Become a Financial Analyst Without a Degree (2024)

"Learn the steps to become a Financial Analyst without necessarily needing a formal degree. Discover different routes, including internships, entry-level jobs, volunteering, and training programs, and see how networking, building a professional portfolio, and completing relevant projects can solidify your path into a finance career."

Key Insights

  • A bachelor's degree is common but not a formal requirement for becoming a Financial Analyst. Entry-level positions are open to candidates with relevant skills, even if their degree is in a different field or they have no degree at all.
  • Financial Analysts perform various tasks that require a background in math, accounting, research, reporting, communication, critical thinking, and data analytics. They often work with large corporations or government agencies.
  • Aspiring Financial Analysts can gain relevant knowledge and skills through in-person and online courses, bootcamps, and certificate programs. These provide much shorter study durations compared to traditional college programs.
  • Building a professional portfolio is crucial for job applications. It should contain elements like a resume, transcripts, letters of recommendation, proof of skills, certificates or licenses, and visual overviews of managed or contributed projects.
  • Hands-on training via completing projects is a key part of becoming a successful Financial Analyst. The achievements from these projects can also be included in the professional portfolio.
  • Networking, both in-person and online, is essential for learning about job openings, finding solutions to financial tasks or problems, and staying updated on relevant financial news and trends.

If you’re interested in becoming a Financial Analyst, you may wonder what qualifications you’ll need. While each employer will dictate their own requirements for job applicants, there are no formal industry requirements to apply for finance positions. Most Financial Analysts applying for entry-level positions have at least a bachelor’s degree before landing their first finance job. However, this isn’t necessarily needed for all jobs in financial analytics. If you have a degree in a field unrelated to finance or don’t have a college degree, it’s still possible to apply for entry-level Financial Analysts jobs. Read on to learn more about how you can become a Financial Analyst without a degree.

What is a Financial Analyst?

Financial Analysts study financial data and perform various research tasks to spot investment opportunities and analyze possible outcomes for business decisions. These professionals play an integral role in helping to create more informed investment strategies for their organization or its clients. To do so, Financial Analysts routinely perform tasks for their employer like studying current events and developments in the market, examining financial statements, and creating financial models that can anticipate future performance. They also may study macroeconomic trends or hone in on particular industries or sectors. Financial Analysts rely on their background in math, accounting, research, reporting, communication, critical thinking, and data analytics to perform these tasks.

Because of how valued they are by organizations, Financial Analysts often find employment with large corporations like insurance companies, security firms, investment banks, venture capital firms, or government agencies. They play an integral role in supporting an organization’s budgeting initiatives, as well as writing financial status reports and recommendations. Their process often involves steps such as collecting data, organizing information, performing data analysis on these numbers, providing projections or forecasts, offering recommendations, creating Excel models, presenting their findings to organizational stakeholders, and writing reports or dashboards to convey suggestions. Depending on their professional focus, Financial Analysts do extensive research on their organization’s buy-side and sell-side financial data. They often focus on either credit markets or equity markets.

Read more about what a Financial Analyst does.

Can You Really Become a Financial Analyst Without a Degree?

Some professions, such as Doctors and Lawyers, have standard baseline requirements job applicants must meet to apply for job openings. These positions expect candidates to have completed undergraduate and graduate studies. Careers in finance don’t have the same minimum standards. While most people applying for jobs in financial analytics have at least a bachelor’s degree in a math-heavy field, it’s possible to pursue an entry-level position in finance with a degree in a different field or even with no degree at all.

It’s common for aspiring Financial Analysts to have a bachelor of science degree in finance, economics, accounting, or a closely related field. However, you can still apply for Junior-Level Financial Analysts positions if you have a bachelor of art and choose to study a different field as an undergraduate. Some employers may even consider individuals who don’t have an undergraduate degree at all. If you can demonstrate that you have the skills needed to succeed as a Financial Analyst, you may be able to apply for internships or entry-level positions in this field. That’s why it’s important to communicate in your cover letter and resume any relevant technical and finance training you have, such as experience working with investments or portfolio management, Excel skills, SAP knowledge, and financial literacy. It’s also important to convey to employers that you know current market trends. If you still struggle to get a junior-level position in finance, you may consider volunteering for a bank or financial firm to gain basic training that would be an asset to any organization.

