Bank Careers: Job Description & Salary Information

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What are the pros and cons of a career in banking? Get real job descriptions and education requirements to see if a career in banking is right for you.
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Pros and Cons of a Bank Career

There are many different kinds and levels of bank careers for you to choose from; the three common choices are bank teller, loan officer and investment banker. Here's some quick information about these professions:

Bank teller Loan officer Investment banker
Career Overview Bank tellers are in charge of day-to-day transactions at banks and sometimes credit unions. Loan officers evaluate and process loan applications for companies, organizations, businesses and individuals. Investment bankers are essentially the middlemen between businesses and financial investors.
Education Requirements At least a high school diploma or a GED At least a high school diploma or a GED At least a bachelors' degree, sometimes more
Program Length 1-2 years for an associate's degree 1-2 years for an associate's degree 3-5 years for a bachelor's and about two more years for a master's degree
Certification and Licensing Licensing is rarely required Licensing is sometimes required Licensing is sometimes required
Work Experience None is usually required for entry-level positions, although there are exceptions Varies widely Varies widely
Job Outlook for 2012-22 Little or no change (1%) compared to all occupations* Average growth (8%) compared to all occupations* Average growth (11%) compared to all occupations - includes securities, commodities and financial services sales agents*
Mean Salary (2014) About $27,000* About $74,000* About $103,000 (includes securities, commodities and financial services sales agents)*

Sources: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Bank Teller

As a bank teller, you'll be responsible for daily transactions at a bank or credit union. You'll typically need to count and keep track of a large amount of cash and checks going in and out of the bank every day. You'll sell traveler's checks, issue debit cards, transfer money between accounts, make currency exchanges and complete a wide variety of other standard daily banking tasks. This is usually a very customer-service oriented position, so employers often encourage developing strong communication skills.

Requirements

Typically, a high school diploma or GED is enough to become a bank teller at the entry-level. On-the-job training is common and you can often work your way up to higher positions as you gain job experience. For many higher banking positions, however, further education will be needed.

The following are a few job listings posted online by employers in November of 2012:

  • An Arizona bank was seeking a teller to report to a branch manager or supervisor. Applicants were required to have previous cash handling and experience in customer service, but no college education was necessary.
  • Another bank in Arizona was looking for a part-time teller with previous experience in the field and a high school diploma or a GED.
  • In Pennsylvania, a bank was looking for a teller with strong interpersonal skills and knowledge of 'debits equal credits', a basic concept of banking.

Standing Out

Staying abreast of the latest banking technology and maintaining at least an intermediate level of computer literacy can help you stand out as a bank teller. It can be important to know how to work with a variety of devices like copy machines, computers, printers, scanners, copy machines, fax machines and phone systems with multiple lines. In addition to this, gaining skills with database entry and maintenance, alphanumeric data entry and software like Microsoft Office for Business may be useful.

Loan Officer

Typically, loan officers go over, evaluate, process, approve or disapprove loan applications from businesses, companies, organizations and individuals. Although loan officers don't work for commercial banks exclusively, banks employ many and all work directly within the banking system. Many loan officers work for mortgage companies, credit unions and other financial institutions with the power to legally loan money.

Requirements

Although many employers ask that loan officers only have a high school diploma or a GED, you may be required to earn a bachelor's degree in finance, banking, accounting or a similar field. The number of years of experience required depends on the employer. If you choose specifically to become a mortgage loan officer, you must earn your Mortgage Loan Originator (MLO) license from the Nationwide Mortgage Licensing System & Registry (NMLS). This can be accomplished by taking a two-part exam with a national and state component.

In the fall of 2012, employers posted the following job opportunities for loan officers on the Internet:

  • A direct mortgage lender that was owned by a nationally chartered bank sought a loan officer for a position in Newark, NJ. Candidates would need at least two years of experience in sales or lending, as well as at least a high school diploma, although a college degree was preferable.
  • In Pennsylvania, a bank was seeking a loan officer with a 4-year college degree and at least three years of experience in lending and banking.
  • A bank in Oklahoma required that candidates for the loan officer position have a bachelor's degree in finance or business. Skills in customer service and at least two years of experience at a financial institution or consumer loan department of a company were also required.

Standing Out

There are many measures that you can take to stand out from other loan officers when applying for jobs. For example, you could earn licensure from the American Banking Association (ABA). The ABA offers licensure specifically designed for different types of banking professionals, including loan officers. Becoming an official Certified Lender Business Banker (CLBB) may be just what your resume needs to help you obtain the position you want.

Investment Banker

In most cases, investment bankers connect businesses or individuals who need money with potential financers and investors. The process of doing this is referred to as 'underwriting'. As an investment banker, you may also provide services such as handling acquisitions, mergers and initial public offerings (IPOs), the process by which companies make their stock public. It's typically a large part of the job to advise and act as a consultant through processes such as these.

Requirements

At least a bachelor's and often a master's degree is required in order to become an investment banker. The amount of experience in the field you'll need depends largely on the requirements of an employer. On-the-job training is commonplace. For example, many investment firms may train you on their own specific strategies, standards and practices.

In November of 2012, employers listed the following investment banker positions online:

  • A boutique investment bank in New York City was looking for an investment banker who can focus on equity and debt. Candidates must have a minimum of a million dollars in annual gross production, a portfolio and at least five years of experience.
  • Although candidates with a bachelor's degree in business or finance would be considered, an MBA was preferred by a national bank seeking public finance investment bankers. Also, 3-5 years of experience was preferred.
  • A full-time senior investment banker in the telecommunications and media department was sought by another boutique investment bank in New York City. The employer required that candidates have an undergraduate degree in business or finance and at least four years experience in management consulting, investment banking or private equity.

