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What can I do to Pursue a Career in Finance?

21st April 21

Choosing to pursue a career in finance entails working in an industry that is dynamic, constantly expanding and advancing. Thanks to new markets, technologies and more globalised operations, it is moving in novel and exciting directions. So, if you’re considering this career path, you’ll need to know the various routes you can take into it.

There are many career opportunities to be explored in finance. Allowing you to align yourself with one that suits your interests. If you’re aiming for a specialist role, naturally you’ll need to have more specific higher-level qualifications. But there are many others that can be secured through apprenticeships and working your way up through the ranks.

Probably the best way to start is by first exploring the different areas of finance and what each entail. That way, you can see which one you’d enjoy working in day-to-day and go from there.

Whichever area you decide, there are ample possibilities for progression with additional learning and experience. So, choosing to pursue a career in finance opens doors to many exciting and long-term career opportunities.

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Areas you can work in

Depending on your area of interest or where your skills lie, there are many areas of finance you could work in. Some popular options are listed below, with details on what you need to pursue that career path.


As an Actuary, your work revolves around evaluating, managing and advising your clients about financial risks. This requires knowledge of business and economics. As well as being familiar with probability theory, statistics and investment theory. So you can assess the likelihood of particular events occurring and their potential financial implications.

You can become an Actuary through:

  • A maths-based degree at 2:1 or above, then completing actuarial exams once in a graduate role. Postgraduate degrees in actuarial science can exempt you from core technical subjects, enabling you to qualify in a shorter time.
  • An actuarial apprenticeship lasting 2/3 years. You’ll then need to complete professional actuarial exams with the Institute and Faculty of Actuaries (IFoA).


There are different divisions of banking you can work in. Retail banking supplies financial products like mortgages, personal loans, credit/debit cards and savings accounts to individual customers. Corporate/commercial banking sells similar products and services to businesses. Whereas investment banking revolves around helping clients increase their fortune. Working with large institutions or affluent individuals, merging and investing their wealth to work towards their financial and business goals.

You can get into this job through:

  • A degree at 2:1 or above, ideally in preferred subjects like accounting, economics, mathematics or statistics. You will also need strong A-levels. After which, you can apply for relevant management trainee schemes.
  • Joining a bank as an apprentice and working your way up to management positions. 4 or 5 GCSEs at grades 9 to 4 (A* to C) are typically required. And A levels, depending on which level of apprenticeship you wish to enrol on.
  • Starting in an entry-level/customer service role and working your way up. A least 5 GCSEs at grades 9 to 4 (A* to C), including English and maths (or equivalent) will be required.

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You could work in either underwriting and investment insurance. Underwriting requires you to measure your client's risk exposure in the area they are looking to insure. For instance, the likelihood of floods or break-ins when seeking home insurance and charging in line with that risk. Investment involves you investing and growing the remaining money insurance companies have following pay-outs to clients.  

You can work in insurance with:

  • A related degree in subjects like business, finance, economics, law or mathematics. Followed by a training scheme.
  • Starting in a junior role and progressing with experience and completion of insurance industry qualifications. Like those provided by the Chartered Insurance Institute (CII).
  • Completing an insurance apprenticeship.


As an Accountant, you’d provide financial advice to clients, helping them stay on track with their business and financial goals. You could work with multinational organisations and governmental bodies, or small independent businesses and individuals. Typically you would specialise in certain areas like auditing, forensic accountancy, management consultancy, recovery, taxation, assurance and corporate finance.

All Accountants must pass (or be exempt from) a series of professional exams and complete relevant practical training. You can work towards these through:

  • A training scheme where you’d gain hands-on experience in a junior role while also working towards your professional qualifications.
  • Apprenticeships like the ones provided by the AAT, that also enables you to earn and gain hands-on experience while studying.
  • Online vocational accounting qualifications that take between 6-18 months to complete.
  • A university degree, ideally in accounting but other degree level study is accepted.

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As a Bookkeeper, you’re a data-entry professional who makes and maintains accurate financial records on behalf of your clients. This typically includes preparing business financial reports and tax returns. As well as providing the basic and essential financial infrastructure that enables more advanced accounting practices to be carried out.

There is no definitive route into bookkeeping. But to stand the best chance of success, you need to study relevant courses. The AAT’s online bookkeeping courses can be completed in just 6-12 weeks. Helping you progress quickly to a variety of bookkeeping roles.


Start a Career in Finance through AAT Online Courses

If you’re ready to pursue a career in finance, you can get started today with an online course.

The Association of Accounting Technicians (AAT) have over 35 years of experience in vocational training. Awarding 80% of all vocational accounting and finance qualifications in the UK. More than 80,000 individuals choose to train with them each year and their qualifications are internationally recognised. 

Their online qualifications are open to everyone. So, no matter your current ability, you can prepare for a finance career with the AAT.

Online courses are a great way to upskill around your busy lifestyle. You can study at home, or from wherever suits, to get the qualifications you need for your new career. And with their foundation certificates qualifying you for entry-level roles, your career in finance can start sooner than you might think.

Find out more about the Association of Accounting Technicians (AAT) in our blog. Or click below to view their courses in more detail.

learndirect is the leading UK distance learning provider. With many online courses to help you achieve your learning goals.

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