How to Become a Stockbroker

How to Become a Stockbroker: Career Path Guide 

Although there is more than one path you can take to become a stockbroker, a very effective route for entering this profession is to follow these general steps:


• Determine if this profession is suited to your personality and professional interests

• Pursue a bachelor’s degree in Finance, Accounting, Economics or a similar field

• Get internship experience as a student 

• Take licensing courses and pass the exams

• Get a full-time position with a financial brokerage 

• Advance your career as you prove your initiate and ability


Read on below to learn more about what these professionals do for a living, what it takes to get into this field, and other details of this occupation:



What formal education will I need to become a stockbroker?

Most employers will require that you have a bachelor’s degree to get an entry-level job. A degree in business, finance, accounting, or economics would be most relevant for becoming a stockbroker and would be a requirement with a large brokerage, although other areas of study may also qualify you for entry-level roles in some brokerages.


Success Tip: Do well in school; many firms hire summer interns before their senior year, and those who are most successful are typically offered full-time jobs after they graduate.





What is a stockbroker?

A stockbroker is a licensed security sales agent that manages their clients' investments by trading stocks, shares and other financial products to get the best return. They may provide services to fund managers and other financial institutions, or deal directly with retail investors.



What does a stockbroker do?

Although their duties can vary, stockbrokers are generally responsible for the following:


• Keeping up to date with the latest financial and tax legislation

• Staying informed of the latest financial news to understand the movements in the market

• Carrying out specific market research and analysis

• Writing reports and newsletters that summarize the market research they’ve done

• Proactively looking for clients through networking and cold-calling, selling services and managing those relationships

• Regularly updating clients on the state of their portfolio and new investment opportunities

• Giving presentations to clients at conferences and networking events

• Gaining an understanding of clients' needs

• Being honest and providing all information, including risks

• Completing sales orders on behalf of clients

• Recording transactions accurately, and keep clients informed about transactions



What is the work environment like in this profession?

Working Hours: Stockbrokers generally work long hours, as they have to be able to place trades from the beginning to the end of the trading day. They may also have to work after hours to perform research, meet with clients, attend training courses, or to perform other tasks.


Working Conditions: Stockbrokers work in a highly competitive environment; managers are usually demanding of their workers, because both commissions and advancements are tied to sales. Work can also be stressful when clients are dissatisfied, and rewarding when sales come through and clients are happy.


Work Setting: Stockbrokers work in office environments, and spend a great deal of their time on the phone or in front of the computer. Most jobs are found in major cities, as major cities typically house stock exchanges (such as London, New York, Toronto, Tokyo, etc.).



Will I need to be licensed?

Licensing in Canada: Successful completion of the Canadian Securities Course offered by the Canadian Securities Institute (CSI) is required to sell securities and other financial products (such as mutual funds) in Canada. 


Licensing in the United States: Stockbrokers and other financial sales agents must register as representatives of their firm with the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA). To obtain the license, you must pass a series of exams.



Is becoming a stockbroker a good career choice for me?

becoming not just into a stockbroker, but a successful one, has a number of personal and professional requirements. If you conduct an honest self-assessment and meet all of the criteria below, you may be well-suited for becoming a stockbroker: 


• Emotional control

• High level of focus

• Flexibility

• Analytical abilities

• Market knowledge

• Risk taker

• Self-motivation

• Willing to work very long hours

• Willing to cold call to get clients 

• 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

• Interest in a career with seven-figure salary potential



How much do they earn?

As with any occupation, the amount that stockbrokers earn can vary based on a number of important factors, such as:


• The size and type of their employer

• The size of their client base

• The region in which they work

• Their level of education and experience 

• Their pay structure (i.e. if they're paid salary, commissions, bonuses, etc.)


Stockbroker Salary Alberta: According to the 2015 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 $91,124 per year. 


Salary in the 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 $67,310 per year.


Please Note: These figures are only intended as a guide.



Who creates jobs for stockbrokers?

Investment advisors work in the securities industry for investment and stock brokerage firms. They can work for large investment banks, or small boutique financial services brokerages.



Stockbroker jobs

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

What career advancement opportunities are there?

Advancement in this field depends almost entirely on your initiative and ability, and is generally tied to having a great sales record. Advancement typically takes the form of getting more clients and earning higher levels of commission, although it could also include moving into a team management role, or becoming a fund manager. 


Alternatively, if you can build up a broad network, you might be able to become a partner within your existing firm, or setup your own firm.


Success Tip: Consider pursuing an MBA if you’re serious about advancing into higher-level positions; employers often reward MBA holders with higher level positions, better compensation, and signing bonuses. An MBA can be pursued after your undergrad degree, or even after accumulating a few years worth of work experience. 



What careers are similar to this one?

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 “Stockbroker”:


• Financial Trader

• Foreign Exchanger Trader

• Insurance Agent

• Investment Portfolio Manager

• Investment Services Assistant

• Realtor



What scholarships are there for aspiring stockbrokers? 

The “Majors in Our Database Relevant for this Career” section below lists fields of study that are relevant to becoming a stockbroker. You can search for relevant scholarships by finding those majors on our "Scholarships” page.


Success Tip: Apply for any and all scholarships that you even barely qualify for; there are millions of dollars worth of scholarship money that goes unused every year due to a lack of applicants in Canada and the United States!



References/Sources for this career guide

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


• Best Business Practices: “What Is the Role of a Stock Broker?” Bob Haring (n.d.). Houston Chronicle Website. Retrieved August 28, 2017.

• Job Profile: “Stockbroker.” Konstantina Dee (August, 2016). Retrieved August 28, 2017.

• Job Profiles: “Stockbroker.” (August 22, 2016). National Careers Service. Retrieved August 28, 2017.

• Occupations: “Investment Advisor.” (January 17, 2013). Alberta Learning Information Service. Retrieved August 28’17, 2017.

• Occupational Outlook Handbook: “Securities, Commodities, and Financial Services Sales Agents.” (May, 2016). United States Bureau of Labor Statistics. Retrieved August 28’17, 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 to becoming a stockbroker. Click on the links to see what else you can do with these majors!


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