myUsearch blog

Honest college information — choose, apply, get into and pay for college.

Getting a Career in Finance

August 29, 2014 By: Chad Category: Careers

There are plenty of career opportunities available in the field of finance. According to the U.S. Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Statistics, employment opportunities exist in the areas of accounting, analysis, fundraising, and banking. There are also opportunities as financial advisors, stockbrokers, insurance agents and other sales and consulting type positions for those individuals looking to work directly with clients and help create financial solutions to meet their investment and personal finance goals and objectives.

Many, if not all of these positions in finance require education and in some instances advance degrees in business and finance, such as a Masters’ degree. In addition to meeting education requirements, you may also have to meet the local licensing requirements in the jurisdiction in which you conduct your practice. Here are some skills and requirements that you need to meet if you are considering a career in finance and the steps to take to make this wish a reality for you.

Education Requirements for a Career in Finance
Positions in the field of finance require the ability to analyze data, trends and understand how different financial instruments relate to your client’s situation. Firms that are looking to hire financial professionals typically require, at a minimum, a bachelor’s degree from an accredited college or university. This degree is usually in finance, accounting, business administration or any other similar discipline. A degree in statistics and mathematics may also be helpful, as well as psychology (in understanding a customer’s fears and motivations).

Some career fields in finance like actuaries and estate planners, require additional education or certification. These include designations as a Certified Public Accountant, Certified Financial Planner, Accredited Estate Planner or a Masters’ in Finance, Business Administration, Accounting and a Juris Doctor or law degree.

Licensing Requirements
Once you have obtained one of the degrees listed above, there are additional licensing requirements that you will need to meet when engaged in a financial practice. Individuals who become stockbrokers are required to pass the Series 7 General Securities Representative examination, administered under the authority of the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority. If you intend on offering annuities, long-term care insurance and insurance products to your customers, you will need to pass a state required insurance agent examination.

As mentioned above, accountants will attempt the Certified Public Accountant or CPA exam. As you look to increase your level of expertise as a financial planner or insurance expert, certification as a Chartered Life Underwriter (CLU) or Certified Financial Planner (CFP) may also be considered.

Skills You Need to Develop
Meeting the education requirements on an entry-level along with any additional required licensing or certification is only part of the story for success in finance. Many of the career paths in finance will require interaction with the public, engaging customers on a group or one-on-one basis in order to uncover financial needs, manage portfolios or guide their decisions in meeting a specific financial goal. The ability to analyze data requires some skill and knowledge of spreadsheets; a strong communication background or ability to write effectively as well as speak is also a necessary skill to have for success in finance.

Acquiring the necessary education, licensing and skills are important steps toward entering the world of finance. Your success in finance depends on your willingness to work hard, openness to learning and expanding your knowledge base in order to meet the challenges of this important field.