Finance Jobs : Median Annual Salary Undergraduate Degree Required

Finance Jobs  Median Annual Salary Undergraduate Degree Required : Finance can be highly competitive. Finance is a well-paying field that can pay up to six to seven figures for top executives and bonus money. Those at the bottom of the ladder can expect to begin at a high wage, compared with other fields.

Finance Jobs  Median Annual Salary Undergraduate Degree Required, Masters Finance Jobs, Finance Jobs

While you might not get the job of your dreams right away, finance is a broad industry. Once you are in, there are many opportunities to learn, grow and find your niche. To get started, however, you need to be able to walk in the door at an entry-level.


  • Finance-sector jobs pay much higher than the median salary, even at the entry-level.
  • The Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates that finance sector jobs are projected to grow 5% from 2019 to 2029.1
  • Finance is open to anyone with a non-Ivy League education. A minimum of an undergraduate degree is required, though math or economics majors are preferred.
  • The most popular entry-level jobs include analysts, tax associates, auditors, and financial advisors.
  • A Look At Entry-Level Careers In Finance

Entry-Level Salary

Entry-level finance compensation averages $88,774 a year, according to the job-search website Glassdoor, in January 2021.2 The National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE) Winter 2020 Salary Survey projects starting paychecks in the finance, insurance, and real estate fields for the class of 2020 to range from $56,750 to $62,500 annually, as of Jan. 21, 2021.3

To get a sense of how high an income is: the median U.S. household income was $68,703 in 2019.4, And in the 4Q of 2020, the median individual income was $984 per week--according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS).5

What's more, the BLS estimates that employment in business and financial operations occupations is projected to grow 5% from 2019 to 2029--faster than the overall average for professions.6

Education Requirements

But how can you do it? You don't necessarily need to have a Harvard Business School MBA. An MBA is best if you have several years of experience in business and financial management.

An undergraduate degree is required to be employed at most financial institutions. Companies claim that they hire majors from any discipline, but your academic record should show your ability to work with numbers. It requires knowledge in accounting, economics, applied math, business, and computer science.

NACE's study revealed that the best way to reduce the salaries in the financial sector was by focusing on engineering and computer sciences. Sales and communication professionals were paid the least. You can minor in finance if you major in another field.

Internships Are a Stepping Stone

Internships are even more crucial. Many companies visit campuses to hire summer interns, host symposia or workshops, or offer networking opportunities such as the Morgan Stanley Career Discovery Day and the Goldman Sachs Undergraduate Camp.

While internships can be challenging to get, just as hard as a real job, they are invaluable. These internships provide valuable contacts and experience. They often lead to a spot in a company's training program or, at most, the inner circle of consideration.

Continuing Financial Education

Another great way to increase your financial I.Q. is continuing education. If you are already a graduate, it is a great way to show your dedication to pursuing a career in the financial sector. You may be able to get a job as a chartered financial analyst, certified public accountant (CPA), and certified financial planner (CFP(r), depending on which area of finance that you are targeting.

Professionals who will work with investments or finance in the United States must pass several licensing exams. Even if you took one of these tests previously, you needed to be sponsored by a financial institution. However, the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority(FINRA) has finalized the Securities Industry Essentials Exams (SIE) for 2018. This exam can now be taken without sponsorship.

The exam is open to anyone 18 years old and over; the 75-question, 105-minute SIE is ideal for "demonstrating basic industry knowledge to potential employers," to quote the FINRA website.

The projected median pay in 2019 (the most recent figure, as of Jan. 21, 2021) for a financial analyst with a bachelor's degree in finance.7

Looking for Finance Jobs: Best Entry-Level Positions

It would help if you determined the most lucrative entry-level jobs and the future career opportunities. Then think carefully about what might work best for you. After you've narrowed down the areas that interest you, you can start your job search.

You can also use your existing network to search for entry-level finance roles. These sites include LinkedIn, Indeed, Monster, and Monster. However, you might find it more efficient to look for jobs or resources in the finance industry, such as eFinancialCareers and Broker Hunter or 10X EBITDA (for Investment Banking span>

Financial Analyst

Financial analysts can work for insurance companies, investment companies, consulting companies, and other corporate entities. They are responsible for consolidating budgets and income statement projections and preparing reports, and conducting business studies. Financial analysts analyze economic conditions, trends in the industry, and company foundations. They can also recommend actions for investments, reducing expenses, and improving financial performance.

You will need a B.A. You should also have strong I.T. skills, whether interested in accounting, finance, or economics. You will need to have strong I.T. skills to be an analyst.

According to the BLS, in 2010, there were 487,800 financial analyst positions in America. They also projected a faster growth rate of 5% up through 2029. According to the BLS's most recent data, financial analysts had a median income of $81,590 by January 2021.

