The Best Earning Positions in Finance
Employment projections for the best earning positions in finance are positive and have shown demonstrated growth. If you think finance is the right industry for you, then read on to discover the highest paying jobs in the US finance market, their associated salaries and requirements.
In order to achieve any of the best-paying jobs in finance you have to have the corresponding education, skills and work experience. A bachelor’s degree is the minimum requirement for most career trajectories within this industry, but an MBA, other master’s degree or Ph.D. gives you better chances of advancement up the career ladder.
Essential skills for individuals wanting to land the best earning finance jobs include:
- Financial Planning & Reporting
- Computer & Technology Skills
- Mathematics & Statistics
- Great Verbal & Written Communication Skills
- Close Attention To Detail & Problem Solving
Once you satisfy the main objectives required for any of the best-paying jobs in finance, you need to prepare to find a job. Before you can start applying, you should make sure you have an optimized resume and cover letter.
What Do Finance Jobs Normally Pay?
Chief Financial Officer
Chief financial officers oversee the implementation of procedures that make sure organizational funds are utilized efficiently and are accounted for. A bachelor’s degree can help to find employment. However, an MBA or other master degree increases your chances. On top of an optimal education, chief financial officers need several years of relevant work experience and it can take most people 10 to 15 years to become eligible for this position.
Chief Financial Officer Salary & Career Path
There are several career paths you can take in order to obtain a high paying finance job, like working as a company controller or corporate treasurer. Being a Chief Financial Officer is the highest finance position within a company with only the CEO above you. The national chief financial officer salary ranges from $83,000 to $156,000 and averages at $119,000.
Tax Director & Senior Tax Manager
Depending on the work environment, tax directors and senior tax managers are two high paying jobs in finance that are often considered the same type of position but with different responsibilities. Some companies act as if these two have similar but different roles. The tax director is usually further along on the career path.
Tax directors are responsible for their company remaining in tax compliance, planning and income tax accounting. To pursue a career as a tax director or senior tax manager, you need to have at least a bachelor’s degree in tax accounting and several years of experience in the financial industry.
Tax Director & Senior Tax Manager Salary & Career Path
Most tax directors or senior tax managers have previous work experience in the tax industry as a tax manager, tax accountant or tax analyst. Potential career paths after working as a tax director include finance jobs like corporate controller, finance director and chief financial officer.
The national senior tax manager salary ranges from $91,000 to $148,000 and averages $117,000.
Financial Quantitative Analyst
Financial quantitative analysts are experts in subjects like math and statistics are a requirement in order to analyze financial data, develop financial models while conducting research on relevant products and assessing risks. Quantitative analysts can work in banks, insurance companies, asset management firms and other financial institutions.
In order to be considered for a career in this field, financial quantitative analysts need to have a bachelor’s or master’s degree and a Chartered Financial Analyst certification.
Financial Quantitative Analyst Salary & Career Path
After meeting all of the educational requirements and becoming a Financial Quantitative Analyst, you need to learn how to apply these skills in the field through an internship or assistant position. Once you are ready to move up the career ladder, financial quantitative analysts can become data scientists, directors or other senior managerial roles within the industry.
The national financial quantitative analyst salary ranges from $76,000 to $125,000 and averages at $98,000.
Finance managers are in charge of making long-term planning and investment decisions for their clients. They work closely with many departments and executives in addition to usually having the last word on important financial decisions. Like other highest-paying finance jobs, finance managers have at least a Bachelor’s Degree even if a Master’s Degree is preferred.
After filling the educational and work experience requirements, finance managers make an effort to attain a Financial Analyst Certification.
Finance Manager Salary & Career Path
Finance managers begin their career as Financial Analysts or Accounting Managers. In order to land entry-level finance manager roles you usually need at least five years of experience in both finance and accounting. Some common career paths for finance managers include senior management positions such as Corporate Controller and Director of Finance.
The National Finance Manager salary ranges from $59,000 to $124,000 and averages $93,000.
Financial Risk Manager
A Financial Risk Manager's main responsibilities include developing and implementing risk management, compliance policies and procedures while identifying potential risk exposure and promoting loss prevention. Similar to other jobs within finance, the skills needed to excel in this role include superior organization, interpersonal, project management skills and a strong attention to detail. Besides obtaining a post-secondary education degree, you need to be accredited by the Global Association of Risk Professionals.
Financial Risk Manager Salary & Career Path
A majority of Financial Risk Managers begin their career as Risk / Insurance Analysts or Consultants. Possible career paths for Financial Risk Managers include becoming a Risk Management Director, Chief Financial Officer, Vice President of Operations, etc.
The National Risk Manager salary ranges from $67,000 to $117,000 and averages $93,000.
