Investments

Investment professionals can be employed as financial analysts or managers by banks, brokerage houses, financial services and insurance companies, among other organizations. Continue reading to learn more about career prospects, salaries and educational options for investment specialists.

Is a Career in Investments for Me?

Career Overview

Investment professionals, including financial specialists, investment bankers and portfolio managers typically work in excess of 40 hours a week. Routine activities include attending meetings and responding to telephone calls. High-level decisions and responsibilities can be stressful; frequent travel to consult with clients and colleagues may be required.

Career Options and Descriptions

Financial analysts evaluate and make investment decisions for companies and individuals. Financial analysts who specialize in a particular type of investment might be employed as risk or securities analysts, fund managers or portfolio managers. The responsibilities of a financial manager may be similar to that of a financial analyst; additional tasks can include creating budgets, managing cash flow, calculating operation risks and setting credit limits. Brokerage firms, commodity exchange companies and portfolio management firms are some of the businesses that hire investment professionals.

Employment and Salary Information

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), financial analysts and financial managers earned median yearly salaries of $76,950 and $109,740, respectively, in May 2012. Nationwide, employment opportunities for financial analysts are projected to increase by 16% between 2012 and 2022, which is faster than average. Financial managers will see a 9% growth in employment during the same 10-year period. As reported by the BLS, prospects can vary by industry; experienced candidates with advanced degrees and professional certifications may enjoy a competitive advantage in the job market (www.bls.gov).

How Can I Work in Investments?

Undergraduate Programs

Most bachelor's degree programs in business can prepare you for entry-level positions in investing. Bachelor of Science in Finance programs might allow for concentrations in financial planning and investments. Core coursework may cover topics in risk management, estate planning and retirement planning. Learning outcomes include the chance to acquire skills in portfolio management, personal financial planning and security analysis.

Graduate Programs

A Master of Business Administration (MBA) program can help you acquire the additional background and skills you need to advance in the investment industry. Through a concentration in international investing, you'll study international portfolio management, corporate finance and multinational financial management. As a doctoral candidate, you may have to provide proof of competency in computer programming and math; degree requirements typically include a research project and a dissertation. When choosing your doctoral program, please note that some are designed for applied use, while others emphasize research analysis.

Certifications

Many investment professionals have a graduate degree and a professional designation. A license from the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) is usually needed to sell investments. Requirements for the Charted Financial Analyst (CFA) designation include a bachelor's degree, four years of relevant work experience and a satisfactory score on an exam.

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