Although some work for trading companies, or have clients, the thrill for day traders usually lies in the selection of their own stocks and profiting immensely from them. Professional day traders usually trade many stocks and securities based upon fluctuations in the market, which increases their chances of earning large profits. They read financial news, review company assets, make trades and monitor them throughout the day. The best route to becoming a day trader is usually a college education and experience working as a stock broker. Average annual earnings for day traders typically exceed $100,000 per year.

Income and Qualifications:

While some day traders earn $500,000 to $1,000,000 and more per year -- based on commissions earned -- novices might make well under $50,000 annually. That's why the average annual trader earns somewhere in the middle at $103,000 per year as of 2013, according to the job website There are no specific educational requirements for day traders, but those who have worked as stock brokers usually have bachelor's degrees in business, finance or accounting. Day traders who work from trading firms, or service clients, usually need a series 7 license to sell general securities. They might also need a series 63 license which covers financial regulations. Initiative and drive, decision-making and math skills are also essential for the successful day trader.

Income by District or State:

Average annual incomes for day traders can vary significantly across the country. They earned the highest incomes of $122,000 per year in New York, according to They also earned relatively high incomes in the District of Columbia and Connecticut at $118,000 and $112,000 per year, respectively. These investment professionals earned incomes closer to the national average for day traders in Florida and Texas -- $99,000 and $98,000, respectively. And those in Kentucky and Nebraska earned somewhat less at $91,000 and $84,000 per year, respectively.

Contributing Factors:

Experience is the key driving force behind earning a high income as a day trader. More experienced traders can better recognize which stocks are most likely to increase, and know when to both buy and sell them. Moreover, those who work with clients have likely developed a larger client base than novice traders, which can add significantly more to their annual incomes. Geographical area sometimes has an impact on day traders' earnings because there are more potential investors in larger cities such as New York City and Boston.

Job Outlook:

Jobs for securities, commodities and financial services sales agents, which are careers similar to day traders, are expected to increase 15 percent in the next decade, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. This relatively average growth rate affecting employed stock brokers can positively impact day traders' job growth. The main reason is that more investors are trading independently because of the Internet. Day traders with strong credentials who target these investors can better increase their client bases -- and make higher annual incomes. Independent day traders will make more as the economy improves, as stock prices will increase for more corporations.

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