Choosing a career in finance can feel daunting – there are nearly endless ways to specialize within financial services and the finance industry as a whole. It’s also a growing field: The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projects that the financial and business operations field will add over 700,000 new jobs between 2021 to 2031.
So, where do you begin figuring out what jobs exist in the finance industry and which one is right for you? We’ve compiled a list of more than 20 careers in finance, ranging from entry-level analyst positions to insurance sales and all the way up to chief financial officers. We’ve also included salary data (sourced primarily from the BLS) and job descriptions to help you get a feel for what these roles look like so you can better understand your options.
Accounting and Tax Financial Careers
Accountants and Auditors
Average salary: $86,740
Accountants and auditors analyze their company’s finances and prepare financial documents. Within a financial organization, there may be specific titles such as junior accountant, senior accountant, auditor, and tax accountant.
- Junior accountants focus on balancing accounts and preparing reports. Senior accountants may need a master’s degree or a certified public accountant (CPA) license, and they assist in analyzing and maintaining the company’s financial health, in addition to being supervisors to junior accountants.
- Auditors are primarily in charge of tracking accounts and seeing that they are recorded accurately. An auditor must also prepare financial statements, such as balance sheets and audits, and ensure that all operations and documentation meet legal and financial regulatory standards.
- Tax accountants prepare client tax documents and ensure all tax filings follow local, state, and federal tax regulations. Preparing tax reports, solving issues and errors with filings, and finding areas where money can be (legally) saved are all duties of tax accountants.
>>MORE: Learn how to choose the right accounting career path for you.
KPMG Audit & Assurance
Experience a day-in-the-life as an auditor at Big Four firm KPMG with this free Forage job simulation.
Avg. Time: 5 hours
Skills you’ll build: Excel, analytics, Power BI, trial balance review, control design
Financial Manager and Controller
Average salary: $166,050
Financial managers work in many different areas and industries, including investment banks, firms, and insurance companies. They primarily handle the creation of financial reports and the development of long-term financial plans for an organization.
Another type of financial manager is the financial controller, or comptroller. Controllers are the highest ranked person on an accounting team, outside of the chief financial officer. The controller ensures the company stays in good financial health and oversees the work the rest of the accounting team does.
Average salary: $108,790
Financial analysts interpret financial statements and forecast the company’s future financial performance. In addition, analysts compare current financial situations to the initial plans laid out by a financial manager or chief financial officer and assist in creating reports to help the company stay on track with its strategy based on market conditions.
New York Jobs CEO Council Financial Analyst
Learn the type of work financial analysts do on a daily basis with this free job simulation from the New York Jobs CEO Council.
Avg. Time: 2 to 3 hours
Skills you’ll build: Financial analysis, critical thinking, problem solving, Excel, communication
Average salary: $87,680
A budget analyst, sometimes called a cost analyst, looks at the company’s budget and determines ways to make or keep the budget efficient. Budget analysts also help maintain records and decide if funds need to be allocated differently.
Chief Financial Officer
Average salary: $246,440
A chief financial officer (CFO) is the top-ranked person in a company in regard to the organization’s finances. A CFO has two main roles: overseeing all financial activities within the company, as well as the accounting team members, and being an adviser to the other C-suite executives.
Find your career fit
Discover the right career path for you with a free Forage job simulation.
Advising Financial Careers
Average salary: $137,740
A financial adviser, also called a financial consultant or a financial planner, is a broad job title in personal, corporate, and public industries.
- Financial advisers help their clients understand what services and tools are available to manage and optimize their wealth. Advisers also advise on what decisions to make depending on the individual client’s goals and financial situation.
- Personal finance advisers do the same sort of work as any other financial adviser, just on a smaller scale. Their clients are people who want to learn how to manage their money better and who want advice on things like investing, college funds, taxes, or estate planning.
- Registered investment advisers (RIA) must register with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). Investment advisers guide clients through the investment process by assessing the client’s needs and goals and analyzing the current market conditions.
