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What Stockbrokers Do and How to Become One


What Stockbrokers Do and How to Become One

Movies like "The Wolf of Wall Street" and "Boiler Room" portray the life of a stockbroker as glamorous and risky. However, these films don't show what the job is truly like for most brokers. Being a stockbroker can be rewarding if it suits your personality. Before pursuing a career in the stock market, it's essential to understand what the job involves.

What Is a Stockbroker?

Stockbrokers act as mediators between individuals who want to buy or sell stocks and the stock markets like the New York Stock Exchange or NASDAQ. They help execute stock trades on behalf of investors. While online platforms like Fidelity, TD Ameritrade, E-Trade, and Charles Schwab handle most electronic trades for individuals, brokers still handle many transactions for big investors.

Stockbrokers are knowledgeable about the markets and can advise on when to make trades. They aim to secure the best prices for their clients and receive a commission—either a fixed fee or a percentage of the trade value—for their services.

Although online trading has reduced the need for brokers, there are instances where investors prefer working with brokers. For instance, they may want to ensure a stock sale occurs at a specific price or need multiple trades executed in a particular

Stockbroker Pros and Cons

Working as a stockbroker comes with its own set of advantages and disadvantages. Let's take a look at some of the upsides and downsides:


  • An excellent career choice for those with a deep understanding of the stock market.
  • Provides the chance to make a lot of money.
  • Ideal for driven individuals with great sales abilities.


  • Needs to manage handling rejection and stress.
  • A workplace with a lot of competition.
  • Might involve working very long hours.
  • Could struggle to attract clients because of the popularity of online trading.

How to Become a Stockbroker

There aren't any strict schooling requirements to become a stockbroker, but having certain degrees or taking related courses can help you stand out in the field.


You could think about getting a bachelor's degree in business, which many stockbrokers have. Some also pursue higher degrees like a master's in business administration (MBA) or finance. Having a background in math, statistics, and analysis can also be beneficial.


Stockbrokers often start their career at a firm or bank in a different role, sometimes starting as college interns. They learn on the job, gaining experience and knowledge. To become a broker, they need to have a strong understanding of money markets, laws, regulations, and accounting practices.


Brokers need to pass an exam called the "Series 7," which is given by the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA). To take this test, a person must be sponsored by a FINRA member firm or a similar self-regulatory organization (SRO).

The Series 7 exam is tough and has 125 multiple-choice questions that need to be answered within 225 minutes. To trade most securities, brokers also need to pass the Securities Industry Essentials Exam, which includes 75 questions and lasts for 105 minutes.

These exams allow brokers to trade a wide range of securities, but additional exams may be required for trading specific things. For instance, to trade municipal bonds, brokers may need to take the Series 53 exam. There are also other mandatory exams like the Series 66 and Series 63 for state registrations.

Work Environment

To succeed as a stockbroker, expect to put in long hours, especially when you're starting out and trying to build your list of clients. The job involves advising clients and relies on your ability to sell because your earnings come from commissions.

If you're good at connecting with people, building relationships, and handling rejection, you'll have a better chance of attracting new clients. The field is highly competitive because one broker can assist a client in buying stocks just as effectively as any other broker.


The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics anticipates that jobs for brokers will increase at an average rate between 2019 and 2029. Although it's not expanding rapidly, the field is expected to remain stable without significant shrinkage.

Online Discount Brokerages

Investing in stocks used to require a human broker, but now many investors manage their own stock accounts. Discount firms offer online platforms where people can trade stocks for less than $10 per trade.

These discount brokerages have made it easier and cheaper for most people to buy and sell stocks. Now, investing in stocks isn't limited to the wealthy. However, human brokers still offer valuable services for complex trades and expert advice. But if you're an average investor aiming to buy a few shares of a well-known company, you can easily do it all online without needing a human broker.

Job Prospects

Some people and institutions still require assistance to trade stocks. Despite many transactions being done electronically, not all trades happen solely through computers, especially considering the vast number of stocks and securities traded daily on exchanges like the New York Stock Exchange.

Over the years, the number of registered representatives or brokers has decreased. In 2019, there were 624,996 registered representatives, down from a peak of 672,688 in 2007.

The demand for skilled and trustworthy brokers remains. If you're passionate about becoming a broker and ready to work hard, it can still be a good career choice.

Written by Sauravsingh

Techpreneur and adept trader, Sauravsingh Tomar seamlessly blends the worlds of technology and finance. With rich experience in Forex and Stock markets, he's not only a trading maven but also a pioneer in innovative digital solutions. Beyond charts and code, Sauravsingh is a passionate mentor, guiding many towards financial and technological success. In his downtime, he's often found exploring new places or immersed in a compelling read.

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