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5 Finance Careers

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Do you have a knack for numbers, figures, and calculations? Do you enjoy reading the business section of the newspaper, and get a kick out of doing your own taxes?

If so, entering the fast-paced field of finance could be the best way to parlay your talents into a lucrative and dynamic career. Although many people believe that jobs in the finance industry are reserved for Ivy League grads or others with flashy credentials, there are positions in the field that are open to applicants with a wide range of training, education, and experience. Read on to learn more about opportunities in the surprisingly diverse field of finance.

1. Auditors

Auditors are accounting experts who specialize in double-checking the financial records of individuals, businesses, and large corporations. Employed by large accounting firms, government agencies, and an array of other institutions, most auditors are required to have at least a bachelor's degree and a license to practice as an accountant. As of 2009, the median annual salary for auditors was $60,340.

2. Personal Financial Advisors

Figuring out how to attain a measure of financial security and plan for one's future can be tricky, and personal financial advisors are professionals who have the expert knowledge to make this task easier. Some personal financial advisors are employed by financial institutions, investment firms, and brokerages, while others are self-employed in private practice. Although licensure requirements vary from state to state, most positions in the field require a bachelor's degree. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median salary for personal financial advisors in 2009 was $68,200.

3. Financial Analysts

It takes a special skill set to look at a financial statement or stock market returns and transform that information into sound and comprehensive investment advice or analysis. That's the unique talent that financial analysts possess, and skilled professionals in this field are handsomely rewarded for their abilities--the median annual salary for financial analysts in 2009 was $73,670, while those at the top of the field pulled down $139,350 or more. However, to qualify for top jobs in the field, extensive training is required. Most positions demand at least a bachelor's degree, but master's degrees and PhDs are preferred for some elite managerial jobs.

4. Tax Examiners, Collectors, and Revenue Agents

If you prefer to put your financial savvy to work in the public sector, a tax examiner position could be right for you. These professionals work for local, state, federal, or other government agencies and help to process, manage, and double-check tax documentation for individuals and businesses. A bachelor's degree is required for many positions, while managerial roles may require an advanced degree or additional training. The pay for these positions can vary significantly, but the 2009 median salary was $48,550.

5. Budget Analysts

Every business, organization, and government agency needs to have a sound budget in place, and budget analysts are the professionals who are tasked with the responsibility of estimating, developing, implementing, and overseeing these budgets. Many budget analyst positions require a bachelor's degree and certification; top jobs in the field are reserved for candidates with a master's degree or PhD. As of 2009, the median annual salary for budget analysts was $66,660.

If you are looking for a professional path that is challenging, rewarding, and ever-changing, a career in the fast-paced field of finance could be the right choice for you. To find out if your skills, talents, and interests are well suited to a career in finance, explore introductory courses in finance certificate programs or diploma programs, and consider signing up for a class that sounds appealing.