7 Finance Entry-level Jobs + How to Get One

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Discover career opportunities in finance and how to get your first finance job.

[Featured Image]: A man wearing glasses and a grey shirt talks to two people about finance entry-level jobs.

Finance entry-level jobs: an overview 

Finance can be a great career path for people who enjoy working with numbers, learning about how the economy works, investing successfully, and helping companies and individuals achieve their financial goals. Getting an entry-level job in finance can offer several career benefits, including:

  • Gaining valuable experience

  • Building finance skills and knowledge

  • Growing a professional network

  • Qualifying for a more advanced role 

  • Making a positive impact on companies and individuals

As you consider a career in finance, let’s explore your job prospects at the entry-level and beyond. 

How many jobs are available in finance?

Because most companies benefit from having a finance professional on staff, you will likely find job opportunities in a variety of industries. As of April 2022, Glassdoor lists over 64,000 US jobs in finance, while Indeed lists over 177,000 US jobs in finance, with almost 60,000 of them listed as entry-level. According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), jobs in business and finance occupations are expected to increase by 8 percent by 2030 [1].

What do finance jobs pay?

The BLS reports that, as of May 2021, the median annual income for people in business and finance occupations was $76,570, higher than the average salary for all occupations, $58,260 [1, 2]. According to Glassdoor, an entry-level credit analyst can make, on average, $75,650, which includes the base salary and additional pay such as commissions, profit sharing, bonuses, etc. A chief financial officer, which is a more advanced position, can make around $123,000, including a base salary and additional pay.

Continue reading to discover entry-level jobs in finance, how to get one, and courses you can take to build job-ready skills. 

7 entry-level finance jobs 

In this section, you will explore entry-level jobs in finance, including their average total pay (base salary + additional pay) in the US, required skills and qualifications, typical responsibilities, and advancement opportunities. Job information is taken from Glassdoor, as of April 2022. 

1. Financial analyst

  • What they make: $81,860

  • What they do: track the financial performance of an organization, create forecasts, stay abreast of regulations and policies, etc.  

  • Skills and qualifications they need: bachelor’s degree in finance, accounting, or related field, knowledge of Excel and financial modeling, etc.   

  • Where to go from there: senior positions in financial analysis, financial consultant, controller, financial manager 

2. Investment banking analyst 

  • What they make: $97,438

  • What they do: raise capital for businesses and individuals, issue debt and sell equity, examine risks, execute financial transactions, etc. 

  • Skills and qualifications they need: bachelor’s degree in finance or related field, some experience in investment banking, proficiency in risk analysis, experience with SQL and other software systems, etc.

  • Where to go from there: senior roles in investment banking

3. Tax associate 

  • What they make: $65,282

  • What they do: prepare tax returns, help taxpayers minimize what they owe while fulfilling tax obligations, etc. 

  • Skills and qualifications they need: bachelor’s degree in finance or accounting, experience preparing tax returns, bookkeeping skills, general ledger skills, CPA credential is helpful, etc. 

  • Where to go from there: tax accountant, tax consultant, tax analyst 

4. Personal financial advisor 

  • What they make: $89,963

  • What they do: help clients manage current finances and plan for the future, including investments, estate planning, and retirement, etc. 

  • Skills and qualifications they need: bachelor’s degree in finance, accounting, financial literacy skills, knowledge of financial liabilities, CFP ® is helpful, etc. 

  • Where to go from there: senior roles in financial advising, other roles in finance 

5. Credit analyst 

  • What they make: $75,650

  • What they do: assess credit individuals’ data and financial statements to determine risks in lending to them, assess credit applicants, stay abreast of financial trends and news, etc. 

  • Skills and qualifications they need: bachelor’s degree in accounting, business, finance, or related field, experience in R language and spreadsheets, understanding of generally accepted accounting principles (GAAP), etc.

  • Where to go from there: credit analyst for businesses, senior roles in credit analysis 

6. Budget analyst 

  • What they make: $81,705

  • What they do: advise organizations on how to optimize budgets, analyze financial data, etc. 

  • Skills and qualifications they need: bachelor’s degree in finance, accounting, or a related field, skills in math or statistics, budgetary experience, etc. 

  • Where to go from there: advanced roles in budget analysis, other roles in finance   

7. Insurance claims adjuster

  • What they make: $62,978

  • What they do: evaluate claims and investigate circumstances, negotiate claim settlements, oversee payouts to policyholders, etc. 

  • Skills and qualifications they need: high school diploma may be sufficient for some positions, other positions may require a bachelor’s degree in business, finance, or related field. 

  • Where to go from there: advanced claims adjuster roles, other roles in finance 

How to get an entry-level job in finance 

Once you settle on a career path in finance, begin the process of getting your entry-level finance job. Focus your efforts by following the steps below. 

1. Get a finance education. 

Most entry-level jobs in this field require at least a bachelor’s degree in finance, business, or a related field. Finance degree programs typically cover disciplines like accounting, microeconomics, macroeconomics, as well as skills like financial analysis, financial reporting, and forecasting.

Consider taking additional courses in finance, or getting a certification in a specific area, such as the Certified Financial Planner (CFP®), or honing skills like data analysis, which is increasingly important in this field.   

Read more: What Can You Do with a Finance Degree? 7 Career Paths for 2022

2. Gain experience in finance.

Before you seek employment at the entry-level, gaining some experience in finance can offer several benefits:

  • Applying what you learned in a degree program or course to real-world scenarios 

  • Honing your skills in finance

  • Standing out among other finance job candidates 

To gain experience, scour job sites and reach out to your network to find internships, volunteer roles, or even freelance or contract work in finance. For example, you could assist startup founders with their bookkeeping or offer a seminar at a school or organization on topics in personal finance. 

Coursera learner Diego P.’s career shows how a job in finance can bring together different skill sets. Diego built upon his background in applied mathematics and computer science with courses like Machine Learning from Stanford University to work in analytics roles for banks and ultimately launch his own Fintech start-up.

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3. Search online for finance jobs.

With the range of possibilities across industries, high salary expectations, and optimistic job growth projections for people in finance, you may find many entry-level opportunities to gain entry into this field. For example, Glassdoor lists Wells Fargo, J.P. Morgan, Amazon, Boeing, and Verizon among the top companies hiring financial analysts. 

Search sites like Linkedin, Indeed, and Glassdoor for entry-level finance positions you’re qualified to fill and that align with your career goals. You can also search job sites specifically for finance, like eFinancialCareers and BrokerHunter. Review each job listing’s requirements, in terms of education, training, experience, and skills, as well as opportunities for career growth.  

As part of your job search, spend some time honing your interviewing skills, enhancing your resume, and reflecting on your talents and career goals.   

Advance your finance career with Coursera 

Learning online can be a great way to build finance knowledge and skills and explore your career potential. Explore these three options: 

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Article sources

1. US Bureau of Labor Statistics. “Business and Financial Occupations, https://www.bls.gov/ooh/business-and-financial/home.htm.” Accessed April 21, 2022. 

2. US Bureau of Labor Statistics. “May 2021 National Occupational Employment and Wage Estimates United States, https://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes_nat.htm#00-0000.” Accessed April 20, 2022.

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