For most people in search of career advancement or a job in a different industry, the decisive factor often boils down to one thing: money. And it should come as little surprise that positions in the finance industry tend to pay rather well in comparison to positions at similar levels in other industries. In other words, if you want to step up a few tax brackets, a finance career path may be just what you’ve been looking for.
While you can make a very fine living as an accountant or loan officer, if you want a finance job that commands a higher salary, you may want to consider becoming a management or compliance analyst. However, even these high-paying positions pale in comparison to the massive salaries that the world’s top finance leaders command.
Although it may take a while to reach any of the top ten best-paying jobs listed below, the years you spend in academic training and garnering professional expertise can pay serious dividends if you are diligent and persistent. After all, neither professional nor financial dreams tend to come to fruition overnight!
Start Climbing Up in Your Finance Career
According to the most recent data from the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median annual salary for business and finance occupations is between $76,570 and $88,160. This means that even entry-level positions in the finance sector are significantly more lucrative than jobs in most other sectors.
While many lower-level finance positions require only an undergraduate degree, you can expand your career prospects considerably with a Master of Business Administration (MBA) or another relevant graduate degree. In fact, respected graduate programs such as those at the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga (UTC) tend to offer an MBA with a concentration in finance.
With the proper college education and professional experience, you can climb up the career ladder to find a job you love that pays you well for doing it.
The 10 Best-Paying Finance Jobs
If you want a bit of inspiration as you ascend the finance industry career ladder, you’ll want to consider the top 10 best-paying jobs that the industry has to offer. By matching your professional ambitions and finance skill set to one of these positions, there’s no telling what you might be able to accomplish!
1. Chief Financial Officer
Although you may have to work your way through a handful of promotions before you become a serious contender for this position, the rewards associated with work as a chief financial officer (CFO) are considerable. In fact, the independent employee feedback resource Top Workplaces estimates the average yearly salary for a CFO to range between $314,481 and $528,583. The top finance position in most large companies, the CFO generally heads all finance operations and strategies, from budgeting and analysis to accounting and compliance. In addition to acquiring an MBA, aspiring CFOs may want to consider a Certified Public Accountant (CPA), Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA), Certified Management Accountant (CMA), and/or Chartered Global Management Accountant (CGMA) designation.
2. Chief Compliance Officer
Another C-suite position, the chief compliance officer (CCO) of a company oversees all policy management and operational monitoring related to government and industry compliance standards and requirements for finance processing and reporting. All this responsibility warrants quite a hefty paycheck. According to Top Workplaces, you can expect to command between $197,001 and $278,101 per year as a CCO. To increase your chances of rising to this top position, you should secure an MBA and perhaps become a Certified Regulatory Compliance Manager (CRCM) or obtain Series 14 licensure through the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA).
3. Hedge Fund Manager
With an average annual salary that falls between $86,006 and $130,045, hedge fund managers out-earn most other finance professionals outside of the senior administrative boardroom. However, they often earn this salary in the form of long, irregular work hours as they strive tirelessly to monitor financial markets and protect investor assets. The principal responsibilities of the hedge fund manager range from balancing investor ROI goals with liquidity demands to avoiding the accrual of unnecessary transaction fees. Aspiring hedge fund managers can benefit from an MBA, a CFA, and any number of investment industry credentials.
4. Information Technology Auditor
The Career Guide of the online job marketplace Indeed reports that the typical information technology (IT) auditor makes $101,751 per year in the United States. These professionals work for both public and private originations to ensure that all digital technology meets financial compliance and other enterprise needs. IT auditors must have a strong knowledge of operating systems and web technologies, as well as internal auditing, analytics, and other financial matters. Consider getting a Certified Information Systems Auditor (CISA) or a Certified in Risk and Information Systems Control (CRISC) credential if you want a career in IT auditing.
5. Private Equity Associate
Private equity associates occupy niche positions with investment banks, networking with affiliated investors to acquire private equity for promising businesses. While these businesses receive essential funding, the investors benefit by adding to their diversified portfolio of assets. Both Top Workplaces and Indeed calculate the average private equity associate salary at just under $100,000 per year. Many private equity associates have an MBA as well as a CFA and/or a Certified Private Equity Professional (CPEP) designation.
6. Financial Advisor
There is a wide range of earning potential among financial advisors. This fact reflects the wide disparity of wealth in the United States, as different financial advisors in various sectors representing diverse populations of investors stand to have radically different incomes. Indeed calculates the average salary of an American financial advisor at just over $74,000 per year, while Top Workplaces claims the average salary range tops out at $147,000. In addition to completing undergraduate and possibly graduate-level finance programs, financial advisors commonly hold Series 7, Series 63, and Series 65 FINRA licensure.
7. Financial Software Developer
Occupying a unique place in the rapidly growing financial technology (fintech) space, financial software developers average $93,817 per year, according to Indeed. Some of these developers come from a more technical background, others possess more finance expertise, but the most successful benefit from a balanced combination of both. To best meet the needs of the financial institutions and end-users who benefit from their digital programs and platforms, financial software developers hold a wide variety of college degrees and industry designations.
8. Investment Banker
Making roughly $67,000 to $89,000 per year according to Top Workplaces and Indeed, the average investment banker brings home significantly less than the average hedge fund manager, even though they both manage pooled capital investments, The discrepancy in pay reflects the generally lower levels of risk and reward (and therefore stress) that the portfolios of investment bankers present. Investment bankers can benefit from an MBA as well as Series 7, Series 63, Series 66, and Series 79 licenses through FINRA.
9. Insurance Advisor
Like financial advisors, insurance advisors have a diverse array of professional focuses and client bases that create a tremendous amount of discrepancy in salaries. However, it is safe to assume that you can make between roughly $50,000 and $90,000 annually as an insurance advisor according to Top Workplaces and Indeed. These professionals help customers find insurance products to meet their specific needs in areas that include health, life, home, auto, and investments. Key credentials for an insurance advisor include the Certified Insurance Counselor (CIC), Certified Insurance Service Representative (CISR), and Accredited Advisor in Insurance (AAI).
10. Financial Analyst
Commanding a salary range of roughly $67,000 to $82,000 per year, financial analysts commonly work under CFOs to catalog and evaluate personal or business assets while ensuring full compliance with all relevant legal and regulatory standards. Their specific areas of expertise may include corporate valuation, SEC filings, data analytics, and financial modeling, among other financial matters. Financial analysts hold bachelor’s degrees in finance-related fields and often MBAs or other relevant graduate degrees. They might also hold any combination of Series 7, Series 63, and Series 65 FINRA-specific product licenses.
Ready to Expand Your Finance Career? Earn Your Finance MBA at UTC
With the right university degree and professional certification, you can reach incredible professional heights in today’s finance sector. An MBA with a concentration in finance from the UTC Gary W. Rollins College of Business can open countless career doors for the hardworking and ambitious.
An MBA program in finance exposes students to the same general principles and basic training as a general MBA, then goes beyond to provide comprehensive targeted training in the field of finance. The finance MBA at UTC requires students to take a total of nine elective credit hours that cover topics ranging from US financial institutions to international financial management.
To learn more about our finance MBA and the other MBA program options at the UTC Gary W. Rollins College of Business, visit our official MBA homepage today.