Portfolio Manager Jobs: Salary and Career Facts

Explore the career requirements for portfolio manager. Get the facts about licensure and education requirements, job duties and career outlook to determine if this is the right career for you. Schools offering Finance Investments & Securities degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

What Is a Portfolio Manager?

A portfolio manager analyzes the market economy to help companies and individuals make investment decisions. They must be familiar with an individual's or company's financial history as well as with market trends in order to provide the best recommendations possible. As a portfolio manager, you will also need to be able to explain your investment decisions to company managers so that they feel confident in your choices. The table below outlines the general requirements for a career as a portfolio manager.

Degree Required Bachelor's degree, master's degree recommended
Education Field of Study Accounting, business administration, finance, economics
Key Responsibilities Manage a team of financial analysts, monitor financial markets, meet with potential and current investors, recommend investment strategies
Licensure/Certification Licensure typically required, certification is voluntary
Job Growth (2014-2024) 12% (for all financial analysts)*
Median Salary (2017) $84,054**

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, **Payscale.com

What Education Do I Need to Work as a Portfolio Manager?

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), entry-level portfolio management jobs require at least a bachelor's degree. Relevant undergraduate majors include accounting, business administration, finance, economics and mathematics. After receiving a job offer, you may participate in a company-training program to gain expertise in field.

Because you'll be required to have an in-depth understanding of securities, you might consider earning a master's degree. Common master's degree programs include trust and wealth management, security analysis and portfolio management. Master's degree courses will help you learn about fixed income and derivatives, advanced investment analysis and risk management applications.

A professional certificate program in investment and portfolio management can also help prepare you for this career. Participation in these certificate programs generally requires a bachelor's degree and investment-related coursework.

How Do I Get Certified and Licensed?

Certification is not required but is recommended and will show that you meet the standards of competency to work in this field. You could pursue the Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) credential offered by the Chartered Financial Analyst Institute. Eligibility for this credential requires having a bachelor's degree, four years of job-related experience and adequate scores on three exams. Other relevant certifications you may pursue are the Certified Chartered Portfolio Manager and Certified Chartered Wealth Manager credentials offered by the American Academy of Financial Management (AAFM).

According to the BLS, most professionals who sell securities or make investment recommendations are required to be licensed. To obtain licensure, you may need to take exams mandated by the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA), including the Series 7 - General Securities Representative exam and Series 26 - Investment Company Principal exams.

What Job Functions Would I Perform?

You would manage a team of financial analysts and have frequent meetings to discuss market developments and trends. You would also monitor financial markets in order to make decisions related to securities and travel to meet with potential and current investors to recommend investment strategies.

Other job duties would include managing products, such as hedge funds, mutual funds, trust funds and pension funds. You may also be responsible for managing the portfolios of large institutions, such as banks and universities. You would perform these job functions on behalf of a brokerage, investment advisory or portfolio management firm.

What is the Job Outlook For This Career?

Employment for all financial analysts, a field that includes portfolio managers, is projected to increase 12% from 2014-2024, which is higher than the 6% increase projected across all other industries, according to the BLS. Factors contributing to employment growth include increased diversification in financial products and the demand for analysts with knowledge of geographic regions. The globalization of securities and commodities and the remapping of foreign trading zones also play a role in the demand for this career.

What Are Some Alternative Career Options?

You may also be interested in becoming a personal financial advisor, which involves working closely with individuals and helping them manage their finances, estate planning, taxes, and retirement accounts. You could also work as a budget analyst. Budget analysts help organizations manage their yearly budgets and make sure they are working within their financial means. Both of these careers require a bachelor's degree at minimum, and personal financial advisors typically need to be licensed.

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:

  • 1. Degree Options:
The schools in the listing below are not free and may include sponsored content but are popular choices among our users. Tuition and costs will vary across programs and locations. Be sure to always request tuition information before starting a program.

Popular Schools

  1. 1
  2. 2
  3. 3
  4. 4
  5. Next »