Financial institutions, governments and businesses offer currency - or foreign exchange (forex) - trading, which requires qualified sales agents with extensive education. There are no 'currency trading' degree programs, but bachelor's and master's programs in economics, finance or business administration might prepare students for this activity. Additionally, non-degree training programs in currency trading are available in various formats, including educational webinars and seminars, through a number of financial institutions.
Currency trading programs might emphasize topics related to banking, money management, and foreign and domestic economics. Some professionals are required to seek registration by passing an examination. Professional certifications are available to those who meet education and experience requirements. To be admitted to bachelor's programs, students should have their high school diploma.
Bachelor of Science in Business Administration: Business Economics Concentration
Programs vary by title and type, but many offer similar tracks consisting of requisite courses in a variety of general business courses. Classes in investments and portfolio management give way to electives like cost-benefit analysis or trade influences in national economies. This 4-year track opens doors to financial institutions, brokerage firms and related sales service companies where forex training typically is part of an orientation process.
Curricula for this degree supplements lower-division cores with a concentration in economics, micro- and macroeconomics, economic elements and theory. Depending on the program, upper-division candidates may be able to intern, gaining experience that correlates with classroom coursework such as:
- Money, credit and banking
- Government business and finance
- Regional, national and international economics
- Cost management strategies
Master of Science in Finance
Some graduate schools target finance programs to working professionals interested in forex trading. They may feature the latest software applications in trading technologies, certification programs and popular concepts to simulate, optimize and forecast transactions. Campuses may be located close to regional or national financial centers, giving access to adjunct faculty, industry oversight, and internship opportunities. Candidates can even find schools or departments that offer a concentration in trading.
Candidates develop their craft with studies in quantitative methodology, international business management and statistical analysis. Emphasis is given to interest rate derivatives, caps, collars, floors, swaps, bond options and stochastic processes. Graduates hit trading floors at a run, finding their way around global markets, understanding and speaking the language of finance. Courses like these make it possible:
- Marketing financial instruments
- Financial theory at home and abroad
- Time series analysis
- Dynamic Linear Model
- Computational efficiencies and numerical techniques
- Problems between principals and agents
Non-Degree Training Options
New employees often attend classes or shadow an experienced trader to learn the business. Most institutions and firms have their own proprietary trading platforms that require company training. Many of these same companies offer training to prospective customers and it's usually free. Individuals can experience market conditions, learn to assess risk, identify opportunities and cope with volatile markets. Many types of forex training extend use of a forex demo or practice account, allowing 'traders' to practice new strategies using a virtual bank account. They can talk to trading experts, attend seminars and webinars; and even experience the drama of world markets trading in real time. Prospects for this type of training can expect a sales pitch at the end of the course.
Popular Career Options
Currency traders take many forms, working as financial services sales agents, financial analysts, private bankers, wealth managers and personal financial advisors. Some even work in related jobs such as broker, accountant, insurance sales agent or auditor. Citing one example, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reported that in 2010, a total of 67% of financial advisors worked in the finance and insurance industries as securities and commodity brokers, monetary authorities, insurance carriers, or financial investors. Approximately 25% of personal financial advisors were self-employed.
Employment Outlook & Salary Information
The BLS reports that the employment for personal financial advisers is projected to rise 7% from 2018 to 2028, driven by increasing levels of investment as the economy recovers from the financial crisis. As baby boomers move from their saving years to retirement, they'll look for reliable investments in mutual funds as well as stock and bond markets. Securities, commodities and financial services sales agents earned a median salary of $64,120. Mergers and acquisitions will also drive growth in the industry, according to the BLS. Despite the expected growth, online trading is expected to increase, which may hinder some stock broker growth as individuals can do their own transactions over the Internet.
Federal regulation requires the U.S. Commodities Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) to register retail foreign exchange dealers (RFEDs), those who solicit orders from others, exercise discretionary trading authority or manage pools with respect to retail forex. Based on CFTC's stricter guidelines, the National Futures Association also developed proficiency examinations for those who sell retail forex futures. Primary licensing organization for this segment of the securities industry is the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) Most of these licenses are sponsored by an employer; therefore, an individual usually doesn't have a license prior to starting the job. Circumstances dictate registration and renewal procedures.
Memberships in nationally or internationally recognized associations offer professional certifications. The Chartered Financial Analyst Institute offers risk management and chartered financial analyst certificates, which any applicant with a bachelor's degree or four years related work experience could earn. Hundreds of hours of self-study are necessary to prepare for three exams covering economics, security analysis, accounting, corporate finance, financial instruments, asset evaluation, portfolio management and financial instruments and markets.
The American Bankers Association, Federal Reserve Bank of New York and Securities and Exchange Commission are members of this international organization that provides a stable, ethical framework for currency trading. The global economy recognizes the Financial Markets Association (ACI) Dealing Certificate as a standard of competence for those providing structure and operating in major money and foreign exchange markets. The course is for new entrants and junior dealers, middle office and operations personnel, auditors and compliance officers. Candidates acquire fundamental competencies in the application of market mathematics; cash, forwards and derivatives; and the Model Code.
There are several degree programs at a variety of levels that will prepare an individual for a successful career in the field of currency trading.