The recent growth in financial and business markets has increased the demand for qualified financial analysts. The title of a financial analyst encompasses various specialties, including equity analysts, fund managers, securities analysts, financial planners, and corporate development analysts.
Unlike other high-paying professions, the educational requirements for financial analysts are not very well defined or rigidly structured. You don’t require a license before getting an offer of employment.
Still, you have to attain a certain level of education to secure employment. Employers expect top-level financial analysts to have three levels of educational degrees and certifications in their chosen area, namely bachelor’s degree, master’s degree, and certification for their position.
If you are an analytical thinker and math lover who wants to become a financial advisor but are unsure of what education is needed to be a financial analyst, this post will answer all your questions.
Steps to Become a Financial Analyst
Select a finance-related program and earn a bachelor’s degree.
The path to becoming a financial analyst starts with a bachelor’s degree. While it’s not mandatory, it’s difficult to secure employment as a financial analyst without it. It usually takes about four years to complete a bachelor’s degree. The degree you select will depend on your preferred area of concentration.
Obtain certifications and Licenses
Most financial analysts working in specialized areas require licenses and certifications. For example, analysts who trade financial products must have a license from the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FIRA). Most employers consider certification and licenses important financial analyst education requirements for promotion. The type of exams you take depends on your experience. You will need to invest up to 300 study hours to prepare for the exams.
Complete an internship
An internship is your first opportunity to do real work and is arguably the most important step in the journey to becoming a financial analyst. You get a chance to discover your skills, talents, and interests. You also get to decide if you want to stay in the field.
It’s also a chance to connect and build networks with future employers and references. Internships in large firms are very competitive, so obtaining financial analyst required education increases your chances of getting in.
Build on-the-job experience
Entry-level jobs are a stepping stone towards the dream of being a top financial analyst. It’s a chance to learn finance processes, systems, and tools.
Financial analysts can work in different areas of specialization. Top employers include banks, corporations, brokerages, investment banks, insurance companies, small private businesses, rating agencies, and pension management companies.
Pursue a master’s degree (Optional)
A master’s degree is a way to improve your knowledge and fortify your resume by increasing interest from potential employers. Although it’s not required, an MBA can set you apart in the job market and help you skip most of the junior positions.
Things to Consider Before Pursuing Degree Education for Financial Analyst
Consider the length of time you want to take before finishing your degree. Most bachelor’s degrees take four years, while master’s degrees take two years. However, there are many ways to accelerate or extend the time, such as taking additional courses each semester.
Online classes or traditional classes
Most institutions offer both options. Both have advantages and disadvantages, and employers place equal value on each form of learning. Select the one that fits your schedule and preference.
Consider the prestige of the school
Ensure you check professional networking websites to get reviews and background information about the institution. Most top analysts share details about the school and the quality of training. Also, check the statistics of different schools to ensure you study in a premier institution.
Where you live
You need to decide if you want to stay on campus or study while you live at home. You should also consider where you want to live after finishing the degree. Most schools have employment connections in their areas, hence the need to choose well where you study.
Consider the cost and the available sources of financing. There’s an option to take student loans. You can also see if you qualify for a scholarship.
Assignments are an integral part of the learning process. Still, many students find the assignment writing process daunting. It’s always good to have a designated professional writing service to help you strengthen your financial concepts, write difficult finance assignments, and beat deadlines. The companies have experts in finance, accounting, and data analysis to assist with your academic writing needs. CustomWritings is a custom finance essay writing service you can contact for professional help with your finance papers.
A Detailed Look at Financial Analyst Education Requirements: Degrees, Certifications, and Skills
Degrees and classes
The acceptable degrees are a bachelor of science (BS) and a bachelor of arts (BA), in which you can major in finance, business, accounting, or economics. The classes you can expect to cover include finance, financial law, analytics, currencies, world commerce, and economics.
If you want to concentrate on specific areas, it will help to have another degree. Popular specializations include math, engineering, information technology, statistics, psychology, computer science, and communications.
Industry certifications and designations
States have different certification and licensing standards for financial analysts. Although not required before receiving an offer of employment, a lack of certification can hinder your ability to advance within your field.
The main licensing organization is the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA). You can also earn a designation from the CFA institute.
Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) is one of the most prominent certifications employers look for when hiring financial analysts. You don’t require working experience to start obtaining your CFA. However, registered members of the CFA institute and students in their final year of an undergraduate degree program qualify to take exams for the course.
Candidates pass three levels of exams to be certified, a process that takes 2-5 years. You also need at least four years of professional experience before being granted the CFA designation.
Other common Licenses held by financial analysts in the USA include:
- Securities Industry Essentials (SIE) Exam
- Series 6 Exam: Investment Company Representative (IR)
- Series 7 Exam: General Securities Representative (GS)
- Series 63 Exam: Uniform Securities Agent State Law Exam
- Series 52 Exam: Municipal Securities Representative
- Series 86 and 87: Research Analyst (RS)
Skills Needed to Excel as a Financial Analyst Student
- Critical thinking — You need to be logical to make reasoned judgments.
- Analytical and math skills — To complete education for financial analyst, you must know how to examine systems and structures, forecast business performance, and prepare reports.
- Time management — You must be capable of using time effectively and productively.
- Interpersonal communication skills — You need to know how to communicate effectively and maintain good relationships with others since you will interact with investors, clients, and company leaders.
- Technical and design abilities — These skills include financial modeling, visual design and analysis, and presentation.
- Research skills — As a financial advisor, you’ll need research skills to investigate data, establish facts, and draw conclusions.