A career in finance can be highly rewarding, and you can get started on this path with a degree in business, accounting, economics or a related field. The financial sector is one of the fastest growing areas of the economy due to the banking, trading and investment jobs becoming available as businesses expand and new companies are created. While most of the highest paying jobs in finance can be found in the financial sector, it’s possible to earn a high salary without relocating to Wall Street. You don’t need a master’s degree to work in this field, and some jobs are available with only one to two years of professional training. With the proper experience, education and skills, your earnings could reach seven figures.
If you enjoy helping businesses and individual clients manage their financial assets, an accounting job may be for you. Accountants help their clients keep track of their revenue and expenses and deal with the IRS at tax time. Your salary will depend on your level of education and whether you work in a private practice or a large corporation. With a four-year degree, you can earn around $68,000 per year, while a Certified Public Accountant degree will enable you to earn closer to $120,000 per year, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
Actuaries use statistics to help businesses make financial decisions, and they have one of the highest average salaries in the financial sector. This job requires strong math skills, especially in the field of statistics. Most colleges allow business majors to specialize in actuarial science, statistics or mathematics. As an actuary, you’ll be able to earn $100,000 to $186,000 per year, depending on your education and experience. With a master’s degree, you could tap into the lucrative consulting industry.
Auditors play an important role in the financial world by enabling businesses to detect accounting problems before they get out of hand. As an auditor, you may work in the private or public sector, in a freelance capacity or at a corporation. You may choose to work for the government as an income tax auditor or at a private practice providing auditing services for businesses. After establishing your career, you can expect to earn around $68,000 to $120,000.
Economists have a job that’s different than any other occupation on this list. Most economists work in academia, government or industry using mathematical formulas to predict trends and help make important decisions. With a PhD, you can work as a professor or researcher at a university, while a four-year degree will make you qualified for a career in business. Depending on your education and experience, you can make $100,000 to $180,000 per year in this field.
5. Financial Analysts
As a financial analyst, you’ll have many choices of jobs helping clients make investments and other business decisions. This career typically requires a master’s of business administration degree with a focus on finance, and it demands strong analytical skills as well as extensive professional knowledge. As this field is highly competitive, you can expect to earn between $80,000 and $165,000 per year. You can stay competitive in the job market by continuing your education and earning additional certification.
6. Financial Examiners
Businesses and governments employ financial examiners to ensure that all laws are followed during the operation of their organizations. This job requires extensive knowledge of local laws as well as a strong understanding of investment and strategic operations. Typically, a four-year degree in business is required, but a related major may also be appropriate. On average, these analysts earn around $80,000 per year, with salaries reaching up to $148,000 for high earners. Excellent analytical skills and a strong interest in financial mathematics will help you succeed in this field.
7. Management Analysts
Management analysts may work on a freelance basis or as full-time employees of a corporation or non-profit organization. They help management executives optimize the structure of a business and the execution of daily operations. This position is critical for large businesses that want to fine-tune their operations and increase profitability. In this field, you can expect to earn $80,000 to $150,000 per year. Professional certification and post-graduate training can make you a more competitive job candidate.
8. Market Research Analysts
Hedge funds, investment banks and other financial organizations employ market research analysts as consultants or staff members tasked with verifying acquisitions and investments. These analysts typically need a strong background in finance, and a two-year MBA degree can be helpful in finding employment. With the right education, knowledge and experience, a market research analyst can earn from $60,000 to $120,000 per year.
9. Real Estate Brokers
Many people overlook the job of a real estate broker when considering financial occupations, but depending on the market you work in, you can earn very high commissions on transactions. Real estate investors often use the property market as a short-sale exchange for generating large profits. Your earnings are potentially unlimited in this field and can reach seven figures or more. The only educational requirement to become a broker is a professional training course to prepare you to become licensed in your state.
10. Securities and Commodities Agent
Securities and commodities agents perform a job similar to that of a stock broker by helping their clients invest in futures, derivatives, foreign exchange and other securities. A four-year degree isn’t always necessary to find a job in this field as employers often provide training for traders during an introductory period. This profession is highly competitive, and your salary will probably depend on your performance. Employers often put pressure on agents to meet sales quotas, and falling short could result in your termination.
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The world of finance offers a wide range of opportunities, and you can get started on an exciting, high-paying career in as little as a few months to two years. With advanced education, you’ll be able to earn a higher salary, and the additional knowledge and training you’ll receive will prepare you for positions with more responsibility. To keep yourself in high demand, you should be prepared to continue your education with professional training, licensing and certification. If you’re interested enough in statistics, investment and business to acquire some expertise, you’ll be rewarded with one of the highest paying jobs in finance.