The Different Chartered Financial Analyst Career Paths You Could Take (+ Salary Information)

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Once you’ve achieved your certification as a chartered financial analyst, or CFA, your career opportunities are wide open. Whether you’ve recently achieved this title or whether you’re looking to make a career change, just knowing which paths are available to you can be immensely helpful. Fortunately, working in this profession often affords a range of choices to suit various strengths, preferences and areas of expertise. If you’re interested in picking a new career path as a CFA, here are some of the top options you may want to consider, alongside the typical salaries you might expect to receive.

Data, Security or Research Analyst

For data-minded individuals, working as a research analyst could be the ideal job. Professional financial analysts often command an average of $90,000 per year, similar to the typical chartered financial analyst salary, making this both a lucrative and attractive position for the right candidate. You may be able to find a research position across several types of industries, broadening your opportunities even more. In a data analyst, security analyst or research analyst position, you could likely expect to:

  • Analyze financial data and crunch the numbers to identify patterns and pertinent information
  • Prepare and present financial reports to your higher-ups
  • Identify potential risks and security threats your company may need to mitigate
  • Provide essential recommendations to your company’s accounting department to help shape future goals and objectives

Private Financial Advisor or Portfolio Manager

If you’re interested in working with clients one-on-one to help them manage their financial futures, you might be drawn to a career as a private financial advisor or investment portfolio manager. This job is ideal if you have great people skills and want to advise clients in a more personal setting. Many financial advisors can pull in six figures, although the averages often fall somewhere between $70,000 and $150,000 per year. This could be an ideal position for you if you’re interested in:

  • Advising clients as to the next financial steps they may want to consider taking
  • Examining stocks and deciding which assets to buy or sell
  • Diversifying company or client investment portfolios and overseeing the investments to ensure maximal growth and minimal risk

C-Suite Executive or Company Director

For the truly ambitious and career-minded, nothing but a top-level executive position will do. If you’re determined to climb the corporate ladder, the rewards could make the efforts well worth it. As a company financial director or a C-suite level executive, you might have the possibility to pull in as much as $400,000 or more per year. This powerful position puts you at the helm and allows you to:

  • Make major decisions for a company
  • Direct teams of employees and oversee their work
  • Strategize for the financial future of the company
  • Ensure organizational cohesion

Freelance, Contract or Employee Consultant

Lastly, if you want to work in the world of finance but you don’t see yourself in a typical 9-to-5 desk job, you may want to consider consulting. This unique career allows you to travel, meet clients and provide unique insight. Financial consultants typically make around $70,000 a year, making this a potentially lucrative path to follow as well. If this is something you’re drawn to, keep in mind that you could:

  • Find an in-house position and meet with different clients
  • Go freelance or find a contract position for extra freedom and flexibility
  • Bring your unique expertise and experience to the table
  • Help shareholders and provide key financial advice

When you’ve achieved a CFA certification, you can choose from a wide variety of realistic and potentially fulfilling and lucrative career options. These different paths offer a range of salaries and could fit a variety of professional strengths and preferences. This quick guide could help you narrow down your preferred professional opportunities.

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