USA Career Guide- Financial Analysts

Education needed to be Financial Analysts

The road to Financial Analysts career begins with a bachelor’s degree, but a master’s degree is required for advanced positions.
Employers often require a master's in business administration (MBA) or a master's degree in finance. Knowledge of options pricing, bond valuation, and risk management are important.


The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) is the main licensing organization for the securities industry. It requires licenses for many financial analyst positions. Most of the licenses require sponsorship by an employer, so companies do not expect individuals to have these licenses before starting a job.


Certification is often recommended by employers and can improve the chances for advancement. An example is the Chartered Financial Analyst certification from the CFA Institute, which financial analysts can get if they have a bachelor's degree, 4 years of experience, and pass three exams. Financial analysts can also become certified in their field of specialty.

Pay of Financial Analysts

The median annual wage of financial analysts was $74,350 in May 2010.  The lowest 10 percent earned less than $44,490, and the top 10 percent earned more than $141,700.

Job Prospects of Financial Analysts

Employment of financial analysts is expected to grow 23 percent from 2010 to 2020, faster than the average for all occupations. A growing range of financial products and the need for in-depth knowledge of geographic regions are expected to lead to strong employment growth.
Despite employment growth, competition is expected for these high-paying jobs. Growth in financial services should create new positions, but there are still far more people who would like to enter the occupation than there are jobs in the occupation. Having certifications and a graduate degree can significantly improve an applicant’s prospects.

Industrial Overview of Financial Analysts

Financial analysts held about 236,000 jobs in 2010. They work primarily in offices. Most work full time, and many work more than 40 hours per week.

 Industriy-wise employment of Financial Analysts (2010)
Other financial investment activities 14%
Management of companies and enterprises 11
Securities and commodity contracts intermediation and brokerage 8
Depository credit intermediation 8
Insurance carriers 8
Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational

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