Quantitative Analyst: Career and Salary Facts

Research what it takes to become a quantitative analyst. Learn about education requirements, job duties, average wages and job outlook to find out if this is the career for you. Schools offering Economics degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

What Is a Quantitative Analyst?

A quantitative analyst analyzes data and advises businesses about financial matters. Their skill set largely focuses on financial investments commonly made by companies, such as stocks, and how to manage the stocks and trades a company conducts. They may work closely with other mathematics and financial professionals to improve efficiency in trading. They are skilled at developing analytical models and researching tools to maintain top-notch stock portfolios, as well as ensuring a company stays up to date with the latest software.

Read the following table to learn about education, certification and potential earnings.

Degree Required Master's degree
Education Field of Study Accounting,
Financial mathematics
Licensure/Certification Options Many positions require licensure; voluntary certification available
Key Skills Math knowledge, analyze data, draw conclusions
Job Growth (2014-2024) 12% (for all financial analysts)*
Average Salary (2015) $95,320 (for all financial analysts)*

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

What Does a Quantitative Analyst Do?

As a quantitative analyst, you collect data from a client company and analyze the information in order to best advise decision-makers about their financial matters, including risk management and investments. With advanced mathematics, you create and use complex formulas to gather information about various financial situations. You could be employed by a bank, hedge fund, insurance company or any other business that requires your expertise.

What Education Do I Need?

Most financial analysts hold a master's degree. A bachelor's degree program in finance, accounting, business or statistics can provide you with the knowledge to successfully analyze financial data and counsel financial decisions. A master's degree program in financial mathematics or a similar field can give you the specific knowledge to work as a quantitative analyst. With the increasing complexity of financial information, you likely need to be advanced in mathematics. As financial operations become more and more electronic, a familiarity with high-level computer operations can also be important in your work as a quantitative analyst.

Do I Need to Be Certified?

Certification is not required to work as a quantitative analyst, but you may choose to seek certain designations after several years of experience in the field. The CFA Institute offers the Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) designation, which demonstrates your investment knowledge from a financial background. You can take the exam for certification after completion of a bachelor's degree program or equivalent work experience. Another designation, the Certificate in Quantitative Finance, is awarded after completion of the corresponding program through CQF.com, which focuses on practical applications of quantitative finance. This program requires a minimum of mathematics knowledge, which includes basic calculus and linear algebra.

What Salary Can I Expect to Earn?

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported as of May 2015 that financial analysts, a group that includes quantitative analysts, made an average annual wage of $95,320 (www.bls.gov).

What Are Some Related Alternative Careers?

If the duties of a quantitative analyst are appealing to you, you should also consider becoming a business analyst or software developer. Business analysts examine documents and data in order to inform companies about their efficiency, and then offer advice on how to reduce costs and increase revenues. They need a bachelor's or master's degree in business administration or a related field. Software developers create apps that can be used by consumers in order to broaden the availability of a company's services. They usually need a bachelor's degree in software engineering or a similar field.

To continue researching, browse degree options below for course curriculum, prerequisites and financial aid information. Or, learn more about the subject by reading the related articles below:

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