Steps to Become a Financial Analyst

If you want to become a Financial Analyst, there isn’t one “correct” career path. Instead, you’ll need to acquire both hard and soft skills to work in this field. The following sections will discuss the steps you can take to pursue a career as a Financial Analyst:

Determine Your Path

The field of finance is broad and extends well beyond financial analytics. This is why you will need to decide on a focused path that can help you reach your goal. Financial Analysts have a range of potential employers, such as real estate investment brokerages, local or regional banks, data-driven organizations, and insurance companies. Nearly any industry in which decisions take place on how to spend money relies on Financial Analysts for their insights. Some individuals may explore a career as a Financial Planner, Securities Trader, Portfolio Manager, Actuary, or Quantitative Analyst. Deciding which field of finance you wish to explore can help you create a plan for reaching your goals.

More than 100 free financial modeling tutorials are also posted on Noble Training Resources & Articles page. Those who want to learn more about finance or financial modeling concepts can read about subjects like stock movements, a liquid market, and the stock exchange, among others.

If you still aren’t certain which finance-related career path is for you, Noble Desktop’s free videos and articles can provide more information. If you’re interested in learning how to invest in the stock market, you can watch Noble’s Intro to Stock Market Investing. This resource contains an hour of content on investing topics such as stocks and bonds, the capital gains tax, and the risk-reward principle. Noble also offers short YouTube videos that offer introductory-level instruction on financial modeling. These videos are each a few minutes long and are a great way to learn about topics like Interest Rates and the Fed, Foreign Exchange, and Understanding Terminal Value.

Learn About Finance and Financial Analytics

Nearly all employers require Financial Analysts to have educational training in a field related to finance. For those interested in learning about financial analytics, a variety of in-person and live online courses, bootcamps, and certificates are offered by top educators like Udemy, Coursera, and Noble Desktop. Students in these courses are provided with expert instruction in finance topics. These classes are generally much shorter than college or university study. Some span days or weeks, whereas others take several months to complete.

Some individuals elect to study financial analytics in other learning formats. In-person and live online bootcamps and certificates are available from many top educational providers like Noble Desktop, Coursera, and Udemy. In these classes, students receive expert instruction from those with real-world training in finance. Learning options like certificate programs also provide the added benefit of being much shorter in duration than traditional college study. Most span several weeks or months and teach relevant financial analytics skills and tools.

Noble Desktop currently has several classes devoted to financial analytics and financial modeling. Noble’s Financial Analyst Training Program NYC is available in-person as well as in the live online format. Those who enroll in this 30-hour course learn Excel skills that can help with financial modelings, like cash flow projection tools, Goal Seek, and shortcuts. Students also create their own three-statement financial model. Noble also has a FinTech Bootcamp and a Python for Finance Bootcamp, which provides instruction on how to collect data from Python’s financial libraries.

Build a Professional Portfolio

Having a strong portfolio is an important part of the job application process for Financial Analysts. The materials you select for your portfolio, as well as how you display them, can tell a story of your academic and professional experience. The goal of a portfolio is to tell a clear and engaging story that will catch an employer’s attention. The type of portfolio you design will likely depend on the job you’re interested in. However, most financial analytics portfolios contain common elements like a resume, transcripts, letters of recommendation, proof of skills, and certificates or licenses. They also have visual elements that illustrate your training, such as overviews of any projects you’ve managed or contributed to.

A strong professional portfolio provides you with an opportunity to showcase some of your best work in a manner that can let employers know exactly what you hope to contribute to their organization. Professional portfolios offer a creative and engaging way to demonstrate your achievements and financial analytics skills and training and show that you can present them in a professional way. Individuals with a comprehensive portfolio stand apart from other applicants who may have similar credentials. Their portfolio serves as proof of the work they’ve completed, the lessons they’ve learned from this work, and the outcomes the organization achieved due to these efforts.

