Equity, in financial terms, is a portion of ownership of a particular property. Equity traders are professionals who make money by buying and selling equity securities -- or stocks. Equity traders operate within the bounds of various stock exchanges, such as the New York Stock Exchange, dealing in publicly traded stocks.
Study business and finance. You do not necessarily need a bachelor's degree in business or finance in order to become an equity trader, especially if you plan on being independent. However, regardless of whether or not you hold an actual degree, you must understand how businesses and markets operate if you want to succeed as an equity trader. Dedicate time to study the field before you commit yourself. If you want to work as an employee, most companies require you to have a bachelor's degree in a related field.
Accumulate capital. Naturally, if you work for someone else as an employed equity trader, you will be using your employer's money to make investments. However, if you are working as an independent trader, you must have sufficient capital to make trades and earn a substantial enough margin to make a living. If you plan on being a day trader, which is a trader who engages in a high volume of trades on a daily basis and holds securities for a short period of time, the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission requires you to have at least $25,000 in your trading account.
Set up an office. Since this is not a business in which you need to frequently meet with clients, a home office will suffice. Get a high-speed Internet connection so you can stay on top of all sudden market fluctuations.
Get a trading account. Various online brokerages offer affordable trading accounts for professional equity traders. Some common examples are TD Ameritrade, E*TRADE, Fidelity Investments and Scottrade.
Engaging in independent equity trading -- especially day trading -- can be a very high-risk business. Proceed only if you feel that you have the adequate education and resources necessary to be successful.