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What Type of Education Is Needed to Become an Investment Manager?

An investment manager generally needs a bachelor's or a master's degree to obtain a job in financial services. Additional professional certification may help the job-seeking candidate as well. Of course, a prior track record of successful financial investing may be the most beneficial to those seeking employment as an investment manager.

Required Education for Investment Managers

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, financial managers typically need to complete a bachelor's program in finance, accounting, economics, or business administration before entering the field. They also report that employers tend to favor candidates with an advanced degree and certification.

Important Facts About Financial Managers

Job Outlook11% from 2016-2026 (Financial Analysts)*
Median Pay$85,660 (2018) (Financial Analysts)*
Key SkillsCommunication, math, analytical, detail oriented, and organizational
Similar OccupationsAccountants, auditors, budget analysts, financial analysts, personal finance advisers, loan officers

Source: *United States Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS)

Baccalaureate Education Options

Many investment managers hold Bachelor of Business Administration degrees with concentrations in finance. Required classes may cover the following topics:

  • Corporate finance
  • Economics
  • Financial analysis
  • Financial management
  • Financial planning
  • International finance
  • Investment management
  • Statistics
  • Risk management

Graduate Degrees

Although master's degrees aren't always a requirement for employment, they're becoming increasingly popular in today's competitive business world. Most investment managers who seek advanced academic degrees may earn the Master of Business Administration with a concentration in finance. Fluency in a second language may often be required, due to increasing global investment opportunities. Coursework includes these topics:

  • Advanced financial management
  • Capital markets
  • International markets
  • Investment analysis
  • Risk management

Professional Certification

Even investment managers who hold MBA degrees seek additional professional certification to boost their credentials. These are voluntary certifications that are recognized as professional achievements, rather than as educational degrees. More than 20 types of certifications are appropriate for investment managers. Most require several years of experience in the field, while some also require membership in the organization that issues the certification. Among the most common are the following credentials:

  • Certified Financial Manager (CFM) from Institute of Management Accountants
  • Certified Management Accountant (CMA) from Institute of Management Accountants
  • Certified Financial Planner (CFP) from the Certified Financial Planner Board of Standards
  • Chartered Market Analyst (CMA) from the American Academy of Financial Management
  • Chartered Asset Manager (CAM) from the American Academy of Financial Management
  • Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) from the CFA Institute