Finance degree salary

Finance degree salary DEFAULT

How Much Do Finance Majors Make Right Out of College?

A finance major is known as one of the harder business degrees to obtain, but the efforts can really pay off in the long run. A finance degree salary is higher than other business major salaries, even though the tuition can be the same for something like marketing or human resources. According to College Vine, finance students should be prepared for four years of math-heavy courses followed by long working hours after graduation, but the monetary rewards can be, well, quite rewarding. The contributors at Glassdoor list the highest paying finance companies in the world as Visa, BNP Paribas, PayPal, Dun & Bradstreet and BlackRock.

Finance Majors Description

The staff at Gwynedd Mercy University explains that finance majors can focus on personal, public or corporate finance. On the personal side, financial planners help their clients design strategies to keep their current and future finances well planned. Finance majors can also work as insurance agents or as customer service professionals to help people meet their short- and long-term financial goals.

Public finance career paths include working in real estate financing, hedge fund management and investment banking. The latter raises funds that help develop public projects like airports, hospitals, power plants and mass transit. Corporate finance professionals work in mergers and acquisitions, corporate structure finance, private placements, initial public offerings (IPOs) and other areas of focus.

Daily responsibilities for finance specialists include acquiring and managing funds, planning for expenditures, documentation, planning, controlling and evaluating. Much of their work also revolves around investment opportunities, market analysis, portfolios and decision-making.

Finance Majors Education Requirements

A successful finance career starts with a bachelor’s degree, which takes four years to finish. Courses may include financial statement analysis, financial modeling, international applications, economics and plenty of math. This degree can help applicants gain entry-level positions, and many graduates continue their finance educations by pursuing advanced degrees while working.

A master’s degree in finance takes another two years to complete and can give applicants an edge on the competition. It helps prepare students for more specific areas of finance, such as risk management, investment analysis and trading. Those who choose to study for doctorate degrees in finance can go on to become financial instructors or financial researchers. This added education and experience can pave the way for higher salaries, as well.

Finance Degree Salary and Industry posts that the salaries that finance majors can make right out of college depend on the degree, the specific concentration within the major, the position acquired, the industry and the region. The National Association of Colleges and Employers reported that the average starting finance major salary was ​$58,464​ in 2019. At the time, that was the third-highest business major starting salary. It was also reported that the median starting salary for an accountant was ​$51,798,​ financial advisors started at ​$59,909,​ financial analysts started at ​$61,786​ and financial managers were at ​$74,165​. Those last four figures were for 2021.

All four of those job categories are predicted to grow from 2019 through 2029, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. The field of financial management is estimated to increase by 15 percent, followed by financial analysts at 5 percent, with financial advisors and accountants tied for third place with a 4 percent growth rate. It was also reported that the majority of doctorate degree finance graduates earn yearly salaries of more than ​$180,000​.


Writer Bio

Danielle Smyth is a writer and content marketer from upstate New York. She has been writing on business-related topics for nearly 10 years. She owns her own content marketing agency, <a href="">Wordsmyth Creative Content Marketing</a>, and she works with a number of small businesses to develop B2B content for their websites, social media accounts, and marketing materials. In addition to this content, she has written business-related articles for sites like <a href="">Sweet Frivolity</a>, Alliance Worldwide Investigative Group, Bloom Co and Spent.


What's the Average Salary for a Finance Major?

What is the average salary that a finance major can expect? At first glance, it doesn’t appear that a degree in finance is the ticket to a career with stellar pay. The average recipient of a bachelor's degree in finance takes in $73,000 a year. When you consider all bachelor degree recipients, the median (half earn less, half earn more) is just slightly lower: $61,000.

Dig a little deeper, however, and it becomes apparent just how many finance-related careers pay well above average. Here’s a look at how you can expect to fare in some of the field's more common occupations.

Key Takeaways

  • Graduates with a finance degree can work for a wide range of employers, from Wall Street banks and insurance companies to financial-planning firms.
  • Some finance graduates go on to pursue a CPA license, although it will likely require additional accounting coursework at the undergraduate or graduate level.
  • Financial analysts are among the better-paid professionals in the field, with many at larger firms making upwards of $100,000 at the start of their career.

Financial Planner

Some people feel less comfortable making financial decisions, such as buying life insurance and investing for retirement, than others do. That's why there’s considerable demand for financial planners, who can help these individuals strategize.

