Certification programs for market technicians require candidates to complete a 3-level examination one one of two yearly test dates. Candidates must have prior education, typically a bachelor's degree, and three years of work experience in order to be considered for certification. Becoming certified can open up higher-paying and more advanced career opportunities for market technicians.
Individuals who have attained the designation of Certified Market Technician (CMT) typically fall into the broader category of financial analysts. Financial analysts in general are well paid, making a median annual wage of $80,310, but are also highly educated, with many holding an MBA. Furthermore, CMT candidates are required to possess a bachelor's degree in finance or a similar field and be employed in the field for at least three years prior to sitting for this 3-level examination.
|Required Education||Bachelor's degree in finance-related program required, many attain MBA prior to certification|
|Required Experience||Three years of work experience in professional analytical or investment management position|
|Required Skills||Candidates must master a large body of relevant financial analyst information in order to form opinions, develop portfolio strategies, and make trading decisions|
|Exam Requirements||Passage of all three levels of MTA exam within 5 years of taking initial exam|
|Job Outlook||12% growth between 2014-2024 for all financial analysts*|
|Median Salary||$80,310 for all financial analysts (2015)*|
Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics
Technical analysts focus on a stock's historical price pattern and related data points, as portrayed on charts, to predict future price movements. The CMT designation reflects a professional's proficiency in all aspects of technical analysis. A primary objective of the MTA is to educate the public on the practice of technical analysis and to promote it as a legitimate analytical discipline.
CMT designation may qualify an analyst for specific employment opportunities. Employers who seek CMT-designated candidates include stock brokerage firms, investment banks, mutual fund companies, pension fund management companies and hedge funds. A benefit of CMT designation is exemption from the FINRA Series 86 (research analyst license) qualification exam, which is satisfied by passing levels one and two of the CMT exam.
Requirements begin with the successful completion of a 3-level examination. Level one is a 132-question multiple-choice exam that covers definitions and basic concepts relevant to technical analysis. Level two is a 160-question multiple-choice exam that covers the application of advanced technical analysis concepts. Questions at these two levels are most heavily weighted toward the subjects of market indicators, analysis construction, trend analysis and chart pattern analysis.
Level three is an essay examination that requires the analyst to integrate and apply his knowledge by interpreting charts and other data to form opinions, develop portfolio strategies and make trading decisions. The exam also includes an ethics portion that the analyst must pass.
The CMT exam is administered twice yearly, once in the spring and once in the fall. Candidates must pass all levels of the exam within five years of their initial CMT exam registration date.
CMT candidates must also be employed in a professional analytical or investment management position for a period of at least three years and to have member status in the MTA (following sponsorship by three current MTA members). There's also affiliate and student status membership available through the MTA.
Preparation for CMT Designation
Prospective CMTs are typically professional securities or financial analysts employed in the investment industry. They must have at least a bachelor's degree in a finance-related program. Many analysts continue their education by obtaining an MBA, which provides the foundation for pursuing the CMT designation.
Candidates must also master a large body of relevant information using a self-study format. The MTA publishes a list of required study materials and recommends at least 400 hours to prepare for the CMT exam. It provides access to an online prep course, called CMT Institute, which includes live discussion sessions with faculty and other candidates. Additionally, technical analysis courses and CMT preparation classes are available at some colleges and universities. Online courses are also available.
Job Outlook and Salary Information
CMTs fall into the broader classification of financial analysts, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) classification system. From 2014-2024, these workers were projected to see a 12% growth in employment opportunities. The median annual wages for financial analysts were $80,310 in May 2015, according to the BLS.
A significant amount of preparation is required before taking the 3-level CMT examination. Candidates must have an educational background in a finance-related program and three years of work experience under their belt. They must also study extensively in order to pass the required tests.