Degrees for a career working in financial institutions generally involve a study of the rules, regulations and services in this field. Continue reading for an overview of the programs, as well as career and salary info for some career options for graduates.
Careers in financial institutions are varied; job titles can include financial manager, financial analyst, financial services agent, and various support staff. Financial institutions generally includes banks, insurance companies, mortgage lenders and brokerage firms.
|Financial Managers||Financial Analyst||Financial Services Agent||Administrative and Support Staff|
|Education Requirements||Bachelor’s or master’s degree||Bachelor’s or master’s degree||Bachelor’s degree||High School diploma or GED|
|Other Requirements||Certification depending on specialization||Good math and communication skills; knowledge of laws governing financial industry||Customer service skills||Customer service skills|
|Median Salary (2014)||$115,320*||$78,620*||$72,070 (for all securities, commodities, and financial services sales agents)*||$39,220 (for all financial clerks)*|
|Projected Job Growth (2012-2022)||9%*||16%*||11% (for all securities, commodities, and financial services sales agents)*||11% (for all financial clerks)*|
Sources: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics
A number of career paths are available in financial institutions including financial manager, financial analyst, financial services agent, and administrative and support staff. A minimum of a bachelor’s degree is required for financial managers, financial analysts and financial services agents, while a high school diploma or GED is necessary for administrative or support staff.
Most financial institutions employ a variety of financial managers who are in charge of areas such as loans, mortgages and financial services. Besides manager, job titles for financial managers can include finance officer, controller or treasurer. Banks often employ managers who are in charge of specific bank branches.
Since there are many different types of financial managers, their duties vary according to their specialization. However, most managers are in charge of specific departments within an institution and must be knowledgeable about the rules and regulations governing their line of work. They must also manage the department’s staff and make sure that the department adheres to the institution’s guidelines.
Many employers require a master’s degree in business or finance for those working in managerial positions, although some institutions may accept a bachelor’s degree. Many institutions prefer managers who have prior experience in their field and experience managing staff.
Depending on their specialization, many managers obtain certification or other types of professional credentials. The Institute of Management Accountants and the Association for Financial Professionals are two of the professional organizations that offer specialized certification exams for managers working in financial institutions.
Career and Salary
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projected financial managers would see a 9% increase in employment opportunities from 2012-2022. The median annual wages of these workers were $115,320 in May 2014.
Analysts working in financial institutions are an integral part of the investment process by providing advice about potential investment opportunities to their clients. They can work on the buy-side or the sell-side of a variety of investments, such as hedge funds, stocks, bonds or mutual funds. Financial analysts also monitor trends in a number of different sectors in order to advise their clients on the long-term profitability of current or future investments.
Financial analysts typically specialize, either in a specific region, product or investment type. They keep their clients up-to-date about recent market trends and provide analysis of investment futures. Job duties can include working one-on-one with investors, creating forecasts, complying investment portfolios and keeping an eye on localized economic situations.
Financial analyst positions typically require a bachelor’s or master’s degree in a business or finance-related field. Analysts need to have good communication and math skills, as well as knowledge with the specific regulations and laws that govern their field. Due to the globalization of the economy, many employers seek analysts who have experience working in foreign markets and who are fluent in the languages and customs of other countries.
In addition to education, some analyst positions require licensure by the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA). Although it may not be required, many analysts choose to become professionally certified. Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) is a designation offered by the CFA Institute and involves passing a number of exams in areas such as markets, investment management and the economy.
Career Outlook and Salary Info
In 2012-2022, financial analysts were projected to see a 16% increase in job opportunities, stated the BLS. The median salary for financial analysts was $78,620 in 2014.
Financial Services Agents
Financial services agents typically can be found in banks, insurance companies or other financial institutions, where they deal directly with the institution’s customers. Agents contact customers and assist them in utilizing their institution’s services, which can include retirement accounts, investments or savings and checking accounts. Customers may also contact the agent when they are looking for help with their banking or insurance needs.
Job duties for services agents revolve around meeting with clients, either at the institution or by traveling to the clients’ locations. Most financial institutions offer an array of services, so agents need to be knowledgeable of what their institution has to offer and how these services may benefit their customers.
Financial services agents may be required to have a bachelor’s degree in finance, accounting or business, depending on the institution. Many employers prefer agents who have experience working with the public and who have good customer service skills. Services agents often attend industry workshops and conventions in order to stay current in their field.
Career Outlook and Salary Info
The BLS projected that securities, commodities and financial service sales agents would see an average job growth of 11% from 2012-2022. These workers earned a median salary of $72,070, as reported by the BLS in May 2014.
Office and Administrative Support
According to the BLS, office and administrative support positions in the finance industry occupy roughly 64% of all jobs in this field (www.bls.gov). These positions include bank tellers, customer service representatives, administrative assistants, as well as loan and credit clerks.
People employed in this capacity often assist customers with paperwork, help them with opening or closing accounts, and perform deposits. They may also assist customers with applying for loans or other services offered by the financial institution. Those working behind the scenes assist managers, analysts and other financial professionals with a myriad of tasks and responsibilities.
Most administrative and office jobs don’t require a college degree, but many positions do require a high school diploma or GED. Because one of the primary duties in many of these jobs is assisting clients, good customer service skills are required. Support staff should be able to operate technology such as fax machines, copiers, calculators, and computer teller systems. Cash handling experience for those employed in a bank may also be necessary.
Career and Salary Information
The BLS reported at 11% increase from 2012-2022 for all financial clerks. However, the median annual salaries for these workers were $39,220 in May 2014.