8 Unusual Finance Jobs Students Should Consider

FBI flagYou may picture putting your finance degree to use on Wall Street or perhaps with a large investment firm or bank. But don't put yourself in such a tight, unimaginative box. There are tons of industries where you can use that finance degree or MBA in exciting ways. Want to travel the globe, make movies, or build a successful pro ball team? That finance degree is your ticket to a world of interesting opportunities. 


1. FBI Finance Experts  

If catching the bad guys sounds like a career you could sink your degree into, consider working with the FBI as a special agent in finance. These agents help detect and prosecute corporate criminals, such as those who commit fraud or embezzlement. Agents may also work to find drug lords and other criminals who launder the money from their criminal activities through their "legitimate" businesses.

The job requires a bachelor's degree and at least three years of professional work experience. Applicants with a background in law enforcement or the military usually have an edge over applicants with a civilian background. The FBI also favors job candidates who speak more than one language. Being able and willing torelocate is another plus on your application. The median income for special agents is $67,759. 


2. Military Finance Officers 

Is Uncle Sam looking for you? Military finance officers help negotiate and manage contracts with third-party suppliers of goods and services, as well as helping forecast future budget requirements. If you haven't yet graduated with your finance degree or MBA, government funds are available to help pay for your education if you apply for the military soon enough.

The military also provides officers with additional training in leadership and other skills that translate well into the civilian world if you ever decide to retire to work in the private sector. Pay depends on the rank you achieve during service. 


3. Accountants for Entrepreneurs 

People who start businesses are usually quite passionate about what they do, whether it be baking cakes or planting gorgeous landscapes. However, they rarely have knowledge and skills for both their work and the financial aspect of their business. These creative types need accounting services, and banks and other lending or investment institutions also need entrepreneurial financial experts.

As an entrepreneurial financial expert, you'll work with start-ups to determine the risks involved and potential profits to be made for different business endeavors. Pay for these jobs varies widely according to where workers are employed, but the earning potential is high for those who have a knack for identifying good investments. 



4. Non-Profit Organization Accountants 

Is there a cause dear to you, such as the ethical treatment of animals, helping the homeless, or protecting the environment? Becoming an accountant with a non-profit organization is considered a gateway to the high paying jobs on Wall Street. Often, these highly paid executives and CFOs got their start working their way up the ranks to CFO of a non-profit before being considered for those lucrative positions. Plus, you get to work toward a worthy cause along the way.

Surprisingly, many non-profit organizations pay quite well, depending on experience, location, and what certifications you are able to achieve along the way. Expect to earn between $42,000 and $66,000 with one to four years experience. 



5. Corporate Entertainment Accountants 

Before, "Lights, camera, action!" entertainment companies have to know what is a reasonable production budget. Some corporate entertainment accountants work directly for movie production companies, and others work for accounting firms to support the entertainment industry. Other opportunities in this field include jobs in the hospitality industry, video gaming industry, and music industry.

These professionals set budgets for productions, and help the producers and artists stick to the budget throughout the process. Since the job description is so broad, the salaries range tremendously. These are highly competitive positions requiring long hours and often travel, but the potential for six-figure salaries are attractive enough to keep most of them in the game. 



6. Sports Team Accountants 

Don't tell Payton Mannng or Lebron James, but it takes more than spectacular touchdown passes and 3-pointers to keep the multi-billion dollar sports industry afloat. Behind the scenes, accountants are helping teams work out lucrative television deals, set ticket prices for stadium seats, stick within the league's salary cap limits, and solve other important business matters. These jobs usually require a bachelor's degree for entry-level positions, and offer a salary of about $61,690 per year, according to the U.S. Department of Labor Statistics. 



7. Environmental Accountants 

Companies may produce commercials about going green, but before they roll out any sustainability efforts they make sure it's going to return a profit on the investment. Environmental accountants help companies find ways to go green and save money while doing it, such as getting government incentive payments or finding ways to sell byproducts that normally end up in a landfill.

Environmental accountants help companies build sustainable buildings, implement vehicle fleets that are fuel efficient, and find energy alternatives such as solar power solutions. As with most accounting jobs, you can expect to earn a median salary of $61,690 per year



8. Accounting Software Developers 

Combining your left brain accounting skills with your right brain creativity, you can delve into the field of developing software for companies and other accountants. This software is sometimes generalized for a broad range of applications, but other packages are designed for a specific company or industry, such as real estate, life insurance, or retail stores.

As companies do more business over the Internet, there is an increasing need for e-commerce software, too. According to the Department of Labor, these developers make about $90,000 per year. Some work for software development firms, while others are employed by the companies in need of specialized software systems. 

Every business and industry needs good accountants to keep the books straight. The ability to find ways to cut operational costs, find new streams of revenue, and protect the company from excessive tax liabilities is helpful in any industry or corporation.

Find an industry you're excited about, then look for opportunities to put your finance degree to good use there. What avenues will you pursue? Share your experiences in the comments below. 

Contributed to jobs.net by Kim Evans

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