College & Career

Cashing in on your future: Compare finance jobs side by side

By Alex Rothschild
New Trier

If you think in numbers and percentages, you might want to consider a career in finance. There are lots of people who deal with money on a daily basis: cashiers, analysts, stockbrokers, loan officers and more. In a world that revolves around dollars and cents, there’s no shortage of these jobs.

We took a look at two different career paths: a bank teller and an accountant. Both jobs come with their highs and lows, but could be rewarding for the money-minded student.

Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics Occupational Outlook Handbook 

Blue collar: Bank Teller
Description Tellers are considered the front-line workers of banking. They’re employed by bank branches and help customers withdraw and deposit money, check their accounts and order checks or cards. This job doesn’t require a college degree, but it does involve a lot of customer service and interaction.

Salary About $24,100 per year or $11.59 per hour

Degree High school diploma

Pros Due to the simplicity of this job, there isn’t too much skill work involved, which could be a perk for some. Tellers get to interact with different people throughout the day—a big plus for anyone who can’t imagine working in a cubicle. You’ll also receive on-the-job training, which could come in handy if you plan to move up in the company.

Cons Like most customer-service-based jobs, bank tellers have to deal with unpleasant customers too. And although tellers are trained to deal with everyday problems, bank robberies and fraud can be major stressors.

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White collar: Accountant
Description  Accountants are responsible for preparing and analyzing financial documents, such as tax forms. Daily duties vary depending on the accountant’s employer, but they usually work behind the scenes to ensure everything is running smoothly. They’re able to look at financial information and recommend smart business decisions.

Salary  About $61,690 per year or $29.66 per hour

Degree At least a bachelor’s degree

Pros A challenging job like this one comes with a nice reward: a bigger paycheck. Accountants often get to work hand-in-hand with the people and companies whose money they’re dealing with, which can be a perk for some. There are a lot of job options for accountants too. They can work for huge companies, nonprofits, the government or anyone who needs help keeping their books.

Cons  This job comes with a lot of stress, and you can expect to work more than 40 hours each week. Accountants are particularly busy during tax season and when they’re wrapping up yearly budgets. Dealing with someone else’s money can be risky business.

 

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The Mash is the Chicago Tribune's newspaper and website written for teens, by teens. The paper is distributed for free every other Thursday at Chicago-area high schools and is written largely by high school students.

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