What Is a Securities Trader?

A securities trader works hands-on with the stock market exchange, and he or she plays a pivotal role between stocks and clients. You may be able to work your way up to Wall Street by becoming a trader and finding a job with a small to large firm. Keep reading to learn more about the duties, education and certification for this job. Schools offering Finance Investments & Securities degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

Duties and Responsibilities

A securities trader works for a firm and/or individual clients to buy and sell stocks and other commodities at a stock exchange for a commission. Job duties go beyond that, however, and they include bidding, managing paperwork, watching and gauging the stock market for trends and/or changes, devising strategies, working with your clients to build relationships, looking for investment options to discuss with your clients, and working with other traders to discuss the market.

A degree in finance, accounting, or economics in addition to certification will help you secure employment in the field of securities, stocks, and bonds. Some universities provide courses in accounting, finance, and economics that train you on the nature of working as a securities trader and familiarize you with the stock market. Many programs will provide a real-life setting so you have a feel for what it's like in the trading world. Important character aspects for being successful in this job include excellent communication skills, the ability to work in a team environment, and a high tolerance for risk.

Important Facts About Securities Trading

Key Skills Analytical, research, and record-keeping skills
Work Environment Fast-paced work in a stressful setting
On-the-Job Training Internships are available for trainees
Similar Occupations Stock Broker, Financial Analyst, Exotic Equity Derivative Trader, Trading Support Analyst


According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS, www.bls.gov), having certification or licensure in this field, in addition to education, is often required. Those interested in securities trader certification can look into the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA). FINRA regulates registered representatives for security firms. It offers a Series 7 exam to become a registered representative. In the event you want to be associated with any brokers and/or dealers, you must take this exam to gain a Series 7 license. Anyone who passes this exam meets the requirement to become a general securities representative. Other fees are involved regarding your registration and FINRA membership, such as processing, and disclosure fees.

Salary and Job Outlook

The BLS indicates that as of May 2018, the mean annual wage for securities, commodities, and financial service sales agents was $98,770. This type of employment field usually pays a commission based on the stocks and products a trader might sell. This occupation is expected to grow by 6% between 2016 and 2026. Job opportunities will be competitive, mainly based on the recent conditions of the stock market. Having previous sales experience, a degree from a highly regarded college, and certification will help you to gain employment in this competitive market.

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