10 Best Careers in Finance

There are a lot of opportunities in a variety of industries for finance majors. The fast-growing field offers financially rewarding careers with chances for advancement. The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) has projected that employment for business and financial jobs will grow 10% through 2026, faster than the average for all occupations. If you are planning on entering this field, you may be interested in the 10 best and most in-demand careers in finance.

Note that all data is sourced from the BLS.

Which Careers in Finance Are Most in Demand?

Financial Manager

Median Salary: $127,990
Projected Job Growth by 2026: 19%

Key advisers within their organizations, financial managers go beyond preparing a company’s financial reports. They advise senior management on market trends, expansion opportunities, and ways to generate revenue and reduce expenses. They may also supervise junior financial employees. Financial managers can be found in any industry but tend to be most concentrated in the finance and insurance sectors. While aspiring financial managers typically need a bachelor’s degree, many find themselves to be much more competitive with a Master of Business Administration. Generally, financial managers have at least five years of experience in junior positions.

Personal Financial Adviser

Median Salary: $88,890
Projected Job Growth by 2026: 15%

To help individuals make the best financial decisions and meet goals, personal financial advisers teach their clients about various investment options and their potential risks. They assist clients with insurance, tax laws, and investing in stocks and bonds. Personal financial advisers also invest their client’s funds, monitor investments, and hold annual meetings with their client to discuss any necessary adjustments. Generally, a bachelor’s degree in an area such as business, finance, or accounting is required. Those who are involved in directly buying or selling stocks and bonds need licenses that coordinate with the products they sell. Personal financial advisers who sell insurance will need a license issued by their state board.

Real Estate Appraiser

Median Salary: $54,980
Projected Job Growth by 2026: 14%

Before properties are bought, sold, mortgaged, taxed, or insured, their value must be determined. Real estate appraisers inspect properties, photograph them, and compare them to others before writing a report specifying their value. The largest percentage of real estate appraisers work in the real estate industry, although some work for banks and mortgage companies. States set their own requirements for appraisers, but any appraiser who is working on federally related transactions needs a state license or certification.

Financial Analyst

Median Salary: $85,660
Projected Job Growth by 2026: 11%

Financial analysts assist businesses and individuals with making decisions on investments. They may study historical and current financial data, economic and business trends, and an organization’s financial statements in order to recommend sound investment opportunities. Typically employed at banks, securities firms, insurance companies, and pension funds, financial analysts must also be current on the laws, policies, economic trends, and political situations that can impact investments. To become a financial analyst, one needs at least a bachelor’s degree. To improve their marketability and chances for career advancement, financial analysts should consider being certified by an organization such as the CFA Institute.

Cost Estimator

Median Salary: $64,040
Projected Job Growth by 2026: 11%

Cost estimators advise their companies and clients on the resources required for a project. These projects can include products, buildings, or the launch of a new service. They determine production time, materials, and labor costs, and they make and adjust estimates related to projects. Additionally, they identify ways to reduce costs and collaborate with sales teams to make estimates and bids for clients. Many cost estimators work in manufacturing and construction-based industries, and usually a bachelor’s degree is required.

Loan Officer

Median Salary: $63,040
Projected Job Growth by 2026: 11%

Responsible for evaluating loan applications and deciding which ones to send to management for final approval, loan officers also source new loan applications, help people and businesses navigate the loan underwriting process, and ensure compliance with federal and state regulations. Most work for commercial banks, credit unions, mortgage companies, or automobile dealerships. A degree in business or finance is required, and loan officers who deal with mortgages must obtain a mortgage loan originator license.

Financial Examiner

Median Salary: $80,180
Projected Job Growth by 2026: 10%

Financial examiners help ensure compliance with laws by reviewing balance sheets, accounts, and loan documents. They determine the risk level of loans, produce reports detailing an organization’s safety and soundness, and organize guidelines for policies and procedures that are compliant with new and revised laws and regulations. Typically, a bachelor’s degree is required for a position as a financial examiner.

Compensation, Benefits, and Job Analysis Specialist

Median Salary: $63,000
Projected Job Growth by 2026: 9%

Compensation specialists examine how companies pay their employees and compare their strategies across peer companies, industries, and regions. They also ensure that companies meet regulation requirements related to overtime, equal pay, and minimum wage laws. In charge of a company’s benefits programs, benefits specialists research and examine benefits plans, programs, and policies, and they make sure that their company’s programs are legal, up-to-date, and competitive. Job analysis specialists compose job descriptions, prepare wage scales, and identify job position classifications.

Financial Clerk

Median Salary: $39,570
Projected Job Growth by 2026: 9%

Financial clerks maintain financial records, generate bills, assist customers, and execute financial transactions. They may work across many departments within a company, including accounts receivable, accounts payable, payroll, or procurement. Since they can work in various areas, their specific job duties vary. For example, financial clerks who work in payroll make wage adjustments and verify employee attendance and hours worked. Those who work in procurement put together requests for materials, create purchase orders, manage purchases and supplies, and respond to inquiries about order statuses.

Financial Services Sales Agent

Median Salary: $64,120
Projected Job Growth by 2026: 6%

Financial services sales agents connect their clients to the securities, commodities, and services that they need. Besides sourcing new clients and sales opportunities, these sales agents may execute trades on behalf of their clients and monitor financial markets for emerging trends. A business degree is the minimum requirement for this job, but an MBA can make candidates more marketable. Additional certifications and licenses, such as those offered by FINRA and the CFA Institute, are often required, as well.

With many different paths to choose from, careers in finance offer intellectual challenge, career growth, and financially rewarding salaries. To take the first step toward a job in this field, an online degree program can give you the credentials and background you need to succeed.

JobMedian SalaryProjected Growth Rate
Financial Clerk$39,5709%
Real Estate Appraiser$54,98014%
Compensation, Benefits, and Job Analysis Specialist$63,0009%
Loan Officer$63,04011%
Cost Estimator$64,04011%
Financial Services Sales Agent$64,1206%
Financial Examiner$80,18010%
Financial Manager$127,99019%
Personal Financial Adviser$88,89015%
Financial Analyst$85,66011%
Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics

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