The Best-Paying Jobs in Finance
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics employment in business and financial occupations is projected to grow (7%) slightly faster than the average for all occupations (5%). Employment projections for the best-paying jobs in finance are even more positive and most report a growth up to three to four times faster than the average. Find out if finance is the right industry for you and then read on to discover the highest paying jobs in finance in the U.S., their salaries, requirements, career ladders and more.
Best-Paying Jobs in Finance: Requirements
Let’s start from the basics. To achieve any of the best-paying jobs in finance you must have the appropriate education, skills, and work experience. A bachelor’s degree is the minimum requirement for most jobs in this industry, but a MBA or other master’s degrees or Ph.D. gives you better chances of faster advancement up the career ladder. Among the many great schools offering suitable degrees for the highest paying finance jobs, the following are the best colleges in the country for finance programs according to U.S. News.
Best Undergraduate Finance Programs:
- University of Pennsylvania
- New York University
- University of Michigan-Ann Arbor
Best Finance MBA Programs:
- The Wharton School at University of Pennsylvania
- The Booth School of Business at University of Chicago
- The Leonard N. Stern School of Business at New York University
Must have skills for those wanting to land the best paying finance jobs include, but are not limited to:
- financial planning and reporting
- computer and technology skills
- mathematics and statistics
- great verbal and written communication skills
- attention to detail and problem solving
Once you satisfy the main requirements for any of the best-paying jobs in finance, you need to prepare to find employment. Before you can apply to finance jobs, you must have an optimized resume and cover letter ready. If you don’t know where to start or need a refresher, read our guides on how to find your first finance job, how to prepare a finance resume and cover letter tips for finance professionals.
What Do Finance Jobs Pay? A Closer Look at the Best-Paying Jobs in Finance
Chief Financial Officer (CFO)
Chief financial officers oversee the implementation of policies and procedures to make sure organizations’ funds are properly used and accounted for. While a bachelor’s degree might suffice to find employment as a CFO, an MBA or other master’s increase your chances. On top of a great education, chief financial officers need many years of work experience, and it typically takes most people 10 to 15 years to become one. Take a look at our CFO resume example to see how a well written one should look.
Chief Financial Officer Salary and Career Path
There are several career paths you can take to reach this high paying finance job, like working as a company controller or corporate treasurer. Chief financial officer is the highest finance position within a company with only CEO above it there. The national chief financial officer salary ranges from $83,423 to $156,063 and averages at $119,063.
High-demand job locations include San Francisco (CA) with a median salary of $160,877 and Washington (DC) with $129,048. Chief financial officers are the best-paid finance jobs and depending on your credentials, skills and experience, your yearly salary can increase exponentially to over $300,000 or even $400,000.
Browse all chief financial officer jobs available on Monster.
Tax Director / Senior Tax Manager
Depending on the work environment, tax directors and senior tax managers are two best-paying jobs in finance often considered with interchangeable duties and responsibilities. In companies where they are instead treated as two complementary but separate roles, the tax director is usually further along on the career path.
Tax directors are responsible for their company’s tax compliance, tax planning and income tax accounting. To pursue a career as a tax director or senior tax manager, you need at least a bachelor’s degree in tax accounting and several years of experience in the finance industry.
Tax Director / Senior Tax Manager Salary and Career Path
Most tax directors or senior tax managers have previous work experience in the tax industry as a tax manager, tax accountant, or tax analyst. Possible career paths after working as a tax director include best-paying finance jobs like corporate controller, finance director, and chief financial officer.
The national senior tax manager salary ranges from $91,664 to $148,372 and averages $117,787. High-demand job locations include Los Angeles (CA) with a median salary of $132,637 and Chicago (IL) with $119,829.
Financial Quantitative Analyst
Financial quantitative analysts are experts in using math and statistics to analyze financial data, develop financial models, conduct research on financial products and assess risks. Quantitative analysts can work in banks, insurance companies, asset management firms and other financial institutions.
Like some of the other highest-paying finance jobs, to be considerate for employment, financial quantitative analysts need to have a bachelor’s or master’s degree and a Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) certification. Read our article on how to become a financial quantitative analyst to learn more about one of the best-paying jobs in finance.
Financial Quantitative Analyst Salary and Career Path
After satisfying the educational requirements, to become a financial quantitative analyst you need to learn the skills of the field through an internship or assistant position. Once ready to move up the career ladder, financial quantitative analysts can become data scientists, directors, or take on other senior managerial roles in the industry.