- Chartered retirement planning counselors (CRPC) are financial planners or advisers who specialize in helping their clients plan for retirement. A CRPC is a certification and job title, and CRPCs work with clients to create a plan that meets their client’s lifestyle preferences and financial capabilities.
Goodbody Wealth Management
Learn the skills you need to succeed in wealth management with this free job simulation from Goodbody.
Avg. Time: 5 to 6 hours
Skills you’ll build: Data gathering, communication, financial basics, critical thinking, prospecting, networking, sales, applied theory, time management, project planning
Average salary: $166,050
A portfolio manager is a financial manager who specializes in investment management. They work with clients to find the right investment opportunities and maintain a lucrative investment portfolio. Portfolio managers also guide their clients on investing and explain market conditions and economic trends that could affect their client’s investments.
Financial Technology (FinTech) Careers
Financial Software Developer
Average salary: $132,930
The primary role of financial software engineers and developers is designing, developing, and improving software used by the finance industry. Financial software developers work with financial and banking companies to create everything from educational tools to credit card software.
Some software developers seek specialized finance careers in certain areas, like blockchain. Blockchain developers work with various organizations to create programs that facilitate secure digital transactions and enable the safe storage of blockchain data. Blockchain developers also make applications and interfaces using blockchain technology to help keep their company’s data safe.
JPMorgan Software Engineering
Explore life as a software engineer at JPMorgan and obtain valuable technology skills with this free Forage course.
Avg. Time: 5 hours
Skills you’ll build: Basic programming, Python, Git, financial analysis, technical communication
Average salary: $95,610
Compliance experts are sometimes called financial examiners or regulatory compliance specialists. While compliance experts work in many facets of the finance industry, they are crucial for FinTech, as digital transactions have strict regulations – compliance experts ensure everything complies with state, local, and federal laws, regulations, and policies.
Average salary: $115,240
Regardless of industry, the responsibilities of a data scientist include analyzing data sets to find meaningful insights and communicate their findings. For example, as a career in the finance industry, data scientists play a crucial role in making predictions based on data, identifying trends, detecting fraud, and creating programs to help their company better serve its customers.
Average salary: $108,790
Quantitative analysts are financial analysts who use statistical techniques to solve risk management, valuation, market regulation, and trading problems. Additionally, quantitative analysts may develop tools that improve how companies create models and analyze strategies.
JPMorgan Quantitative Research
Gain fundamental quantitative skills and learn how banks utilize quantitative research with this free job simulation from JPMorgan.
Avg. Time: 4 to 6 hours
Skills you’ll build: Programming, data analysis, Python, derivatives, critical thinking, statistics, dynamic programming
Average salary: $119,860
Cybersecurity specialists, or information security analysts, help ensure the systems these companies use are protected against malware, viruses, and hackers. FinTech is all about digital information, so cybersecurity specialists also focus on data encryption to make business customers feel safer using technology to access their financial information.
Learn how cybersecurity professionals at banks identify and thwart threats with JPMorgan's free job simulation.
Avg. Time: 5 hours
Skills you’ll build: Data analysis, presentations, application security hygiene, web application development, email security fundamentals, text-based ML models, data structures, access control
Investing Careers in Finance
Average salary: $108,790
Investment bankers typically begin their career as financial analysts, but there are specific finance careers investment bankers can take on:
- Investment bankers focus on raising capital for their clients by selling equity and issuing debt. Investment bankers also assist in mergers and acquisitions (M&A) and create financial models to predict financial performance.
- Investment strategists analyze economic trends and give clients or portfolio managers insight on how to combat potential risks with strategic trading and asset allocation.
Private equity associates are investment bankers with a bit more experience overseeing deals from sourcing to closing. Private equity associates focus on raising capital and acquiring, improving, and selling companies.
Bank of America Investment Banking
See if you have what it takes to be an analyst at one of the top investment banks with this free job simulation from Bank of America.
