What Types of Jobs and Salaries Are Available With a Master’s in Finance?

With the resurgence of opportunities in the financial arena, more people are looking at advanced degrees and wondering what types of jobs are available with a Master’s in Finance? Sometimes confusion arises over the difference between an MBA and a Master’s Degree in Finance. Although the degrees are similar, the MBA leads to a generalist education (for CPAs, for example), while the finance specialty allows graduates to specialize in markets and investing, among other finance areas.

But how many jobs are available in finance? According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), employment in the financial field is expected to grow 15 percent by 2029 — which translates to over 700,000 added jobs to the marketplace. By pursuing an advanced degree, you can earn a masters in finance salary by pursuing lucrative positions such as financial management. In this position, you can earn a median salary of $134,180.

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The Types of Jobs Available With a Master’s in Finance

As you learn more about available jobs in finance if you pursue a master’s, here is a list of various opportunities to consider.

Investor Relations Associate

As an investor relations associate, you would work for a financial institution and manage the relationship with the organization’s investors. An investor relations associate can be involved in different aspects of a financial institution, such as marketing to attract more investors or in IT to manage technology efficiencies. The median salary for an investor relations associate was about $62,810 per year as of 2020, with an expected job growth of about 7% through 2029.

Budget Analyst

Budget analysts are responsible for assisting public and private organizations manage their finances. You typically need a bachelor’s degree and will take courses in accounting, economics, and statistics in order to become a budget analyst. According to BLS, they make a median wage of $78,970 per year, and the projected job outlook for this position is 3%.

Actuary

As an actuary scientist, you’ll analyze and mitigate financial risks using a combination of math, statistics, and financial theory. The annual wage for actuaries averaged about $111,030 per year as of 2020, with an expected job growth of about 18% through 2029.

Accountant

As an accountant, you’ll analyze and audit financial records for a company, organization, or individual. Most accountants will work full time and overtime during tax season. Many accountants pursue becoming a Certified Public Accountant (CPA) because it is considered the highest standard within the profession. The median pay for an accountant was about $73,560 per year as of 2020, with an expected job growth of about 4% through 2029.

Credit Analyst

A company hires a credit analyst to assess the risk of offering a loan and analyzing whether a borrower can pay back money loaned to them by reviewing the individual’s or organization’s credit history. The average salary for a credit analyst was about $86,170 as of 2020, with an expected job growth of about 1.2% through 2029.

Lawyer

A lawyer or attorney is a person who practices law. As a lawyer, you’ll interpret and apply legal theories to defend or prosecute individuals or organizations within a court of law. You will also advise individuals, companies or government agencies on legal issues or disputes. The medium annual pay for lawyers was about $126,930 per year as of 2020, with a job outlook of about 4% through 2029.

CFO

The chief financial officer (CFO) at a company is part of the executive team that manages the finances for the organization. The CFO is responsible for managing the company finances, such as financial planning and cash flow. To become a CFO, you typically need several years of experience in a financial role, such as accounting, financial analysis, or financial advising. The average annual wage for CFOs was about $107,680 per year as of 2020, with an expected job growth of about 4% through 2029.

Financial Director

At a company, the finance director is part of the executive team and manages and strategizes finances to ensure the long-term success of the company. The average salary for financial directors or managers was about $134,180 per year as of 2020, with an expected job growth of about 15% in this field through 2029.

Controller

As a controller, you’ll be responsible for all accounting, budgeting, and financial transactions at a company. Most controllers work under the company chief financial officer (CFO). The controller is also known as an organization’s lead accountant and will keep track of money coming in and out from the company accounts. As one of the top executives in a company, controllers make, on average, about $107,680 per year as of 2020, with an expected job growth of about 4% through 2029.

Financial Examiner

Financial examiners monitor financial institutions to make sure they follow policy and legislation regarding financial management and transactions. Financial examiners make a median salary of $81,430, according to BLS. Most financial examiners are needed in the finance, insurance, and government industry to ensure compliance with monetary transactions.

