Banking is a dependable field for business personnel to throw themselves into. Even now, with the recent mortgage crisis that closed a number of banking institutions across the country, the industry is still adding employment opportunities and increasing wages. It is still slightly below the national average. (Whereas the national average for wage and salary is 11% overall, wage and salary employment in banking is expected to increase by 8% between 2008 and 2011.)

That is to say: the economic downturn has not made banking a bad profession to get into. And the fact is that there were some great reasons to become a banker before.

The first of these will appeal to people who do not plan on attending college, as one can attain a number of banking careers with only a high school diploma and a number of certification. (For some more information on certification programs and exams, see the certification area of this website, which provides a general overview.)

Why and how is that true? Well, for starters, entry-level positions in banking are given to people with a high-school diploma, and promotions are awarded as individuals gain experience and expertise. Along the way, if a certification is required, individuals may attend and graduate from a given program within a year, and take on additional responsibilities, and increased pay.

The Mortgage Bankers Association, for instance, grants the Certified Mortgage Banker status to individuals with more than three years of experience in banking who undergo their program. The individual is then qualified to enter certain management and financial occupations. The Banking Administration Institute gives another type of certificate, titled the Loan Review Certificate, which certifies the graduate of the program is capable of performing certain functions that are required for advanced positions.

So, in theory, it is highly possible for an individual to start as a teller, with only a high-school diploma, who generally makes slightly over $11/hour, and rise within four years (the time it would take to graduate with a bachelor’s degree) to the post of a loan officer, who makes an average of $25/hour.

The skills needed for the entry-level positions include good basic math skills and decent communication skills. Characteristics banking institutions look for include a certain degree of comfort with handling large amounts of money, and an enjoyment of human interaction. So, if you are a personable individual who is good with numbers, banking may be your industry!

So banking can be a great field for people who do not intend on obtaining a bachelor’s degree, and even with a bachelor’s or an MBA, banking is still a possibility, because these acquisitions open up a different level of employment. Banks tend to look for college graduates to fill management, business, and financial occupations with people holding either a bachelor’s or an MBA. Many times, these professionals are also required to receive a certain number of certifications before they are completely prepared to become, for instance, financial and general/operations managers. These roles in the banking institution generally pay roughly $37 and $43 respectively.

Banking is a field available to and lucrative for most educational levels, and wages are commensurate with education/experience. However, generally it is true that the topmost positions are only available to persons with either a bachelor’s or master’s degree. As such, it is easy to see, with such a wide range of employment opportunities, why banking as a field matches the average wage earnings of employees within the private sector.