What Are the Education Requirements to Be a Financial Analyst?

A financial analyst is skilled in risk reduction coupled with asset building. To enter this career, you'll likely need a bachelor's degree; however, some companies may desire a master's degree and certification. Read on to learn more about this career's educational requirements. Schools offering Finance degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

Job Overview

Financial analysts provide advice and guidance to businesses or individuals on investment opportunities, goals and decisions. They are responsible for reviewing and analyzing markets, investments, savings portfolios and other accounting or financial statements.

The primary responsibility for these professionals is to reduce financial risk and generate income and earnings for a client or business. As a financial analyst, you should have knowledge in accounting, statistics, stock markets, tax structures and investment options, including insurance policies or pension funds. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reported that employers might prefer those who have an understanding of the global market and international business cultures (www.bls.gov).

Important Facts About Financial Analyst Education Requirements

Prerequisites GMAT or GRE test results for graduate programs, high school diploma or equivalent for undergraduate programs
Online Availability Fully online undergraduate and graduate programs are available
Continuing Education Additional coursework may be needed to prepare for licensure through the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FIRA)
Similar Occupations The same type of training for financial analysts can also lead to work as a personal financial advisor, stock brocker or banker, among other options

Education Requirements

To become a financial analyst, you need a minimum of a bachelor's degree in business administration, accounting, economics, finance or a similar discipline. While this is a minimum education requirement, you might find that a master's degree, such as a Master of Business Administration, is preferred for mid-to senior-level positions.

Degree Program Coursework

At both the undergraduate and graduate level, you can find programs that offer concentrations in financial analysis. These programs tailor the curriculum to financial analysts and include hands-on learning labs and internships. Common topics within a financial analysis program include:

  • Accounting
  • Corporate finance
  • Business statistics
  • Economics
  • Investment management
  • Financial reporting
  • Risk management
  • Derivatives
  • Equity and fixed income valuation
  • Professional ethics

Professional Designation Options

While it might not be required to work as a financial analyst, gaining a professional designation credential may prove beneficial to a career in the industry. One such designation is the Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA), which is available through the CFA Institute. To gain the designation you're required to become a member of the association and enter into its CFA program. Acquiring the designation takes 3-5 years to complete, and you must complete three exams that cover ethics, portfolio management, investments and financial reports. Requirements to enter into the program are a bachelor's degree and work experience, as well as a comprehension of its code of conduct.

Employment Outlook and Salary Information

The BLS reports that aspiring financial analysts can expect to have strong competition for jobs; however, faster-than-average growth of 11% is expected over the 2016-2026 decade. This growth is due to the large number of financial products that are available that require expertise from qualified professionals. The average wage for a financial analyst in May 2018 was $100,990, according to the BLS. Most earned between $52,540 and $167,420 annually.

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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