Becoming a financial analyst – is this the job for you?

Financial analysts are some of the most highly valued workers on Wall Street – or in any other financial firm. Of all the careers in finance available to workers finishing their educations, financial analyst is among the most high-pressure. These individuals guide their clients on when to buy and sell investments – and can be responsible for extremely large funds of money as a result.

Financial analysts are burdened with a large amount of responsibility. They must assess the performance of stocks, bonds, commodities and any other form of investments so they can offer their clients the best advice available. As a result, many financial analysts are left working extremely long hours: One in three individuals working this finance job log between 50 and 70 hours of work each week.

Analysts aren’t solely employed on Wall Street – they can work for insurance companies, banks, pension funds, media outlets or any other firm that may requirement recommendations and guidance on where to invest their money. Yet one factor stays constant for all financial analysts, regardless of where they find their work: they must understand their field of industry, and the financial standards surrounding it, better than anywhere else working in their area.

As a result of the long work weeks, financial analysts need to be well prepared for the challenges they’ll face while working their jobs. A bachelor’s degree in a finance concentration is typically required, but the high responsibilities required by this job mean that many financial analysts have to earn mater’s degrees in finance or a Masters of Business Administration degree before they can obtain a position in the field.

For their hard work, financial analysts are reimbursed well. The median pay in 2010 was more than $74,000 annually, according to the most recent figures released by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Additionally, workers in this finance career can count on increased opportunities in the coming years – the BLS predicts that that jobs will increase by 23 percent between 2010 and 2020, faster than the average growth rate.

Working as a financial analyst is an extremely stressful career, defined by long work hours and high pressure levels. Yet, for finance graduates are ready to put themselves to the test, there may be no greater challenge. If you think you’re up to the task, then there may be no finance career more rewarding than working as a financial analyst.