Careers in Finance

Finance positions face growing demand and a need for specialized training and skills. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics expects employment growth of 10 percent to 14 for financial positions through 2026. Finance careers regularly place in the top 15 of Best Business Jobs and in the top 75 of Best Jobs in U.S. News and World Report’s rankings.

Choosing the Right Career

You have a wide range of career opportunities in finance, including positions that involve substantial analysis and positions that require negotiation skills. You need to select the career path that fits you best. The job market is competitive, and students with strong academic skills, campus involvement, internships and connections with professional associations have the best opportunities for placement. The main skills used in finance include:

  • Strong skills in mathematics and problem solving
  • Technical expertise with systems and programs
  • Analytical and critical thinking
  • Strong communication and decision-making skills

Finance is a fast-paced career. It requires the ability to justify assumptions, evaluate options, adjust for risk and raise money while considering the costs and benefits involved. Banks, insurance companies, brokerage houses and other institutions provide financial advice, and most firms have a finance department involved with raising and investing money.

The information below is a brief description of some career paths in finance. Identifying the area of interest will help you select courses, student organizations, internships and professional designations to successfully advance your career in that area. For all areas, work experience, networking and building relationships will enhance your career prospects.

Financial Analyst/Investment

For careers in investment analysis and portfolio management. Financial analysts select stocks, bonds and other securities to help firms meet their financial goals. Major employers include investment companies, mutual funds and hedge funds. The BS in Finance Investment track emphasizes material required for the Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA®) examinations. Please visit the CFA ® Institute website for more information.

Real Estate

For students interested in careers in the real estate industry, particularly in commercial real estate investment. Professions include brokers, leasing, asset management, appraisal, property management and other areas. Please see the CCIM ® Institute website for more information.

Financial Mathematics

For professions in financial analytics and financial technology. They use mathematics, statistics, econometrics and sophisticated models to examine financial products and problems. Employers include banks, financial services, government regulators and consultants.

Financial Risk Management

Financial risk managers look at risk awareness and testing. Employers include banks, financial services, government regulators and consultants. For more information on Financial Risk Management careers, please visit the GARP ® website.

Corporate Finance/Investment Banking

The focus is on valuation and viability of a business or project for the firm. TCorporate financiers and investment bankers use economic trends as well as firm and industry information to make recommendations. They write reports and communicate their views. Major employers include financial services and insurance.

Personal Financial Planning

For students interested in assisting people with their financial planning. Financial planners may be self-employed or work for a financial services institution. For more on careers in this area, please see the Certified Financial Planner CFP ® website. Only the BS in Finance has a track to prepare students for this area.

Risk Management and insurance

The focus is to identify, measure, analyze and manage exposure to loss and help individuals and organizations reduce their total cost of risk. Professions in this field include risk managers and risk analysts; underwriters, claims, marketing, risk control or safety professionals for insurance companies; sales, consulting and coverage experts as a broker or agent. Students may earn up to six national examination waivers for professional certifications such as CPCU®, CIC® and CRM®.

Enterprise Risk Management

Enterprise risk managers look at risk awareness and testing across a wide array of risks. Employers include banks, financial services, insurance, government regulators and consultants.

There are many online sources for career information. The list below is not exhaustive. The Career Management Center provides additional services to assist you with your career goals.

Career Information
Resources Information Provided
College Board Simplified job descriptions, but the salary data is old
Career One Stop Select browse occupations, then Business and Financial Operations. Provides an occupation profile (including salary) by state. Has videos for some career options, including financial analysts and financial managers.
O*Net Similar to Career One Stop. Shows several types of finance positions and their outlook in one search.
My Next Move Similar to O*Net. Answer questions to get career suggestions
Insure My Path Career planning tools for risk management and insurance
Insurance Information Institute Information on careers in insurance
The Balance Insurance job titles and descriptions
Talent Egg Introduction to entry-level insurance positions
Salary Guides
Resources Information Provided
Robert Half Salary Guide Current, comprehensive information on finance and accounting salaries
Salary.Com Allows a comparison by job title, location and degree
Career Statistics and Outlook
Resources Information Provided
US News and World Report Job rankings, descriptions, salaries They have a Career Center and numerous other tools.
Bureau of Labor Statistics Show descriptions, outlook and salary projections. Many of the other sites reference or link to this.
Deloitte Financial Services Good information on changing industry needs
My Career Advancement Insurance industry growth trends
Career Search Engines
Resources Information Provided
Monster.com Job search engine with advice on insurance and other career paths
Indeed.com Job search engine with searches on risk management, insurance and other career paths
Great Insurance Jobs Search for insurance positions
Glassdoor Job search engine with company reviews
ZipRecruiter Job search engine with local positions, salary calculator and resume resources.
Professional Organization Career Resources
Resources Information Provided
Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA®) Institute Career resources and other materials for CFA members and candidates. The institute has a career center and numerous other tools.
Global Association of Risk Professionals (GARP) Career resources for GARP and materials for the Financial Risk Manager® (FRM) program. The association has a career center and job-market insights.
Certified Financial Planner (CFP®) Board Career resources and other materials for CFP members. The board has a career center and many other tools.
Certified Commercial Investment Member Institute (CCIM®) Provides information on the CCIM® designation, market trends in commercial real estate and other learning resources
Gamma Iota Sigma Career information in risk management and insurance
Financial Women’s Association Career information for women in finance.

