If you think (and dream) in numbers and are fascinated by budgets, investments, and global financial markets, a finance degree could be the highest return investment you ever make. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reports employment of business and financial operations occupations is projected to grow 7% by 2028, faster than the average for all occupations, adding about 591,800 new jobs. This demand is partly attributable to:
- A growing economy
- A complex tax and regulatory environment
- Increasing usage of data and market research to understand customers and product demand
The median yearly salary for business and financial occupations was $68,350 in 2018, which was higher than the median annual wage for all occupations of $38,640, according to the BLS.
What can you do with an undergraduate finance degree?
A bachelor of finance degree qualifies you for numerous entry-level positions as well as preparing you for the graduate studies required for more advanced positions and higher-paying career paths. But even at the bachelor’s degree level, finance is one of the top-paid majors, with an average projected starting salary of $58,464, according to the National Association of Colleges and Employers’ Winter 2019 Salary Survey. Let’s look at eight lucrative and rewarding careers you can step into once you’ve earned your finance degree.
- Financial analyst: An ideal position for those with a passion for developing investment strategies and managing portfolios, a bachelor’s-level financial analyst took home a median pay in 2018 of $85,660, according to the BLS. The growing range of financial products and the need for in-depth knowledge of geographic regions are two main reasons why this field is expected to see strong employment growth.
- Actuary: Put your strong skills in mathematics, statistics, and financial theory to work analyzing the financial costs of risk and uncertainty as an insurance company actuary. The BLS projects a 20% employment growth rate by 2028, and the median salary in 2018 was $102,880 per year.
- Personal financial planner: For the entrepreneur who prefers self-employment, a role that involves helping people meet their financial goals, plan for retirement, and cover education expenses can be very rewarding. Good interpersonal and communication skills are needed for this career since clients must feel comfortable trusting their financial security to an advisor who can answer questions in a clear, direct, and understandable way. Personal financial planners made about $88,890 per year in 2018, and the BLS notes that “as the population ages and life expectancies rise, demand for financial planning services should increase.”
- Wealth manager: This financial advisor counsels individuals with a high net worth on a variety of issues, including investment management, tax services, and financial, retirement, and estate planning. A wealth manager often acts as a centralized point of contact for the client’s other advisors, such as accountants and attorneys, all of whom work toward the goal of growing and preserving the client’s wealth over the long term. The average base pay for a wealth manager is approximately $94,000 a year.
- Budget analyst: Universities, governmental agencies, large corporations, and nonprofit institutions all rely on budget analysts to advise on the costs and benefits of various programs, monitor spending, and estimate future financial needs. The median pay for budget analysts in 2018 was $76,220 per year.
- Financial examiner: The BLS explains that financial examiners typically work in risk assessment, where they evaluate the health of financial institutions, or in consumer compliance, monitoring lending activity to ensure that borrowers are treated fairly. The need for financial institutions to effectively comply with federal regulation has led to increased demand for these professionals, and the BLS projects an 8% growth rate by 2028 in the finance and insurance industry. The median pay is about $80,180 per year.
- Loan officer: For those interested in commercial or consumer lending as well as real estate transactions, a position as a loan officer might be a good fit. Strong decision-making skills and a keen eye for detail are requirements in this field. The median annual wage for loan officers was $63,040 in 2018, and most positions were found in commercial banks and savings institutions and mortgage companies.
- Financial manager: While your undergraduate finance degree is a requirement, you’ll probably need about five or more years of experience in another financial occupation, such as auditor, securities sales agent, accountant, or financial analyst, to land a position as a financial manager with an annual salary of about $127,990. The good news is that the BLS expects employment of these professionals to grow 16% by 2028, as several core functions, including risk management and cash management, are in high demand.
After garnering sufficient experience in this role, many financial managers go on to become chief financial officers (CFOs). These senior executives work in nearly every industry and are responsible for managing the financial actions of an entire company or organization. The CFO is similar to a treasurer or controller, explains Investopedia, “because they are responsible for managing the finance and accounting divisions and for ensuring that the company’s financial reports are accurate and completed in a timely manner.”
If you’re considering a career in finance, a Bachelor of Science degree from Post University may be one of your most valuable investments. Take courses in a flexible program designed for working professionals like you, which prepare you to sit for the FINRA Series 6 and Series 7 exams. Contact us to apply now, and earn your finance degree at our Connecticut campus or online.