Financial Specialist: Job Description & Career Info

Apr 17, 2019

Financial specialists meet with customers to help them determine their short-term and long-term financial goals. Learn about the employment outlook and salary info in addition to educational requirements and the skills needed to determine if this is the right career choice for you.

Career Definition for a Financial Specialist

After they assess their clients' needs, financial specialists may sell them insurance, investment services, certificates of deposits and/or other financial instruments. These products and services are generally offered by the banks, credit unions and insurance companies where the majority of financial specialists work. Additionally, these professionals also contact prospective customers, evaluate costs and revenue, make financial presentations and review business trends.

Education Bachelor's degree in finance or marketing; a license in a specialty area is also required
Job Skills Communication, numerical aptitude, knowledge of financial software and marketing
Median Salary (2018) $70,770 (for financial specialists); $64,120 (for securities, commodities, and financial services sales agents)
Job Growth (2016-2016) 6% (for securities, commodities and financial services sales agents)

Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Required Education

The companies that hire financial specialists often give them training on the financial products and services they sell. However, a bachelor's degree in finance or marketing is also required for a career as a financial specialist. Typical courses for these degrees include classes in economics, marketing, math and global finance.

License Required

In addition to a degree, financial specialists need special licenses to sell securities and insurance. These licenses are typically gained by passing one or several exams.

Skills Required

Working with customers and their finances requires excellent communication and customer service skills. Being good with numbers and understanding standard financial software programs is essential. Good marketing and sales skills are also significant for a career as a financial specialist.

Career and Economic Outlook

Between 2016 and 2026, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) predicts that job opportunities for financial services, securities and commodities sale agents, will increase by 6%. Job opportunities could be better for applicants with certification and a graduate degree. The BLS lists the median salary for financial specialists as $70,770 and for securities, commodities and financial services sales agents as $64,120, as of May 2018.

Alternative Careers

The following job opportunities might also appeal to you if you want to stay in the financial field:

Personal Financial Advisor

Similar to financial specialists, personal financial advisors also talk with clients and determine what their future financial needs will be. However, not all advisors sell products directly but instead, they may offer investment recommendations and help clients build their portfolio with a variety of financial options. They also closely monitor accounts and inform clients that modifications may need to be made. While employers require a bachelor's degree in a field such as business, accounting, economics or finance, a master's degree may be more appealing to potential clients. Licensure may also be required, if the job entails the buying or selling of certain financial products. The job outlook for personal financial advisors is positive, with 15% employment growth projected between 2016 and 2026. In May of 2018, the BLS estimated that these financial professionals received a median income $88,890.

Financial Analyst

For those more interested in conducting extensive research into economic conditions and company performances, becoming a financial analyst may be a good career choice. Financial analysts either work for companies or individuals with money to invest or they offer advice to sellers of financial products and services. They might study the culture and business activities of a specific nation or interview a company's executives to determine what stocks may be worth before recommending investments to their clients. More complex positions could require a master's degree, but most analysts can find employment with only a bachelor's degree in business, economics or a related field. Some financial analysts may be required to obtain a financial license, but often, this can be accomplished after hire. As reported by the BLS in 2018, 306,200 financial analysts worked in the U.S. and earned $85,660 in median yearly wages. The BLS also predicts an 11% increase in the number of new jobs from 2016-2026.

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