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Jobs for a PhD in Finance

A Ph.D. in finance requires significant research and instruction of financial topics. Those who hold a Ph.D. can apply their skills to many different positions and fields. Read more below.

What Can You Do with a Ph.D. in Finance?

Postsecondary Teacher or Professor

Postsecondary instructors need at least a master's degree to teach courses in their field of study, but an educator holding a Ph.D. will be more prepared for higher-level courses and a tenure track. Postsecondary educators create lesson plans, instruct and grade students, and may conduct research and analysis as professors. The research conducting within a Ph.D. program prepares educators to understand the field as well as what methods of teaching might be most effective in their own classrooms.

Financial Manager

Financial managers, including CFOs, are responsible for preparing a business' financial and activity reports, as well as supervising others who conduct business financial tasks. Additionally, financial managers closely review market trends in order to increase a company's profitability and find ways to expand. Most employers prefer candidates with a master's degree, but those holding a Ph.D. will have a significantly deeper knowledge and applicable financial skills for a position.

Financial Analyst

Financial analysts evaluate investments using both historical and current data, assess strengths and weaknesses, and provide reports based on their findings. Financial analysts may work on the purchase side of investments, or on the selling side of investments, and often focus on specific industries or regions. Those who hold a Ph.D. in finance will have completed extensive research and skill development in financial topics, enabling them to perform financial analyst duties effectively and more easily than those who do not.

Securities, Commodities, or Financial Services Sales Agent

Securities, commodities and financial services sales agents handle a large variety of products and clients, selling investment securities to individuals and advising companies that are looking for investors. These agents may be brokers, investment bankers, or other types of financial services sales agents. Higher-level positions require a master's degree, but a Ph.D. gives candidates a deeper understanding of the financial sector and processes and will make them more of an asset to employers.

Budget Analyst

Budget analysts assist organizations with their financial budgeting needs. An analyst typically develops and reviews budgets, makes recommendations, and monitors budgets that have been implemented while making changes when appropriate. Budget analysts need to have strong analytical and numerical skills, and a PhD provides that through education and research within financial and economic topics.


Actuaries review and analyze costs of uncertainty and risk for companies by reviewing data, and estimating the probability of costs from certain events. Actuaries design and test policies and investments, and then create reports of their findings to organization executives in order to reduce costs that may occur. Because actuaries need a strong understanding of statistics and research within financial topics, a Ph.D. candidate will already possess the skills necessary to complete most duties that are required.

Cost Estimator

Cost estimators research and review data to provide estimates of the time, labor, and materials that may be required to manufacture certain products, projects, or services. Generally, a cost estimator specializes in one industry or product, such as construction. Cost estimators must possess strong research skills, as well as the ability to recognize cost factors and how they can be reduced. A Ph.D. prepares candidates by providing them with research skills and familiarity with costs and how they can be managed.


Economists collect and analyze data and trends as well as evaluate economic issues. Essentially, an economist conducts research and analysis in order to forecast market trends and find solutions for economic problems. Economists may also write articles for media, including academic journals. Most employers require a master's degree or a Ph.D., because the position is research-focused.

Financial Examiner

Financial examiners make sure that organizations are in compliance with governing laws while reviewing finances and risks. Those who work for the federal government make more than those who work for civilian or state organizations. Examiners holding a PhD are able to apply their knowledge of financial laws and research to ensure their business has accurate and beneficial procedures.

Job Title Median Salary (2018)* Job Growth (2018-2028)*
Postsecondary Teacher $101,480 (economics teachers) 8% (economics teachers)
Financial Manager $127,990 16%
Financial Analyst $85,660 6%
Securities, Commodities, or Financial Services Sales Agent $64,120 4%
Budget Analyst $76,220 4%
Actuary $102,880 20%
Cost Estimator $64,040 9%
Economist $104,340 8%
Financial Examiner $80,180 7%

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

A Ph.D. in finance enables job seekers to become more of an asset to employers because of their detailed knowledge of financial topics, and their ability to perform extensive research and reports. Ph.D. holders can work in a number of fields with different positions, including CFO, economist, and even a financial analyst or examiner.