Individuals who are interested in pursuing a career in a well-paying field with strong job prospects might consider a career in finance. Financial analysts are expected to enjoy job growth of 11 percent from 2016 to 2026, which is notably higher than the national average job growth rate of 7 percent for all occupations. Their median income in 2017 was $84,300, more than double the median annual income for all occupations. Financial managers and personal financial advisors are expected to see even higher rates of job growth during the same time period and take home more money than financial analysts. Enjoy excellent job prospects and a high income by taking some simple steps to prepare to begin or transition to a career in finance.
Pursue Relevant Educated
Entry level positions in finance usually require individuals to have a bachelor’s degree. A four-year degree in subject areas such as mathematics or business administration can be an ideal way of acquiring relevant knowledge that will prepare you to work in the finance sector. Other majors that will appeal to potential employers include statistics, law, finance, economics and accounting.
Those who have already entered the workforce can still gain access to excellent education. Distance education options enable individuals to earn a bachelor’s degree while accommodating work and family demands. Individuals can also pursue an economics degree online and earn a master’s degree that will equip them for senior finance positions, such as working as a chief financial officer.
Obtain Relevant Skills and Experience
In addition to a degree, work experience in a related field can be a significant asset when applying for positions in the financial sector. To prepare for a finance career, it is a good idea to pursue opportunities in related careers. Taking a position as a bank teller can help equip individuals with practical knowledge to move into a position as a loan officer, for example. Prospective loan officers can also prepare for this occupation by working in sales. Other careers that will help you expand work-related skills that will appeal to potential employers include accounting or securities sales.
Like all career fields, there are specific practical skills that people in finance need in order to excel. Analytical skills are crucial, because finance professionals must be able to gather and evaluate a lot of data in order to make prudent financial decisions. Many finance-related jobs also involve good communication skills, because financial officers and analysts must be capable of breaking down complex financial data into layman’s terms so that their clients will understand their decisions and recommendations. Math, organizational, and computer skills are also essential.
Acquire Relevant Certifications or Training
Some finance-related careers require certification. For example, although it’s possible to work as an accountant without certification, in order to be a certified public accountant (CPA) you must have a state-issued license. Job prospects are better for CPAs, and they can earn as much as 15 percent more than accountants who don’t have a license. CPAs also typically receive better benefits from their employers.
Accounting certification isn’t the only type of certification that can benefit those in finance. One recommended option is the chartered financial analyst (CFA) certification. Earning this qualification may lead to an increase in salary and expanded career options in the financial sector. Obtaining a Certified Treasury Professional may appeal to potential employers and open new opportunities for you in the finance career field.
Certification will not simply qualify you for more finance careers; it can help you advance to senior positions in your field. Another option those interested in advancement can consider is completing management training, which will be an asset for anyone considering a future as a financial manager or who wishes to rise to a senior role in their workplace.