Let's say you're really good at budgeting. You enjoy doing it and you do it well. You always feel like your money is well spent — and friends and family might even be constantly approaching you for advice. If this is the case, why not build a career out of it and become a budget analyst?
Budget analysts help organizations organize their finances. They make nearly $80,000 a year, and thousands of positions are available as experienced analysts retire. With opportunities to work everywhere from companies and government agencies to universities and nonprofits, you can take this career in any direction you wish.
But why is working as a full-time budget analyst better than simply taking it on part-time? What's involved in becoming a budget analyst? We aim to answer these questions below.
Side hustle VS full-time career
We've previously discussed the numerous benefits of side hustles. Part-time work allows you a flexible schedule, gives you extra income, and lets you monetize the things you love doing — like posting on social media or dog walking. However, most of these benefits can only be taken advantage of if you already have a full-time job.
If you're looking for a career change or simply want to try something new, opting for a full-time job will allow you to earn a steadier, and maybe even larger, income while receiving employment benefits like retirement plans and health insurance. What's more, being a job-switcher can actually lead to better pay — and it will put you in a position to upskill while building a more lucrative and fruitful career.
How to become a budget analyst
Make sure you have these skills
If you decide to become a full-time budget analyst, it's important to first ensure that you have what it takes. You likely already have some key skills thanks to your penchant for budgeting, such as extensive mathematical knowledge and analytical thinking. As a professional budget analyst, though, you should also have the ability to effectively communicate budget information to others, as well as a familiarity with various technological tools — like spreadsheets — that can help you with your work.
Having these skills is only the first step: you also need the right credentials to kickstart your career. The most obvious option would be to get a degree related to finance or accounting. A qualification in financial services will help you learn advanced financial theory, as well as key business and marketing skills, that will help you provide expert financial services in a range of settings. With a degree, you gain opportunities for higher earnings and career growth. What's more, if you already have a job and are looking to switch careers then you can take a related degree remotely. An online bachelor's in financial services lets students study at their own pace, so you won’t need to give up a steady income just to head back to school. Today, online qualifications are considered just as valid as traditional campus degrees and are offered by the country’s top universities.
From here, you're free to take your budgeting career in any direction you want. For example, you can take on freelance projects alongside your current job. You’ll then gradually increase your workload and your confidence — all while building up your portfolio and increasing your chances of nabbing better full-time positions. If you want to start working right away, you can also take internships as you earn your degree so you have the experience you need right out of the gate.
Being settled in your new career doesn't mean you have to stop learning. This is especially true with the pandemic-fueled trend of automation, which is pushing professionals to learn more sophisticated skills. In fact, 57% of employees believe that doing so is crucial to career development — and finance is one of the key sectors where this belief stands. Here, you can take online courses, ask your employers for training, earn certifications from organizations like the American Association for Investment and Financial Management, or even get a master's degree.
Being financially savvy can do more than just help you manage your own finances. It can help you discover a whole world of career opportunities — such as becoming a budget analyst.