Avg. Time: 5 hours
Skills you’ll build: M&A screening, SWOT analysis, financial analysis, ECM, DCM, financial modeling, discounted cash flow analysis, business valuation, communication, presentations
Stockbroker or Securities Trader
Average salary: $100,740
Stockbrokers act as a broker, or middle-man, for clients looking to buy and sell securities like stocks, bonds, or options. Sometimes, a stockbroker may also provide financial advice and investment management services.
A securities trader has a similar job as a stockbroker: find, buy, and sell securities. However, traders typically buy and sell securities using their own company’s assets. In addition, traders often work for large investment management firms or banks and make trades under the direction of a portfolio manager.
Citi Markets Sales and Trading
Discover what working with marketable securities is like with Citi's free sales and trading job simulation.
Avg. Time: 5 to 7 hours
Skills you’ll build: Communication, market research, critical thinking, summarization
Average salary: $62,000 to $168,000 (estimate from PayScale)
A venture capitalist (VC) sources investment opportunities for their clients by analyzing emerging businesses’ growth and risk potential. VCs receive equity in these early-stage companies in exchange for the capital they provide.
H2 Ventures Venture Capital
Explore working in venture capital with this free job simulation from H2 Ventures.
Avg. Time: 5 to 6 hours
Skills you’ll build: Startup scouting, opportunity analysis, identifying success factors, investment lifecycle, comparable company analysis, financial modeling, forecasting
Risk Management Careers
Average salary: $82,990
Underwriters work in various financial industries but are typically involved in banking and insurance. Underwriters are responsible for determining the potential risk of a person applying for insurance or a loan and then deciding whether that person can be approved based on the risk assessment.
Insurance Broker, Agent, or Adviser
Average salary: $76,950
Insurance brokers or agents are salespeople who sell insurance products directly to consumers. Brokers typically sell products from a variety of insurance companies, while agents often work for one specific company. The products they sell include life insurance, personal auto insurance, and homeowners insurance.
A similar role to an insurance broker is an insurance adviser. These advisers often work as part of a larger financial planning team and help give insight on other financial products or services, like investments and estate planning.
Average salary: $73,380
After an incident, a claims adjuster will look at the details of an insurance claim and determine who is liable. Claims adjusters talk with the people involved in the claim, interview witnesses, and examine the damage, if necessary, to figure out who needs to pay and how much.
Average salary: $127,580
Actuaries use math, statistics, and theory to analyze risk-associated costs. Actuaries can sometimes be called actuarial analysts, and their analysis helps companies understand how potentially successful decisions can be and how unpredictable disasters would impact the business financially.
>>MORE: Learn the difference between actuaries and underwriters.
Financial Law Careers
Average salary: $163,770
Becoming a financial lawyer is the same as any other law career path. Lawyers can specialize in various financial aspects, such as tax law, trade finance, and debt finance. Additionally, many financial organizations hire general counsel for M&A or securities trading, and with the rise of FinTech, lawyers who understand cryptocurrency compliance law and virtual assets are in great demand.
How Many Jobs Are Available in Finance?
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) estimates that there will be an average of 911,400 business and financial occupation job openings each year from 2022 to 2032 — faster growth than the average for all occupations.
BLS data suggests that the U.S. job market will add around 4.7 million roles between 2022 and 2032, with business and financial services being one of the fastest growing sectors behind health care, information technology, and transportation.
Financial Job Growth and Employment Details
|Occupation||Number of Jobs in 2022||Projected Growth Rate 2022 to 2032|
|Accountants and Auditors||1,538,400||4%|
|Financial Examiners and Compliance Experts||65,600||20%|
|Financial Managers and Controllers||792,600||16%|
|Information Security Analysts and Cybersecurity Specialists||168,900||32%|
|Stockbrokers and Securities Traders||482,200||7%|
Learn if finance is a good career path for you!
Image credit: VitalikRadko / Depositphotos.com