What Can You Do with a Finance Degree?

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Are you an expert with numbers and enjoy working in a fast paced business setting? Then a degree in Finance is the perfect way to get your foot in the door for a well-paying, long term career! The financial department is an integral part of any company, and those who work within this field have a variety of exciting opportunities to put their degree to good use.

Those who graduate with a Finance degree can take on many roles within the corporate world. From financial analysts to executive positions, there are several lucrative career paths available within the world of finance. To get you started, we have put together a list of 40 top careers you may be interested in after graduation as well as their median annual salaries:

Job Title Job Summary

Median Salary

Vice President (VP), Finance Executive position that is responsible for directing finances, coordinating the budget, and ensuring the company is in line with regulations.

$122,159

Chief Financial Officer (CFO) Oversees the financial operations of a company while providing leadership to the accounting and finance departments.

$117,794

Finance Director Leadership position that oversees financial reporting, of a company and ensures that the business is in compliance.

$107,361

Corporate Controller High-level position that is responsible for overseeing all of the financial and accounting functions of an organization.

$94,594

Manager, Underwriting Supervises employees within their department to help assess whether or not a client is qualified to receive the company’s product.

$85,934

Portfolio Manager Financial professional who works with individuals and clients to manage investments and assets.

$88,182

Finance Manager Responsible for developing and monitoring departmental budgets and creating financial forecasts for their company.

$96,443

Risk Manager Carries out audits and recommends safety policies to help a company deal with financial or material risks.

$90,264

Senior Business Analyst Management position that is responsible for a variety of complex tasks to identify and analyze data for their company.

$86,110

Financial Controller Responsible for producing financial reports, establishing internal controls for the financial infrastructure, and managing a financial department.

$83,629

Senior Financial Analyst Manages teams of analysts and is responsible for preparing detailed financial forecasts and financial support to their company.

$82,900

Senior Underwriter Analyzes all of the factors within a loan application to determine if a loan should be administered.

$81,348

Executive Director Senior manager of an organization that is responsible for making operational budget decisions and implementing strategic business plans.

$71,530

Loan Officer, Commercial Works with business clients and entrepreneurs to maintain and administer loan accounts for a bank.

$74,350

Accounting Manager Works to develop and implement effective systems for gathering, analyzing, and reporting financial information.

$75,227

Senior Accountant Manages teams of accountants within a company to ensure that the business is financially organized.

$69,773

Senior Credit Analyst Responsible for assessing credit requests and producing recommendations based on a variety of factors.

$67,785

Insurance Broker Works independently or with insurance companies to sell various types of insurance to individuals or businesses.

$70,206

Financial Planner Works for a bank or investment company to help clients get the most out of their money.

$70,855

Investment Analyst Works within an investment group to review and potentially approve investment products.

$79,755

Business Analyst, Finance/Banking Analyzes the financial aspects of a business to identify changes that can be made to make it more successful.

$71,344

Portfolio Analyst Upper-level financial position that is responsible for using investment tools to prepare reports on portfolios.

$73,635

Business Manager Responsible for providing overall management of financial operations and business affairs for their organization.

$63,813

Budget Analyst Provides assistance and analysis during a company’s budget-development process.

$64,880

Financial Analyst Responsible for carefully examining marketplace trends and various factors to help a company make smart investments.

$68,922

Financial Advisor Typically works for a financial institution or insurance company to assess financial needs and help clients achieve financial goals.

$68,454

Risk Management Specialist Works to minimize many forms of risk to their company’s financial standings.

$78,785

Underwriter Works within a loan or mortgage bank to analyze the risks of a loan application.

$64,068

Branch Manager, Banking Leads a team of banking employees to ensure that customers are meeting their financial goals.

$58,943

Pricing Analyst Studies pricing to help a business determine the best target price for their company’s products.

$64,341

Insurance Underwriter Assesses risks and analyzes payments and premiums to determine if a business should be insured.

