What Can You Do With a Finance Degree?

A degree may open the door to a variety of opportunities and diverse career paths. The degree programs offered at AIU will not necessarily lead to the featured careers. This collection of articles is intended to help inform and guide you through the process of determining which level of degree and types of certifications align with your desired career path.

Have you ever wondered what you can do with a finance degree? If so, it's a great time to consider pursuing an education in the field. Finance was listed as the most in-demand degree field in a recent survey conducted by the National Association of Colleges and Employers, with participating companies reporting that they expected to hire finance degree graduates at a higher rate than any other major.1

So just what can you do with a finance degree, and what does this degree program entail? Below we cover some in-demand jobs you may have the opportunity to pursue with a finance degree as well as some important relevant skills to learn in a finance program.

What Can You Study in a Finance Degree Program?

Earning a degree in finance typically involves learning more than just specific financial economics concepts. Because finance positions may involve helping companies and individuals make sense of complicated financial markets, it's important to be able to assess and solve issues in a business environment by applying the principles of finance and accounting.

Some programs may offer a bachelor’s in business administration with a specialization in finance, which can be a great way to develop a strong foundation of business knowledge alongside practical, industry-related finance skills.

Skills to Develop in a Finance Degree Program

While different jobs may require different skill sets, there are some skills that are common to many different finance roles (see next section). Some of the fundamental skills required across the financial sector include: 2,3,4

  • Accounting: The ability to assess an organization's financial status and make sense of complicated financial records.
  • Financial analysis: Knowing how to read the market is important for positions that involve advising on investment decisions, but it's also essential to be able to predict trends and identify patterns in complex financial data.
  • Financial reporting: Sharing complex information and putting it into a clear context is important, especially since so many financial professionals must communicate their findings to individuals and upper management who don’t have a finance background.
  • Account reconciliation: Finance professionals may be expected to make sure financial records are being kept accurately and are up-to-date.
  • Forecasting: It's important to be able to analyze historical data, look at current market factors, and then predict possible future financial outcomes for a company or organization.

Fast-Growing Jobs with a Finance Degree

No degree guarantees that you'll get the job you want, but there are a number of in-demand jobs that you may qualify for with a bachelor's in finance. If you're wondering what you can do with a finance degree, you may start your search with the positions below:

Financial Analyst

What they do: Financial analysts guide businesses and individuals in making sound investment decisions. They are expected to be able to assess the performance of stocks, bonds and other types of investments in order to predict the best times to invest and when to cash in on investments. Financial analysts typically have a bachelor's degree, though a master's degree is often expected for advanced positions.2,5

Common Job Titles: Portfolio managers, fund managers, ratings analysts, and risk analysts.2

Projected Growth: 11% through 2026, which is greater than average across all other careers.6

Accountants and Auditors

What they do: Accountants and auditors prepare and examine financial statements to make sure accurate records are kept and taxes are paid properly. Some internal accountants may also be expected to assess financial operations to make sure organizations are running efficiently. Many accountants eventually choose to pursue additional certifications, such becoming a Certified Public Accountant (CPA) or a Certified Management Accountant (CMA).3

Common Job Titles: Public accountants, management accountants, internal/external auditors and IT auditors.3

Projected Growth: 10% through 2026 (than average).7

Financial Advisor

What they do: Personal financial advisors counsel their clients, typically families or individuals, on investments, taxes and insurance decisions. They must understand different types of investment options as well as the risks and benefits associated with each in order to tailor investment portfolios to specific clients' needs. While many financial advisors can offer help with a wide range of investment types, some specialize in particular areas like retirement planning or high-risk/high-yield investments.4

Common Job Titles: Wealth managers and private bankers.4

Projected Growth: 15% through 2026, much greater than average.8

Ready to learn more? Explore an online finance degree with AIU.

1. National Association of Colleges and Employers, Job Outlook 2018, "Business Majors Dominate List of Top Majors in Demand," on the Internet at https://www.naceweb.org/job-market/trends-and-predictions/business-majors-dominate-list-of-top-majors-in-demand/ (visited on October 17, 2018). Conditions in your area may vary.
2. Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, "Financial Analysts: What Financial Analysts Do," on the Internet at http://www.bls.gov/ooh/business-and-financial/financial-analysts.htm#tab-2 (visited on October 17, 2018).
3. Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, "Accountants and Auditors: What Accountants and Auditors Do," on the Internet at http://www.bls.gov/ooh/business-and-financial/accountants-and-auditors.htm#tab-2 (visited on October 17, 2018).
4. Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, "Personal Financial Advisors: What Personal Financial Advisors Do," on the Internet at http://www.bls.gov/ooh/business-and-financial/personal-financial-advisors.htm#tab-2 (visited on October 17, 2018).
5. Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, "Financial Analysts: How to Become a Financial Analyst," on the Internet at http://www.bls.gov/ooh/business-and-financial/financial-analysts.htm#tab-4 (visited on October 17, 2018).
6. Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, "Financial Analysts: Job Outlook," on the Internet at http://www.bls.gov/ooh/business-and-financial/financial-analysts.htm#tab-6 (visited on October 17, 2018). Conditions in your area may vary.
7. Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, "Accountants and Auditors: Job Outlook," on the Internet at http://www.bls.gov/ooh/business-and-financial/accountants-and-auditors.htm#tab-6 (visited on October 17, 2018). Conditions in your area may vary.
8. Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, "Personal Financial Advisors: Job Outlook," on the Internet at http://www.bls.gov/ooh/business-and-financial/personal-financial-advisors.htm#tab-6 (visited on October 17, 2018). Conditions in your area may vary.

For important information about the educational debt, earnings, and completion rates of students who attended these programs, go to www.aiuniv.edu/disclosures. AIU cannot guarantee employment or salary. Not all programs are available to residents of all states.
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