Financial analysts are among the fastest-growing careers in today's economy. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, there were 277,600 financial analysts employed in the United States in 2014—and that number is expected to grow by 12 percent over the next decade. In addition to above average job growth, the financial analyst profession is among the highest paying careers in finance. The BLS reports that financial analysts took home $80,310 per year on average in 2015. How much you can earn as a financial analyst depends on a number of different factors, including:
Level of Finance-Related Education
Regardless of the field, the level of education someone brings to the table will almost always impact their earning power. The same holds true for financial analysts. Financial analysts typically have bachelor’s degree in finance-related fields such as accounting, economics, mathematics or statistics, but it’s common for employers to seek out applicants with a graduate-level finance degree such as the Master of Investment Management and Financial Analysis. In 2012-2013, 40.8% of financial analysts in the United States held a master’s degree or higher.
Professional Designations for Finance Professionals
In addition to graduate course work, there are a number of professional designations available for individuals who are currently or aspire to be financial analysts or financial advisors. These professional designations indicate that someone has demonstrated advanced knowledge in the eyes of the credentialing organization. As such, these professional designations can be highly attractive to employers and can also have a significant impact on salary. According to Robert Half’s Guide to Certifications for finance and accounting professionals, individuals who have earned professional credentials may receive starting salaries up to 10 percent above the market average.
Your Zip Code
Where you live and work can also have a significant impact on your earning potential as a financial analyst. Using salary information from approximately 17,000 self-reporting financial analysts from around the United States, San Francisco, New York and Washington are the highest paying markets based on pay above national average.
Incentives and Bonus Structures
Your basic earning power typically grows over time but it is often significantly impacted by add-ons such as bonuses or other incentives. A 2014 survey by RETS Associates found that each year of financial analyst experience resulted in a $7,117 increase in base salary for respondents. Additionally, there a variety of ways to increase your earning power through incentives and bonus structures to be worked out as you advance in your career and negotiate promotions. These include:
- Profit sharing: Depending on your firm's size and organization, you might earn a bonus based on the firm's annual profit.
- Bonuses: Your manager might outline goals and targets for each year related to your performance. Depending on your years of expertise, these bonuses could add 20 percent or more to your annual salary.
- Stock options: If your firm is publicly traded, you might be granted the option to buy stock at a reduced price.
- Tuition reimbursement: Employees often overlook the importance of tuition reimbursement as a perk. Some firms will reimburse an employee for the costs of earning their graduate degree. And, since employees who hold advanced degrees typically earn more this reimbursement can be of significant long-term value.
Solid job growth and high earning potential are two very compelling reasons to become a financial analyst. The online Master of Investment Management and Financial Analysis (MIMFA) from Creighton University can prepare you to succeed in this field in more ways than one. In addition to the distinction of holding an advanced finance degree from one of the top-ranked business schools in the U.S., the MIMFA program also helps prepare you for the prestigious Chartered Financial Analyst® (CFA®) exams and designation.
Request more information or call 866.717.6365 to speak to a program manager. Also make sure you download your free copy of the 2016 Investment Management Career Guide to learn about the best finance jobs that await you.