What Are the Education Requirements for Becoming a Stock Broker?

Stock brokers typically need at least a bachelor's degree in business, finance or a related field, and on-the-job training is usually provided by employers. You'll need to pass a series of exams to be licensed with the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority as well. Read on to learn more. Schools offering Accounting & Finance degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

Career Defined

A stock broker, also known as a broker or a securities sales agent, assists clients with investment management. In this position, you'll work with clients to discover how much to invest based on their financial goals. You also may offer investment advice and suggest specific investment moves. You earn a commission on each transaction you handle. When you're not working on a case, you might manage a portfolio for a client or go searching for additional investors.

Education Requirements

It is generally recommended that you acquire at least a bachelor's degree prior to becoming a stock broker. You may consider pursuing a degree in accounting, economics, business, or finance.

A master's degree is not necessary, but many employers prefer it if you pursue advanced positions within the company. Employers often prefer candidates with a Master in Business Administration (MBA). If you obtain an MBA, you may qualify for hiring bonuses, advancement, or higher salaries.

Training

Many companies offer on-the-job training to help you gain an understanding of the company's policies, procedures, services, and products. Topics may include selling, effective speaking, and securities analysis. You may be required to train in different departments until your employer discovers what department would be best suited to your talents.

Continuing education is also encouraged for stock brokers. Courses can help you to stay current on industry changes. You may attend seminars or other training conferences as part of your continuing education.

Registration and Licensing

In order to manage client accounts, you'll need to be a registered representative of your employer. Registration is done with the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA, www.finra.org) and requires passing the General Securities Registered Representative Examination. This exam is also known as the Series 7 exam.

To qualify for the test, you must have been an employee of your registered firm for a minimum of four months. The exam takes six hours to complete and has 250 multiple-choice questions, and you need to score above a 70% to pass.

Most states will also expect you to complete the Uniform Securities Agents State Law Examination. This exam tests your understanding of the securities business and proper recordkeeping. In addition, you may be required to hold a license to perform some duties or sell certain products and services.

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