Money is an essential element in each of our lives. We entrust our financial well-being to people who safeguard bank accounts, provide loans, insure cars and homes, and help us make wise investments. Their math skills must be strong, and they must be precise, paying close attention to detail and keeping accurate records. Workers also need good communication skills so that they can respond to questions and clearly explain information. They must be service-oriented and sometimes work with people who are under stress about their finances.

Finance jobs exist in settings that range from banks to tax return centers to private offices. Most large organizations like hospitals have finance employees. While financial specialists usually have an 8-to-5 schedule, some workers’ schedules must accommodate their clients’ after-work hours. Tax preparers have intense work times from the beginning of January until April 15.

In North Carolina, most finance occupations require a high school education or a bachelor’s degree. Occupations within this cluster with the greatest predicted growth include personal financial advisors, loan interviewers and clerks, and loan officers. The finance and insurance industry has one of the highest average weekly wages when compared with other industries. Likely places to find jobs include banks, corporate management offices, insurance agencies, insurance underwriting companies, and offices of Certified Public Accountants.

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Core Skills

The following Core Skills are necessary for success in these occupations.

  • Management of Financial Resources - Making spending decisions and keeping track of what is spent
  • Mathematics - Using math to solve problems
  • Negotiation - Bringing people together to solve differences
  • Persuasion - Talking people into changing their minds or their behavior
  • Active Listening - Listening to others, not interrupting, and asking good questions
  • Judgment & Decision Making - Thinking about the pros and cons of different options and picking the best one
  • Programming - Writing computer programs
  • Writing - Writing things for co-workers or customers
  • Reading Comprehension - Reading work-related information
  • Speaking - Talking to others

Career Pathways

Career Story

James Tobin

Forsyth Technical Community College

Accounting Program

"The opportunity for recent graduates at the office in High Point simply does not exist anywhere else."

James Tobin works at Dixon Hughes Goodman, an accounting firm in High Point. Before beginning the accounting program at Forsyth Tech Community College, James was working at a dead-end job that had absolutely no future. He knew that if he wanted to be happy, he needed to make a career change.

James went back to school at Forsyth Tech and took a career aptitude test, which suggested a career in finance or accounting. He decided to start with just taking one accounting course at night to see how he liked it. “The course was challenging, but I still liked it, and decided to continue and finish the accounting program.”

Recruiters from Dixon Hughes Goodman came to speak to one of the classes at Forsyth Tech. They were starting a brand new experimental program at their office in High Point, specifically designed for students and recent college graduates to work and gain experience doing entry-level work that is sent in from offices all over the country. James applied for one of the open positions and was hired.

“I could not have imagined a more perfect opportunity. The opportunity for recent graduates at the office in High Point simply does not exist anywhere else, and it is only a short drive from my house. I felt like I had won the lottery.”

Without a doubt, deciding to further his education at Forsyth Tech was the best decision James ever made. James is still working on his associate degree in accounting, yet he feels that he is doing the same job as those with a bachelor’s degree or higher at other accounting firms.

Future plans include a bachelor’s and possibly a master’s degree in accounting at some point. For now, there is absolutely no limit to how far James can go in this field.

Go to Career Cluster Matrix to find occupations by cluster and interest type.