Accounting managers are responsible for the day-to-day accounting operations within their department. Their work is usually reviewed by Finance Managers who determine the company’s overall financial strategy. Accounting Manager candidates need to have at a minimum a Bachelor’s Degree in Accounting, Finance, Business or a similar field. While a Master’s Degree is not commonly required to work as an Accounting Manager, it is easier to achieve this role, which is one of the highest-paying jobs in Finance.
Accounting Manager Salary & Career Path
Many Accounting Managers begin their career in positions like Accountants, Bookkeepers and Financial Analysts. Popular career paths for Accounting Managers include moving into becoming a Finance Manager, Cost Accounting Manager, Tax Manager, Assistant Controller and Senior Managerial roles within Accounting and Finance.
The average national Accounting Manager salary is $89,000 in a range that goes from $63,000 to $119,000.
Economists are financial analysts who track, observe and analyze major economic trends. They can work within different environments in the public and private sector in addition to easily switching between various types of employers. Economists are not the same as Finance Analysts but they share similar duties. They focus on research and analysis while Finance Analysts advise on how to increase profits. To begin working as an economist, a bachelor’s degree might suffice for entry level positions. In certain work environments and for more senior roles, you will need a Master’s or a Ph.D.
Economist Salary & Career Path
The most common careers prior to becoming an Economist include Economic Research Assistant and additional types of Economic and Finance Analyst jobs. Besides moving up the ladder to a Senior Economist Role, Economists can become consultants, directors, managers and VPs.
The average Economist salary ranges from $58,000 to $123,000.
Investment Portfolio Manager
An Investment Portfolio Manager is in charge of how clients money is invested and takes care of day-to-day tasks with the help of a team of Financial Analysts. They are also the ones who communicate with and explain investment decisions to clients in addition to providing updates and reports on portfolio performance.
The minimum educational requirement in order to become a Portfolio Manager is a Bachelor’s Degree but it is not uncommon to find employers requiring a Master’s Degree. Similar to other jobs in finance, Investment Portfolio Managers need to hold Financial Analyst Certifications like the one awarded by the CFA Institute.
Investment Portfolio Manager Salary & Career Path
Many Investment Portfolio Managers begin their career as Financial Analysts and move into senior management or a leadership position. Salaries range on average at $82,000 within a range of $61,000 to $106,000.
Loans, insurance and security underwriters work to assess the risk behind credit and lending decisions. It is one of the highest paying jobs in finance. Within five to ten years, you can work your way up to a senior position. Underwriters earn at least a Bachelor’s Degree and have great analytical, communication, math and computer skills.
Underwriter Career Path
Underwriters usually start by taking entry-level jobs in their chosen industry sectors. Underwriters climbing the career ladder typically become senior underwriters, underwriting directors or take on other roles in management like Account and Portfolio Managers, Branch Managers and Risk Managers. The median Insurance Underwriter salary ranges from $48,000 to $90,000 and averages $69,000 while the Senior Insurance Underwriter salary ranges from $64,000 to $96,000 and averages $78,000.
Traders are among the highest paying jobs in finance due to superior skills and knowledge. These professionals have the potential to earn an increase in salary every year. Their job consists of buying and selling securities in order to earn a profit on behalf of their clients. They can be found working in different environments including banks and hedge funds. It’s possible to become a successful Trader without a college degree, having one makes it easier to land a job and work your way up.
Trader Salary & Career Path
Depending on the type of Trader career you pursue there are different ways to start. The easiest route is to get an undergraduate degree, a license from the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority and an entry-level position in the industry, like an assistant to a Senior Trader or Analyst.
Traders moving forward in their career can become senior managers, directors, or even a VP of Finance. Securities and Commodities Trader salary ranges from $48,000 to $104,000 and averages $78,000.
Financial Analysts study market trends in order to understand and predict how they can affect company performance, securities, bonds and stocks. Through their financial reporting, Financial Analysts help companies set up the right financial strategies in order to increase revenue and manage their assets.
In order to work in this role, they are similar to other high paying jobs in finance. To begin a career as a Financial Analyst, you are normally required to attain a Bachelor’s Degree and obtain two to four years experience in the industry.
Financial Analyst Salary & Career Path
Many Financial Analysts start working in the industry via an internship or as Accountants or Business Analysts. Their next step is becoming a Senior Financial Analyst which offers an increase in pay and more responsibilities. Other trajectories pursued by Financial Analysts include Finance Manager, Finance Quantitative Analyst, Controller and Data Analyst.
The median Financial Analyst salary ranges from $48,000 to $87,000 and averages $67,000 while the Senior Financial Analyst salary ranges from $72,000 to $97,000 and averages $83,000.