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Financial Services

Earnings Potential

Median annual earnings of securities, commodities, and financial services sales agents were $69,200 in May 2004. The middle half earned between $40,750 and $131,290.

Facts at a glance

  • A college degree, sales ability, good interpersonal and communication skills, and a strong desire to succeed are important qualifications.
  • Securities and commodities sales agents must pass licensing exams.
  • Competition for entry-level jobs usually is keen, especially in larger firms; opportunities should be better in smaller firms.
  • Turnover is high for beginning agents, who often are unable to establish a sizable clientele; once established, securities and commodities sales agents have a very strong attachment to their occupation because of their high earnings and considerable investment in training.

Summary of what this career entails

An investor relies on those in the financial services field for advice and things of that nature, when they look into investing into a stock. There are a number of specific jobs that someone in the financial services field can perform. An example of one job he/she may have is a security and commodity sales agent, someone with that job will inform investors on the stock market and its terms and trading practices. Another potential job is that of a tax manager, someone in that field should know banking and capital markets.

Examples and or details of work

A fear that is growing in the financial service field is that of phishing schemes, which are basically schemes online that are designed to get people to give away their financial information. If people or bogus organizations continue to make money by sending e-mails or creating bogus websites to pry information from unsuspecting people, the financial services industry will suffer. The reason is that the type of communication that the phishers use to scam people is the same format and type as that of legitimate financial services companies.

Degrees that lead to this career

Degrees needed for a career in financial services include business administration. Besides a four-year college degree, a security and commodity sales agent must be licensed by the state. Obtaining the license includes passing a test and sometimes furnishing a personal bond. A sales agent must also pass the General Securities Registered Representative Examination, also known as the series 7 (think Pacey Witter’s job in the final season of Dawson’s Creek). Another test, the Uniform Securities Agent State Law examination is required by most states to become a representative in the financial service field.

Specific Career openings in this field

Specific jobs in the financial services field include securities, commodities, financial services sales agents, stockbroker, customer service, trainer, tax manager, program manager banking account manager, advisor and portfolio managers.


Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2006-07 Edition, Securities, Commodities, and Financial Services Sales Agents, on the Internet at