Portfolio Manager

A portfolio manager strategizes and manages a client’s investment portfolio. The investor(s) invest their money to later use it as a retirement fund, endowment fund, and the portfolio manager uses research and analysis to place and manage those investments to make their client the most amount of money possible. The average annual wage of a financial manager was about $151,510 as of 2020, with a 0.3% job growth expected through 2029.

Trader 

Stock traders financially benefit from the sale of stock shares. They can trade on behalf of a company or individual. They also connect buyers and sellers within financial markets and can be a high-stress job with more than 40 hours of work per week required. The median annual wage for traders was $64,770 per year as of 2020, with a 4% job growth expected through 2029.

Stockbroker 

Stockbrokers are responsible for buying and selling securities on a stock exchange for clients. As a stockbroker, you’ll most likely work for a brokerage firm and be paid on commission. Most stockbrokers work for a brokerage firm.  The mean annual wage for a stockbroker was about $98,770 as of 2020, with a 1.4% job growth expected through 2029.

Personal Financial Advisor 

A personal financial advisor helps people manage their finances as well as plan for the future. Most financial advisors work in finance and insurance industries or are self-employed. Personal financial advisors had a median wage of $89,330 per year as of 2020, according to the BLS. While people with an MBA may be involved in similar areas as those with a Master’s in Finance, there is more opportunity to specialize with a finance concentration. People considering careers in the finance arena should have strong skills in math, be detail-oriented, practice critical thinking, and excel as communicators.

Careers and Salary With a Master’s in Finance

Career Annual SalaryProjected Growth Rate (2019-29) 
Budget Analyst$78,9703%
Actuary$111,03018%
Accountant$73,5604%
Lawyer$126,9304%
CFO$107,6804%
Controller$134,18015%
Financial Examiner$81,4307%
Stockbroker$64,7707%
Personal Financial Advisor$89,3304%

Source: BLS

What Are the Advantages to a Master’s in Finance Degree?

Bloomberg Business says the length of completion time is a major asset. While MBA programs take two to three years, students can earn a master’s in finance in just one year, resulting in a more affordable academic package. Beginning salaries tend to be lower for people with a finance degree, but that is due to the lack of work experience required to apply to the programs. MBA applicants usually must have five to seven years of work experience before entering the degree path. However, financial positions are changing, and many professionals with MBAs are going back to school to get a master’s in finance to become more competitive on the market.

The Most Frequently Asked Master's in Finance Questions


  • What are the best jobs in finance?

    The best jobs in finance are determined by looking at factors like employment outlook, job growth, work-life balance, and future learning opportunities. Financial managers and advisors, accountants, lawyers, and actuaries are a few of the best jobs in finance for income, work-life balance and future employment outlook. All offer potentially lucrative salaries, solid employment opportunities, job growth, and other benefits.


  • How much money can you make with a master’s in finance?

    By pursuing an advanced degree in finance, whether a master’s or a doctorate in finance, you can raise your prospective yearly income significantly. With a master’s in finance, you can pursue lucrative positions such as financial management. Roles within financial management came with a median salary of about $134,180 per year as of 2020.


  • Do finance careers pay well?

    Finance jobs can pay extremely well if you are willing to put in the work to become a professional in the financial industry. By obtaining a master’s in finance, you can sharpen your mathematical and analytical skills, which are two of the major skills needed to thrive in the financial field. While a master’s in finance salary will vary based on the jobs you pursue and other factors, there is money to be made in this field. So, what do finance jobs pay? With a master’s degree in finance, you can pursue employment opportunities in banking, investments, financial technology, government, or other fields — many of which come with lucrative six-figure median salaries.


More Resources: 

Most Affordable Doctorate in Finance Online

What Kind of Financial Aid Is Available for Graduate School?

50 Great Scholarships for Online Graduate Students

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Amanda Push

CONTRIBUTING WRITER

Amanda Push is a contributing writer who covers higher education, online graduate programs, college planning, and more for Grad School Hub. Her writing has also appeared in The Simple Dollar, Interest.com, and MyMove.

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