UT Dallas has integrated some information from the following certifications in the curriculum, depending on the concentration. For more on this, please see the appropriate degree plan.

Professional Organization
Resources Certification(s) Offered
Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA®) Institute CFA ® Chartered Financial Analyst
CIPM ® Certificate in Investment Performance Measurement
Global Association of Risk Professionals (GARP) FRM ® Financial Risk Manager
ERP ® Energy Risk Professional
Certified Commercial Investment Member Institute (CCIM®) CCIM ® Certified Commercial Investment Member
Certified Financial Planner (CFP ®) CFP ® Certified Financial Planner (CFP ®) Board

There are numerous other professional organizations and certifications. The choice of certification depends on the finance position and the skills needed. Many of these have career services in addition to certifications and professional information.

Resources Focus or Certification(s) Offered
Association for Corporate Growth Support middle-market mergers and acquisitions and corporate growth
Association for Finance Professionals CTP: Certified Treasury Professional
FP&A: Certified Corporate Financial Planning and Analysis Professional
Finance, Credit and International Business Association CICP: Certified International Credit Professional
ICCE: International Certified Credit Executive
Financial Management Association Financial decision making
Global Academy of Finance & Management AFA: Accredited Financial Analyst
ChEA: Chartered Economic Analyst
National Association of Certified Valuators and Analysts CVA: Certified Valuation Analyst
National Association of Credit Management Offer numerous Credit Management certifications including
CCE: Certified Credit Executive
CCRA: Certified Credit and Risk Analyst
The Alliance of Merger & Acquisition Advisors CM&AA: Certified Merger & Acquisition Advisor
Resources Certification(s) Offered
Association of Certified International Investment Analysts CIIA: Certified International Investment Analyst
CAIA Association CAIA: Chartered Alternative Investment Analyst
CMT Association CMT: Chartered Market Technician
Corporate Finance Institute FMC: Financial Modeling Certificate
Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas Information on the US and Regional Economy
Investments & Wealth Institute CIMA: Certified Investment Management Analyst
Real Estate
Resources Certification(s) Offered
Institute of Real Estate Management ARM: Accredited Residential Manager
Resources Certification(s) Offered
American Bankers Association Numerous certifications, including
CTFA: Certified Trust and Financial Advisor
HSA: Health Savings Account Expert
Institute of Business & Finance CFS: Certified Fund Specialist
International Association of Registered Financial Consultants RFC: Registered Financial Consultant
Investment Adviser Association CIC: Chartered Investment Counselor
Risk Management and Insurance
Resources Certification(s) Offered
American Insurance Association Resources and publications
Claims and Litigation Management Alliance Resources and publications
Enterprise Risk Management Academy ERMCP: Enterprise Risk Management Certified Professional
Institute of Risk Management CMIRM: International Certificate in Enterprise Risk Management
Risk and Insurance Management Society RF: RIMS Fellow
RIMS-CRMP: RIMS Certified Risk Management Professional
Risk Management Association Numerous Risk Management Certifications including
CRC: Credit Risk Management Professionals
ORM: Operation Risk Management
The Institutes CPCU®: Chartered Property Casualty Underwriter
The National Alliance for Insurance Education and Research CIC: Certified Insurance Counselor
CRM: Certified Risk Manager
Other Professional Organizations with Finance Specializations
Resources Certification(s) Offered
The American Institute of CPAs PFS: Personal Financial Specialist
Institute of Management Accountants CMA: Certified Management Accountant
Association of Government Accountants CGFM: Certified Government Financial Manager
Healthcare Financial Management Association CHFP: Certified Healthcare Financial Professional

The MS Finance program at UT Dallas has been recognized as an Affiliated University by CFA® Institute, the organization that confers the prestigious Chartered Financial Analyst® designation. The Financial Analyst concentration in the MS Finance program has been acknowledged as incorporating at least 70 percent of the CFA® Program Candidate Body of Knowledge (CBOK) and placing emphasis on the CFA® Institute Code of Ethics and Standards of Practice within the program. This program positions students well to obtain the Chartered Financial Analyst® designation, which has become the most respected and recognized investment credential in the world.