The Salary of a Foreign Exchange Trader

by Rick Suttle

Foreign exchange traders invest in foreign currencies and earn profits when certain currencies appreciate in relation to the U.S. dollar or other currencies. The majority of these traders invest for their corporations or merchant exchange and bank clients. They analyze and track foreign currencies, recommend investments and initiate trades. If you want to become a foreign exchange trader, your salary may vary significantly depending on the state or district in which you work.

High Average Salaries

The average annual salary of a foreign exchange trader was $88,000 as of 2013, according to the job site Simply Hired. These traders may also earn commissions and bonuses for meeting certain investment quotas, which can add significantly to their annual earnings. While those with bachelor's degrees in economics, mathematics and statistics may have advantages in getting jobs, according to "The Princeton Review," a minimum of a bachelor's in finance, accounting or finance will also suffice. Many employers also prefer hiring foreign exchange traders with one or more years of experience trading stocks, commodities or foreign currencies. Other key requirements for the job are attention to detail, persistence and stamina and organizational, communication, decision-making and computer skills. Speaking a foreign language fluently is also advantageous, especially if your focus is on specific markets -- Latin America, for example.

D.C. Pays Best

In 2013, foreign exchange traders' salaries varied most significantly in the South region, according to Simply Hired, where they earned the lowest salaries of $69,000 in Mississippi and the highest of $139,000 in Washington, D.C. Those in the Midwest made $69,000 to $94,000 per year in South Dakota and Minnesota, respectively. If you were a foreign exchange trader in Montana or California, you'd earn an average of $71,000 or $100,000, respectively, which were the lowest and highest salaries in the West. In the Northeast, you'd make the most in Massachusetts or least in Maine -- $107,000 or $80,000, respectively.

Securities Traders Earn More

While foreign exchange traders earned average salaries of $88,000, based on 2013 Simply Hired data, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported an average annual salary of $100,910 for securities and commodities traders in May 2012. Loan officers made $70,350 per year, the BLS reported. Securities and commodities traders' salaries were highest in Connecticut, at $160,850, while loan officers made the most in New York -- $116,950.

Foreign Exchange Investments Are Increasing

The foreign exchange market is the largest and most actively traded market in the world, according to the "BIS Quarterly Review," with nearly $4 trillion invested daily, as of April 2010. This represents a 20 percent increase in daily trading since 2007. Jobs tend to increase for foreign exchange traders when people invest more in foreign exchange markets.

Photo Credits

  • Siri Stafford/Digital Vision/Getty Images