Stock brokers, who are also known as securities, commodities and financial services brokers, act as liaisons between their clients and the financial markets. Generally, stock brokers counsel their clients on financial investment opportunities. They buy and sell stocks, bonds, and other securities on behalf of their clients. In accordance with federal law and applicable state laws, all stock brokers must be licensed.
Obtain a bachelor's degree in business administration or finance from an accredited college or university. While you do not need a college degree to become a licensed stock broker, most brokerage firms will not hire you unless you have at least a bachelor's degree. To increase your career prospects as a stock broker, considering obtaining a master of business administration, or MBA, degree.
Obtain an internship or job as a cold caller or assistant at a brokerage firm to get an edge on the competition when applying for a stock broker position at that brokerage firm.
Apply for stock broker jobs by sending your resume and cover letter to brokerage firms that interest you. After obtaining employment as a stock broker at a brokerage firm, contact your department head and ask about obtaining sponsorship for your Series 7 exam, which is administered by the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority, FINRA. You cannot pass the Series 7 exam unless you have sponsorship from a FIRNA-member brokerage firm that has hired or intends to hire you.
Register for the Series 7 exam by completing the Form U4, Uniform Application for Securities Industry Registration or Transfer, which is available online at the FINRA website. On Form U4, you must list your 10-year employment history, educational history, residential history, criminal history and financial history.
Take and pass the Series 7 exam. The Series 7 exam is a six-hour exam with 250 multiple choice questions. Test topics include equity securities, debt securities, options, trading markets, customer accounts, new issues, investment companies, taxes, regulations and analysis.
Contact your state's securities administrator or regulator to find out whether your state, requires that, in addition to passing the Series 7, you to take and pass the Series 63 to obtain licensure. The North American Securities Administrators Association has links to the state offices on its website. If applicable, register for the Series 63 exam at the FINRA website, take the exam and obtain a passing score.
2016 Salary Information for Securities, Commodities, and Financial Services Sales Agents
Securities, commodities, and financial services sales agents earned a median annual salary of $67,310 in 2016, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. On the low end, securities, commodities, and financial services sales agents earned a 25th percentile salary of $41,040, meaning 75 percent earned more than this amount. The 75th percentile salary is $131,180, meaning 25 percent earn more. In 2016, 375,700 people were employed in the U.S. as securities, commodities, and financial services sales agents.
- StateUniversity.com: Securities Broker
- Bureau of Labor Statistics Occupational Outlook Handbook: Securities, Commodities, and Financial Services Sales Agents
- FINRA.org: FINRA Registration and Examination Requirements
- U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics: Occupational Outlook Handbook: Securities, Commodities, and Financial Services Sales Agents
- Career Trend: Securities, Commodities, and Financial Services Sales Agents
- Creatas/Creatas/Getty Images