U.S. News & World Report
March 21, 2023, 8:00 PM
Discover your dream career in finance.
Are you passionate about numbers, market trends and financial strategies? A career in finance might be the perfect path for you. As the lifeblood of every business, finance positions play a critical role in an organization’s fiscal success and stability. From investment banking to accounting, this dynamic field caters to an extensive range of interests and skill sets.
Wading through the vast array of career options can be overwhelming, so we’ve done the legwork for you. We considered factors such as income, unemployment, work-life balance and future career prospects to curate a list of the best jobs in finance.
The following represents the top finance jobs according to U.S. News & World Report’s Best Jobs rankings. Income and unemployment data are from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.
7. Compliance Officer
Median Salary: $71,650
Unemployment Rate: 2.4%
The primary duty of a compliance officer is to ensure that an organization complies with its internal policies, outside regulatory requirements and relevant laws. Compliance officers are becoming particularly in demand in the financial industry as the government tightens anti-money laundering laws and companies grow more aware of the importance of preserving a positive public image.
To become a compliance officer, you’ll need a bachelor’s degree in related fields such as business administration, finance or accounting. Depending on the specific industry or company, employers may also require on-the-job training or certifications.
Learn more about compliance officers.
6. Loan Officer
Median Salary: $63,380
Unemployment Rate: 1.3%
A loan officer works for a financial institution or an independent lender to recommend, advise and approve loan applications for individuals and businesses. As a liaison between borrowers and lenders, loan officers play a crucial role in the lending process. They review loan applications, gauge the creditworthiness of borrowers and often provide personalized recommendations to guide borrowers through the application process.
Loan officers typically need a bachelor’s degree in fields such as business or finance — though some organizations may not require a bachelor’s degree if you have related work experience in sales, banking or a comparable field. However, you must have a Mortgage Loan Originator license to specialize in mortgage lending.
Learn more about loan officers.
Median Salary: $77,250
Unemployment Rate: 3.2%
An accountant is a financial professional responsible for keeping and interpreting financial records for individuals or organizations. Though the daily duties of an accountant vary by position, the most common tasks and responsibilities of accountants include examining financial statements to ensure their accuracy, preparing tax returns, identifying potential risks for fraud and assessing financial operations.
Accountants typically have a bachelor’s or master’s degree in accounting or a related field. To improve your job prospects and stand out from the competition, consider going the extra mile and pursuing additional certifications, such as taking the certified public accountant exam to become a CPA.
Learn more about accountants.
Median Salary: $105,900
Unemployment Rate: N/A
Actuaries are highly skilled professionals boasting a blend of expertise in mathematics, statistics and financial theory. Their work often revolves around designing insurance policies and pension plans for large corporations or individual clients.
By calculating potential risks, probabilities and expenses of future events, these highly sought-after experts help organizations and individuals make informed decisions and ensure their financial security.
To become an actuary, you must have a strong statistics, business and mathematics background. Generally, actuaries have undergraduate degrees in actuarial science, statistics or other analytical fields. In addition, many employers expect prospective hires to have passed at least one or two of these certification exams: The Casualty Actuarial Society and the Society of Actuaries exams.
Learn more about actuaries.
3. Financial Analyst
Median Salary: $81,730
Unemployment Rate: 1.2%
Financial analysts help businesses and individuals navigate the complexities of financial markets by providing insightful investment advice and evaluating the potential risks associated with various financial assets.
Financial analysts are generally divided into two categories: buy-side analysts and sell-side analysts. A buy-side analyst develops investment strategies for companies or individuals with money to invest, like hedge funds. On the other hand, a sell-side analyst usually works for an investment firm that provides recommendations to the clients of the firm.
A bachelor’s degree in a finance-related field is usually required to become a financial analyst. Many financial analysts also earn master’s degrees in finance or become certified financial analysts to improve their career prospects.
Learn more about financial analysts.
2. Financial Advisor
Median Salary: $94,170
Unemployment Rate: 2.4%
Financial advisors play an indispensable role in helping individuals and businesses make informed decisions about their financial future — be it building a comfortable retirement nest egg or determining the profitability of a corporate development project.
Most financial advisors are either self-employed or work in the finance and insurance industry. According to the BLS, the employment of financial advisors is projected to grow 15% from 2021 to 2031 — much faster than other occupations.
You’ll typically need a bachelor’s degree to become a financial advisor. Though most employers don’t require a specific field of study, degrees in business, finance or social science could be helpful. After becoming a financial advisor, you can bolster your professional reputation by pursuing certifications — like earning a Certified Financial Planner designation from the Certified Financial Planner Board of Standards.
Learn more about financial advisors.
1. Financial Manager
Median Salary: $131,710
Unemployment Rate: 2.4%
Financial managers play a crucial role in ensuring the stability and prosperity of businesses. They meticulously analyze financial data, study trends to find expansion opportunities, collaborate with department heads and provide strategic recommendations to ensure an organization’s long-term growth.
To pursue a career in this lucrative field, you must have a bachelor’s degree and five years or more of experience in another financial occupation — such as an accountant. Though not required, a master’s degree in a related field or a Chartered Financial Analyst certification can enhance your credentials and open doors to higher positions within larger organizations.
Learn more about financial managers.
The best jobs in finance:
— Compliance Officer.
— Loan Officer.
— Financial Analyst.
— Financial Advisor.
— Financial Manager.
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Update 03/22/23: This story was published at an earlier date and has been updated with new information.
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