Investment Broker: Education and Career Facts

Learn the skills required to navigate the complex world of stock market trading. Find out about job duties, education programs and certifications for investment brokers. Schools offering Finance Investments & Securities degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

What You Need to Know

Investment brokers may work independently or as part of a brokerage firm, managing investment accounts that feature potentially substantial gains and losses. In order to be a professional broker, you are recommended to obtain at least a bachelor's degree in a subject relative to financial investing, such as business, economics, mathematics, accounting, finance or law. You might also want to enroll in a master's degree program.

Degrees Bachelor's degree in a finance-related area of study; master's programs are also available
Median Salary (2017)* $90,640 (personal financial advisors)
$63,780 ( securities, commodities and financial services)
Job Outlook (2016-2026)* 15% (personal financial advisors)
6% ( securities, commodities and financial services)

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

What Does an Investment Broker Do?

Investment brokers, commonly referred to as just 'brokers', buy and sell securities and commodities for individual investors or private trusts and treasuries. Some investment brokers manage accounts as part of a financial institution (e.g., a bank), where investors are guaranteed the return of principle by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC). Banking investment accounts sometimes feature mutual fund investment, which is not insured by the FDIC. Investment brokers commonly create and manage mutual funds and exchange-traded funds which are groups of stocks meant to represent the movement of the market as a whole.

What Level of Education Will I Need?

Beyond a bachelor's degree, master's programs geared toward investment brokerage can prepare you with additional background knowledge of regulatory agencies and hedge fund management, as well as economic theory and corporate finance. A Master of Science with a concentration in Investments and Securities might be offered. You might also choose a Master of Science in Finance and Risk Management with a specialization in Investment Management.

What Will I Study?

In addition to concentration subjects, you can develop a background specific to your career goals. Certain courses may be appropriate depending on your specific goals as a broker. Here are a few that you might be studying:

  • Real estate
  • Taxation
  • Securities
  • Auditing
  • Risk management

What Type of Certification is Required?

Professional investment brokers working for firms are required to register with the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA). The process of becoming registered requires the passing of an examination and a minimum amount of work experience. In many cases, the state will require that brokers also pass the Uniform Securities Agents State Law Examination.

As a financial planner, an investment broker with extensive control over an individual or private investment account, you may obtain a Certified Financial Planner (CFP) credential. The Certified Financial Planner Board of Standards requires at least three years of relevant experience, a bachelor's degree in a related discipline and successful completion of a comprehensive examination. Additional licenses and certifications are available to investment brokers based on their field of specialization. Certifications can help professionals prove a nationally-recognized level of competence in the field, and licensure may be mandatory in areas like insurance or securities.

What Type of Income and Job Growth can I Expect?

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), professional brokers working in securities, commodities and financial services are expected to see a 6% employment growth from 2016-2026, with strong competition from other professionals in the field ( Over the same time period, personal financial advisors are expected to see a 15% increase in job growth. As of 2017, professionals in the securities, commodities and financial services field earned a median annual salary of $63,780, while personal financial advisors earned a median of $90,640 a year.

To continue researching, browse degree options below for course curriculum, prerequisites and financial aid information. Or, learn more about the subject by reading the related articles below:

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