Career in Finance

Starting a Career in Finance without a Finance Degree

Starting a Career in Finance without a Finance Degree
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There’s a general idea that you can’t start a career without schooling and that the best jobs without college degrees are reserved for apprenticeships where extreme on-the-job learning is the only path toward successfully reaching career and financial goals. The truth of the matter lies somewhere in between.

Sure, landing jobs with a finance degree is convenient if this is your industry of choice, but it’s not the only starting point. Making the most of starter jobs could be just as beneficial when learning the ins and outs, networking, and gaining ground in the financial services industry.

If you’re wondering how to get into finance or just curious what jobs could be available without a schooling background in finance, you came to the right place.

Why financial services?

The market size, measured by revenue, of the Finance and Insurance industry is $5.4tr in 2022.
– IBISWorld

The market for job openings in the finance industry has been on a steady incline. And according to IBISWorld’s research, the market size, measured by revenue, of the Finance and Insurance industry is $5.4tr in 2022. Careers in financial services were thought to have given way to the technological advancements and the digital requirements preferred by clientele. However, the human element of any industry is not easily replaceable. This is why finance jobs are still flooding job boards, and organizations are on the lookout for the right talent.

Where should I start my career in finance?

The best finance jobs and starter careers without a degree allow you to soak up the jargon, develop your know-how, and get to know the game-changers in the industry. You’ve waited long enough, so let’s dive right in.

5 Positions to Start Long-term Financial Career Goals:

1. Accounting Assistant

An accounting assistant is a support role that earns, on average, a $32.5k salary with a minimum requirement of a high school diploma and experience in similar roles. This assistant position fulfills more than maintaining files, so soft skills in organization and time management are supplemental assets to technical skills such as data analysis and bookkeeping. Without a finance degree, certification is the best way to go and can help you get the basics down for business math, proper use of software, and help prepare you for daily responsibilities overall.

2. Bank Teller

Handling customer interactions and money, a bank teller can earn an annual salary of 38.5k. Thanks to on-the-job training, learning the ropes from mentors and veteran bankers is a helpful bonus for advancing your career in finance. At the very least, a high school diploma is required and it’s ideal to have some experience handling money in a professional capacity. Additional coursework in mathematics and business, as well as a Bank Teller Certificate from the American Bankers Association, will help round out educational needs and practice requirements to better prepare you for the expectations of the role.

3. Bookkeeper

Professionals keeping track of an organization’s financial performance and records as bookkeepers earn a $42.6k salary. Requirements include at minimum, graduation from high school or an equivalent to a diploma. This role has a heavy reliance on technological tools and software, so computer literacy is a must. While being trained on the particular software you’ll be using, attention to detail and communication skills will help propel your success in this finance job regardless of whether or not you have a degree.

4. Payroll Clerk

Payroll clerks support specialists in the management of payroll processes, timesheets, transactions, and record audits. Skills in data entry, time logging, and generating reports earn these professionals a $46.2k annual salary. The minimum requirement is a high school diploma or GED, though those with certification as a payroll professional will have better chances when it comes to hiring and salary negotiations. This role is typically a prerequisite for becoming a Payroll Specialist, so take advantage of the knowledge passed down to you while onboarding and training on-the-job so that long-term financial services career goals are easier to achieve.

5. Customer Service Representative

This last role is a bit more people-oriented rather than money-focused, but it’s still a position that’ll give you a good foundation for a lengthy career in the finance industry. An average salary of $59.8k is earned by those willing and capable of handling the good, the bad, and more often than not, irate customer interactions. Requirements include, you guessed it, a high school diploma or GED, and roles with a specific clientele will also require on-the-job training for best practices and resources. Certifications offered either through the organization that hires you or from a third party are useful for staying up to date with software and sharpening both people and technical skills.

What you can bank on during your job search

As it turns out, a degree in finance isn’t the only golden ticket to securing a job in the financial services industry. Degrees in Economics, Statistics, and even Computer Sciences aren’t far off the money train track and are highly coveted in the world of finance. There are also invaluable interpersonal skills like problem-solving, teamwork and collaboration, adaptability, and communication skills that make potential employees more desirable when an educational background is lacking.

If you want to get down to the nitty-gritty of careers in finance, start by learning what’s needed for the role you’re aiming for. The technical and soft skills, types of connections, and certificates or mentorships that’ll give you an edge over competing job-seekers once you apply. And when you’re ready to make your move, reach out to a gpac recruiter to see what’s available and how you can leverage their services in your favor.

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Contributed by Mary Dominguez

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