A commodity trader buys and sells commodities such as oil, gas, gold, corn, wheat and coffee to investors. The investors earn profits when commodities prices increase. Some commodities traders work for commodities-brokerage firms, while others invest on behalf of their corporate employers. If you want to become a commodity trader, you need at least a bachelor's degree. In return, you can expect to earn an average base salary of more than $100,000 annually.
Salary and Qualifications
The average base salary for a commodity trader was $100,910 as of May 2012, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. To become a commodity trader, you need the minimum of a bachelor's degree in business, finance, accounting or economics. Most employers will train you on the job, according to the BLS. You need to pass the series 3 exam through the National Futures Association, or NFA, to get licensed as a commodity trader, according to the Institute For Financial Markets. Other essential qualifications: initiative, attention to detail and math, decision-making, communication, customer service and computer skills.
A commodity traders' base salary can vary significantly in certain industries. Commodity traders working for petroleum and petroleum product merchant wholesalers earned the highest base salaries ($167,000), according to 2012 BLS data. Those in the metal and minerals merchant wholesalers' industry. earn $161,370 annually, while an average $124,380 is earned by those at securities and commodities brokerage firms. Those who worked in the non-depository credit intermediation industry earn an average of $83,490. At depository credit intermediation companies, they make $61,520. A commercial bank is an example of a depository intermediation company, while private and government lenders are two types of institutions in the non-depository intermediation industry.
In 2012, commodities traders earned base salaries of $160,850 in Connecticut, according to the BLS report. In New York or Massachusetts, they earned an average of $148,300 or $130,020, respectively. Commodity traders in Illinois earned an average $101,170, on par with the national average of $100,910 for all commodities traders. Trader. make less in California, Texas or Colorado at $98,560, $88,260 or $77,710 per year, respectively.
The BLS predicts a 14 percent increase in jobs for securities, commodities and financial services sales agents from 2010 to 2020, which is on par with the national average for all occupations. Commodities trading -- which can yield exceptionally large profits -- has increased significantly in the 21st century, as large group investors use commodities to help boost retirement funds.