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How to Become a Commodities Broker

by Alice Stuart

A commodities broker helps investors make trades for commodities, that is, harvested goods. Commodities are divided into soft commodities, like foodstuffs, and hard commodities, like ore and metals. Commodities brokers must be licensed and can work at a variety of banks and brokerage institutions. Due to the complexities of the commodities market, most people aren't comfortable choosing these investments on their own, preferring to put their money in the hands of someone who is educated in the commodities market.

Obtain a bachelor's degree in finance, economics or a related field. Educational experience in finance is required to get hired at an investment firm.

Take on an internship, co-op position or part-time job while you are in school to get experience working for a financial firm and interacting with clients.

Apply for a job at an investment firm. You need a corporate sponsor before you can sit for the required commodities exam. Investment firms and banks know this and will advertise for entry-level brokers, understanding that entry-level brokers have not taken or passed the required exams.

Study for the Series 3 exam, a requirement for commodities brokers. This exam takes 2.5 hours to complete and consists of 120 multiple choice questions. Of those questions, the majority -- 85 questions -- cover market knowledge, while the remainder covers regulations. Study guides are found for free online in various places, including the Financial Industry Regulatory Association website.

Pass the Series 3 exam by getting at least 70 questions correct. Your employer may or may not cover the costs, which include the exam fee, plus fingerprint fees, which vary based on how many people your company has fingerprinted through FINRA.

Register as a licensed broker. The exact type of registration you seek depends on your position at the investment firm and what kind of responsibilities you have. Your employer will tell you what kind of registration they need you to have. You must be registered through the NFA, the National Futures Association, which requires at the bare minimum passage of the Series 3 exam and the submission of a form.

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