Complete Projects

Gaining hands-on training is an essential component to becoming a successful Financial Analyst, as well as progressing to more advanced positions in this field. One great way to acquire training is to complete projects for your organization. Working with other financial professionals as part of a team requires a range of hard and soft skills, like time management, clear communication, collaboration, and prioritizing. Completing projects not only helps your organization achieve important budgeting or financial goals but your contributions in these projects can also be included as part of your professional portfolio to demonstrate the impact you’ve made in your current position.

Make Industry Connections

Connecting with others who work in finance is another essential step on your path toward becoming a Financial Analyst. The more you can connect with other financial professionals, the more opportunities you’ll have to learn about job openings, find solutions to difficult financial tasks or problems, and stay current about relevant financial news and trends. Networking takes place in person as well as in other forms. It sometimes means connecting with learners studying with you in a certificate or bootcamp. It may also involve connecting with former coworkers, team leaders, or professors. Sometimes, networking opportunities are social gatherings like co*cktail receptions, where Financial Analysts can meet and connect with others in attendance.

In addition to in-person networking events, you can also make industry connections online. Many blogs and online community forums are available, such as Financial Mentor and The Reformed Broker, that provide resources on finance and other related topics like economics, politics, and market trends. These sites provide a platform to connect with other finance professionals, discover job opportunities, and stay on top of industry trends. Financial Analyst Insider is another resource for aspiring finance professionals and Accountants. Content is available on topics like budgeting, cryptocurrency, loans, and investing.

Begin Searching for Jobs

After you’ve spent time learning about financial analytics, decided which career path is for you, compiled a professional portfolio, networked with others in your field, the next step is to begin applying for jobs. Many great resources are available for aspiring Financial Analysts. Sites like Indeed, Glassdoor, Ziprecruiter, and LinkedIn have helped many professionals find competitive jobs in finance. In addition, sites like Association for Financial Professionals, Google Jobs, Financial Jobs Web, eFinancial Careers, and CPA Career Center are available. These resources offer more job opportunities, specifically for those with a background in finance.

Learn the Skills to Become a Financial Analyst at Noble Desktop

Noble Desktop, an educational provider located in New York City, offers a range of classes devoted to financial modeling and analysis. Financial Modeling Bootcamp is a hands-on, 18-hour course that teaches students fundamental financial concepts, such as corporate valuation, accounting, and finance. Participants in this small class create their own discounted cash flow using Microsoft Excel. Over three days, expert instructors also help students develop a comprehensive financial model for an actual company. As a prerequisite to this bootcamp, students should have intermediate Excel proficiency.

Noble also has a Financial Analyst Training Program that provides expert instruction on timely corporate and financial concepts, such as making a full valuation model. Those enrolled in this intensive program receive instruction on fundamental Excel skills, such as using shortcuts and PivotTables. Advanced Excel techniques are also covered in this 30-hour program, like Goal Seek and cash flow projection tools. All learners also receive instruction on creating a three-statement financial model for a public restaurant company.

In addition to the Financial Modeling Bootcamp and Financial Analyst Training Program, Noble Desktop also has in-person and live online financial modeling training courses. The

Excel Bootcamp offers 18 hours of instruction on core business Excel skills like working with VLOOKUP, INDEX, MATCH, and What-If Analysis for Goal Seek. FinTech courses are also available, like Algorithmic Trading with Python, Python for Data Science Bootcamp, and FinTech Bootcamp. This course provides students with hands-on training from expert instructors in FinTech skills like working with Python and SQL for data analysis, creating machine learning models, and working with different data types like integers, floats, and strings. All students have the option of a free course retake for up to one year, as well as one-on-one mentoring.

Become a Financial Analyst Without a Degree (2024)


Can you become a financial analyst with no degree? ›

Financial Analyst Degree and Educational Requirements. There is no specific degree required for a career as a financial analyst, but finding a job will probably be easier if you have a bachelor's degree, and most companies require it. Nearly all financial analysts start with an internship or entry-level position.

How to get into finance with no degree? ›

  1. Learn the Lingo.
  2. Round off Your Education.
  3. Enroll in a Financial Boot Camp.
  4. Expand Your Knowledge Base.
  5. Use a Trading Simulator.
  6. Complete Industry Courses.
  7. Maintain a Financial Blog.
  8. Link Up With a Mentor.

