Banking and Finance Careers: Information and Requirements

Learn about the education and preparation needed to have a career in banking and finance. Get a quick view of the requirements as well as details about training, job duties and prospects to find out if this is the career for you.

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The personal financial advisor occupation is one of the fastest growing in the United States right now. People look to these professionals to help them invest or save for retirement. The services of investment bankers and loan officers are also expected to be in demand. This article introduces these occupations along with their educational requirements and incomes.

Essential Information

The banking and finance industries include a wide variety of careers, including positions in asset management, loan processing and financial planning. The required level of education will vary, but many individuals possess a bachelor's degree. Positions often favor candidates who have completed graduate coursework.

Required Education Bachelor's degree in finance
Other Requirements Graduate degree for advanced levels
 Median Salary (2018)   $88,890 (for all personal financial advisors)*
 Projected Job Growth (2018-2028)   7% growth  (for all personal financial advisors)*

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Investment Banker

Investment bankers are financial professionals that assist various organizations, like governments and corporations, with the raising of funds by issuing stocks and bonds. Employment for investment bankers can be found with brokerage firms, investment banks and other financial services companies.

Education Requirements

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), a bachelor's degree is the minimum level of education required for employment as an investment banker. Students can pursue a career as an investment banker after earning a bachelor's degree in any field; however, finance, accounting or business administration majors are preferred. Along with courses in a traditional degree program, students often participate in internships associated with investment banking activities.

Career Information

Competition for investment banking positions is usually fierce, and industry consolidation has resulted in fewer available jobs. However, overall employment for those working in the financial services industry is expected to increase faster than other industries in coming years. The BLS forecasts a 4% increase in securities, commodities and financial services sales agent jobs between 2018 and 2028. The salaries of investment bankers will vary significantly depending on experience and the level of funding arranged for prospective clients.

Loan Officer

Loan officers are employed in the banking industry and are responsible for screening and approving applications to borrow funds for mortgages, car notes and other loans. Jobs for loan officers can be found at banks and certain financial services firms.

Education Requirements

Loan officers or others in supervisory positions will probably need a bachelor's degree in a business related field. A graduate-level degree, like a Master of Business Administration, can increase employment opportunities and lead to management positions. Though undergraduate and graduate business education is desirable among candidates, loan officers may have degrees in a variety of academic backgrounds. Some employers might require loan officers in specific fields to complete training courses or certification.

Career Information

Overall job growth for loan officers is expected to increase substantially in the coming years, according to the BLS. From 2018 to 2028, the number of positions for loan officers should rise roughly 8%. Loan officers earned a median salary of $63,040 in May 2018, according to the BLS.

Financial Consultant

A financial consultant, or financial advisor, is knowledgeable about a range of financial services, such as asset management and retirement planning. Most financial consultants often specialize in specific areas of financial services, like managing personal assets.

Education Requirements

There is no minimum level of education necessary for becoming a financial consultant but most have a bachelor's degree. Without undergraduate education, aspiring financial consultants will need to have substantial work experience as a business owner or salesperson. Like many working in the banking and finance industries, financial consultants often come from business-based academic backgrounds.

Career Information

The BLS says about 25% of personal financial advisors were self-employed as of 2014. To work for major investment firms, financial consultants will need certification from a professional organization, like the National Association of Personal Financial Planners. In May 2018, personal financial advisors earned a median annual salary worth $88,890.

In general, banking and finance positions are growing at a rate that meets or exceeds the national average for all occupations. However, there is still strong competition for certain occupations, such as sales agents for securities, commodities, and financial services. Financial advisors are a bit of an exception, in that their salaries are high, but employment opportunities remain quite favorable.

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