The national financial quantitative analyst salary ranges from $76,418 to $125,766 and averages at $98,942. High-demand job locations include Charlotte (NC) with a median salary of $103,400 and Atlanta (GA) with $96,596.
Browse all financial quantitative analyst jobs available on Monster.
Finance managers in charge of making long-term planning and investment decisions for their clients. They work closely with many departments and executives, and usually have the last word on important financial decisions. Like some other of the highest-paying finance jobs, most finance managers have at least a bachelor’s degree even if a master’s degree is preferred.
After filling the educational and work experience requirements, a lot of finance managers attain a financial analyst certification. Check out our finance manager resume sample if you are thinking about choosing this career path.
Finance Manager Salary and Career Path
According to BLS, employment of financial managers positions are projected to grow 17%, which is way above the 5% average growth rate for all occupations and most other best-paying jobs in finance. Finance managers typically start their career as finance analysts, accounting managers, or similar. To land entry-level finance manager roles you usually need at least five years’ experience in finance and accounting. Common career paths for finance managers include senior management positions, corporate controller, and director of finance.
The national finance manager salary ranges from $59,849 to $124,441 and averages $93,166. High-demand job locations include San Jose (CA) with a median salary of $109,482 and Seattle (WA) with $101,742.
Browse all finance manager jobs available on Monster.
Financial Risk Manager
A financial risk managers main responsibilities include developing and implementing risk management and compliance policies and procedures, identifying potential risk exposure, and promoting loss prevention. Like other best-paying jobs in finance, skills to excel in this role include superior organization, strong interpersonal and project management skills, and attention to detail. Besides obtaining a post-secondary education degree, to become a financial risk manager you need to be accredited by the Global Association of Risk Professionals (GARP).
Financial Risk Manager Salary and Career Path
Most financial risk managers begin their career as risk or insurance analysts or consultants. Possible career paths for financial risk managers include becoming a risk management director, chief financial officer, vice president of operations, or other senior management roles.
The national risk manager salary ranges from $67,481 to $117,589 and averages $93,123. The average salary climbs even higher when you progress to director. High-demand job locations include Charlotte (NC) with a median salary of $98,836 and Chicago (IL) with $99,303.
Browse all risk management jobs available on Monster.
Accounting managers are responsible for the day-to-day accounting operations in their department. Their work is usually reviewed by the finance managers who determine the financial strategy. Accounting manager candidates need to have at least a bachelor’s degree in accounting, finance, business, or a related field. While a master’s degree is not commonly required to work as accounting manager, with it is easier to achieve this role that is one of the best-paying jobs in finance.
Accounting Manager Salary and Career Path
Many accounting managers begin their career working as accountants, bookkeepers, and finance analysts. Popular career paths for accounting managers include moving onto becoming a finance manager, cost accounting manager, tax manager, assistant controller, and senior managerial roles in accounting and finance.
The median national accounting manager salary is $89,298 in a range that goes from $63,335 to $119,063. High-demand job locations where the average salary goes up to over $100,000 include San Francisco (CA) and New York (NY).
Browse all accounting manager jobs available on Monster.
Economists are analysts who track, observe, and analyze major economic trends. They can work in different environments in the public and private sector and can easily switch between types of employers. Economists are not the same as Finance analysts, although they share some similar duties. They focus more on research and analysis while finance analysts advise on how to act to increase profits. To start working as economist a bachelor’s degree might suffice for entry level positions. However, in certain work environments and for senior roles you will most likely need a master or Ph.D.
Economist Salary and Career Path
The most common careers prior to becoming an economist include economic research assistant and other types of economic and finance analyst jobs. Besides moving up to a senior economist role, to climb the best-paying jobs in finance career ladder, economists can become consultants, directors, managers, and VPs.
Projected job growth for economists is as fast as the average for all occupations and about 1,400 openings per year are expected. The national economist salary ranges from $58,477 to $123,192 and averages $89,072. High-demand job locations include Washington (DC) with a median salary of $107,776 and Seattle (WA) with $92,671.
Browse all economist jobs available on Monster.
Investment Portfolio Manager
As the name suggests, an investment portfolio manager is in charge of how clients’ money is invested and takes care of day-to-day tasks with the help of a team of financial analysts. They are often also the ones who communicate with and explain investment decisions to clients, on top of providing updates and reports on portfolio performance.