How do I break into finance analyst? ›

Typical Steps for Becoming a Financial Analyst
  1. Step 1: Earn a Bachelor's Degree. ...
  2. Step 2: Attain Licensing and Certifications. ...
  3. Step 3: Build On-the-Job Experience. ...
  4. Step 4: Earn a Master's Degree in Accounting (Optional)

How do you qualify as a financial analyst? ›

Earning a bachelor's degree in finance, business, economics, or statistics. Getting an internship to gain relevant skills and work experience. Passing FINRA qualification exams.

Is it hard to get hired as a financial analyst? ›

In this highly competitive job market, a master's degree gives an applicant a boost. A successful career as a financial analyst requires strong quantitative skills, expert problem-solving abilities, adeptness in logic, and above-average communication skills.

Can you get a CFA without a degree? ›

To register for the CFA exam, each candidate needs a bachelor's degree or must be in the last year of a bachelor's program. They can also qualify by meeting professional experience requirements. CFA exam requirements include an international travel passport and the ability to take the test in English.

How to break into finance with no experience? ›

How to Break Into Finance with No Experience
  1. Offer to Work (for Free) at a Search Fund.
  2. Start a Blog about Investing.
  3. Write Articles on Seeking Alpha and Value Investors Club.
  4. Start a Solo Small Business.
  5. Invest Your Own Money.
  6. Take Courses or get Certificates.
  7. Network Aggressively and Systematically.
  8. Conclusion.

What is the easiest financial designation to get? ›

The most popular short-term finance certifications for beginners are Chartered Investment Management Analyst, Certified Financial Planning, and Financial Modeling and Valuation Analyst.

How can I be financially stable without a degree? ›

How to make money without a degree
  1. Invest in the stock market. If you are someone who is financially savvy, it's possible to make money in the stock market. ...
  2. Start your own business. ...
  3. Sell stuff online. ...
  4. Rent out your property. ...
  5. Start a consulting service. ...
  6. Take stock photography. ...
  7. Start a blog.
Mar 10, 2023

How to become a self-taught financial analyst? ›

How to Become a Financial Analyst with No Experience?
  1. #1 Do as much networking as possible. ...
  2. #2 Learn the Wall Street lingo and follow current events. ...
  3. #3 Start and maintain a finance blog. ...
  4. #4 Leverage your university career center. ...
  5. #5 Use a Trading Simulator. ...
  6. #6 Enroll in an online financial Analyst training program.

Will AI replace financial analysts? ›

Not to mention, human financial analysts bring creativity and critical thinking AI doesn't tend to possess. So, it is unlikely that AI will fully replace financial analysts, or at least any time in the near future. Instead, they may work together to improve efficiency and accuracy in decision-making processes.

What is the hardest part of being a financial analyst? ›

The need to manage risk

Financial analysts need to be able to manage risk effectively. This means being able to identify and assess risks and developing strategies to mitigate those risks. Despite these challenges, analysts play a significant role in the finance sector.

Can I be a financial analyst without a degree? ›

Can I be a financial analyst without a degree? While there are no mandatory degree requirements to become a financial analyst, many employers seek candidates with bachelor's degrees.

What are the entry requirements for financial analyst? ›

Most entry-level financial analyst roles require a bachelor's degree in accounting, finance, business administration or a related field such as statistics, economics, or general business.

What should an entry-level financial analyst know? ›

Understanding of financial statements (income statement, balance sheet, cash flow statement) and financial ratios. Excellent communication skills, both written and verbal, to convey financial information effectively.

Can you become an analyst without a degree? ›

Although data analysts are highly skilled, you can still become one without a degree if you can equip yourself with the abilities for the role. If you choose this profession, the US Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) expects an average of 17,700 positions within this sector to be available during this decade [1].

Can I be a credit analyst without a degree? ›

It's not necessary to earn a graduate degree to pursue a job in this field. However, you might choose to return to school later to earn a master's degree if your employer prefers to promote those with this advanced credential. It's common for newly hired credit analysts to undergo a period of on-the-job training.

Is a degree necessary for finance? ›

Through coursework you'll also gain much needed soft skills like collaboration, verbal and written communication, and adaptability. Work for a wide range of employers. A minimum of a bachelor's degree is required for nearly all finance professions.

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