Approximately 442,400 securities, commodities, and financial services sales agents (a group that includes commodities brokers) are employed in the United States. Commodities brokers work on the floor of a commodity futures exchange, for brokerage houses, or independently.
College graduates can start working with a brokerage house as an associate or clerk and begin handling stocks. After several years they can take the certification exam and move into futures. Another option is to start as support staff, either at the exchange or the brokerage house. Sales personnel try to get customers to open accounts, and account executives develop and service customers for the brokerage firm. Working in the back as an accountant, money manager, or member of the research staff is also another route. College career services offices may be able to assist graduates in finding jobs with brokerage houses. Applications may also be made directly to brokerage houses.
A broker who simply executes trades can advance to become a full-service broker. Through research and analysis and the accumulation of experience and knowledge about the industry, a broker can advance from an order filler and become a commodity trading adviser. A broker can also become a money manager and make all trading decisions for clients.
Within the exchange, a broker can become a floor manager, overseeing the processes of order taking and information exchange. To make more money, a broker can also begin to place his or her own trades for his or her own private account, though the broker's first responsibility is to the customers.
Tips for Entry
Apply for jobs at small brokerage firms to try to get your foot in the door.
Conduct information interviews with commodities brokers and ask them for advice on preparing for and entering the field.
A strong background in math, business, and finance is helpful in this field; take classes in these areas.