Financial planners often work for insurance companies or brokerage houses, often as representatives who make commissions based on the products they sell. An independent advisory representative (IAR), on the other hand, works for fee-based (i.e. non-commissioned) advisory firms or sets up their own planning business. Often, IARs provide a broader range of services, such as budgeting and tax guidance, in addition to offering investment advice.

A personal financial advisor's median annual compensation is $89,330, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). What's more, employment within the field is expected to increase by 4% between 2019 and 2029, faster than average compared to other fields.

Corporate Finance Professional

Major corporations often have entire departments tasked with helping the company raise and manage the capital that fuels their operations. Finance majors can pursue a number of different paths in corporate finance, most of which tend to pay very respectably.

Those who work on the treasury team, for example, help the company manage its cash, develop a strategy for short-term investments, and analyze foreign exchange (forex) transactions. A job as an entry-level treasury analyst pays $57,500 a year on average. However, corporate treasurers, who have more experience, make an average salary of $192,750.

Meanwhile, the median pay for budget analysts—the professionals who examine how the organization spends money—is a solid $78,970.

Wealth Manager

People who work in wealth management roles help high-net-worth individuals manage their assets, with an eye toward maximizing returns and mitigating financial risks.

Junior-level associates may find themselves handling an array of tasks, including helping to research different investment options and preparing presentations. Later in their career, however, they may take on management roles and shoulder greater responsibility for investment strategies.

Individuals who develop this expertise typically make a good living, with the average wealth management professional enjoying a base salary of $75,418, according to the job-search website Indeed.

Financial Analyst

While the responsibilities of financial analysts can vary based on where they work, their basic role is to help large organizations make prudent investment decisions. They may examine economic trends, meet with a company’s management team, and pore over financial statements in order to develop an appropriate investment plan. Typically, they use that information to develop financial models that help predict the potential outcome of different strategies.

The work of financial analysts breaks down into two basic categories: Buy-side analysts often work on behalf of insurance companies, foundations, and other institutional investors, providing advice to the money managers responsible for those clients. Sell-side analysts, on the other hand, are employed by brokerage firms and provide their clients with recommendations on whether to buy or sell certain securities.

The median pay for analysts in 2020 was $83,660 per year, according to the BLS.

Investment Banker

Major investment banks such as J.P. Morgan and Goldman Sachs need people who can advise companies on how to raise capital as well as how to go about acquiring or merging with other businesses.

It’s a fast-paced career that can involve some very long hours—especially at top Wall Street firms—but it certainly pays well for those who are successful. According to data from Wall Street Oasis, analysts, who are on the lowest rung, start at anywhere from $70,000 to $150,000. Once you become an associate, you’ll likely bring in between $150,000 and $350,000 a year (and those who make it to “vice president” earn even more).

Investment banking is one of the more financially rewarding careers, but those in entry-level jobs can work more than 80 hours a week at bigger firms. 

Management Consultant

The role of a management analyst—sometimes known as a management consultant—is another well-paid career you can seek out with a finance degree. According to BLS data, the median pay in 2020 was $87,660.

Management consultants help businesses identify ways to cut costs and boost revenue. To do that, they have to possess strong financial analysis skills as well as an understanding of the competitive landscape in which a firm operates. They may, for example, help a company focus its resources on markets where the firm can achieve greater profitability.


The most obvious path to becoming an accountant is to get a bachelor’s degree in—you guessed it—accounting. But an undergraduate finance degree lets you cast a wider net when it’s time to get a job. And with some extra coursework, you can still sit for the CPA exam, an accreditation that leads to higher pay than non-CPA accounting roles.

Most states require students to obtain 150 semester hours of coursework in order to obtain a CPA license. Strictly speaking, you don’t need a master’s degree to take the exam. But if you’re a finance major, getting there may require a graduate degree in accounting or a Master of Business Administration (MBA) with a concentration in accounting.

According to Payscale, the average annual salary for CPAs was $68,762, with the high end of the range coming in at $115,00 per year.

Loan Officer

Before lending money to businesses or individuals, banks need to have a reasonable expectation that the borrower will pay them back. One of the main responsibilities of loan officers is to assess that risk. They’ll often talk to loan applicants and evaluate their borrowing history before making a recommendation to the bank or mortgage company for which they work.

According to the BLS, the median pay for loan officers in 2020 was $63,960 per year. It appears that the job market for these professionals will remain strong over the next few years, with the BLS estimating 3% employment growth between 2019 and 2029.

The Bottom Line

While finance degrees overall may not pay more than other educational tracks, there are plenty of finance-related jobs that are very lucrative. Some of the careers that pay the most, such as investment banking, involve very long hours, so anyone concerned about work-life balance might want to look elsewhere.

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what do finance jobs pay

The business world separates into many subfields. Two of these subfields include accounting and finance. The former deals with keeping track of money and where it goes, and the latter is all about making more of it. Both require the highest ethics because each of them is governed by an extensive catalog of laws at the federal, state, and local level. Many of these laws came about after the financial crisis of 2008 especially because unchecked finance practices led to the crisis in the first place.

Accounting and finance degrees are two of the more popular options for students who would like to work in business. Such students usually have high hopes of earning an above-average income out of school. In industries where the job market is competitive, earning a college degree is a must. Not only is this degree essential, but it is also a good idea to have a plan for paying for that degree. Tuition and other expenses have risen dramatically over the last few years.

Because the cost of living in most major cities in the United States is on the rise, students should do their due diligence regarding the income, job security, and job growth of their chosen jobs. Both accounting and finance are fine options. One may have the edge over the other in terms of job security and average salary, however. See our ranking of the Top 30 Most Affordable Master’s in Finance Degrees Online.

What is the Difference?

Which Pays More: A Finance Degree or an Accounting Degree?

It is better to understand what differentiates accounting and finance degrees before selecting a major. While both majors are focused on finance, the areas of finance in which the curriculum is focused are very different. The primary difference between the two studies is that finance is generally defined as the management of money whereas accounting is the practice of collecting and tracking of financial information.

Since finance graduates are studying to manipulate money in some way and accounting graduates are studying to track all of the shifts in financial information, each major is going to take a different set of courses. While some courses overlap, here are some of the required curricula that could differentiate between the two degrees:


  • Investments
  • Management of Finance Institutions
  • Financial Markets
  • Finance Modeling
  • Security Valuation


  • Intermediate Accounting
  • Cost Accounting
  • Business Law
  • Income Tax
  • Auditing

Finance includes subfields like securities trading, stock brokerage, various kinds of investing, and even commodities trading. The chief aim is making money either for oneself or for clients. Accounting includes subfields like forensic accounting, fiduciary accounting, and auditing. Fiduciary accounting regards real estate and property law. The principles of finance and accounting are the same, but each field tweaks them in some way.

Traders and brokers are two sides of the same coin. Brokers deal mostly with individual clients and businesses outside the financial world. Traders deal with large financial companies like banks and investment firms. Still, both jobs do basically the same thing: “Buy low, and sell high!”

Commodities traders buy and sell futures in various products, like soybeans, orange juice, corn, wheat, and others. Unlike brokers or securities traders, who actually buy shares or other interests in various companies. commodities traders do not really buy vast amounts of fruit, vegetables, or precious metals.

Accountants keep track of it all. It is their responsibility to make sure all the credits and debits of each of their clients add up to zero. Forensic accountants are the folks who come in when there have been crimes committed in the name of “cooking the books.” It is their job to investigate various types of fraud, mismanagement, and corporate malfeasance.

How Much Do Finance Majors Make?

Which Pays More: A Finance Degree or an Accounting Degree?

For comparison’s sake, let us take the job of financial analyst as the basis for jobs in the finance industry. According to the latest data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median salary for this job is $81,590 annually. The lowest salary for financial analysts was $47,230, and the highest was $156,150.

The job growth is slated to be 5% over the next 10 years, which is higher than the average growth for all other jobs. Currently, there are 487,800 jobs. With a growth rate of 5%, that means that the sector will add more than 26,000 jobs during the next 10 years.

Starting salary is only part of the equation. Salary growth is equally important. People don’t want to start with a high beginning salary only to experience no growth over the years. Salary should grow with experience.

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How Much Do Accounting Majors Make?

