With positions ranging from Fortune 500 corporations to small local businesses, boundless career opportunities exist for finance degree holders. Companies of all sizes rely on finance professionals to assist with budgeting, investment management, decision making and more. On a smaller scale, many individuals or households hire financial planners to help manage their finances and investments.
Whether you’re interested in pursuing a degree in finance or you’ve just graduated and are wondering what’s next, this page will be your guide to navigating finance career paths, industry outlook and continuing education opportunities.
We’ll begin by walking you through what kinds of finance degrees and certificates are available to you before taking a deep dive into the current state of the finance industry, including projected growth rates and salaries.
Careers with a finance degree
Careers in the finance industry are vast and accordingly may require a specific level of education. There are three main types of finance degrees—a bachelor’s, master’s or doctorate finance degree—as well as finance certificate programs. While requirements will vary by position and employer, bachelor’s degree holders are ideal candidates for entry-level positions and graduate certificate, master’s and doctoral degree holders are competitive candidates for high-level and executive roles.
Below are some examples of positions commonly held for those with a bachelor’s, master’s or doctorate in finance.
Bachelor’s in finance
- Commercial Banker
- Accountant or Auditor
- Junior Tax Associate
- Financial Analyst
- Budget Analyst
Finance graduate degrees and certificates
- Budget Analyst
- Treasurer or Controller
- Accountant or Auditor
- Management Consultant
- Financial Analyst
- Investment Banker
- Personal Wealth Manager
- Chief Financial Officer
- College or University Professor
- Investment Researcher
- Financial Manager
While not listed here, many finance degree or certificate holders may also pursue internships during or after their program to gain experience in their field and make connections across a network of professionals. Many internships can also lead to full-time employment. Learn more about Duquesne University internship opportunities.
Finance industry outlook
The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projects that careers in business and finance are expected to increase by 7% from 2021-2031, resulting in 980,200 openings each year from growth and replacement needs. If we drill down further, we can take a closer look at a specific career's expected growth rate.
Financial analysts assist businesses and individuals with financial decision making, often analyzing and assessing risk to increase the likelihood of profiting through a particular financial strategy.
According to the BLS, careers in financial analysis are projected to increase by 9% over the next ten years, which is faster than the average rate for all occupations. While financial analysts typically need a bachelor’s degree to work in this industry, a master’s degree can help job seekers stand out in the pool of applicants.
Financial managers are finance professionals who perform data analysis, create financial reports, advise stakeholders and develop strategic business plans to reach the financial goals of the business.
With the BLS indicating careers in this field will grow by 17% between 2021-2031, financial managers will be highly in demand. Employers usually look for bachelor’s degree holders with five or more years of experience or graduate degree holders with demonstrated proficiencies.
Personal financial advising
Personal financial advisors can be self-employed and meet with clients to service their financial planning, analysis and investment needs, working to manage and improve their clients’ finances to help them achieve their financial goals.
Careers in this industry are expected to increase by 15% over the next ten years, meaning there will be ample opportunities in personal financial advising. Due to the opportunity for self-employment, many advisors may work with a bachelor’s degree, however, some clients may prefer to work with master’s or doctoral degree holders.
Banking and investment
There are many careers finance degree holders can pursue in the banking and investment industry such as commercial banker, investment banker, loan officer, securities agent and financial sales agent. The BLS reports that careers in securities, commodities and financial services sales will grow by 10% from 2021-2031, opening many doors for those interested in the fast-paced and often sales-driven environment of investment banking.
Accounting and auditing
Accountants and auditors primarily prepare and examine financial documents for businesses of all sizes. This is a diverse career path, with positions in public accounting, forensic accounting, government accounting and more. The accounting and auditing industry is projected to increase at a rate of 6% over the next ten years, with many in this field finding employment at the bachelor’s and master’s level, often with additional certifications such as public accounting or charter certification.
Salaries for finance degree holders
Like career outlooks, salaries in the finance industry vary greatly depending on position and level of education or certification, with graduate degree holders typically earning more than their baccalaureate degree-holding counterparts. Revisiting the finance positions we’ve discussed, below are the median annual salaries as reported by the BLS.
- Financial Analyst - $95,570
- Financial Manager - $131, 710
- Personal Financial Advisor - $94,170
- Securities and Financial Services Sales Agent - $62,910
- Accountant or Auditor - $77,250
Other careers and salaries in the finance industry include:
- Management Analyst - $93,000
- Loan Officer - $ 63,380
- Budget Analyst - $79,940
Duquesne’s finance master’s degree and graduate certificate program
Duquesne University offers a fully online Graduate Certificate in Finance and Master of Science in Finance. Both programs are designed to allow students to maintain their career while pursuing their graduate education in finance. A Duquesne finance degree or certificate will teach you how to make confident financial decisions, execute projects in partnership with your peers and perform financial analyses in accordance with industry standards.
Online Graduate Certificate in Finance program highlights
- Flexible online program for working professionals and recent graduates
- 8 courses, 21 credit hours
- Complete the program in as little as three semesters
Online MS in finance degree highlights
- Flexible online master’s in finance program
- 36 credits, with up to 6 waived based on previous coursework
- Complete the degree in as few as four semesters
- Optional GMAT and GRE
- Capstone finance project done in partnership with a real company
Learn more about the differences between a finance graduate certificate and master’s degree.
Advance your career with a graduate certificate or MS in finance from Duquesne University
With our online Graduate Certificate in Finance and online master’s in finance program, you can hone your skills and advance your career in a convenient format that enables you to maintain your career while you reach your goals. Whether you’re ready for a master’s program or want to nurture your skills with a certificate, Duquesne University has a graduate finance program for you.
Check out the online Graduate Certificate in Finance or finance master’s degree program or learn more by requesting information.