The Fastest Way to Become a Trader on Wall Street

Many new stock traders dream of making it big in the Wall Street markets someday.

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Registered Investment Advisor

Many new stock traders dream of making it big in the Wall Street markets someday. Visions of amassing formidable savings, great spending power, or even proof of concept for your approach to stock movement are a part of every trader’s financial journey. For those seeking guidance on walking the trading floor, however, the path may differ a little.

There is a reason why the New York Stock Exchange is the world’s most trusted equities exchange: its because the NYSE is founded on a 200-year history of expertise and solid research. If you are looking to walk the trading floor, this same level of knowledge is exactly what you will need. Every professional broker in New York got his or her start trading just like you, buying and selling in small quantities and putting up their own minuscule scraps of savings in the hopes of building a stronger portfolio.

The difference is time-honed research, most brokerage firms that target blue-chip Nasdaq or NYSE stock listings also seek out top tier stock traders that have been in the game for years. You can only start buying stock traditionally at 18, but custodial accounts and adult supervision can get you learning how to pick winners far sooner than your eighteenth birthday.

If a 7th-grade History or 9th-grade Economics teacher has turned you on to the market’s excitement, it isn’t too early to get into the game with parental help. The sooner you develop your own feel for the stock market—or better yet learn to employ algorithm or pattern recognition strategies—the better equipped you will be to dive into the market as a licensed professional later on (for more on strategic approaches, see:

However beneficial early entry to stock picking is, it is not the end-all-be-all. Anyone can start investing at any time; it doesn’t make a difference whether you are 20, 30, 50, or even 80! At the end of the day, all you need in order to begin your break into the professional world is an eye for winning investment strategies and a positive personality that gets you selling stocks to your clients.

To become a Wall Street stockbroker, there are a few critical hurdles to jump through though. First, business school is a must! Earning your MBA is not necessary for trading on your own, but if you want people to trust you with their money you will have to make the investment in yourself first: find a first-class online business degree, and keep up your personal trading while you study to maximize your market utility.

After graduating—or even while you are still in school—it’s a good idea to seek out an internship with a top-tier investment bank like Goldman Sachs. These giants of the industry are masters of profit generation and working within one of these systems will give you the experience to make high-frequency trading decisions in the microseconds that separate major profits from marginal ones. Likewise, an internship with a big brokerage firm will give you the edge when it comes time to apply for full-time positions.

If you have shown yourself to be a highly capable stock analyst as an intern already, you may be able to jump straight into hedge fund or stock trading operations, putting you right in the action. The final hurdles you will face will come here, as you pass the final tests that certify you with FINRA, or the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority. Acceptance at the final stage will prove your mettle in stock picking and will certify that you are a responsible caretaker for other people’s precious savings accounts.

Stock trading is an exciting and fast-paced adventure for millions of Americans every day, but only the best rise through the rank-and-file day traders to become professional stockbrokers and fund managers. If you have been called to a career in building savings, start today, begin your research now and look forward to a bright future in finance.