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16 Highest Paying Jobs for Finance Majors

16 of the highest paying jobs for finance majorsIf you have a strong knack for numbers, you may be a good candidate for a finance major. However, your options post-graduation may not be what you expect. Yes, it’s true that a lot of finance degree grads end up on Wall Street. However, there are many other high quality positions delivering a stable job as well as an outstanding salary that mesh well with the finance skill-set. 

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Summary of Skills from a Finance Major

With a degree in finance, you will have many excellent skills that can apply to a wide range of positions, not just the top jobs for finance majors out of college. During your education, you will learn about personal finance, accounting, fundamentals of markets, and financial principles of business. You’ll learn the mathematics related to money, and develop skills in statistics. 

But you’ll also learn theoretical principles, such as ethics in finance and organizational change. You’ll learn communication, specifically how to communicate complex numbers, which make perfect sense to you, to people who have less understanding of the topic. You’ll have stronger leadership and management skills, as well as an understanding of marketing and sales. This will help you become a strong contributor to many businesses, not just the ones that need someone to run their finances.
 


Most Lucrative Entry-Level Jobs for Finance Majors

Many jobs in the financial sector will require an advanced degree or some form of work-related experience and one-the-job training. However, these careers allow you to go straight from class to high-paying jobs for finance majors. 
 

Methodology

To make this list, we used information from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, specifically information regarding median salary, median salary of the top 10%, expected job growth between 2016 and 2026, and the typical minimum education required to land the specific position.

#1   Financial Analyst

Avg. Salary: $84,0640
Job Growth: 11%
Required Education: Bachelor’s

Working with individuals or businesses (or both), financial analysts provide valuable services by helping people make decisions with their finances. They may perform a wide range of services, including recommendations on investments, evaluating data, studying economic trends, and preparing written financial reports. Financial analysts often work with banks, security firms, and investment companies. According to the BLS, this career requires a bachelor’s degree but no on-the-job training and no previous experience. The top 10% in this field enjoy salaries over $165,580, making this one of the best entry-level jobs for finance majors.

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#2   Budget Analyst

Avg. Salary: $75,240
Job Growth: 7%
Required Education: Bachelor’s 

By preparing budget reports and monitoring spending, budget analysts help various organizations stay organized with their finances. Specific duties can include the development of budgets, reviewing manager plans, combining department budgets, and explaining recommendations for funding requests. They are employed in almost all industries, including government, education, tech services, and more. Budget analysts have an excellent median salary of $75,240, yet this profession generally only requires a bachelor’s degree and no previous experience or specific training. With the top 10% earning over $113,740, it remains a lucrative entry-level job for finance majors. 

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#3   Accountant & Auditor

Avg. Salary: $30,830
Job Growth: 10%
Required Education: Bachelor’s 

Specializing in the preparation and examination of financial records, accountants and auditors ensure that these documents are accurate and honest. They will often work to verify that taxes are paid on time, and will be hired to assess the financial operations of a business. With financial expertise, they could also be tasked with insuring the business runs efficiently from a spending perspective. Accountants and auditors hold an excellent median salary, but if you work your way into the top 10% of this field, you can expect earnings over $122,220. This gives you a tremendous salary in a field that has an expected growth of over 10%. 

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  • Southern New Hampshire University 

 


Highest Paying Jobs for Finance Majors

 Financial Manager  Average salary: $125,080

With a median annual salary of $125,080, a financial manager may have the highest-paying job for finance majors. This career includes many responsibilities, including preparing financial statements, monitoring financial details, and supervising employees who are conducing financial-related work. Above all, they are responsible for the financial health of an organization, be it a business, non-profit, or government office. This career has an outstanding median salary, but if you work your way into the top 10% of the field, you can expect earnings of over $208,000. Also, the demand for this high-paying job is expected to be 19%, making it a stable career as well.

Required Education: Bachelor’s

 Corporate Financial Officer  Average salary: $104,700

Businesses and organizations need top-level leaders to organize and prioritize their finances, and this responsibility often falls to a Corporate Financial Officer, or CFO. A CFO will manage the company’s finances and provide top-level leadership and guidance for financial planning, management of financial crises, and oversight of record-keeping. Top executives are some of the most important members of a company, and as such they are paid well. The top 10% of this field can command a salary over $208,000, but this position rarely requires more than a bachelor’s degree. However, extensive job experience and training is required.

Required Education: Bachelor’s

 Economist  Average salary: $102,490

These professionals use their deep understanding of financial issues to collect information and analyze data, often using advanced mathematical formulas to make predictions. Economists can present research results and interpret information for employers and clients, and they are often employed by the federal government, as well as research and consulting services. The pay for this career is excellent, and the top 10% can expect salaries over $172,580 a year. Job growth is expected to be only 6%, which means it will keep up (more or less) with the national average. Also, if you want to work as an economist, you will need to pursue a master’s degree in economics, which can be completed after a finance major.

Required Education: Master’s

 Actuary  Average salary: $101,560

Actuaries specialize in risk. They analyze the financial costs, risks, and uncertainties of decisions to help businesses and individuals develop strategies that minimize risk. To do this, actuaries will use statistics, mathematics, financial theories, and advanced studies. This type of professional is an important part of the insurance industry, but they can also be employed by service companies and enterprises, as well as governments. Actuaries hold one of the highest-paying jobs for finance majors, and the top 10% can expect annual salaries over $184,770. With a job growth of 22%, this is also an expanding career field. While this job for finance majors only requires a bachelor’s degree, the BLS says that you will need long-term training.

