Commodity Broker: Salary and Career Facts

Research what it takes to become a commodity broker. Learn about education requirements, job duties, median wages, and job outlook to find out if this is the career for you. Schools offering Finance Investments & Securities degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

What Is a Commodity Broker?

A commodity broker is a financial securities professional who buys and sells natural goods, such as agricultural products, energy resources, livestock and metals. Brokers may also buy and sell financials, such as bonds and currencies. In addition to handling commodity transactions (trading), they may also provide investment advice. Brokers must find their own clients through networking or referrals from previous clients. Their duties might include contacting prospective clients, explaining their services, monitoring financial markets, and evaluating the costs and benefits of certain deals. Consider the information in the following table to determine if a career as a commodity broker is right for you.

Degree Required Bachelor's degree, or Master's in Business Administration (MBA) for higher positions*
Key Responsibilities Contact prospective clients to present information and explain available services, buy and sell securities, buy and sell commodities, monitor financial markets*
Licensure Required Brokers and investment bankers must register with the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA)*
Job Growth (2014-2024) 10% (for all securities, commodities, and financial services sales agents)*
Median Salary (2015) $71,550 (for all securities, commodities, and financial services sales agents)*

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

What Are the Educational Requirements?

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reports that a bachelor's degree is appropriate for many entry-level opportunities, and a master's degree is advantageous for securing higher-level positions (www.bls.gov). While a bachelor's degree in economics, business and finance is typical for this profession, a Master of Business Administration (MBA) degree can increase your chances of employment.

If you choose a bachelor's program in business, you may have coursework that covers topics such as international business, operations management, sales law and commercial transactions. A bachelor's degree program in finance may offer educational training on accounting, investments, financial forecasting and banking. Coursework in an economics degree program may include macroeconomics, international trade, microeconomics and managerial accounting.

If you enroll in an MBA program, you may have the option to choose a specialization, such as finance, and to participate on a full or part-time basis. Market economy, marketing management and financial management are just a few of the topics that may be covered. Campus-based and distance learning programs are offered at the bachelor's and master's degree levels.

According to the BLS, employers usually provide on-the-job training. Depending on the size of the company, this training may be conducted within the firm or through outside institutions.

Do I Need a License?

The BLS reports that, at minimum, you will need to register as a representative through the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority. In order to register, you must have at least four months of work experience with a registered firm and take the General Securities Registered Representative Examination. Your state may also require you to take the Uniform Securities Agents State Law Examination. In both instances, most employers offer preparatory training for the examinations. Other types of securities licenses are available and may be required by some employers.

What Is the Career Outlook?

In 2014, the BLS projected a job increase for commodities, securities and financial services sales agents/brokers of 10% by 2024. In 2015, the median salary for commodity brokers, securities agents and financial services sales agents was $71,550.

What Are Some Related Alternative Careers?

Those interested in becoming commodity brokers might also wish to research some related alternative careers which require a similar skill set and education level. For example, investment bankers refer investors to companies seeking funding, in a practice called underwriting. Investment bankers need to have a bachelor's degree in a related field to gain entry-level employment. Personal financial advisors work with individuals to give advice on financial matters such as mortgages, college savings, or retirement. They also generally have a bachelor's degree in their field. Financial analysts, who also need a bachelor's degree, assess a company's financial strength by looking at its investments and determining how much it is worth. After compiling this data, financial analysts help the company make smart and effective investments, or they may assist in the selling of financial components, such as stocks and bonds.

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