Stock market education
To become a professional securities broker in the United States, an individual must take and pass the General Securities Representative Exam (Series 7) and in most states, the Uniform Securities Agent State Law Examination (Series 63). To take the test, you must be sponsored by "a member firm, a self-regulatory organization (SRO), or an exchange." This requirement, as well as the administration of the test, is under the jurisdiction of FINRA, the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority.
For individuals who are interested only in managing their own investments, several options exist to obtain a stock market education:
- Traditional classroom setting
- Non-traditional classroom settings
- Mentor/apprenticeship relationship
Traditional classroom settings
Many colleges and universities offer courses of study in business, economics, and finance. However, the coursework is aimed at preparing the student for the professional world. They are not designed or intended to teach a student how to trade in the stock market, although the introductory/basic courses would provide a good basic foundation of knowledge. Those intending to follow the professional stockbroker career path usually begin their education by obtaining a degree in business, economics, or finance.
Some of the core subjects covered by an undergraduate education during the course of a financial/business college education are:
- Basic marketing
- Business communication
- Business ethics
- Financial accounting
- Real estate
- Risk management
Non-traditional classroom settings
Non-traditional classroom settings are offered by:
- Non-profit organizations that offer stock market educational material
- Stock market organizations that offer stock market educational material
- For-profit businesses
For-profit financial education companies exist that offer programs of study (also referred to as "systems" or "courses" – the terminology varies) on stock market education. Unlike colleges that prepare students for working in the financial arena, these companies educate students with a more narrow focus – how to trade derivatives for the purpose of personal investing. Examples of such companies are thinkorswim (formerly Investools), Invested Central, Trading Advantage, Online Trading Academy, Global Finance School, and Rich Dad's Education (based on the "Rich Dad, Poor Dad" book by Robert Kiyosaki). These types of companies offer both classroom settings for learning and distance education programs.
Another aspect that differentiates for-profit stock market education companies from traditional colleges is the commercialization factor. For-profit stock market education companies frequently develop other products – such as software and newsletters – that they market to their students. Colleges and universities, frequently founded for the purpose of providing education and established as non-profit organizations, do not follow this business model.
Also referred to as "personal coaches," mentors work one-on-one with a student, In this situation, the student receives more personal attention from the instructor than from a classroom or distance learning education. Some mentors offer their services for a fee.
The following resources exist in libraries and on the Internet for an individual to learn about investing in the stock market:
- A stock market simulator allows one to trade without using real funds (also referred to as "paper trading"). These simulators are offered by organizations associated with the stock market (such as the Chicago Board Options Exchange) and the types of for-profit education companies mentioned in Non-traditional classroom settings.
- Financial magazines like Money (magazine),Kiplinger and Forbes provide investing articles, though their target market is aimed at more general investors. Magazines that focus on trading derivatives are Active Trader and Tradersworld. Magazines with an online presence also offer access to some, if not all, of their articles online.
- Web sites devoted to the stock market or trading arena post articles online or send them via email to subscribers. These web sites can be free, non-profit, or for-profit.
- Books written by investors and traders.
- Online forums that discuss subjects related to the stock market and trading derivatives.
- Non-profit organizations that offer stock market educational material:
- American Association of Individual Investors
- Alliance for Investor Education
- BetterInvesting Community
- Investor Protection Trust
- National Endowment for Financial Education
- North American Securities Administrators Association
- Securities and Exchange Commission, Office of Investor Education and Assistance
- Stock market organizations that offer stock market educational material:
Stock market subjects to learn
Whether an individual chooses a traditional or non-traditional education to learn how the stock market works, the following basic subjects are covered:
- How the stock market stock exchange works
- Live trading on various trading terminals
- Risks Management which can be managed by learning Derivatives( Futures contract and Option contract and Portfolio Management
- Money Management
- Behavioral Finance
- How to interpret financial or economic news
- What to look for in a broker or brokerage firm
More advanced topics would include:
- "Investopedia FAQs".
- "Florida State University, College of Business undergraduate course requirements".
- "University of California, Haas School of Business undergraduate course requirements".
- "Boris Gurevich, Ph.D. #1 Education Partner with InteractiveBrokers, AskTradeMentor.com".
- "Chicago School of Trading".