Career Woman

Your quick guide to becoming a financial analyst

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Those in the finance industry are presented with a variety of opportunities for advancement, and many are enticed by the earnings and perks inherent to a career in this sector. Those with an interest in finance and analysis are often drawn to the role of financial analyst, and for good reason. With plenty of room for advancement and high starting salaries, this role is best suited to individuals that are skilled at strategy and coolheaded in high-pressure situations. Financial analysts are tasked with gathering financial data for organizations or individuals, then using that data to assess the risk of a given financial decision. If you’re interested in a career in financial analysis, consider the path required.

Getting your degree

A bachelor’s degree is a requirement for a pursuing a career as a financial analyst. While most pursue a finance degree, many finance professionals also have degrees in accounting, statistics, mathematics, and even engineering. After receiving their bachelor’s degrees, many in the competitive finance field go onto to pursue their master’s degree. Some attend traditional institutions, while others pursue an online master’s degree in finance. As the market continues to saturate with professionals looking for employment, it’s important to do anything you can to maintain a competitive edge. Further education can mean better earnings, and the prestige related to master’s degrees can make you a standout to searching employers.

Consider your preferred market

One of the most advantageous facets of a career in financial analysis comes in the flexibility of industry. Have you always been interested in the technology related to the aerospace industry? They’ll need financial experts. Perhaps you’re interested in the ways that computer software is created and marketed; software companies are in constant pursuit of skilled financial strategists. Nearly every industry benefits from the help of financial analysis, and you can find job opportunities in a variety of markets.

Licensure

In order to become a financial analyst, you’ll need to obtain licensure from the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority, or FINRA. You may also choose to acquire your certification as a CFA from the CFA Institute. In order to become a Certified Financial Analyst, you’ll need to complete their strenuous program, which includes a three-part exam that can take the average candidate years to pass. The three parts, Levels I, II, and III, must be sat individually. The first level is offered in June and December, while Levels II and III are only offered in June. It’s important to consider the timeline, as the CFA Institute recommends that candidates dedicate at least six months of study time to each portion of the exam. Most candidates must invest in review courses; the best CFA prep courses include mock exams, and taking these regularly can greatly improve your chances of passing. Many begin their careers without this certification and use it as a working goal, and for good reason. Those with the CFA designation often command higher salaries and are in demand for a variety of employers and corporations in a wide array of markets and industries.

Finding employment

Looking for a job as a financial analyst isn’t always an easy task. Because the market is so competitive, landing an entry-level position can be a foreboding challenge. For some, the move into financial analysis comes laterally; they work as accountants, then make their foray into the field. For most, internships are a must, especially if you’re still in pursuit of your degree. Firsthand experience is essential, and the more connections you make during a finance internship, the better your employment opportunities will be.

Becoming a financial analyst means pursuing a career filled with wonderful opportunities for advancement and plenty of earnings potential. Consider if this profession is right for you and get started on your path today.

About Business Woman Media

Our women don’t want to settle for anything but the best. They understand that success is a journey involving personal growth, savvy optimism and the tenacity to be the best.We believe in pragmatism, having fun, hard-work and sharing inspiration. LinkedIn

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