Finance Jobs that Require a License

Jan 19, 2020

Finance Career Options that Require a License

Many careers in finance require individuals to have a license in their particular field. These licenses are offered through national organizations or state boards and ensure professionals are familiar with applicable regulations. Explore a handful of the finance careers that require a license.

Job Title Median Salary (2018)* Job Growth (2018-2028)*
Securities, Commodities and Financial Services Sales Agents $64,120 4%
Real Estate Brokers and Sales Agents $50,300 7%
Financial Analysts $85,660 6%
Personal Financial Advisors $88,890 7%
Accountants $70,500 (for accountants and auditors) 6% (for accountants and auditors)

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Career Information for Finance Jobs that Require a License

Securities, Commodities and Financial Services Sales Agents

Brokers and investment bankers are specific kinds of securities, commodities and financial services sales agents who must pass exams to obtain a license from the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA). Brokers sell investments directly to their clients, while investment bankers perform underwriting services that connect businesses with potential funding opportunities. Licenses are also required for traders, financial services sales agents and others who sell investments. In general, these professionals offer advice about various investments, buy and sell securities and commodities, analyze a client's finances and watch financial markets. Securities, commodities and financial services sales agents need at least a bachelor's degree, but many have a master's degree.

Real Estate Brokers and Sales Agents

Real estate brokers and sales agents must pass an exam after taking courses in real estate in order to obtain their required state license. Real estate brokers actually have a license that allows them to manage their own business, while sales agents are licensed to buy and sell properties as an employee of a real estate broker. These professionals help individuals or businesses buy, rent and sell various pieces of property, which requires them to handle much of the contract negotiations and legal paperwork. In addition to their license, real estate brokers and sales agents need a high school diploma.

Financial Analysts

Many financial analyst positions require a license through the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA). These professionals are qualified to offer investment advice to individuals and/or businesses. They study economic trends, financial statements and investment options to prepare detailed reports for their clients that offer input into any investment decisions. Financial analysts need at least a bachelor's degree, but many advanced positions require a master's degree.

Personal Financial Advisors

Personal financial advisors may need an array of licenses depending on the type of advice they provide or the investments that they buy and sell. In addition to recommending the purchase of stocks, bonds and other investments, personal financial advisors may need to advise their clients concerning taxes in order to help clients reach short- and long-term financial goals. Personal financial advisors must be able to clearly explain the different options to their clients, answer their clients' questions, keep an eye on their clients' accounts and make adjustments as needed. These advisors usually need a bachelor's degree.


Many accountants choose to advance their careers by becoming a Certified Public Accountant (CPA), a credential that is licensed through a state's Board of Accountancy. However, this credential is required of accountants who need to file reports with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). These professionals handle a variety of financial records, like balance sheets and tax returns, to ensure that everything is accurate and complies with current laws and regulations. They might focus on public accounting, management accounting or government accounting. Most of these professionals have at least a bachelor's degree in the field.

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