Financial and Investment Analysts
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Conduct quantitative analyses of information involving investment programs or financial data of public or private institutions, including valuation of businesses.
Until very recently, government survey data collection for Financial and Investment Analysts included the careers: Financial Specialists, Financial Risk Specialists. As a result, much of the information for these careers is identical.
Undergraduate program resulting in the highest median salary ($86K): English Language and Literature
Largest undergraduate program (22.4% of workers): Finance
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Titles for this career often contain these words
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Responsibilities and activities

Financial analysts typically do the following:

  • Recommend individual investments and collections of investments, known as portfolios
  • Evaluate current and historical financial data
  • Study economic and business trends
  • Examine a company’s financial statements to determine its value
  • Meet with company officials to gain better insight into the company’s prospects
  • Assess the strength of the management team
  • Prepare written reports

Financial analysts evaluate opportunities to commit money for the purpose of generating profit.

Financial analysts can be divided into two categories: buy-side analysts and sell-side analysts.

  • Buy-side analysts develop investment strategies for companies that have a lot of money to invest. These companies, called institutional investors, include hedge funds, insurance companies, independent money managers, nonprofit organizations with large endowments, private equity firms, and pension funds.
  • Sell-side analysts advise financial services sales agents who sell stocks, bonds, and other investments.

Analysts may work for the business media or other research houses, which are independent from the buy and sell side.

Financial analysts generally focus on trends affecting a specific geographical region, industry, or type of product. For example, they may focus on a subject area or a foreign exchange market. They must understand how economic trends, new regulations, policies, and political situations may affect investments.

Investing has become more global, and some specialize in a particular country or world region. Companies want these specialists to understand the business environment, culture, language, and political conditions in the country or region that they cover.

The following are examples of types of financial analysts:

Financial risk specialists, also called financial risk analysts, evaluate threats to investment decisions and determine how to manage unpredictability and limit potential losses. They make investment decisions such as selecting dissimilar stocks or having a combination of stocks, bonds, and mutual funds in a portfolio. They also make recommendations to limit risk.

Fund managers work exclusively with hedge funds or mutual funds. Both fund managers and portfolio managers frequently make buy or sell decisions in reaction to quickly changing market conditions.

Investment analysts assess information involving investment programs or financial data of institutions, such as business valuation. They also respond to queries from clients and client advisors regarding asset allocation and alternative investment topics including hedge funds, real property, and venture capital.

Portfolio managers select the mix of products, industries, and regions for their company’s investment portfolio. These managers are responsible for the overall performance of the portfolio. They are also expected to explain investment decisions and strategies in meetings with stakeholders.

Ratings analysts evaluate the ability of companies or governments to pay their debts, including bonds. Based on these evaluations, a management team rates the risk of a company or government not being able to repay its bonds.

Securities analysts evaluate securities markets and trends to identify high-yield assets for clients and companies. They may use resources such as bond performance reports, daily stock quotes, market and economic forecasts, and other financial statements and publications.

Median salary: $83,660 annually
Half of those employed in this career earn between $63,670 and $112,460.
Context: Median Salary
How do salaries for this career compare to other jobs' salaries?
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Salary growth for financial and investment analysts
Is this job likely to reward you for sticking with it through pay raises and promotions? The higher a job’s “experience quotient,” the more you are likely to get as you stay there.
Experience quotient percentile
Take a minute to look at how much you might expect your salary to increase with each five years' experience, as well as how the numbers working at each age change. Does this seem to be a job for the young or the old, or could it be a career offering steady salary growth for many years?
Salary distribution
Number employed
About Financial and Investment Analysts
How do benefits for this career compare to other jobs? The availability of health care, especially employer provided health care, and pension plans can add significantly to the value of compensation you receive in a career. These charts compare how this career compares to other careers with regard to health care and pension plans.
Employee has health insurance
Employer is providing health insurance
Employer-provided pension plan is available
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Personality and skills
Can you see yourself in the ranks of Financial and Investment Analysts? Here are the skills and traits that could lead to success.
Analytical skills
Financial analysts must evaluate a range of information in finding profitable investments.
Communication skills
Financial analysts must be able to clearly explain their recommendations to clients.
Computer skills
Financial analysts must be adept at using software to analyze financial data and trends, create portfolios, and make forecasts.
Decision-making skills
Financial analysts must reach conclusions so that they can recommend whether to buy, hold, or sell a security.
Detail oriented
Financial analysts must pay attention when reviewing a possible investment, as even small issues may have large implications for its health.
Math skills
Financial analysts use mathematics to estimate the value of financial securities.
Education pathways to this career
Education attained by financial and investment analysts
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), financial and investment analysts typically hold a bachelor's degree.
Sometimes the typical education identified by the BLS differs a bit from the reality of the how much education current workers actually have. The donut shows the education level held by people currently working as financial and investment analysts as reported in responses to the American Community Survey.
Details: Education and training recommended for financial and investment analysts

Most entry-level positions for financial analysts require a bachelor’s degree. Appropriate fields of study include accounting, business, economics, finance, mathematics, and statistics. Some employers prefer to hire applicants who have a master’s degree.

Details: Licensing and certification recommended for financial and investment analysts

The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) is the main licensing organization for the securities industry. A license is generally required to sell financial products, which may apply to some positions. Because most of the licenses require sponsorship by an employer, companies do not expect individuals to have these licenses before starting a job.

