However, each country has its own regulatory boards, and international courses may be certified by different organizations.
Time and Cost
Trading courses can require a solid commitment (if individual mentoring is involved) or can be as flexible as online podcast classes (for Internet-based learning). Before choosing a course, carefully examine the time and cost commitments, as they vary widely.
If you don't have several thousand dollars budgeted for one-on-one training, you are probably better off taking an online course. However, if you plan on quitting your job to trade full-time, it would be beneficial to seek professional advice - even at the higher cost. (Read Get Into A Broker Training Program for more information on becoming a broker.)
Staying Away from Scams
"Make 400% returns in a day!" . . . "Guaranteed profits!" . . . "No way to lose!"
These and other catchphrases litter the Internet, promising the perfect trading course leading to success. While these sites may be tempting, beginning day traders should steer clear, because any guarantee in the world of foreign exchange is a scam. (Read more about day trading in Would You Profit As A Day Trader?)
According to the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) in a May 2008 release, forex scams are on the rise:
"The CFTC has witnessed increasing numbers, and a growing complexity, of financial investment opportunities in recent years, including a sharp rise in foreign currency (forex) trading scams.
The Commodity Futures Modernization Act of 2000 (CFMA) made clear that the CFTC has jurisdiction and authority to investigate and take legal action to close down a wide assortment of unregulated firms offering or selling foreign currency futures and options contracts to the general public."
To ensure a trading course is not a scam, read its terms and conditions carefully, determine whether it promises anything unreasonable and double-check its certification for authenticity. (Find out how to protect yourself and your loved ones from financial fraudsters in Stop Scams In Their Tracks and Avoiding Online Investment Scams.)
Other Ways to Learn How to Trade
While trading courses offer a structured way of learning foreign exchange, they aren't the only option for a beginning trader.
Those who are talented self-learners can take advantage of free options online, such as trading books, free articles, professional strategies and fundamental and technical analysis. Again, even though the information is free, make sure it is from a credible source that has no bias in how or where you trade.
This can be a difficult way to learn, as good information is scattered, but for a trader starting out on a tight budget it can be well worth the time invested.
The Bottom Line
Before jumping in with the sharks, getting trading advice in the highly volatile forex marketplace should be a top priority. Success in stocks and bonds does not necessarily breed success in currency. Trading courses - either through individual mentoring or online learning - can provide a trader with all the tools for a profitable experience. (For more on this subject, read 8 Basic Forex Market Concepts and Forex: Wading Into The Currency Market.)
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