$60,142

Research Analyst Carefully examines and researches data that can produce meaningful information for their employer.

$65,726

Real Estate Broker Helps people or businesses sell and purchase the property by assessing the current value and closing sales.

$60,154

Stock Broker Advises clients on their investments and performs financial services related to stocks or securities.

$69,500

Account Executive Sales position that sells services and products to other businesses and individuals to meet their company’s sales quota.

$60,557

Credit Analyst Professional who specializes in helping a business or individual determine their creditworthiness.

$58,335

Staff Accountant Responsible for a variety of financial roles that include running reports and maintaining a balanced budget.

$53,864

Accounts Receivable Specialist Collects information on customer and company accounts to monitor payments and prepare statements.

$38,438

Finance Assistant Works within a finance department to analyze and collect financial data, record entries, and reconcile accounts.

$36,005

Insurance Sales Agent Helps clients choose an insurance policy that most closely suits their needs and budget.

$40,556

*Data provided by Payscale.com


What can you do with a Finance Degree?

As you can see in the table above, there are several financial opportunities within the corporate world that allow you to utilize your Finance degree. Whether you are interested in insurance and sales or in-depth analysis and business projection, those with a degree in Finance are valuable assets for organizations across a variety of industries.

Salaries within the financial field vary widely, as you can see from the average median salaries listed. Those working in assistant-type roles or getting started in entry-level sales positions tend to make an annual pay close to the national average across all occupations. However, after working your way up the corporate ladder with years of experience and skill development, you may have the potential to achieve executive-level positions within a company that averages well over six-figures in annual pay!

What is a Finance Degree?

A degree in Finance gives you specialized skills and knowledge that allow you to manage, analyze, and interpret the financial situation of an individual or organization. Although similar in some regards to an Accounting degree, Finance focus more on the future of a company’s finances rather than their current state of affairs. Many careers within the field of finance, involve helping businesses make wise financial decisions by creating accurate reports and making projections of future market trends.

When working towards your degree in Finance, you will take a number of specialized courses in addition to general education credits, including:

  • Financial Market Analysis
  • Financial Accounting Theory
  • Laws, Regulations, and Business Ethics
  • Mergers and Acquisitions
  • Business Statistics

While most Finance graduates start out in entry-level career opportunities, there is typically great potential for advancement within this field. After putting in several years of experience or earning high-level graduate degrees within Finance, you may be able to pursue executive-level careers that include Vice President of Finance or Chief Financial Officer.

Many students interested in earning a degree in Finance are juggling careers with daytime hours or family obligations in addition to their coursework. For these adult students, online finance degrees are an excellent way to move forward with their education while still working a full-time job or balancing their home life. With the advancement of technology and the popularity of online degrees, many of the nation’s top competitive universities are now offering these virtual programs to meet the changing needs of their student body.

Finance Career Outlook

The state of the nation’s economy and a constantly evolving business market has resulted in the continued need for financial professionals that can support a business’s goals. With the wide range of career opportunities available in the field of Finance, it is always wise to check in with reputable resources, such as the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), to find out more about your potential career’s outlook and salary.

The BLS projects that jobs within the business and financial operations will experience 5% growth between the years 2019 and 2029. These numbers represent job growth at or above the national average across all occupations, which is excellent news for Finance students!

If you enjoy challenging, fast-paced work environments that put you at the heart of a business’s success, a degree in Finance is an excellent starting point. With a positive job outlook and opportunities to make a high annual wage, finance is the perfect field for motivated individuals looking to make an impact in the world of business!

Ready to start your journey?
Elizabeth Abner
WRITTEN BY Elizabeth Abner

Elizabeth is pursuing a Doctor of Philosophy in Foreign Policy and earned her master's degree in business administration. For her undergraduate studies, she earned a Bachelor of Arts in Business Administration with a concentration in international business. Elizabeth's research is focused on universities offering online degree programs.