Required Education: Bachelor’s

 Personal Financial Advisor  Average salary: $90,640

Investments; college savings; insurance; retirement; taxes; estates. There is a lot that goes into personal finances, and many people are more comfortable (and more successful) hiring a personal financial advisor over handling these issues themselves. In this career, you will meet with people in person, explain financial services, and educate clients on the best possible route for their future goals. As one of the top jobs for finance majors, this position has a strong median salary with the top 10% earning over $208,000 a year, despite the median salary being less than $100,000. This suggests that this is a field where the top talent can really set themselves apart.

Required Education: Bachelor’s

 Statistician  Average salary: $84,760

If you like finances and have a knack for advanced mathematical formulas, a career as a statistician might be right for you. In this career, you will develop new mathematical formulas, interpret data, create statistical models, and use your advanced knowledge to support business decisions. You will also likely design and execute surveys, experiments, and opinion polls to help guide decisions. This career generally requires a bachelor’s degree, but the top 10% can earn over $161,900 a year, making is one of the top jobs for finance majors. When you graduate with a master’s in statistics, you can usually enter this career field with no other training or required experience.

Required Education: Master’s

 Insurance Underwriter  Average salary: $68,760

Insurance is a complex business, and companies in this sector need to balance many factors to create a sustainable business. For example, a car-insurance company needs information on the average cost of repairs for each car they insure, as well as data on how much they can reasonably charge and still stay in business. They also need to screen applicants to assess the risk levels of various individuals. With so many facts, stats, and variables to analyze, insurance companies often turn to insurance underwriters. This career field has an average salary of nearly $70,000, but the top 10% can expect to earn over $123,660, making it one of the highest-paying jobs for finance majors. However, the career field is expected to shrink by 5%, due in large part to automated underwriting software.

Required Education: Bachelor’s

 Purchasing Manager  Average salary: $66,610

Companies need the best possible prices for their raw materials and items. While a small company can largely handle purchasing on their own, purchasing for large business can become a full-time job. In fact, it may require a full staff to negotiate purchasing contracts, evaluate suppliers, interview vendors, and handle the various tasks involved with purchasing goods, services, and materials. The pay for this career is very strong, and the top 10% can expect annual salaries over $123,460 a year. However, the career is expected to shrink by 3%, driven largely by automation and outsourcing.

Required Education: Bachelor’s

 Loan Officer  Average salary: $64,660

Largely employed by credit intermediaries and related companies (80% of all employment), loan officers evaluate, recommend, and even authorize loans for people, businesses, and organizations. They may have direct contact with loan applicants, and will review applications while explaining different loan products that may be available, including home, auto, or business loans. The top 10% in this field can expect a salary over $132,590 a year, and the field is also expect to grow by 11%, as businesses and individuals are expected to use loans for commercial investments and personal expenses.

Required Education: Bachelor’s

 Financial Services Sales Agent  Average salary: $63,780

Acting as a catalyst for the financial-services industry, these sales agents help connect providers of securities and commodities with the right buyers. They sell the products that help people generate a sustainable, passive income to individuals, investors, and companies, and they will often spend time contacting potential clients while guiding these clients to the right products. Like most sales positions, if you excel in this field, you could stand to earn a substantial income. While the median salary is $63,780, which is certainly a strong income, the top 10% earn salaries over $208,000. Job outlook is also strong, as this career is expected to keep pace with the overall job market.

Required Education: Bachelor’s

 Cost Estimator  Average salary: $63,110

Manufacturing a product, creating a large building, or providing a high-demand service can have many upfront costs, and these costs can be complex to estimate. There can be factors including materials, labor, production time, design costs, and more, and it takes a strong mind to piece it all together and decide whether or not to pursue a business goal. This is why cost estimators have one of the highest-paying jobs for finance majors. With construction and product design becoming more complex, this career is expected to grow by 11%, and the top 10% in the field can expect salaries over $106,010. There are no work-experience requirements, but there are moderate requirements for on-the-job training.

Required Education: Bachelor’s

 Tax Examiner  Average salary: $53,130

Tax examiners are responsible for determining how much is owed in taxes, and they are also responsible for collecting these taxes from both individuals and businesses. They will review tax returns, contact taxpayers, conduct audits, and keep records of specific cases, so an organized mind with an understanding of finances is crucial. The career is largely employed by federal, state, and local governments, so there is less variation on how much you can earn. However, the top 10% in this field can work their way into salaries over $99,990, making it one of the best jobs for finance majors.

Required Education: Bachelor’s

 Entrepreneur  Average salary: N/A

Self employment can bring many opportunities, but it takes a strong understanding of many fields, as well as the hard-work and discipline required to make a business a success. With a degree in finances, you will have a basic understanding of how the right financial decisions can positively impact your business. In today’s world, being a self-employed entrepreneur is easier and more accessible than ever, and it may be the right path for your financial degree. 

Required Education: Varies

 


Selling Your Skills as a Finance Major

So what happens if you choose a career outside of the typical jobs for finance majors? Fortunately, a finance major teaches you so many valuable skills that easily convert into non-typical positions. But you need to sell yourself to the employers. To do this, you need to sell your skills, not your degree. 

Many of the skills you learn in finance, including communication and (especially) organization, will make you attractive to many employers. Focus less on what you can do, and instead emphasize how your skills will benefit the company. 
 


Continuing Education for Finance Majors

The financial world is constantly shifting, so even if you have landed your dream job, you need to stay educated in current trends, new principles, and future changes. You can attend seminars or become certified through professional organizations to maintain a high level of knowledge in finance. 

If you choose to pursue a master’s or doctorate, be sure that it relates specifically to your career goals. The more advanced your education becomes, generally speaking, the more focused and specialized your education should be. For example, a bachelor’s degree in finance is a great start, and a master’s in financial business issues is a more detailed education.
 


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