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Careers in this cluster

Cluster definition

Are you the treasurer of a club or organization?
Do you enjoy working with numbers?
Do you balance your checkbook?
Are you interested in the stock market?
Do you like to operate calculators?
Are you comfortable following detailed plans for work?

If you answered yes to two or more of the questions above, you might be interested in considering a career in finance.

In the occupations in the Finance cluster, you would keep track of money. You might provide financial services to a business or individual. Your work could include maintaining records or giving advice to business executives on how to operate their business. You could work in financial planning, banking, or insurance.



In the Accounting pathway, you would record and share information about a business's finances. You would use accounting information to make decisions. Accounting includes such activities as bookkeeping and interpretation of accounts.

Banking services

Employees working in the Banking Services pathway work with individuals and businesses. You would provide loans, credit, and payment services.

Business and finance

In the Business and Finance pathway, you would use general accounting systems to prepare financial reports. You would use information to help businesses make financial decisions.


Employees in the Insurance pathway provide protection to individuals and businesses. You would sell policies to guard against financial losses resulting from a variety of situations.

Securities and investments

In the Securities and Investments pathway, you would help businesses and individuals make decisions about their investments.

Level of education and earnings

The training and education requirements to work in the occupations included in the Finance cluster depend on the specialty and the type of work performed. Some occupations require less than one month of on-the-job training; however, some actuaries need a master's degree.

The information provided in the table below, presents the level of education or training required to work in the occupations related to this cluster and the median wages for those occupations. Note that some occupations may have more than one required level because the type of work performed may vary in specific jobs.

Also, keep in mind that there are non-wage benefits that workers receive. For example, these types of benefits are health insurance, paid vacation, sick leave, and retirement plans. It is important to consider these benefits when you are looking at pay. Some benefits, such as health care, are worth a lot of money. You should carefully weigh a job that pays well but does not have many benefits against one that has good benefits and lower pay. Remember, how much an occupation pays is only one factor to consider when making career choices.

  National Annual
Median Wage
Washington Annual
Median Wage
Short-Term, On-the-Job Training (Less than One Month)
Bank Tellers$29,450 $32,970
Loan Clerks$39,890 $44,290
Moderate-Term, On-the-Job Training (One to Twelve Months)
Bill and Account Collectors$36,020 $37,830
Brokerage Clerks$51,400 $55,010
Credit Checkers and Authorizers$38,750 $38,480
Insurance Agents$50,600 $51,740
Insurance Policy and Claims Clerks$39,660 $44,670
Tax Preparers$39,390 $31,130
Long-Term, On-the-Job Training (Over One Year)
Insurance Adjusters and Examiners$65,900 $68,600
Bachelor's Degree
Accountants and Auditors$70,500 $70,600
Actuaries$102,880 $124,610
Budget Analysts$76,220 $73,020
Credit Analysts$71,520 $71,420
Financial Analysts$85,660 $80,300
Financial Counselors$88,890 $99,960
Insurance Underwriters$69,380 $76,110
Loan Officers$63,040 $60,540
Securities Salespeople$64,120 $52,780
Work Experience Plus a Bachelor's or Higher Degree
Financial Managers$127,990 $123,430

Employment & outlook

Job opportunities in banking and insurance are expected to increase slowly. Most job openings will be the result of employees leaving their jobs or retiring. As the use of technology increases, fewer workers will be needed to do administrative and support tasks. More people will be completing their insurance and banking transactions on the computer.

In addition, smaller banks are merging into larger banks. As a result they need fewer employees. Also, insurance companies are reducing the number of employees because of budget problems.

Employment in financial planning and investment is expected to grow as the population grows. The growing number and complexity of financial products will also spur demand. As people get older, they are looking for assistance in planning for their retirement.