Best Jobs for Graduates With a Finance Degree

Career Options for Finance Majors

person using phone and graphs to analyze finances
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If you’re intrigued by the financial markets, stocks, bonds, and other investment vehicles, and you also like to think about numbers, then a finance major is worth considering. Read on to learn about the top jobs for college graduates with a finance degree.

Skills Acquired by Finance Majors 

Finance majors develop analytical skills in order to dissect financial statements and appraise the financial standing of companies, municipalities, and other entities. They can assess the quantitative and qualitative dimensions of business problems and evaluate the financial implications of corporate and individual actions.

Graduates with a degree in finance also acquire the ability to deal with spreadsheets and with other software used to process and represent financial data. They learn to present financial information to clients and colleagues with varying levels of financial sophistication. 

An academic background in finance can be applied to a broad range of careers in virtually every industry. Before arriving at a final career direction, consider your unique combination of skills, interests, values, and personality traits. 

Top 10 Jobs for Finance Majors

Here are some options to consider as you explore careers related to a finance degree.

© The Balance, 2018 

1. Financial Planner

Finance majors learn about a variety of investment vehicles, and this knowledge can help financial planners to advise clients about how to manage their finances. Finance majors can decipher trends in the securities markets and apply this perspective to their planning sessions.

Financial planners must crunch numbers and apply principles of accounting in order to devise plans suitable for individual investors. They also need to inspire trust in people and promote their services. Therefore, finance majors with strong interpersonal skills and persuasive abilities will be most likely to succeed in this profession.

Salary and Employment Outlook: According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), personal financial advisors earned an average of $90,640 in May 2017 and jobs are predicted to expand at a much faster than average rate of 15% through 2026.

2. Financial Analyst

Financial analysts research stocks, bonds, companies, and industries to assist bankers, investors, and corporate finance officers with mergers, acquisitions, and stock/bond offerings, as well as corporate expansions and restructuring. They can capitalize on their finance major training as they dissect financial statements and other financial data. 

Financial analysts build financial models and conduct complex quantitative analyses. Financial analysts also produce reports detailing their findings and present their analyses to other members of the banking or finance team.

Salary and Employment Outlook: According to the BLS, financial analysts earned an average of $84,300 in May 2017 and jobs are predicted to grow at a faster than average rate of 11% through 2026.

3. Investor Relations Associate

Finance majors with strong writing, organizational, and communication skills can thrive in this role. Investor relations professionals prepare and present financial information about their company or corporate clients to investors, analysts, and business media. 

Investor relations professionals must digest, interpret, highlight, and present information from financial statements. The analytical and software tools developed through their finance major training facilitate this process.

Salary and Employment Outlook: According to Payscale, investor relations associates earn an average salary of $64,352.

4. Budget Analyst

Budget analysts apply principles of finance to projects and proposals in the business, educational, governmental, and not-for-profit sectors. They analyze budgets and evaluate the financial impact of continuing ventures and new ventures. 

Budget analysts must have refined communication skills because they interview managers in order to gather information for proposals. They also train staff regarding the budget development processes for their organization. Finance majors develop the essential analytical and communication skills needed to become a successful budget analyst.

Salary and Employment Outlook: According to the BLS, budget analysts earned an average of $75,240 in May 2017 and jobs are predicted to grow by as much as 7% on average through 2026.

5. Actuary

Actuaries play a leadership role in financially oriented businesses such as insurance, banking, rating agencies, and accounting firms. The finance graduate with strong mathematical skills is ideally positioned to calculate the likelihood of various events and to assess the financial consequences for those outcomes. 

Just like the finance major, actuaries manipulate software to perform calculations and represent their findings. They present their recommendations to managers at their firm and convince others of the soundness of their decisions.

Salary and Employment Outlook: According to the BLS, actuaries earned an average of $101,560 in May 2017 and jobs are predicted to grow at a much faster than average rate of 22% through 2026.

6. Accountant

Finance majors learn to construct, interpret, and critique financial statements while completing the accounting component of their studies. Thus, they become capable of carrying out complex accounting work in financially oriented industries. 

Students of finance develop a number of accountancy skills as they learn to analyze business problems with precision and attention to detail, which prepares them for the world of accounting. Just like accountants, finance majors learn to present financial information to clients and colleagues by using charts, graphs, and other visual aids.

Entry level accounting jobs can be gateway jobs leading to corporate financial management positions, or leadership positions with non-profits and government agencies.

Salary and Employment Outlook: According to the BLS, accountants earned an average of $69,350 in May 2017 and jobs are predicted to grow at a faster than average rate of 10% through 2026.

7. Credit Analyst

Credit analysts evaluate the financial standing of loan prospects and assess the risks involved with offering them financing. Finance majors learn to appraise the financial viability of entities and interpret their financial records and data. The investigative mindset of a finance major would enable the credit analyst to scrutinize the legitimacy of financial information furnished by clients. 

Finance majors analyze trends in industries that can impact the ability of organizations to generate the income necessary to repay loans. They have the communication skills necessary for credit analysts to extract information from prospective clients and convey their analyses to colleagues.

Salary and Employment Outlook: According to the BLS, credit analysts earned an average of $71,290 in May 2017 and jobs are predicted to grow by as much as 8% on average through 2026.

8. Attorney

Lawyers in many areas of practice, including divorce, product liability, civil litigation, corporate, labor, and securities law, benefit from a knowledge of finance. Attorneys who investigate financial irregularities must read and understand financial statements. Lawyers in civil cases need the skills to estimate appropriate compensation for settlements.

Research and analytical skills developed by finance majors enable attorneys to prepare their cases. Presentation skills and knowledge of presentation software help attorneys to deliver arguments and prepare exhibits.

Salary and Employment Outlook: According to the BLS, lawyers earned an average of $119,250 in May 2017 and jobs are predicted to grow by as much as 8% on average through 2026.

9. Commercial Real Estate Agent

Finance majors with strong verbal skills and a sales orientation should consider a career as a commercial real estate agent. Commercial real estate agents analyze the business plans and financial status of clients in order to recommend appropriate spaces for their enterprises.

When listing a property, brokers must estimate the value of the property based on its financial potential for prospective buyers. Agents advise clients about options for financing property acquisitions and launching new businesses.

Salary: According to Payscale, commercial real estate agents earn an average salary of about $94,500.

10. Business Teacher

Finance majors hone the communication and presentation skills that are essential to the teaching profession. Business teachers tap a broad knowledge of business as they instruct high school students about the fundamentals of accounting, management, marketing, and investments.

Finance majors with an intense curiosity about the business world and an enthusiasm for business issues are well suited for this role. Individuals who earn advanced degrees in business can also pursue teaching jobs at junior and four-year colleges. 

Salary: According to Payscale, business teachers earn an average salary of $41,654.