How to Become a Banker

Banker Key Stats
Avg. Salary / year $42,630
Avg. Pay / hour $20.49
Education 4+ Years
Job Outlook 10%

Do you have a good head for figures, fine attention to detail, and great interpersonal skills? If so, you should consider a career path as a banker.

When you become a banker, you open the door to a secure career with a good salary, as well as plenty of opportunities for development and growth within the industry.

Working as a banker, or bank officer, can involve many different roles.

You may be working in the retail sectors of banks, face to face with clients, behind the scenes balancing books, or working with loans, currencies or investments.

Education Requirements to Become a Banker

To gain an entry level role as a retail bank teller does not require any education other than your high school diploma.

To be considered for one of these roles, you will need to have good grades, particularly in English and math.

As you climb the career ladder, you will find that you only get so far without any tertiary education.

A four year bachelor degree in business, finance, or accounting will be held in high regard by your employers.

If you’re still in high school or college, try and gain some work experience in a bank.

This will give you a better feel of the kind of work you can expect to do upon graduation.

Work experience will also look great on your resume, both when applying for college and when entering the work force.

If you are planning on a career as a specialist or investment banker, you may need to gain an MBA with a focus on finance or business.

A good idea is to complete your undergraduate degree, then your postgraduate studies can be pursued part-time while you are working.

Banker Job Description

It’s not unusual for a banker to complete many different roles during the course of their career.

In fact, many banks and credit unions encourage their employees to learn different roles and broaden their skills base, especially in their first few years of employment.

Here are some of the daily tasks you might undertake as a banker:

  • Processing deposits and withdrawals
  • Opening and closing accounts
  • Providing customer service
  • Looking over and analyzing loan applications
  • Communicating with colleagues
  • Referring business to other department as required

The most successful bankers have great communication skills, both written and verbal.

Most bankers have a good head for figures as well as fine attention to detail, but not all are apt in interpersonal relations.

If you can develop your skills in this area, you will stand out in the crowd.

While much of their work relates to figures and math, it’s also important to provide a high level of customer service.

Being able to keep your customers coming back to you is key to excelling in your role and getting that next promotion.

Banker Salary and Career Path

Most bankers will begin their career in an entry level role, usually in retail bank branches where they will work on the frontline, assisting customers.

As you gain experience, you will be promoted to more involved roles, perhaps as a mortgage officer or business banker.

If you choose to, you can go on to a specialized role, for example international banking, finance, superannuation, human resources, commercial lending, public relations, advertising, or information technology.

This will be dependent on your skills, education, and interests.

The great thing about a career in banking, is that if you get bored with one role, there is always something else you can move on to do.

Most employers will encourage their employees to undergo further training, some will even offer financial incentives or study leave.

If you are motivated to succeed, and are ready to work hard, this is an excellent sector to be employed in.

An entry level role as a banker will pay around $30,000.

With experience and promotion, you could expect salary increases to around $45,000.

Top tier bankers working in specialized areas can earn upwards of $85,000+ a year.

If you’re looking for a good salary and a stable and secure job, then becoming a banker may be the right fit for you.

While there are no formal education requirements to start your career, you will gain better job opportunities and a higher salary with some qualifications behind you.

One of the best benefits of a career in banking is that there is lots of room for advancement, further learning, and career progression.

BLSThe below information is based on the 2021 BLS national averages.

  • Annually
  • Monthly
  • Hourly

National Average Salary


Average Salary by State

StateAvg. Annual Salary
Idaho- NA -
New Hampshire$40,190
New Jersey$49,070
New Mexico$49,460
New York$47,210
North Carolina$53,560
Rhode Island$46,800
South Carolina- NA -
West Virginia$35,260

The top earning state in the field is California, where the average salary is $59,220.

These are the top 5 earning states in the field:

California - $59,220
Massachusetts - $58,160
Connecticut - $56,550
North Carolina - $53,560
Pennsylvania - $52,930
* Salary information based on the May 2021 Occupational Employment Statistics (OES) Survey for Financial Clerks, OCC Code 43-3099, BLS.
* Employment conditions in your area may vary.

Frequently Asked Questions

What does a banker do?

Bankers work in a bank or in a financial institution and their main aim is to service the financial needs of the clients.

At the same time, a banker has to try and maximize the profit of the institution by raising capital to make investments and loans.

There are different types of bankers – personal, investment, commercial, and merchant.

A specialist may work with different institutions that are seeking cash management solutions and loans or with individuals who need basic services (checking and savings accounts, for example).

Bankers should typically possess excellent networking skills as they need to communicate with a lot of different people and sometimes seek ideas and referrals.

A banker is also partly a salesman as a lot of institutions have production quotas that the specialists have to meet.

How much do bankers make?

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average annual salary of a banker in the United States is a little more than $70.000.

The bankers that have plenty of experience and work for large corporations earn over $119.000 per year.

The average salary depends on the experience, overall education level, the company, and the geographical area.

Bankers have the highest average salaries in New York, for example.

However, California and Massachusetts also have relatively high salary rates.

Typically, bankers can earn various types of commissions (the more loans they process, the higher the salary).

How much does it cost to become a banker?

Two-year degree programs are not exactly recommended, in case you want to become a banker, however, you still can obtain an associate’s degree for around $3.000 per year.

A bachelor’s degree will cost you anywhere between $6.000 and $25.000 annually.

The top MBA programs are the most expensive out there and can cost you hundreds of thousands of dollars.

Financial modeling courses are great for those who are seeking for specific knowledge and skills.

Such courses can cost between $400 and $8.000.

In case you prefer to study online, be prepared to pay anywhere between $100 and $750 for a course.

What is the demand for bankers?

By 2024, jobs in the area of financial services are expected to grow by 10%.

Global markets are constantly increasing the types and numbers of investments, thus there will be a high demand for bankers in the near future.

Those specialists that have an MBA degree and plenty of experience can expect to get the most high-paid jobs.

How long does it take to become a banker?

In case you want to succeed in the field, you have to consider obtaining at least a bachelor’s degree in finance, accounting or business administration.

The bachelor’s degree program will take you 4 years to complete.

Ideally, you would want to apply for an internship after graduation that can last for a couple of years.

Bankers with an MBA can work in upper management.

It can be earned from a wide range of universities online at your own pace.

Jamie Willis
Career Specialist at BecomeopediaHi, my name is Jamie Willis, and I have been helping students find their perfect internships and education paths for the last ten years. It is a passion of mine, and there really is nothing better than seeing students of mine succeed with further studies.