stocksIf you know who Gordon Gekko is, something tells me you’re on the right page here. Maybe he’s before your time though; how about Jordan Belfort? Well, Hollywood has done it’s share of romanticizing stockbrokers. Sure, it’s a seductive occupation – who doesn’t want to sleep in a bed full of money? But keep in mind, a third of first-year brokers wind up dropping out of the scene and pursuing something else, as a stockbroker’s profession requires a lot of dedication. You can expect to work really long hours, and the job itself is very stressful. You’ll likely be spending the day on the phone, trying to sell stocks to hopeful as well as current clients.

Education is a must for this profession. It is highly competitive to get hired on with successful firms and first year training programs.

Education

You may look into majoring in business or finance at the bachelor’s level. A master’s degree (specifically a MBA – master of business administration) will help you have an edge with the competition. Coursework is recommended in the following:

  • Business
  • Communication
  • Speech writing
  • Accounting
  • Finance

Training programs/Registration

A training program in the brokerage world is the equivalent to an internship. Even if you are hired by a desirable firm, you cannot become a full fledged Stockbroker without passing specific exams:

  • The Series 7- a general securities license that grants a person to sell securities such as stocks.
  • The Series 63- this exam’s central focus is on particular state laws and regulations.

These are not easy exams; the firm you are hired by may have a protocol in training with the final step being to acquire passing scores on these exams. The age requirement for sitting for exam is age 18. You have two years from the date you pass the exam to be hired as a professional stockbroker and begin practicing. If for some reason you do not start working for a firm after passing exam, your license may be revoked for non-use and you will need to re-test.

After passing exams and being hired by a firm, you must finish the registration process before you start solicitation. Registration is done through FINRA (Financial Industry Regulatory Authority); they require full background checks, fingerprints and certain paperwork.

Job Expectations

Basically, you’ll make people money while making your own – that is, if you’re honest. A stockbroker advises clients on wise, profitable investments, while of course taking a percentage for their hard work and time. If you do your job well, your clients will trust you with more money, your firm will trust you with bigger clients, and everyone will have gold-plated yachts.

Outlook

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, jobs within Securities, Commodities and Financial Services are expected to grow 11% between 2012 and 2022. Demand is high and stable for investment banking advisory services and is projected to stay that way.

In 2012 it was reported the median income for agents in all of the Financial Service fields were over $71k a year. See the Hollywood movies above for how much you can make with ruthlessness and lack of ethics.