Financial Institution Officers and Managers


Education and Training Requirements

High School

You will need at least a bachelor's degree if you want to work as a financial institution officer or manager. While you are in high school, therefore, you should take classes that will give you a solid preparation for college. Recommended classes include mathematics, such as algebra and geometry, science, history, and a foreign language. Take English courses to improve your researching, writing, and communication skills. Also, take computer classes. Computer technology is an integral part of today's financial world, and you will benefit from being familiar with this tool. Finally, if your high school offers classes in economics, accounting, or finance, be sure to take these courses. The course work will not only give you an opportunity to gain knowledge but will also allow you to see if you enjoy working with numbers and theories.

Postsecondary Training

Suggested college majors include accounting, economics, finance, or business administration with an emphasis on accounting or finance. You will need to continue honing your computer skills during this time. Also, you should take business law classes. Federal and state laws regarding business and finance change, so you will need to familiarize yourself with current regulations.

Financial institutions increasingly seek candidates with master's degrees in business administration for management positions. So keep in mind that you may have to pursue further education even after you have completed your bachelor's degree. No matter what level of degree you obtain, however, you will also need to keep up your education even as you work. Many financial management and banking associations offer continuing education programs in conjunction with colleges or universities. These programs are geared toward advancing and updating your knowledge of subjects such as changing banking regulations, financial analysis, and international banking.


The National Association of Credit Management offers the following certificates: Financial Statement Analysis I, Financial Statement Analysis 2: Credit and Risk Assessment, and Business Credit Principles. The American Bankers Association offers several certificates that will be of interest to financial managers, including a Branch Manager Certificate, a Personal Banker Certificate, and a Small Business Banker Certificate. Contact these organizations for more information. 

Other Education or Training

Continuing education opportunities are provided by many associations. Financial Executives International, for example, offers webcasts, conferences, and self-study programs in topics such as accounting, auditing, general management practices, taxation, and personal development. The Association for Financial Professionals provides virtual seminars, webinars, and in-person seminars on financial risk management, capital budgeting, cash flow forecasting, and other topics. The CFA Institute, National Association of Credit Management, Mortgage Bankers Association, and the American Bankers Association also provide continuing education opportunities. Contact these organizations for more information.

Additionally, many large companies have management training programs that help develop workers who are identified as being "management material."

Certification, Licensing, and Special Requirements

Certification or Licensing

Certification is a good way way to show your commitment to the field, improve your skills, and increase your possibilities for advancement. Professional certification is available in specialized fields such as investment and credit management. Requirements for earning the designation chartered financial analyst, which is conferred by the CFA Institute, include having the educational background to be able to do master's level work, passing three levels of tests, and having four or more years of experience in the field.

The National Association of Credit Management offers six levels of certification: credit business associate, certified credit and risk analyst, credit business fellow, certified credit executive, certified international credit professional, and international certified credit executive. 

The Association for Financial Professionals confers the certified treasury professional and the certified corporate financial planning and analysis professional designations. Applicants must pass an examination and have working experience in the field.

The Global Academy of Finance and Management offers a variety of certification designations. Visit its Web site, https://www.gafm.com, for a complete list and requirements.

Experience, Skills, and Personality Traits

The positions of financial officer or manager are not entry level. At least five years' experience in lower-level financial positions (loan officer, loan counselor, etc.) that involve increasing responsibility is required to become a financial institution officer or manager.

In the banking business, the ability to get along well with others is essential. You should be able to show tact and convey a feeling of understanding and confidence. Honesty is perhaps the most important qualification for this job. These officers and managers handle large sums of money and have access to confidential financial information about the individuals and business concerns associated with their institutions. Therefore, if you are interested in this career, you must have a high degree of personal integrity. Other key traits include strong organizational, problem-solving, and leadership skills.