Public finance positions can be a good choice if you are comfortable working with numbers and you are able to keep up with the latest investment trends. Read on to see if the growing fields of public finance and funds management are right for you.
The public finance sector employs many different financial workers , such as financial analysts, economists and financial managers. Public finance workers are found in all levels of government, as well as in international organizations. Fund managers oversee investments in hedge and mutual funds and develop speculation strategies. Financial employees at all levels usually work in an office setting. Some finance workers may be required to travel often. Financial analysts and managers usually work long hours, sometimes as much as 60 hours per week. You should have good communication skills for most public finance and fund management jobs because you frequently work with investors or other financial workers.
Demand for public finance workers is expected to vary between occupations. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) stated that financial analysts were expected to see up to 20% growth in job opportunities, while financial managers would only see an eight percent increase in job opportunities (www.bls.gov). Finance analysts earned an annual median income of $74,350 in 2010 and financial managers earned $103,910. Financial analysts and managers can work in many different industries or be promoted to high-level management with enough experience.
Nearly all public finance employers require applicants to have at least a bachelor's degree. Public finance economists usually have completed graduate school. Financial managers who have a master's degree are generally preferred over those who just have a bachelor's degree. Depending on your occupation, certifications can increase job opportunities and may be required for some positions.
A bachelor's degree in finance can be a good option if you are inclined to pursue a career in the field. Specialization in finance management might be a good fit if you want to work in public finance and a specialization in investment management might be beneficial if you wish to become a fund manager. A bachelor's degree program in financial economics is another option that can help you work in public finance. A financial economics degree program may offer courses in portfolio management, venture capital and corporate finance.
You may obtain a graduate certificate in public finance if you do not want to complete a full master's or doctorate program. A graduate certificate can also be useful if you already have a master's degree and you want to specialize in public finance. Some schools may offer a master's degree in public financial administration for students who desire to work in the public finance sector. In a finance master's program you may take courses in revenue theory, program evaluation and government budget.