The median salary for accountants and auditors in the United States is $71,500. The highest salaries in the sector are $124,450. The lowest are $44,480. These numbers come from the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

There are 1,436,100 accounting jobs at this time. Over the next 10 years, the sector will add 61,700 new jobs, which comes out to 4% growth. That is average when considering the growth rates of all jobs. Even though the growth rate is slightly slower than that of finance jobs, the sheer number of jobs is greater, providing better opportunities for landing a job in the accounting field.

Forensic accountants have a median income of $79,520, making them nearly the equal to finance salaries. Certain law-enforcement agencies, however, provide forensic accountants with average salaries higher than $90,000. The top-end salaries at the FBI, for example, may be higher still than top finance salaries.

How About With a Graduate Degree?

Accountants and financiers with master’s degrees earn roughly double what their counterparts with just a bachelor’s degree earn. For example, accountants who earn an MBA from Stanford make about $158,000 annually, on average. The top end of that pay scale will be well over a quarter-million dollars annually. The numbers from Harvard, the University of Pennsylvania, and other top business schools are all similar.

The MBA is a powerful degree, but it’s not the only way that people in business can boost their salaries. Forensic Accountants can earn the same degree, but they can also pursue research degrees. There are many certifications, too, such as the Certified Forensic Accountant or the Certified Fraud Examiner. Each of these can give budding accountants a boost.

People who want to shape the future of business in the classroom become instructors and professors. Usually, these folks must earn a Ph.D. in business, possibly a DBA. These highly educated and trained individuals usually earn as much, or more, as their “in-the-field” counterparts. Some might early slightly less, but they are satisfied with a smaller salary because they get to shape the direction business takes through education and inspiration.

Many of these graduate students also pursue law degrees and add to their money-making capabilities that way. Corporate lawyers who also hold MBAs, DBAs, or even both are uniquely qualified to help businesses get ahead.

What about International Opportunities?

Which Pays More: A Finance Degree or an Accounting Degree?

In an era of globalization, it is natural for some adventuresome people to look outside the U.S. for employment opportunities. Switzerland and the Cayman Islands are popular destinations for budding accountants and financiers. The salaries they earn in these places are comparable with what they would earn in the U.S. even if they are paid in euros, pounds sterling, or other world currencies.

Iceland, Monaco, and Bermuda are also popular destinations for U.S. accountants and financiers who want to branch out into the world. Bermuda and the Cayman Islands are tax havens, which makes them even more popular for the businesses for which their accountants work. The laws governing them are complex and need highly trained and qualified people to work within their guidelines.

Despite its small size and remoteness, Iceland is actually quite mainstream in the world. Their national football team has even had success against European powers like England and Austria. The island’s accounting firms, which include many of the biggest businesses in the United States, seek to achieve the same level of glory. One big advantage of working in Iceland is that you can get by with just a knowledge of English.

In places like Japan and Switzerland, you will likely have to learn the native language at least passably even though English is the international language of business. In Switzerland, those languages would include German, Italian, and French. When working overseas, it is also probably a good idea to have a working knowledge of currency trading. It would probably be best for you to earn a certificate in the field before moving.

When it comes to working as an accountant or financier in countries with huge coastlines and lots of ship traffic, it would probably also be prudent to have at least a working knowledge of admiralty law and maritime law. These laws are different in different countries, and they might be different than the laws of the particular country in question that govern companies without a maritime interest. This is especially true of island nations like Bermuda, Iceland, and the Caymans.

Remember, there are certain countries, too, that are considered hostile to the United States, so the laws about doing business there are necessarily harsh and complicated. Knowing those laws is essential to anyone who decides to practice as an accountant or financier overseas.


The fields of accounting and finance are set to grow well into the third decade of the 21st century. People in these fields are well-compensated for their work. The job can be rewarding in many different ways. Some people become entrepreneurs. Others becomes professors to mold young minds. Still others conquer international markets. Whatever you choose to do, accountants and financiers are integral parts of the world’s economy and deserve respect.

When it comes to which of the two jobs has an advantage over the other, it is a dead heat. Growth is better in one, but the sheer number of jobs is better in the other. The salaries are all within about 10% of each other at all places in the spectrum.

It is very difficult to pinpoint which degree will pay more than the other. With so many contributing factors that can affect salary, the data can be inaccurate without specifics. When looking at the data available, it does appear that between accounting and finance degrees, finance majors earn more on average.

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Salary finance degree

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Is Finance a Good Major? (No BS Advice)

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