After a few years working as a financial analyst, it’s time to think about your next career step. Companies are always looking for experienced analysts, but what will it take to advance to a more senior-level position within the field?
A Bachelor’s degree in a finance discipline is necessary for most entry-level roles. If you’re looking to rise higher in the ranks, you may need additional qualifications. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, career advancement for financial analysts is easier to obtain with specific certifications. The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) license, usually obtained within 3 months of employment, is one of them. It usually requires employment sponsorship and is necessary for any financial analyst working within the securities sector of the firm in order to practice. Although necessary for most opportunities, it will also pad your resume and help your long term career goals.
The Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) certification is almost a guaranteed path for advancement. The CFA is known as one of the toughest exams on the Street and has an average pass rate of 42% in the last ten years. The exam is taken in three parts and requires an immense amount of studying to pass, but a CFA certification can open up a number of career possibilities you might not have previously considered. Returning to school for an MBA or Masters in your field of specialty is another way to position yourself for better career opportunities down the line, but many junior analysts choose to remain and rise through the ranks through experience.
Once you have the additional qualifications or certifications required, you’ll be better positioned to be promoted to senior financial analyst. As a senior financial analyst, you’ll be in charge of junior analysts and will most likely report directly to a fund or portfolio manager. From there, many senior analysts often take over the portfolio manager or fund manager position and will oversee an entire team of senior analysts. Portfolio managers are responsible for choosing the investments for a company’s portfolio while fund managers are usually managing portfolios for larger individual investors.
Financial analysts are primed for excellent growth opportunities in the next ten years. Now is the time to consider furthering your qualifications to take full advantage of the demand and advance your career as a financial analyst.