The highest paying jobs in finance include top-level executive positions and relatively entry-level careers, like financial analysts. In other words, the industry pays well at all levels. Using data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), we identified the best-paying jobs in finance and high-salary entry-level finance careers.
11 Best Paying Jobs in Finance
These careers have some of the highest median salaries in the finance industry, but you may see higher or lower wages depending on your location, company, and experience level. (Learn more about whether finance is a good career path.)
1. Chief Executives
Median annual salary: $179,520
Chief executives, such as chief executive officers (CEOs) and chief financial officers (CFOs), are responsible for overseeing all activities within a company, so their high salary also comes with a lot of responsibility. CFOs in particular manage the finances of a company. Since this is a top-level position, this role requires many years of experience in the industry.
2. Financial Managers
Median annual salary: $131,710
Financial managers are high-ranking professionals who work to create long-term financial plans for organizations. This is not an entry-level position. Rather, it is a career for someone with extensive experience in investment firms, insurance companies, and banks.
3. Personal Finance Advisers
Median annual salary: $94,170
Personal finance advisers, and financial advisers in general, are responsible for helping clients make serious decisions about their budgets and economic situations. Becoming a financial adviser typically requires a bachelor’s degree, registering with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), and certain certifications like a certified financial planner (CFP) designation.
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4. Financial Analysts
Median annual salary: $81,410
A financial analyst typically works under a financial manager, forecasting a company’s financial future. They exist in many different sectors of the finance world, and financial analysts can even see salaries in the six-figure range if they work in investment banking.
5. Financial Examiners
Median annual salary: $81,410
Financial examiners specialize in the intersection between finance and law — they ensure companies comply with regulations and that nothing is mismanaged. This career typically requires at least a bachelor’s degree, and financial examiners can progress in their career through certifications from the Society of Financial Examiners (SOFE).
6. Budget Analysts
Median annual salary: $79,940
Put simply, budget analysts analyze budgets — they review an organization’s spending and find ways to improve the company’s financial situation. Budget analysts can benefit from some finance-focused certifications, but they usually need at least a bachelor’s degree in a relevant field, like accounting, mathematics, or business.
7. Accountants and Auditors
Median annual salary: $77,250
Accountants and auditors often deal with taxes for a company, but they are also key players in analyzing a company’s finances to find areas of improvement and ways to minimize risk. It is possible to get into accounting without a bachelor’s degree by starting as a bookkeeper or accounting clerk. However, accountants who file reports with the SEC need certified public accountant (CPA) certifications.
8. Insurance Underwriters
Median annual salary: $76,390
Insurance underwriters are the gatekeepers to getting an insurance policy. They review applications for insurance coverage and determine how risky it would be to offer a policy. Underwriters may need specific certifications for the insurance products they underwrite, such as particular designations just for life insurance underwriters.
9. Claims Adjusters
Median annual salary: $64,710
When someone files an insurance claim, someone needs to investigate the details of the claim to figure out how much the insurer should pay. That’s where claims adjusters come in. They are experts on what is not covered by an insurance policy and negotiate settlements with insured parties. A high school diploma or GED is needed.
10. Market Research Analysts
Median annual salary: $63,920
Market research analysts work in various financial sectors to determine how much or how well a product or service can sell. They pour through data on demographics and market trends to help companies determine what products consumers want and how much they’re willing to pay. A bachelor’s degree in something statistical- or research-intensive is recommended, but there are no generally required certifications for this career.
11. Loan Officers
Median annual salary: $63,380
Loan officers underwrite financings like personal loans, mortgages, and business loans. They determine who is eligible for a loan based on certain risk factors such as debt and credit score. Depending on their area of expertise, loan officers may need specific licenses. For example, mortgage loan officers must be licensed as mortgage loan originators (MLOs).
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High-Salary Entry-Level Finance Careers
You can break into most finance careers with a bachelor’s degree, but some only require a high school diploma or GED. Finance is a growing industry, too — according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, business and finance occupations are projected to add nearly 800,000 new jobs by 2030. So, there are always opportunities to break into a career in finance!
Some of the best entry-level finance careers include:
- Bank teller: requires a high school diploma or GED and has a median salary of $36,310
- Insurance agent: requires a high school diploma or GED and has a median salary of $49,840
- Financial clerk: requires a high school diploma or GED and has a median salary of $44,760
- Real estate broker: requires a high school diploma or GED and has a median salary of $48,770
- Bookkeeper: usually requires some college but no degree and has a median salary of $45,560
- Stockbroker: requires a bachelor’s degree and has a median salary of $62,910
- Tax examiner: requires a bachelor’s degree and has a median salary of $56,780
Ready to start learning the skills you need for a career in finance? Check out Forage’s Finance Virtual Experience Programs.
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