Wondering, what can I do with a major in finance? The answer is quite a lot. And, if you're also wondering, how much do finance majors make? The answer is also quite a lot.
Financial analysts with a bachelor's in finance started their careers earning an average salary of $55,700, according to a salary survey of recent college graduates conducted by the National Association of Colleges and Employer.
But finance majors can be more than financial analysts. Here are some of the most lucrative jobs for finance majors.
1. Financial Planner
A financial planner is someone who can offer help and planning advice to both businesses and individuals who want to better manage their finances and plan for their financial futures. Financial planners can earn around $88,890 per year or $42.73 per hour, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Of course, having a degree in finance to go on and become a financial planner just makes sense.
Actuary use "mathematics, statistics and financial theory to analyze the financial costs of risk and uncertainty," according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, which also reports that actuaries earn about $102,880 per year, or $49.46 per hour. The job outlook for actuaries between 2018 and 2028 suggests a 20% increase, which is much faster than average. Those with a degree in a field like finance, for example, have a step up above the competition.
3. Financial Analyst
Financial analysts provide financial guidance to different types of clients like businesses or individuals, helping them to make important investment decisions. A financial analyst earns about $85,660 per year, or $41.18 per hour, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. There were 329,500 job openings for financial analysts in 2018, and the job is growing at a rate of eight percent, which is faster than average. Financial analysts usually study a subject such as finance in undergraduate school, and likely go on to pursue further education in the field.
4. Business Professor
Business professors usually have degrees in fields like finance from their own undergraduate experiences. They teach subjects like finance in their business classes, so having a solid foundation is key. They can earn around $78,470 per year, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, though their salaries vary depending on where they teach, what they teach and how often they teach.
5. Stock Trader
A stock trader is someone who works either for themselves or for a firm buying and selling stocks. A degree in finance helps them to understand the value of stocks and make more informed purchasing and selling decisions. A stock trader typically earns about $72,000, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
6. Investor Relations Associate
Investor relations associates "generally work for financial/banking institutions and are responsible for helping to manage relationships with their institutions' investors, handling phone calls and correspondence, and participating in client meetings and other projects," according to PayScale, which also reports that they earn a base pay of about $63,566 per year. Of course, understanding finances with a finance degree is critical to do this role.
A credit analyst assesses the risks involved in lending money to different companies and individuals who need loans. These analysts are responsible for calculating the likelihood that a borrower will be able to repay their debts by analyzing their credit histories and financial statements. According to TradeSchools.net, their average salary is about $82,300. Credit analysts usually come out of undergraduate school with a degree in a subject like finance, and they usually go on to pursue further education in the field.
8. Commercial Real Estate Agent
A commercial real estate agent is responsible for finding businesses' offices and other non-residential properties. They assist sellers in promoting their properties and find qualified buyers, as well. Having a degree in finance is helpful for providing guidance on agreements, market prices, mortgages and other topics. A commercial real estate agent can earn about $79,060 on average, according to Glassdoor.
9. Budget Analyst
A budget analyst can earn about $76,220 per year or $36.65 per hour, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Their main responsibility is to assist public and private institutions to organize their finances, which of course means that a finance degree would be critical.
An accountant can earn about $70,500 per year or $33.89 per hour, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Accountants are responsible for preparing and examining financial records, so having a degree in finance in order to understand those records is important.
11. Policy Analyst
Policy analysts earn about $57,025, while the top 10% have most recently earned at least $80,000, and the bottom 10% have earned up to $41,000, according to PayScale. Their position tasks them with researching and analyzing the many different issues that affect the public and offering up ideas on legislation and intervention.
An economist is someone who collects and analyzes data, researches trends and evaluates economic issues for resources, goods and services, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, which also reports that economists earn about $104,340 per year or $50.16 per hour.
13. Operations Manager
An operations manager is in charge of attracting talent and setting training standards and hiring procedures for different types of companies. As such, having a degree in finance can be helpful.
Auditors earn about $70,500 per year or $33.89 per hour, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Their job is to prepare and examine financial records, so having a degree in economics is hugely valuable. While most employers require a candidate to have a bachelor’s degree in accounting or a related field like finance to become an auditor, you can also get a certification within a specific field of accounting to improve your job prospects. For example, many auditors may become Certified Public Accountants (CPAs) on top of their finance degree.
Lawyers work in a whole array of various fields, but having a degree in finance can be beneficial for all lawyers. That's because understanding the economy is incredibly important when dealing with a whole host of different cases — nevermind the fact that a degree in economics and a passing grade on the Law School Admissions Test (LSAT) will qualify you for law school. Once out of school and employed, lawyers can make about $120,910 per year, or about $58.13 per hour, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
16. Management Consultant
A management consultant is responsible for helping companies find more efficient and better ways of doing business by implementing organizational changes, policy developments and improved processes. According to TradeSchools.net, a management consultant earns about $94,390 per year, on average. Most management consultants have at least a bachelor’s degree, usually in a field like finance, but some also get the Certified Management Consultant (CMC) designation to improve job prospects, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
17. Sales Manager
A sales manager can benefit from a finance degree, as they're sure to take classes in sales. Most sales managers have a bachelor’s degree in a field like finance and have a few years of work experience as a sales representative. With their educational background and a few years of sales experience, they can work their way up to earning about $124,220 per year or $59.72 per hour, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. There were 405,700 jobs available in 2018 for sales managers, which means that they're wanted, too.
AnnaMarie Houlis is a feminist, a freelance journalist and an adventure aficionado with an affinity for impulsive solo travel. She spends her days writing about women’s empowerment from around the world. You can follow her work on her blog, HerReport.org, and follow her journeys on Instagram @her_report, Twitter @herreportand Facebook.