master’s Degree in Finance, you’ll send a clear signal to any potential hiring manager or client that you’ve put in the time required to develop the knowledge and abilities needed to bring value to their account.
And when it comes time to choose a degree program, CSU Global offers two excellent online options that you’ll certainly want to consider.
Which Type of Degree Should You Get? Bachelor’s vs. Master’s Programs
We recommend enrolling in the degree program that aligns best with your professional needs and career goals.
For most aspiring financial professionals, that means selecting between a Bachelor’s or Master’s program, and the easiest way to pick which program would serve you best is to consider your:
- Current academic credentials.
- Experience in finance.
- Career goals.
If you don’t already have a bachelor’s degree, or you’re brand new to the industry, then you will almost certainly want to enroll in our online Bachelor’s Degree program in Finance.
However, if you’ve already got a bachelor’s degree in any field, you’ve got some experience in the industry, and you’re looking to advance your career and pursue a role in leadership or management, then our online Master’s Program in Finance may be a better fit.
Whichever program you choose, you can rest assured that your studies at CSU Global will help set you up to achieve success in the field.
What Kinds of Finance Degrees Are There?
Associate Degree in Finance
An associate degree in finance introduces enrollees to fundamental financial concepts. Degree-seekers learn about financial accounting, investments, and financial markets. Associate programs also include general education courses in the humanities, mathematics, and the social sciences.
Earning an associate degree generally takes two years. Associate degree-holders can find employment as financial clerks or insurance sales agents. They can also use their credits to transfer into bachelor’s programs, where they can complete their degrees in half the time.
Bachelor of Finance Degree
Bachelor-level finance majors study financial analysis, financial reporting, and investment strategy. They also take classes in statistics, economics, and business to strengthen their analytical and critical thinking skills. Some programs include a capstone project, which helps students gain pratical experience.
Earning a bachelor’s degree generally takes four years for full-time students, though learners with prior college credit can often complete their degrees in less time.
Bachelor’s degrees in finance prepare graduates for employment as budget analysts, financial analysts, and financial examiners. Many personal financial advisors also hold a bachelor’s degree in finance.
Master’s Degree in Finance
Management-level roles, such as financial manager, credit manager, and risk manager, typically require master’s degrees. A master’s degree in finance usually takes two years to complete, though some programs offer accelerated pathways, which can take just 12 months.
Graduate students study portfolio management, derivatives, and investment strategies. Depending on the program, degree-seekers may also take classes in business management, organizational behavior, or strategic management. Many programs incorporate internships or capstone projects to help enrollees build experience.
What’s the Difference Between a Master’s Degree in Finance and an MBA in Finance?
A master’s in finance and a master of business administration (MBA) in finance both provide graduate-level training for careers as financial managers, personal financial advisors, or portfolio managers. However, an online MBA includes more general business courses, while a master’s in finance focuses on practical finance skills.
In either type of master’s program, finance graduate students receive specialized training and prepare for supervisory and leadership careers.
Doctoral Degree in Finance
A doctorate in finance prepares graduates for the most advanced roles in the finance field. During a doctorate, graduate students usually specialize in areas like corporate finance, financial management, or international finance. A Ph.D. in finance is a research-based degree, culminating in doctoral exams and a doctoral dissertation. Some programs offer a doctor of business administration in finance, which focuses more on practical skills.
Earning a doctorate typically takes 3-6 years. Professionals with doctorates in finance can find work as finance professors and finance researchers. They can also pursue employment as chief financial officers.
How much money do people make with a bachelor’s in finance degree?
A bachelor’s degree in Finance will provide you with several career options. Below, we’ll look at a few of these options and their median salaries, per the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
- Financial manager: $127,990 (19)
- Insurance underwriter: $69,380 (-5)
- Certified financial analyst (CFA): $85,660 (11)
- Certified financial planner (CFP): $66,610
Most of these careers are growing faster than average. Demand for a financial manager is projected to grow by 19% in the next decade, with demand for CFAs growing by 11%. On the other hand, demand for insurance underwriters is expected to decline by 5%. The good news is that you have a wide variety of options with solid salaries and a strong outlook.
What can you do with a bachelor’s degree in finance?
A bachelor’s degree in finance can be the first step toward a graduate degree that brings a variety of lucrative career opportunities. You can pursue graduate study in finance, economics, business, or law.
The degree can also lead directly to a career as a personal financial consultant, financial manager for businesses, or the manager of a commercial bank. You can work in insurance, investments, mergers and acquisitions, and much more. With additional licensure and/or training, you can become a CFA or a CFP.
What are the requirements for a bachelor’s degree in finance?
Generally, a bachelor’s degree in finance will take four years to complete. You’ll take courses on investments, corporate valuation, corporate finance, accounting, economics, analytics, financial institutions, principles of finance, and so on.
Not surprisingly, you’ll do a lot of math. Many programs will also teach you general business skills, communication, and ethics related to finances. You may be required to complete an internship, but this is not always the case. Some programs require a senior seminar, portfolio, or another form of a final project.
What are the best bachelor’s in finance degrees?
The best bachelor’s in finance degrees listed below are the best of the best. We created this list based on factors including tuition costs, return on investment, school reputation, and accreditation.
To make sure we provide you top quality information, we use trusted sources like:
- Bureau of Labor Statistics
- U.S. News and World Report
- Princeton Review
- Official college and university websites and course catalogs
We’ve already crunched the numbers for you: these degree programs are top-notch. Whatever your aspirations in the field of finance, these excellent degree programs will help you achieve them. If you’re interested in how we came up with our list of programs, make sure you take a look at our methodology page. This will give you a more detailed overview of how we compile our final list of data.