Financial Examiner Careers: Salary Information & Job Description

About this article
The median annual salary of a financial examiner is around $76,310. Is it worth the education requirements? See real job descriptions and get the truth about career prospects to find out if becoming a financial examiner is right for you.
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Pros and Cons of a Financial Examiner Career

If you enjoy math, and the idea of working with finances appeals to you, a career as a financial examiner might be a good fit. Keep reading to learn more about the pros and cons of a career as a financial examiner.

Pros of a Financial Examiner Career
Excellent pay ($76,310 median annual salary in 2014)*
Job security in certain industries (11% job growth expected in finance and insurance industries from 2012-2022)*
Excellent job benefits**
Opportunity to work independently***

Cons of a Financial Examiner Career
Pressure to meet strict deadlines***
Conflicts may arise (others may disagree with your recommendations)***
Errors can cost the company money***
Travel may be required*

Sources: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), **Monster.com, ***iseek.org.

Career Information

Job Duties

Financial examiners evaluate the condition of financial institutions by examining balance sheets, loans, accounts and minutes of director and stockholder meetings. They must evaluate the impact that new regulations will have and suggest any needed changes. Their goal is to ensure that all operations and transactions comply with laws and regulations. Financial examiners read audit reports and look for any problems that may need to be corrected. They issue reports detailing their findings and offer recommendations. Senior financial examiners train less-experienced examiners and supervise their work.

Work Environment

Most financial examiners work in offices at banks, investment firms or insurance companies. The state or federal government employs about 39% of financial officers, stated the BLS. Some financial examiner positions require travel when the investigations are conducted onsite at the institution being evaluated.

Salary Info and Job Prospects

As of May 2014, most financial examiners earned between $44,660 and $146,190. Job prospects are slower than average, with a 6% increase in jobs projected between 2012 and 2022, which is likely due to a decline of employment in the federal government. However, financial examiners in the finance and insurance industry are projected to see an 11% increase in jobs in that same time. The states where you might find the highest employment rates are California, New York, Illinois, Texas and Pennsylvania.

Requirements

A bachelor's degree in business administration, finance or a related field is generally required to obtain employment as a financial examiner. Many employers specify that candidates should have a certain number of credit hours in accounting. A financial examiner should be proficient in math, economics, accounting, law and computers. The following skills are also necessary to succeed in the field:

  • Complex problem solving
  • Critical thinking
  • Oral expression and comprehension
  • Ability to set priorities
  • Time management
  • Good judgment

What Are Employers Looking For?

The main requirement for securing employment as a financial examiner is a bachelor's degree in accounting, business administration, economics or some other related field. Many ads for employment specify the duties and working conditions the candidate can expect. The following were some actual job listings available in April 2012:

  • A state agency in California is looking for a financial examiner to audit businesses and institutions to ensure that they comply with all agency laws and regulations. Candidates must hold a bachelor's degree in accounting or a related field and have completed at least 16 hours of post-secondary accounting and auditing courses or a professional accounting program. Additionally, you must pass a financial examiner exam.
  • A bank in San Francisco is seeking a senior financial examiner to provide onsite audits of banks in order to analyze their condition and performance and to assess risk. A bachelor's degree in business or a related field is required, along with knowledge of the Microsoft Office Suite.
  • An accounting and auditing firm in New York wants to hire a financial examiner to conduct onsite audits to ensure that institutions comply with all the rules established by the Securities and Exchange Commission. A bachelor's degree with at least 9 credits in accounting is required, and securities experience is desirable.

How to Stand Out

Since most financial examiners start their careers with a bachelor's degree, obtaining a master's degree in business administration or a related field will give you an edge. An MBA program offers courses in management and finance, as well as gives you the leadership skills needed to advance in a financial examiner career.

Becoming a Certified Public Accountant (CPA) is another way to stand out from the competition. You must pass an exam and obtain a state license in order to become a CPA. Requirements for licensure vary from state to state, but they are similar. A bachelor's degree or higher is generally required, along with a specified number of credits in accounting, business, taxation, auditing and ethics.

Other Careers to Consider

Loan Officer

If you like working with numbers and finances, but haven't obtained a college degree, you can make a decent living as a loan officer. Loan officers evaluate and verify a person's finances and decide whether to approve a loan. Although some positions require a college degree, you can obtain an entry-level position as a loan officer with a high school diploma or GED and moderate on-the-job training. In 2011, loan officers earned a median wage of $58,000, stated the BLS. Jobs in this field are projected to increase about as fast as average at 14% from 2010-2020.

Budget Analyst

If you still want to help companies organize their finances, but you don't want to be a financial examiner, you could consider budget analysis. Budget analysts review budget proposals and reports to check for accuracy and compliance with regulations. They also make sure the money will be available for future financial requirements. Most budget analysts have a bachelor's degree, although a master's degree is sometimes required. The projected growth in the field was less at 10% from 2010-2020, and the average wages were only $69,000 as of May 2011, stated the BLS.

Popular Schools

  • Online Programs Available
    1. George Mason University

    Program Options

    Master's
      • Master of Business Administration
      • Master of Business Administration
  • Online Programs Available
    2. Georgetown University

    Program Options

    Master's
      • Master of Science in Finance
      • Master of Science in Finance
  • Online Programs Available
    3. Keiser University

    Program Options

    Master's
      • Master of Business Administration - Management (Spanish)
      • 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
    4. 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
    5. Seton Hall University

    Program Options

    Master's
      • Master of Business Administration - Finance
      • Master of Business Administration - Accounting
      • Master of Science Professional Accounting
      • Master of Business Administration
  • Online Programs Available
    6. University of Delaware

    Program Options

    Master's
      • Master of Business Administration - Finance
      • Master of Business Administration
      • Master of Business Administration - Custom/General
      • Master of Business Administration - Multiple Concentrations
      • Master of Business Administration - Strategic Leadership
  • Online Programs Available
    7. Northcentral University

    Program Options

    Doctorate
      • PhD in Business Admin - Financial Management
      • Doctor of Business Admin - Financial Management
      • Doctor of Business Admin - General Business
      • Doctor of Business Admin - Advanced Accounting
      • Doctor of Business Admin - Management
    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
      • MBA - International Business
  • Online Programs Available
    8. Colorado State University Global

    Program Options

    Master's
      • Master of Finance
      • Master of Professional Accounting
      • MS - Management
    Bachelor's
      • BS - Accounting
      • BS - Business Management
    Certificate
      • Graduate Specialization - Accounting
  • Online Programs Available
    9. Saint John's University

    Program Options

    Master's
      • Master of Science in Accounting
      • Master of Business Administration: Interdisciplinary Business
      • Master of Business Administration: Taxation
      • Master of Science in Taxation
      • Master of Business Administration: Risk Management & Insurance
  • Online Programs Available
    10. 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 Admin - Accounting
      • Bachelor of Accounting
      • Bachelor of Business Administration - Generalist
      • Bachelor of Business Admin: Operations Management
    Associate's
      • Associate of Arts in Business Administration

Featured Schools

George Mason University

  • Master of Business Administration

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Georgetown University

  • Master of Science in Finance

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Keiser University

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

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The University of Scranton

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

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Seton Hall University

  • Master of Business Administration - Finance
  • Master of Business Administration - Accounting
  • Master of Science Professional Accounting

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University of Delaware

  • Master of Business Administration - Finance
  • Master of Business Administration
  • Master of Business Administration - Custom/General

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Northcentral University

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

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Colorado State University Global

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

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