The minimum educational requirement to become a portfolio manager is a bachelor’s degree, but it’s not uncommon to find employers requiring a master’s degree. Similar to other best-paying jobs in finance, investment portfolio managers also need to hold financial analyst certifications like the one awarded by the CFA Institute.
Investment Portfolio Manager Salary and Career Path
Many investment portfolio managers begin their career as financial analysts and end up in senior management positions or move onto a leadership position. According to Monster’s Salary Tool, investment portfolio analysts’ salary averages $82,498 in a range of $61,602 to $106,511.
In managerial positions and high-demand job locations the average salary increases. For example, financial planning managers earn an average of $125,953 in San Francisco (CA) and financial services managers’ median salary in Bellevue (WA) is $102,972.
Browse all portfolio manager jobs available on Monster.
Loan, insurance, and security underwriters work to assess the risk behind credit and lending decisions. It’s one of the best-paying jobs in finance where within five to 10 years you can work your way up to a senior position. Underwriters usually hold at least a bachelor’s degree and have great analytical, communication, math, and computer skills. For more information about this career check out our guide on how to become an insurance underwriter, and download our mortgage underwriter sample resume when you are ready to job hunt.
Underwriter and Career Path
Underwriters can begin their career in different ways, but usually they start by taking entry-level jobs in their chosen industry sectors. If, for example, your goal is to work as an insurance underwriter, you should start by looking for entry-level jobs the insurance industry.
Underwriters climbing the career ladder typically become senior underwriters and underwriting directors, or take on other roles in management like account and portfolio managers, branch managers, and risk managers. The national insurance underwriter salary ranges from $48,711 to $90,666 and averages $69,020 while the senior insurance underwriter salary ranges from $64,971 to $96,679 and averages $78,527.
Traders deserve to be among the best-paying jobs in finance because, with superior skills and knowledge of their work, these professionals truly have the potential to earn a richer salary every year. In a nutshell, their job consists in buying and selling securities to earn a profit for their clients. They can be found working in many different environments including banks and hedge funds. While it’s possible to become a successful trader without a college degree, having one makes it easier to find employment and work your way up in the career ladder.
Trader Salary and Career Path
Depending on the type of trader career you pursue, such as hedge fund trader or sell side trader, there are different ways to start. The easiest route is to get an undergraduate degree, a license from the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA), and an entry-level position in the industry, like being an assistant to a senior trader or analyst.
Traders advancing in their career typically become senior managers, directors, or even a VP of finance. The national securities and commodities trader salary ranges from $48,183 to $104,152 and averages $78,145. High-demand job locations include Houston (TX) with a median salary of $72,977 and Chicago (IL) with $71,466.
Financial analysts study market trends to understand and predict how they can affect a company’s performance, securities, bonds, and stocks. Through their work and precious financial reports, finance analysts help companies to set up the right financial strategies to increase revenue and best manage their assets.
The requirements to work in this role are similar to other best-paying jobs in finance. To start a career as financial analyst you’re usually required to attain a bachelor’s degree and have two to four years’ experience in the industry. Take a look at our sample financial analyst resume and financial analyst cover letter to learn how to make the most of your credentials.
Financial Analyst Salary and Career Path
Many financial analysts begin working in the industry through an internship, or as accountants or business analysts. Their next step on the career ladder is becoming a senior financial analyst, which offers a bump in pay and a load more responsibilities. Other jobs pursued by financial analysts to further their career include finance manager, finance quantitative analyst, controller, and data analyst.
Monster’s salary tool reports that the national financial analyst salary ranges from $48,753 to $87,494 and averages $67,978 while the senior financial analyst salary ranges from $72,254 to $97,747 and averages $83,154. High-demand job locations that pay above the national average for both roles include Chicago (IL) and Dallas (TX).
Browse all financial analyst jobs available on Monster.
Find All the Best-Paying Jobs in Finance Right Here on Monster
Whatever best-paid finance jobs you decide to pursue, with Monster’s help you can get there faster and easier. Don’t waste time and join today for free. After signing up, complete your profile by uploading up to five optimized resumes to attract hiring managers looking to hire talent like you. Increase your chances of finding one of the best-paying jobs in finance with customized alerts when there are new jobs listing available. We’ll also showcase your resume to companies hiring in your industry.