Are you interested in money? Do you want to work with individuals or businesses to manage their finances? Keep reading to learn about career and educational options in the financial analysis and management field.
Financial analysts evaluate investments made by companies and individuals. They need to be aware of market trends in the specific industry or product that they specialize in. Some analysts, such as fund managers and portfolio managers, may oversee all of their clients' investments. Financial managers hold a number of job titles, including treasurer, credit manager and branch manager. As a financial manager, you might be responsible for preparing financial reports, determining credit limits and calculating operation risks. Financial analysts and managers work in an office setting. Many of these occupations require frequent traveling and more than 40 hours of work per week.
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reported that employment for financial analysts was projected to increase by 20% between 2008 and 2018, which is much faster than the average for all occupations (www.bls.gov). The BLS stated that financial management positions would grow about as fast as the average for all occupations, with a projected growth of eight percent from 2008-2018. However, even though these occupations are growing, you may face stiff competition for jobs since there are more applicants than available jobs. Financial analysts earned a median annual salary of $74,350 and financial managers earned $103,910 as of May 2010.
Nearly all employers seek financial analysts and managers who have at least a bachelor's degree. Some companies may only hire applicants who have a Master of Business Administration (MBA) or a master's degree in finance. You may also need to be licensed by the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) to work in some financial positions.
A bachelor's degree in financial economics can be a solid choice for aspiring financial analysts and managers. After you complete introductory courses in economics and math, you can usually take courses such as public finance theory, portfolio analysis and derivative securities. Some schools may give you concentration options in public finance, international finance and private finance.
After you obtain an undergraduate degree, you can choose to pursue a master's degree in finance. Some MBA programs give you the option to specialize in finance, and some prepare you for a doctoral program. A master's program in finance may allow you to participate in an internship with a local financial firm. During a master's program in finance, you can take advanced courses in financial innovations, investment theory and capital resource allocation.
Certifications can be useful to advance your career or increase your job prospects. If you work in an accounting department, you may need to become a Certified Public Accountant (CPA). The Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) designation can be beneficial for investment professionals and the Certified Treasury Professional (CTP) designation shows your ability to perform tasks in risk management and corporate liquidity. Most certifications require a combination of work experience, postsecondary education and completion of an exam.