How to Become a Foreign Exchange (Forex) Trader


There is no set path for becoming a foreign exchange (forex) trader, and the general path to entry varies primarily on whether you plan to work for yourself by trading using your own capital, or you plan to work for a financial services firm or similar employer. Regardless of which path you will be choosing, here is a common path for getting into this line of work:


1. Determine if your personality and professional interests are well-suited for this field

2. Pursue a bachelor’s degree in finance

3. Soak up information on foreign exchange trading, either by reading independently, or by getting an entry-level job in the field

4. Open a practice forex trading account and accumulate 3-6 months worth of successful trading experience

5. Start trading for profits (if trading for yourself) or for outside clients (if working for an employer) as you gain more experience and become more competent in trading


Below, we've covered these steps in greater detail, as well as provided some information on what forex traders do, and what you can do to become one.



What Certification/Licensing Will I Need?

You likely won’t require licensure to work as a foreign exchange trader, and you certainly won’t require it if you will be trading with your own funds. Some employers however, might require that you have some form of financial industry designation.



What Formal Education Will I Need to Become a Forex Trader?

If you're trading with your own funds, no formal education will technically be required to work in this profession. However, if you’re looking to work at an investment services firm or brokerage, you will likely need a bachelor’s degree in a field related to economics, accounting or finance.






What is a Foreign Exchange Trader?

A foreign exchange trader (also known as a “Forex Trader”, or “FX Trader”) applies securities market knowledge and financial acumen to buy, hold or sell assets, in the form of foreign currency, on behalf of a financial institution, organization or individual, which may include themselves.



What Does a Foreign Exchange Trader Do?

Although their duties can vary widely from job to job, foreign exchange traders are generally responsible for the following:


• Meeting with clients in order to determine needs, goals and risk comfort

• Investing in foreign currency exchange market on behalf of client, employer or themselves

• Analyzing market trends to search for opportunities

• Keeping up to date with market information

• Making recommendations to client (if applicable) as to how and when to invest or trade





Is This a Good Career Choice for Me?

Developing not just into a forex trader, but a successful one, has a number of requirements. If you conduct an honest self-assessment and meet all of the criteria below, you may be well-suited for becoming a forex trader, whether for yourself, or as a professional that represents clients:


• Emotional control

• High level of focus

• Flexibility

• Analytical abilities

• Market knowledge

• Risk taker

• Self-motivation

• Willing to work hard

• Able to handle a stressful working environment

• An aptitude for numbers

• The ability to deal with rejection (if representing others)

• Coping skills required to deal with many rapid changes



How Much Do They Earn?

Forex Trader Salary - United States: According to the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics, Americans workings as part of the "Securities, Commodities, and Financial Services Sales Agents" occupational group earn a median salary of $64,120 per year (2018 figures).


Salary - Canada: According to the 2016 Alberta Wage and Salary Survey, Albertans working as part of the "Securities Agents, Investment Dealers and Brokers" occupational group earn an overall average salary of $85,404 per year. According to the Province of British Columbia, those working in that same group in B.C. earn an annual provincial median salary of $58,065.


Please Note: The amount you could make as a forex trader varies quite widely (some actually lose money!) based on many factors, including, but not limited to:


• Whether you trade for yourself or represent clients

• The size and type of your employer

• The size of your client base (if applicable)

• The region in which you work

• Your level of education and experience 

• Your pay structure (i.e. if you’re paid salary, commissions, bonuses, etc.)



Who Employs Forex Traders?

Forex traders are often employed by the following types of organizations:


• Forex education companies

• Consulting companies 

• Investment services firms

• Financial services firms

• Foreign exchange retailers and payment services

• Foreign exchange brokerages 

• Self-employment (either by profiting from their own trades, or by owning and operating a company)



Forex Trader Jobs - Current Opportunities

Our job board below has a listing of "forex trader" postings in your area of Canada, the United States, the United Kingdom or Australia.



What Career Advancement Opportunities Are There?

If you display competence and initiative as a forex trader, plenty of career advancement opportunities will present themselves to you, and will vary based on your employment structure and other factors. 


For example, if you’re self-employed and trading with your own funds, career advancement could come in the form of increased profits, whereas if you’re working at a brokerage or foreign exchange services firm, you might take on more clients, larger accounts, or move into a management or partnership position.



What Careers Are Similar to This?

Listed below are careers that may be in the same field, or they may involve many of the same skills, competencies and/or responsibilities as “forex trader”:


E-Commerce Manager

• Entrepreneur

• Financial Advisor

• Financial Analyst

• Financial Trader




What Relevant Scholarships are There? 

The scholarships in our system that are relevant for becoming a forex trader are all of those that can be found on our "Any Field of Study Scholarships” page.


Success Tip: Apply for any and all scholarships that you even barely qualify for; there are MILLIONS of dollars of scholarships that go unused every year due to a lack of applicants!



Sources for This Career Guide

The following resources were used to gather information for this career path guide:


• OCC Info: “Occupational Profile: Investment Advisor.” (n.d.). Government of Alberta Learning Information Service. Retrieved July 23, 2019.

• Occupational Outlook Handbook: “Securities, Commodities, and Financial Services Sales Agents.” (May, 2016). United States Government Bureau of Labor Statistics. Retrieved July 23, 2019.

• Job Profiles: “Market Trader.” (April 11, 2017). National Careers Service website. Retrieved July 24, 2017.

• Careers: “Securities agents, investment dealers and brokers.” (n.d.). Province of British Columbia - WorkBC website. Retrieved July 24, 2017.

• Forex Trading: “How to Become a Forex Trader.” John Russell (February 23, 2017). The Balance website. Retrieved July 24, 2017.

• Blog: “21 Signs You Have What It Takes To Be A Forex Trader.” Daniel Lindsay (n.d.). MahiFX. Retrieved July 24, 2017.



Majors in Our Database Relevant for this Career

We have career guides for over 60 university majors in our database. Below we've outlined those that are most relevant for this profession:


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Foreign Exchange Trader