Large corporations, pension funds and insurance companies depend on financial analysts to assess their financial health, study economic and business trends and recommend the best investments for maximizing shareholder earnings. Financial analysts also analyze sales, costs and taxes to determine their company's value and project future earnings. Being a good or competent financial analyst won't necessarily guarantee you a higher salary. Your income will largely be based on experience, location, industry and employer size, but you can expect to earn approximately $90,000 or more as a financial analyst.
Salary, Education and Qualifications
While the average salary for financial analysts was $89,410 as of May 2012, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, you may earn more if you're among the top 25 or 10 percent in earnings. Those in the top 25 percent earned up to $103,410, while top earners made $103,410 to $148,430 per year. To become a highly talented financial analyst, you need at least a bachelor's degree, but consider getting your master's degree to better differentiate your skill set from others in the field. It may also behoove you to become certified as a Chartered Financial Analyst through an organization such as the CFA Institute once you have at least four years of experience, according to the BLS. This requires passing four comprehensive exams on financial analysis. If you work in the securities industry, take the series 7, 63 and 66 licensing exams to qualify as an investment adviser in your state, recommends Accounting Today. Other essential requirements are analytical, communication, math and decision-making skills.
Salary by Industry
The highest-paid financial analysts work for securities and commodities brokerage firms, according to the BLS, and earned $114,930 per year in 2012. Those in advertising and public relations firms also earned above-average incomes of $107,000 annually. If you work with financial managers and directors in a corporate setting, you will earn approximately $82,700 -- and make an average of $81,660 working in the insurance industry. Just as the top 25 percent of earners made 15.6 percent more than average -- $103,410 versus the industry average of $89,410 -- you may also earn more in various industries once you're experienced and excel at your job.
Salary by State
Financial analysts earned the highest salaries of $116,350 in New York, according to 2012 BLS data. Those in Oregon and Connecticut made the second and third highest salaries at $107,170 and $104,750 per year, respectively. If you worked as a financial analyst in Washington, D.C., or California, you'd also make a relatively high salary of $104,750 and $101,410. In Massachusetts, Texas or Pennsylvania, you'd make $91,120, $85,640 or $74,150, respectively.
The BLS projects a 23-percent increase in employment for financial analysts from 2010 to 2020, which is faster than the 14-percent national rate for all occupations. A growing range of new financial products may increase the number of jobs for financial analysts. You may also find more available jobs in corporations because investment portfolios are becoming more complex in the 21st century. Emerging international markets are also providing more investment opportunities, which may positively impact jobs for financial analysts. Financial analysts with experience, master's degrees and the proper licenses for their industries will likely be the most employable.