Standing Out

Finding ways to stand out as an investment banker can be mandatory when trying to get ahead. With the required bachelor's degree and four years of financial and banking experience, you can earn the Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) certification from the CFA Institute. In order to do so, you'll need to pass three distinct exams. According to the BLS, employers recommend earning this certification to bolster your standing as a professional investment banker.

Popular Schools

  • Online Programs Available
    1. Georgetown University

    Program Options

    Master's
      • Master of Science in Finance
      • Master of Science in Finance
  • Online Programs Available
    2. American InterContinental University

    Program Options

    Master's
      • Master of Business Admin: Finance
      • Master of Business Administration - Accounting
    Bachelor's
      • Bachelor of Business Administration - Finance
      • Bachelor of Business Administration - Generalist
      • Bachelor of Business Admin - Accounting
      • Bachelor of Accounting
      • Bachelor of Business Admin: Operations Management
    Associate's
      • Associate of Arts in Business Administration
  • Online Programs Available
    3. The University of Scranton

    Program Options

    Master's
      • Master of Science in Finance
      • MBA - Accounting
      • Master of Accountancy
      • Master of Business Administration
      • Dual MBA-MHA
  • Online Programs Available
    4. Utica College

    Program Options

    Master's
      • MS in Data Science: Financial Crime
      • MBA - Finance and Accounting
      • Masters of Science in Financial Crime and Compliance Management
      • MBA - General
      • MBA - Insurance and Risk Management
    Bachelor's
      • Bachelor of Science in Fraud and Financial Crime Investigation
      • Online Bachelor of Science in Fraud and Financial Crime Investigation - Financial Investigation
      • Online Bachelor of Science in Fraud and Financial Crime Investigation - Fraud Prevention and Detection
    Certificate
      • Financial Crimes Investigator Certificate
      • Financial Crime and Compliance Operations Cert
      • Securities Compliance Cert
  • Online Programs Available
    5. Saint John's University

    Program Options

    Master's
      • Master of Science in Accounting
      • Master of Business Administration: Taxation
      • Master of Science in Taxation
      • Master of Business Administration: Interdisciplinary Business
      • Master of Business Administration: Risk Management & Insurance
  • Online Programs Available
    6. Northcentral University

    Program Options

    Doctorate
      • PhD in Business Admin - Financial Management
      • Doctor of Business Admin - Financial Management
      • Doctor of Business Admin - General Business
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    Master's
      • MBA - Financial Management
      • Master of Business Admin - General Business
      • Master of Business Admin - Accelerated General MBA
      • Master of Science in Accounting
      • MBA - Management
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  • Online Programs Available
    7. Keiser University

    Program Options

    Master's
      • Master of Business Administration - Management (Spanish)
    Bachelor's
      • B.A. - Business Admin: Finance
      • B.A. - Accounting
      • Business Administration, BA - Management
    Associate's
      • Associate of Arts - Accounting
  • Online Programs Available
    8. Colorado State University Global

    Program Options

    Master's
      • Master of Finance
      • Master of Professional Accounting
    Bachelor's
      • BS - Accounting
    Certificate
      • Graduate Specialization - Accounting
  • Online Programs Available
    9. Queens University of Charlotte

    Program Options

    Master's
      • Master of Business Administration - Finance
      • Master of Business Administration - General
      • Master of Business Administration - Undecided
  • Online Programs Available
    10. Colorado Technical University

    Program Options

    Doctorate
      • Doctor of Management (DM) - General Concentration (Executive Format)
    Master's
      • Master of Business Admin: Finance
      • Master of Business Admin
    Bachelor's
      • BS - Business Administration - Finance
      • BS - Accounting
      • BS - Business Administration - Management
      • Bachelor of Science in Business Administration - Organizational Behavior
      • Bachelor of Science in Business Administration - Business Development
      • BS - Business Administration - General
    Associate's
      • Associate of Science in Accounting
      • Associate of Science in Business Administration

Featured Schools

Georgetown University

  • Master of Science in Finance

What is your highest level of education completed?

American InterContinental University

  • Master of Business Admin: Finance
  • Bachelor of Business Administration - Finance
  • Associate of Arts in Business Administration

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The University of Scranton

  • Master of Science in Finance
  • MBA - Accounting
  • Master of Accountancy

What is your highest level of education?

Utica College

  • MS in Data Science: Financial Crime
  • Bachelor of Science in Fraud and Financial Crime Investigation
  • Financial Crimes Investigator Certificate

What is your highest level of education completed?

Saint John's University

  • Master of Science in Accounting
  • Master of Business Administration: Taxation
  • Master of Science in Taxation

What is your highest level of education?

Northcentral University

  • PhD in Business Admin - Financial Management
  • Doctor of Business Admin - Financial Management
  • MBA - Financial Management
  • Master of Business Admin - General Business

What is your highest level of education?

Keiser University

  • Master of Business Administration - Management (Spanish)
  • B.A. - Business Admin: Finance
  • Associate of Arts - Accounting

What is your highest level of education?

Colorado State University Global

  • Master of Finance
  • BS - Accounting
  • Graduate Specialization - Accounting

What is your highest level of education?