Foreign exchange traders or “forex traders” keep a close eye on fluctuations in foreign currency markets to recommend buying and selling actions to clients.
Foreign exchange traders usually specialize in one currency market first and then may expand into others. They should work well with numbers, have excellent communication and interpersonal skills, and have a clean criminal record and solid credit history.
As split-second decisions are the norm, an aspiring foreign exchange trader should be quick-thinking, decisive, and self-confident. Many foreign exchange traders work from home, so they should also have a strong work ethic and self-discipline as well.
Employers of foreign exchange traders generally prefer candidates to have a bachelor’s degree in accounting, business, economics, or finance.
A master’s in business administration (MBA) as well as professional certification can also be helpful for moving up the career ladder.
Relevant coursework includes classes in finance, economics, and accounting as well as specialized courses in money markets, business ethics, and securities.
Continuing education is also important for foreign exchange traders as they must keep current with new products and theories; licensure may also be required by some states.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that in 2008 the median annual wages of securities, commodities, and financial services sales agents were $68,680 with the middle 50% earning between $40,480 and $122,270.
Benefits for those who work in this industry are generally quite good and usually include life insurance, retirement, and health care. Firms may also provide discounts to their employees for financial services.
The U.S. Department of Labor expects employment of securities, commodities, and financial services sales agents to grow “about as fast as average for all occupations.” Competition will continue to be fierce for these lucrative positions, especially as some financial services companies consolidate.
*Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics