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Are you curious about investment strategies, stocks and bonds, and the flow of cash in local and global financial markets? If so, then a career in finance could be the perfect fit. There’s a wide variety of jobs that are engaging, lucrative, and secure for those with a knack for numbers. You can even find positions that align with your personal values, if you’re particularly mission driven. Finance consists of three main sectors: public, corporate, and personal, all of which provide their own host of job opportunities. Keep reading to learn about some of the best careers you can get with a finance degree, including information on job responsibilities, salary, education requirements, growth potential, and more.  

1.  Accountant

Accountants keep track of all financial operations within an organization. Accountants are responsible for collecting and maintaining data, detecting trends, financial planning, and forecasting future needs. They build in-depth statements and relay money-related information to the leaders of a company and its stakeholders.

Accountants in the U.S. earn an average salary of $68,257 per year. High-end earners can make upwards of $100,048. To become an accountant, you must obtain at least a bachelor’s degree. However, in most states, in order to sit for the Certified Public Accountant (CPA) exam, you’ll need to earn a master’s degree in accountancy. Earning your master’s will create more job opportunities and allow you to earn higher salaries.

2. Fintech Business Analyst

“Fintech” refers to all software, mobile applications, and other technologies designed to improve and automate traditional forms of finance for businesses and consumers. Fintech business analysts are responsible for identifying and reporting on how these applications and software systems interact to support business processes. They also make recommendations on how to improve processes and technologies, like payment gateways, for example.

These professionals earn an estimated average salary of $81,880 per year in the U.S. To follow this career path, you must pursue a bachelor's degree in business administration, finance, computer science, or a similar field. 

3. Business Analyst

Business analysts (BAs) work within a company to assess the effectiveness of its processes and recommend improvements. Using data analytics, they bridge the gap between IT and business to help an organization function more efficiently and profitably. BAs are responsible for collaborating with leadership and stakeholders to update business processes and implement new IT advancements to make systems more modern and optimize operating costs.

Business analysts in the U.S. earn $79,770 a year, on average. You need a minimum of a bachelor's degree in finance, business, data analytics, or a related discipline to practice in this field. Many go on to earn advanced degrees such as an MBA with a specialization in business analytics, or a master's in data analytics.

4. Impact Investing Analyst

Impact investing is a philanthropic investing model that funnels affordable loans to marginalized and underserved borrowers. This type of investing strengthens local economies and empowers small business owners, so if you’re a mission-driven aspiring finance professional, then this could be a great route for you. Impact investing analysts are responsible for collecting and assessing financial information within the due diligence process. They assist in the development of investment memos and evaluate the risk associated with a given impact investment. 

The average starting salary for impact investing analysts in the U.S. ranges from $73,000 to $77,000. In order to practice in this field, you need to hold a bachelor’s degree in finance, economics, accounting, or a related field. 

5. Financial Analyst

A financial analyst uses a company’s financial data to help leadership make smart, profitable investing decisions. A successful financial analyst stays on top of new developments in their field and spends a lot of their time preparing financial models to predict future economic conditions for any number of variables. 

The estimated total pay for a financial analyst in the U.S. is $72,866 per year, with top earners bringing in closer to $110,000 per year. Becoming a financial analyst generally requires a finance degree or a bachelor’s degree in a related field. Particularly ambitious professionals find that they need a master's in finance or business administration to access more advanced roles. It may benefit you to also pursue a certification to get even more job opportunities. In fact, many financial analysts become certified financial planners (CFP). 

6. Commercial Banker

A commercial banker, also known as a business or institutional banker, helps clients with a variety of financial needs. These professionals can work in larger, national banks like Bank of America or smaller, local banks. Those who work in smaller banks are typically prepared to help clients with a wide range of needs, while employees of larger banks usually work in a specialized area. Specializations include:

  • Loan office
  • Mortgage banker
  • Credit analyst
  • Trust officer
  • Branch manager

The average annual salary for a commercial banker in the U.S. is $90,777, although this varies significantly depending on what bank you work for and your specialization. A career as a commercial banker usually requires a bachelor's degree in finance, business administration, accounting, or a related field.  

7. Business Development Officer 

Business development officers help companies create new strategies to increase sales and profitable revenue. They’re responsible for identifying new business opportunities, arranging smart business deals, and leading business development associates in creating a more successful company. 

The average annual business development officer salary in the U.S. is $78,843. These finance professionals need at least a bachelor's degree in business management or administration, finance, accounting, marketing, or related field. 

8. Vendor Manager

Vendor managers are employed to forge new and maintain existing relationships between a business and its vendors. They are responsible for finding mutually beneficial vendor relationships, negotiating with vendors to agree on the best prices for products and services, and making sure that vendors fulfill their contractual obligations.

The average salary for a vendor manager in the U.S. is $71,990. These professionals are typically required to hold a bachelor's degree in supply chain management, marketing, business administration, or a related field. 

9. Tax Associate

Tax associates work for large and small businesses, for individuals, or as freelancers to prepare tax returns and other tax filing-related measures. They’re responsible for advising clients in making sound decisions regarding taxation issues and providing workable solutions within legal bounds. What’s interesting about this career path is that you can choose to work within a big company or, if you prefer to be your own boss, you can work as a freelancer and take on individual clients.

These professionals earn an average annual salary of $49,454. Most tax associates must hold a bachelor's degree in accounting or a related field. Depending on where you choose to work, you may need to pass the CPA exam, which would first require you to earn a master’s degree in accounting

10. Auditor

Auditors assess a company’s financial records to ensure that they're accurate and comply with the law. They’re responsible for computing taxes owed, preparing tax returns, making sure taxes are paid properly and on time, inspecting account books and accounting systems, organizing and maintaining financial records, and making recommendations to management about best practices.

The average annual salary for an auditor in the U.S. is $94,825. Auditors must hold at least a bachelor’s degree in accounting. These professionals are accountants, and accountants that work in organizations that require employees to pass the CPA exam and must also complete a master’s degree program in accounting

11. Data Analyst

Data analysis is the work of uncovering insights from data to inform smart, profitable business decisions. A data analyst is responsible for collecting, cleaning, and interpreting raw information in order to shed light on a business problem and make recommendations on how to fix it. They typically work in business, finance, criminal justice, science, medicine, and government industries.

The average salary for a data analyst in the U.S. is $72,723 per year. A bachelor's degree in finance, computer science, statistics, or information technology is required to secure an entry-level position as a data analyst. As data collection, management, and analysis becomes more complex, many employers prefer to hire professionals who hold a master's degree. 

12. Actuary

Actuaries determine the financial costs of risk and uncertainty. They use mathematics, statistics, and financial theory to identify potential risks in investment decisions and advise businesses in developing policies that minimize the costs of that risk. Actuaries most commonly work in the insurance industry.

Actuaries earn a median income of $105,900 per year, on average. To work in this field, you’ll need at least a bachelor’s degree in finance, mathematics, actuarial science, statistics, or some other analytical field.

Take the Next Step to Your Finance Career

If any of these careers sound interesting to you and you haven’t yet obtained a finance degree, consider learning more about WGU’s online finance degree. This program, which designed with input from industry experts, stacked with a career-relevant curriculum, and proven to land graduates with high-paying jobs, will set you up with all the knowledge and skills needed for career-long success. For those who already have a finance degree, what are you waiting for? Start applying to these positions today and use your arsenal of skills to achieve your professional dreams!

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