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Studying to be a Financial Analyst? Here Is Your Career Outlook at a Glance

Explore Answers to Common Questions About a Career as a Financial Analyst

You can have an exciting career working as a financial analyst. It’s a growing industry and a popular career choice for those who earn an MS in Finance. As a financial analyst, you may be helping businesses large and small manage cash, assets, investments, and business risk. Let’s take a quick look at the career outlook for a financial analyst.

What Do Financial Analysts Do?

Generally, financial analysts provide guidance to both businesses and individuals making investment decisions. This guidance can include:1

  • Recommending different types of investments.
  • Evaluating finances.
  • Studying industry trends.
  • Determining company valuations. 
  • Analyzing a company’s growth potential.
  • Assessing the strengths and weaknesses of company leadership.
  • Preparing reports, presentations and other deliverables. 

Most financial analysts are divided into either buy-side analysts or sell-side analysts. A buy-side analyst will develop investment strategies for businesses and individuals that are actively investing money. A sell-side analyst advises financial professionals who sell different types of investments. Most financial analysts focus their work on a portion of the economy by either specializing on a specific industry, geographic region, or product.1 As we can see, there is a wide range of career prospects for financial analysts.

Where Do Financial Analysts Work?

Financial analysts can work in a variety of different industry sections. According to information from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the largest employers of financial analysts are in securities, commodity contracts, and other financial investments. However, financial analysists can also work in professional services, management, and insurance, among other areas.2 As a financial analyst, you would primarily work in an office, but you may have to travel frequently to visit clients or other companies. Given the concentration of the financial services businesses around Wall Street, many financial analysts work in New York City. But, you can find financial analysts working in cities across the United States. Being a financial analyst can lead to a career in many different industries in large cities or small towns.

Is the Industry Growing?

The Bureau of Labor Statistics projects employment of financial analysts to grow 11% from 2016 to 2026, which is faster than the average for all occupations. This growth is caused by the need for in-depth financial knowledge of geographic regions and the growing range of financial products.3 Not only is the industry growing, but financial analysts are often paid well. The average median wage for a financial analyst was $84,300 in May 2017. The highest pay for financial analysts is from securities, commodity contracts, and other financial investment employers.4 As recent data suggests, financial analysts are in a growing industry with good-paying job opportunities.

What Are the Long Term Prospects?

Frequently, financial analysts who have been working for 5 years have progressed to associates or senior financial analysts. Their job responsibilities shift to trying to attract new business, and client interaction increases. Bonuses for successful financial analysts begin to increase as well during this period of their career. Many financial analysts who have been working for 10 years move to senior management positions in important departments. Hours during this point of a financial analyst’s career can decrease, and responsibilities shift to generating new business, as well as personnel decisions.5 As you can see, many financial analysts enjoy exciting changes during the course of their career, including changing roles and expanded responsibilities.

A career as a financial analyst has many positive aspects. In addition, the number of financial analyst positions is expected to grow over the next 10 years. Competition for those jobs is expected to remain strong even as the number of jobs increases. That means that having the right education to become a financial analyst can make a significant difference in getting the job you want. An MS in Finance from an accredited online college can be one of the best ways to learn the necessary skills to become a financial analyst. Earning a degree online means you can take classes from home or anywhere else at a time of day that is convenient for you.

If you are studying to be a financial analyst, your career outlook is strong. Financial analysts are expected to be in demand for the near future. They can expect a competitive salary and exciting opportunities for career advancement. A career as a financial analyst can also lead to jobs in a wide range of industries and geographic locations.

Walden University is an accredited institution offering an online MS in Finance degree program. Take your career to the next level by studying on a flexible platform from anywhere that fits your life.


Walden University is accredited by The Higher Learning Commission,