Investment Banking Analyst

The most critical area of the financial industry is investment banking. Professionals in this field assist individuals, companies, venture capital firms, governments, and other capital needs. Investment banks can take on new debts and equities, sell securities, make companies public, facilitate mergers and acquisitions, reorganizations, and broker trades for private investors and institutions.

Analysts usually work in an entry-level position at an investment bank, hedge funds, or venture capital company. The following are some of the most common duties:

  • Producing deal-related materials.
  • Performing industry research and financial analyses of corporate performance.
  • Collecting materials for due diligence.

Recommendations based on the interpretation of financial data often play a role in determining whether certain activities or deals are feasible.

The average investment banking analyst starting salary was $67,817 in November 2020 (the most recent figure, as of January 2021), according to PayScale, a compensation-analysis site. While candidates may have a B.A. in finance, management, or economics, this is not the only job that requires an M.A. These subjects are beneficial.

Finance Jobs  Median Annual Salary Undergraduate Degree Required

Junior Tax Associate/Accountant

Many financial services, including those related to taxation, are in constant demand. It is essential to be aware of internal revenue regulations (IRS) changes, local and state laws, and regulations. These professionals are responsible for developing policies and measures relating to taxes. They can calculate and estimate payments, conduct research, review internal fiscal systems, prepare returns, and work with auditors.

The duties may sound arcane, but tax-related jobs can often lead to corporate positions like the controller (also known as a comptroller), accounting manager, budget director, and even treasurer or chief financial officer.

This type of work requires candidates to have a bachelor's degree or at least some accounting skills. CPA licensure is required if the candidate wants to progress. Many companies offer the chance to earn one while working.

A junior tax associate's job is ideal for college-educated students looking to get experience in the finance sector. According to the BLS, 2019's median annual salary was $54,890 (the most recent figures as of January 2021). However, there could be a 4% decrease in jobs in this field by 2028.

Financial Auditor

The financial auditor's role is especially relevant today. The financial crisis, which occurred between 2007 and 2009, and the global recession have brought about stricter compliance requirements from governments and regulatory agencies. Companies are more careful in their reporting and self-policing.

Although their work overlaps with that of accountants', the mandate of an auditor is more extensive. Auditors are responsible for ensuring compliance with regulations and conducting risk assessments. Auditors inspect financial statements and verify that public records are accurate and in compliance with the law. Auditors review books, business practices, procedures, and other information. They suggest ways to reduce costs, increase revenues, and improve profits.

The median annual salary for this profession is $71,550, according to the BLS. It is also expected to grow by 4% in 2029. Auditors can have degrees in economics or corporate financial management. You can improve your chances of success by completing an advanced accounting degree.

A CPA license in this field will be required. An additional credential of value is the certification as an internal auditor (CIA), recognized worldwide.

Personal Financial Advisor

Financial advisors assess clients' financial needs and assist them in making decisions about investing, saving, and budgeting. 

Advisors can help clients plan for their long-term and short-term financial goals. They can assist with everything from retirement planning to tax planning to estate planning.

Advisors may offer financial counseling, as well as tax services and selling insurance. They may offer financial products like mutual funds or directly manage investments.

According to the BLS in 2019, the median annual salary for personal financial advisers is $88,850. It projects an average growth rate of 4% between 2029,11 and 2020, citing demographic trends like the retirement of Baby Boomers, growing self-employment, declining private-sector employee pension plans, and all these things that drive demand for advisory services.

Finance Jobs  Median Annual Salary Undergraduate Degree Required, Finance Jobs, Masters Finance Jobs

A bachelor's degree in the field is not required. Financial advisors can still benefit from studying math and economics. Financial advisors must be good communicators as they must explain and interpret complex topics to non-experts. The liberal arts can also help them with their critical thinking and analytical writing skills.

Different licensing examinations are required for personal financial advisors that directly purchase or sell securities, bonds, or policies. These exams are taken on the job; you need to be employed by or sponsored by an investment or securities firm to pass them. However, anyone can take the basic Securities Industry Essentials Examination. Many advisors earn industry credentials to enhance their reputation and increase networking opportunities, such as the certified financial plan credential.

While financial jobs often come with high pay and prestige, they are also stressful; early career burnout is not uncommon.

The Bottom Line

It would help if you were prepared and committed to getting your foot in finance. It is a highly competitive field, so view it as a job. Keep your networking efforts up-to-date, and make sure you keep abreast of all finance news. You can learn more, get further education if necessary, be proactive, and keep your sanity.

You can make it in the finance world if you know how to play your cards. You don't have to settle for a job that isn't your dream one. 

The goal is still to find your way into the heavily guarded castle. You can continue to work from there.

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