Your Research Guide to a Career in Financial Services or Insurance

Jasen Williams is vice president of agency relations at RecruitMilitary and a veteran of the United States Marine Corps.

I encourage job seekers to use this guide to learn about financial services and insurance and the job opportunities in those fields.


The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), a part of the United States Department of Labor, has published projections on employment in the Finance and Insurance sector of the economy for the years 2012 through 2022; visit That sector has an NAICS (North American Industry Classification System) code of 52. For an explanation of NAICS codes, see “Your Guide to Industrial and Occupational Employment Statistics” in this magazine.


The BLS describes the Finance and Insurance sector on an “Industries at a Glance” page at That page provides various statistics, including employment, unemployment, and openings, hires, and separations; employment by occupation; earnings by occupation; and numbers of establishments.

The Finance and Insurance sector has five subsectors:

Monetary Authorities – Central Bank (NAICS 521)

Credit Intermediation and Related Services (NAICS 522)

Securities, Commodity Contracts, and Other Financial Investments and Related Activities (NAICS 523)

Insurance Carriers and Related Activities (NAICS 524)

Funds, Trusts, and Other Financial Vehicles (NAICS 525)

The Real Estate and Rental and Leasing sector consists of three subsectors:

Real Estate (NAICS 531)

Rental and Leasing Services (NAICS 532)

Lessors of Nonfinancial Intangible Assets (except Copyrighted Works) (NAICS 533)


Another BLS publication, the Occupational Outlook Handbook, has 20 chapters on Business and Financial Occupations, a “major group” with an SOC (Standard Occupational Classification and Coding Structure) code of 13-0000. Each chapter covers the nature of the work; the work environment, qualifications, pay, job outlook, similar occupations, and contacts for more information. The chapters are accessible here.

There are two related chapters on Management Occupations (SOC 11-0000), accessible from Compensation and Benefits Managers, SOC 11-3111; and Financial Managers, SOC 11-3031.

There are four related chapters on Sales and Related Occupations (SOC 41-0000), accessible from Cashiers, SOC 41-2011; Insurance Sales Agents, SOC 41-3021; Real Estate Brokers and Sales Agents, SOC 41-9020; and Securities, Commodities, and Financial Services Sales Agents, SOC 41-3031.

There are four related chapters on Office and Administrative Support Occupations (SOC 43-0000), accessible from Bill and Account Collectors, SOC 43-3011; Bookkeeping, Accounting, and Auditing Clerks, SOC 43-3031; Financial Clerks, SOC 43-3000; and Tellers, SOC 43-3071.


The American Institute of CPAs® (AICPA) website has a “Career Paths” section for men and women who are considering careers as certified public accountants. There are separate pages for high school students and college students. My advice to transitioning and veteran military who have big packages of GI Bill benefits available to them would be to read everything. And do not be put off by the fact that the path to CPA certification is lengthy; many people make good money in financial services while studying for their CPA exams. Also at the AICPA site are sections on five work areas: accounting, academia, corporate accounting, government, and nonprofit.


The Financial Services Roundtable website has a page of linked logos of 89 member companies.

The Insurance Information Institute (III) website has links to several pages that can help veterans learn about the insurance industry. Those pages include a glossary and a directory, that contains links to insurance associations in the 34 categories listed below. Also on the directory page are search boxes for state departments of insurance and private state organizations – e.g., Nebraska Association of Insurance and Financial Advisors (NAIFA).

  1. Actuarial/Accounting
  2. Adjusters
  3. Agents and Brokers
  4. Alternative Markets
  5. Auto/Auto Insurance
  6. Automation and Claims Services
  7. Aviation
  8. Community Development
  9. Crime/Fraud
  10. Crop Insurance
  11. Educational Organizations
  12. Financial Services Industry Organizations
  13. Flood Insurance
  14. Government
  15. International
  16. Legal Issues and Services
  17. Life/Health Insurance Industry Organizations
  18. Marine and Ground Transportation
  19. Medical Malpractice/Professional Liability
  20. Nuclear Energy
  21. Professional
  22. Property Insurance Plans
  23. Property/Casualty Insurance Industry Organizations
  24. Regulatory/Legislative Organizations
  25. Reinsurance
  26. Research and Ratings Organizations
  27. Risk Management
  28. Safety/Disaster Mitigation
  29. Surety, Financial Guaranty and Mortgage
  30. Surplus Lines Organizations
  31. Title Insurance
  32. Travel Insurance
  33. Weather
  34. Workers Compensation

Many of the association sites have sections that explain what their members do. For example, the Reinsurance Association of America site has a series of articles, “Fundamentals of P/C [Property and Casualty] Reinsurance,”.

Another III publication, the Online Insurance Handbook, is a guide to the insurance industry for reporters, policymakers, students, insurance company employees, and regulators. The guide provides explanations of auto, home, life, disability, and business insurance, articles about insurance issues, a glossary, and directories.

By Jasen Williams