For aspiring young professionals who want to break into the wide world of finance, earning a bachelor’s degree is a strong step toward achieving this goal.
The average finance bachelor’s degree salary is $60,000 according to PayScale. Additionally, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts that the financial industry will add 773,800 new positions between 2016 and 2026.
So, what jobs can you get with a degree in finance? Let’s look at four popular finance career paths:
A financial analyst creates financial plans, makes projections about the future of certain stocks, bonds and other investment categories, and puts together analytical reports for investors, business leaders, and others to review.
The goal of a financial analyst is to keep their company profitable by identifying opportunities for profit and areas of risk. Risk analysis has become particularly important over the past decade as companies have worked hard to come back from the fallout of the Great Recession, The Washington Post points out. This could be one reason the job outlook for this position has a projected 11 percent growth from 2016 to 2026, which is higher than the average for all occupations, according to the BLS. The median income for financial analysts in 2017 was $84,300.
Earning an online finance bachelor’s degree is one initial step toward a career as a financial analyst. Taking courses in accounting, economics, statistics, and mathematics will give students the knowledge required to do well as a financial analyst.
Additionally, students who use the knowledge they learn in the classroom in real-world applications by taking one or more internships will be well-equipped for pursuing a financial analyst position. Internships give students an understanding of how a job as a financial analyst may look and feel like, and shows employers that they are prepared for this type of work. In other words, seeking out experiential opportunities can give students a leg up on the competition when it’s time to find a job after graduation.
Another way graduates with a bachelor of science in finance can gain access to financial analyst positions is through earning a master’s degree in finance, such as the online graduate degree offered through the University of Alabama at Birmingham. While most entry-level positions may only require a bachelor’s degree, pursuing higher learning can help students advance their careers.
Financial managers are also in demand, as these professionals are highly valuable to large companies and organizations. Their job is to coordinate with accounting, review cash-flow statements, analyze risk, and compile profit projections. Like financial analysts, financial managers strive to keep their companies profitable and fiscally healthy.
A typical career path for a financial manager begins with a bachelor of science in finance, and in some cases, a master’s degree in finance. After obtaining their degree, financial managers typically work for about five years in position such as financial analyst or accountant before advancing to the managerial role, according to the BLS. The job growth outlook for 2016 to 2026 is 19 percent, well over the average for other occupations, and the median annual salary in 2017 was $125,080.
Purchasing managers and agents research purchasing opportunities for their companies, keeping in mind important details like product quality, price and long-term value. They must also collaborate with other departments within the company to maintain sufficient inventory of supplies or products, and understand sales performance.
When items either aren’t popular with customers or otherwise aren’t providing value to the company, purchasing managers may be tasked with finding a new way to move the product or utilize the materials in a useful, valuable way that supports profitability.
Purchasing managers typically have a bachelor’s degree and several years of work experience. Though demand for this role is declining, with a median annual salary of $66,610, purchasing managers are compensated at higher rates than the general U.S. population, according to the BLS. Additionally, geographic location makes a difference when it comes to median compensation. Purchasing managers in New Jersey make $161,130 per year, those in Alabama make $109,200 per year and those in Louisiana make $86,620 per year, on average.
Similar to the need for financial analysts, companies value budget analysts highly because they help to keep organizations healthy and identify problematic trends. These professionals organize finance, create budget reports, and monitor the organization’s overall spending.
Budget analysts are essential in many industries, including:
- Government at the local, state, and federal levels
- Higher education
The job outlook for 2016-2026 is 7 percent growth, which is on par with the average for all occupations, according to BLS. Budget analysts had a median salary of $75,240 in 2017.
Bachelor’s degrees are common among budget analysts, and employers may like to see applicants who have taken courses in accounting, economics, and statistics in particular. To become a budget analyst for a governmental organization or entity, earning the Certified Government Financial Manager credential from the Association of Government Accountants may also be particularly helpful.
Pursue career paths with an online finance bachelor’s degree
An online finance bachelor’s degree from the University of Alabama at Birmingham can help young professionals get a strong start on a rewarding career as a financial analyst, financial manager, purchasing manager, budget analyst, and many other professions. Many people who succeed in these fields begin their professional journeys by earning an undergraduate degree related to finance. To learn more about the benefits and opportunities associated with the University of Alabama at Birmingham’s online bachelor of science in finance, reach out to an enrollment advisor today.