The Best Wall Street Jobs

Financial Industry Careers to Explore

Bronze charging bull statue on Wall Street

 Cultura Exclusive/Henglein and Steets

The best Wall Street jobs aren't necessarily on New York City's Wall Street or even in New York for that matter. The thoroughfare in lower Manhattan is synonymous with the financial industry, but you can find employment in this trade all around the world.

If you are looking for a career with high earning potential, you've come to the right place. However, if stability is a priority, this isn't the industry for you. Wall Street jobs are not recession-proof. A struggling economy will negatively impact the financial industry. Additionally, unless you are willing to work a lot of overtime, you shouldn't consider a job in this field. Many other occupations allow you to spend more time away from the office.

Education and Certifications for Wall Street Jobs

To get a Wall Street job, you'll have to get at least a Bachelor's Degree in a business-related major. Going to business school to earn a Master's in Business Administration (MBA) is a wise next step, as it will open up many more opportunities and allow you to advance in your career.

In addition to a degree, many employers also require—or at least prefer—applicants who have earned certification. Among those certifications are CFA (Certified Financial Analyst), CFS (Certified Fund Specialist), CIC (Chartered Investment Counselor), CIMA (Certified Investment Management Analyst), and CMT (Chartered Market Technician). Different organizations provide these credentials, and getting them involves passing examinations, along with meeting other qualifications.

Top Financial Industry Jobs

Wall Street employers include investment banks and securities firms. Investment banks work with clients to issue stocks and bonds, collectively called securities. Securities firms sell them or trade them on the market. If you want a Wall Street job, here are some from which to choose:

Investment Banker

Investment bankers, sometimes called investment underwriters, serve as the matchmaker between a business that needs money to operate and investors who have an interest in providing that funding. They advise these companies as they issue stocks and bonds for sale to the public. An investment banker also connects companies that want to merge with or acquire another company. This is called mergers and acquisitions or M&A.

  • Required Education: Bachelor's Degree in a business-related subject for entry-level jobs and an MBA for advancement
  • Median Annual Salary (2018): $70,280 + Bonuses 
  • Number of People Employed (2018): 144,000
  • Projected Employment (2028): 157,700
  • Projected Increase in Jobs (2018-2028): 4% to 6%

Stock Trader or Stockbroker

Stock traders and brokers both facilitate transactions of stocks—equity in businesses—on behalf of investors. Traders sell stocks they or the securities or brokerage firm for which they work own. Their goal is to make a profit. Brokers arrange the sale and purchase of stocks between buyers and sellers for a commission.

  • Required Education: Bachelor's Degree. Business, finance, accounting, and economics courses are recommended.
  • Median Annual Salary (2018): $64,120
  • Number of People Employed (2018): 442,400 (includes all type of securities, commodities, and financial services sales agents)
  • Projected Employment (2028): 460,900
  • Projected Increase in Jobs (2018-2028): 4%

Financial Examiner

A financial examiner makes sure banks and other financial institutions comply with the laws that govern them.

  • Required Education: Bachelor's Degree with courses in finance, economics, and accounting preferred.
  • Median Annual Salary (2018): $80,180
  • Number of People Employed (2018): 61,000
  • Projected Employment (2028): 66,200
  • Projected Increase in Jobs (2018-2028): 7% to 10%

Financial Analyst

Alternatively called investment or security analysts, financial analysts help their employers or their employers' clients develop investment strategies. They gather facts about a product's, industry's, or company's current and historic performance and make investment recommendations based on this data.

  • Required Education: Bachelor's Degree in Statistics, Mathematics, Accounting, Finance, or Economics.
  • Median Annual Salary (2018): $85,660
  • Number of People Employed (2018): 329,500
  • Projected Employment (2028): 349,800
  • Projected Increase in Jobs (2018-2028): 6%

Fund Manager

Fund managers coordinate the investment strategy for a large pool of assets called a fund. They may manage hedge, mutual, trust, or pension funds. Some financial analysts become fund managers.

  • Required Education: MBA
  • Median Annual Salary (2018): $107,480
  • Number of People Employed (2018): 1.08 million
  • Projected Employment (2028): Over 1.1 million
  • Projected Increase in Jobs (2018-2028): 4% to 6%