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Financial Analyst career path

Number of Jobs

39, 300

Median Salary

$76, 950

Unemployment Rate

2.3 percent

Financial analysts recommend to clients when to buy and sell investments by staying current on economic trends, business news and company strategy. They also write reports that explain their analysis, share their expertise with colleagues who aren’t financial experts and sometimes communicate their perspectives to the public and financial media. Many work for financial companies, including those in the financial services and insurance industries. For their influence and sizeable paychecks, financial analysts pay the price by working long hours: One in three put in between 50 and 70 hours a week.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, financial analyst positions are expected to grow by 15.5 percent, or 39, 300 jobs, between 2012 and 2022, much faster than the average for all professions. But competition for these jobs is fierce, especially among analysts new to the field.

The paycheck is good. Financial analysts earned a median of $76, 950 in 2012, with the lowest-paid making $47, 130 and the highest-paid making $148, 430. The best-paid in the profession work in the metropolitan areas of Bridgeport, Conn., New York City and San Francisco.

Salary Range

75th Percentile $103, 410
Median $76, 950
25th Percentile $58, 970

Training

While a bachelor’s degree is required (usually in a finance-related field), many financial analysts also earn master’s degrees in finance or business administration and take additional financial analyst courses. Many in the field also become certified financial analysts, and employers often sponsor certification and licensing programs. You’ll get an advantage in the field by obtaining a certification, such as chartered financial analyst, or by taking advanced courses in subjects related to your specialty. The ambitious may take on larger responsibilities and advance to supervisory positions, and the best of the best may go on to become fund managers.

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Popular Q&A

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Financial analyst career path?

My plan is to graduate from The University Of California - Santa Barbara with a bachelors degree in economics and accounting and get an accounting job for 2 years for experience since most jobs wants at least 2 years experience and then get a job as a financial analyst. I don't live in a big city so I'm planning on saving up a lot in those 2 years to move to the LA area or the bay area to get a good analyst position. I start college in January. Does this seem like a good solid plan? Is there anything else I should do or think about to assure my success?

I would suggest to look for internship opportunities with reputable banks; or look for graduate programs, also with reputable banks. An accounting job will benefit you more if you are targeting to be a professional accountant. Working with banks will be more relevant if you want to become a financial analyst.

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Financial analyst Career Path?

I am graduating with a BA in Psychology and would like to get a job as a financial analyst after graduation. My school offers a minor in finance and I am thinking about enrolling as I have never taken any class related to business. I have heard that all that I will learn will be on the job so it really doesn't matter if I have a business degree or not. Is this true?

Unfortunately it can hinder you becoming a financial analyst. Most companies have a finance degree or equivalent as a prerequisite. If you minor in finance, it will help but not sure if it will help a lot. However, if you have statistical analysis under your belt from psychology, that will go a longer way than just having finance. Most of finance deals with statistics with a few pieces about calculating annuities and pricing. But generally speaking, having a stats background will help.

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