Employers often recommend certification, which may improve the chances for advancement. An example is the Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) certification from the CFA Institute. Financial analysts can become CFA certified if they have a bachelor’s degree and several years of work experience and pass multiple exams. They also may choose to become certified in their field of specialty.

Education level of Financial and Investment Analysts
About 89% of financial and investment analysts have at least a bachelor's degree.
Education attained by financial and investment analysts
High School
Some College
Associate's Degree
Bachelor's Degree
Master's Degree
Professional Degree
Top college degrees
Here are the top college degrees held by the 87% of people in this job who have at least a bachelor's degree. Some of degrees may link to multiple programs due to the way Census classifies college majors. Click on a program to learn more about career opportunities for people who major in that field.
  1. Finance
  2. Accounting
  3. Economics
  4. Business Management and Administration
  5. Business/Commerce
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College majors held by financial and investment analysts
This table shows the college majors held by people working as financial and investment analysts. If you see "**" before the name of a degree/program, that means this field is one that the Department of Education believes is preparatory for this career. However, you can see from this list that those recommendations are far from your only path to this job!
Salary comparison for bachelor's only
Career salary (tail) versus Career/Major salary (dot)
Does the bachelor's-only salary rise or fall with this major?
Salary for bachelor's-only
For people with this career and major
Middle 50%
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Salary for all workers
For people with this career and major
Middle 50%
Middle 80%
Education for Career and Major
Workers with this career/major
Percentage in this career with this major
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The link between degrees and this career
With the following sankey diagram, you can follow the top ten bachelor's degrees held by people working as financial and investment analysts, and then, in turn, you can see the 10 occupations that hire the most of each degree's graduates. We hope this provides ideas for similar jobs and similar fields of study.
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FinanceAccountingEconomicsBusiness Management ...General BusinessMarketingMathematicsPolitical Science an...PsychologyHistoryAll other degreesThis jobTop 10 majors
Where are the jobs
State-by-state employment numbers
Some careers tend to be centered in specific parts of the country. For example, most jobs in fashion are in New York or California. Let's see if your dream job is easy to find in your dream location! We have a few choices for viewing the data that can help you get a full employment picture.
Select a state to see local area details
Number of Financial and Investment Analysts per 1,000 workers (ACS)
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Job density versus job count
Which states hire the most financial and investment analysts? We wonder if that's a fair question since states come in all sizes, so instead let's start with the question of which states have the highest density of people working as financial and investment analysts. You can choose to view the number of jobs per state if you prefer.
Salaries by state
Let's get a feel for where financial and investment analysts earn the highest salaries. There are several choices for which data we consider and how we view that data, and each can lead to different conclusions, so please read on...
Median salary versus state ratio
We use two methods to compare salaries across states:
  • In-state comparisons: the ratio of median (middle) salaries for financial and investment analysts compared to the median salary for all people working in each state, or
  • Median salary: the unaltered median salaries for financial and investment analysts.
We hope the ratio allows perspective about how salaries may compare to the regional cost-of-living.
The darkest shading corresponds to states in which financial and investment analysts earn the highest salary when compared to other jobs in the state. We think this figure might be a better indicator than the actual salary for your buying power as a state resident.
Select a state to see local area details
Location-adjusted median salary for Financial and Investment Analysts (ACS)
4% of Financial and investment analysts are working part time.
We’ve found that some jobs have a huge number of part-time workers, and typically that is because they are unable to find full-time work or the job itself can’t provide full-time hours. With 4% part-time workers, this occupation has a lower percentage of part-time workers than 83% of careers.
Employer types
This donut shares the break-down of workers by employer type, giving us a picture of what employers most typically hire for this career.
Employers of undefined (ACS)
Private for-profit
Private not-for-profit
Local government
State government
Federal government
Self-employed incorporated
Self-employed not incorporated
Working without pay
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Distribution: Salaries of financial and investment analysts by type of employer
Here are the salary distributions based on employer type.
$78K$79K$74K$60K$70K$101K$85K$0$50,000$100,000$150,000$200,000Self-employed incorporatedFederal governmentState governmentLocal governmentPrivate not-for-profitPrivate for-profitAll
Financial and investment analysts and gender
With 39% women, this occupation has a higher percentage of women than 51% of careers.
Gender of Financial and investment analysts
Men (61%)
Women (39%)
Distribution: salaries by gender
Does gender greatly influence your salary in this career? The closer the bars are, the less discrepancy there is.
We only include salary data when the survey error is less than 20%, so you may see only partial information for some categories.
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Context: Women in the workforce
How does this career compare to other careers with regard to the percentage of women in the career.
Context: Salary inequity
The median salary for all full-time male workers in the US exceeds the full-time median salary for women by 19%. The situation is a little better for financial and investment analysts, with the median salary for men 11% higher than the median salary for women.
Race and origin of Financial and investment analysts
This donut shows the distribution of race and origin among those employed as Financial and investment analysts.
Race/origin of financial and investment analysts
White (73% )
Asian (15% )
Black (8% )
Multiracial (2% )
Other (1% )
Hispanic (0% )
American Indian (0% )
Pacific Islander (0% )
Distribution: salaries by race/origin
Some careers might have a pay disparity based on race or origin, the closer the below bars are the less of a discrepancy is present.
$63K$69K$70K$72K$79K$84K$0$50K$100K$150K$200KOtherMultiracialBlackAmerican IndianWhiteAsian
We only include salary data when the survey error is less than 20%, so you may see only partial information for some categories.