Perhaps you’ve always been good with numbers. Beginning back when you were 9 years old or so, you’re the one your mother would ask questions of like “What’s 23 plus 48?” And she was always delighted by how instantly and assuredly you responded “71.” She was sure you were a mathematical genius in the making. Or, perhaps your affinity with mathematics developed in line with your first experiences with money (finance). When you got your first real job, you found that you enjoyed balancing your first checkbook. Unlike most of your friends at the time, you soon found the idea of developing a budget to help manage your money to be intriguing. Does that sound familiar, maybe?
Whatever your reason for looking into finance as a possible career path, this field is worth considering if you have an interest in accounting and money management, especially if your goal is competitive pay or you are concerned about choosing a career with solid long-term employment prospects. Finance-related skill sets are currently in demand more than most job category skill sets and this demand is expected to continue increasing for some years to come. And with that high demand, of course, comes competitive pay.
There are three broad areas of finance that all require variable skillsets and mindsets, all resting on foundation of accounting and money management principles:
Personal Finance involves working closely with clients regarding their investment and savings strategies (for example, the purchasing and sale of stocks and bonds).
Corporate Finance involves strategically managing or analyzing corporate financial assets and decisions (for example, examining the financials of a potential acquisition).
Public Finance involves managing governmental-related finance issues (assessing property valuations for tax purposes, for example).
Within these three subcategories there are many career opportunities. Here is a quick listing of some finance industry jobs along with salaries and long-term job prospects:
2016 Median Pay
$123,000 (5+ yrs)
Sources: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, June 2017; O’NET Online, June 2017
That looks promising, right? If you think so, then your next question may be “How do I get started?” Well, the first thing you will need is to earn the right degree. As you will have noted above, almost any financial job requires a bachelor’s degree at minimum. But we are not talking about just any bachelor’s degree; rather, you’ll want to obtain a business degree from a college or university with a solid business school and a strong reputation in the finance industry. This is what your potential employers will be looking for. In addition, many finance industry prospects go on to obtain their Master of Business Administration (MBA) degree as a matter of course since the MBA is rapidly becoming a requirement for top level finance jobs.
While in the process of pursuing your degree(s), you will also want to research the many job options you have in finance to determine which job types most appeal to you. That’s because, in addition to the broad foundational education represented by academic degrees, there are also numerous specialized credentials you can pursue to learn the finer points of specific finance industry roles and to differentiate yourself in the job market for those preferred roles. Specialized credentials might include, for example, the Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA), Financial Risk Manager (FRM), and/or Certified Financial Planner (CFP) designations.
If it’s important to you to keep making Mom proud, and if you’ve read this far, you probably have some interest in working with numbers. If you think a career in finance may be right for you, learn more about finance career opportunities by exploring our white paper “The Ultimate Guide to a Career in Finance”.
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