Professional Forex Trader

The professional forex trader needs sophisticated trading tools and a robust mindset. Yet most retail traders don’t get there on their own. Training courses, mentors, and online coaches can all help provide advice, tips and secrets in the quest for that big salary. In this article, we’ll explore how to become a professional forex trader, including platforms, strategies, and psychology.

What Is A Professional Forex Trader?

Professional retail traders in forex aim to generate profits by speculating on the currency market. Separating the professional from the beginner are a couple of distinctions. Firstly, the earnings of a professional are likely to be larger and the trader’s primary source of income. Also, the psychology and trading tools used by professionals are normally more advanced than those employed by beginners.

Top Forex Brokers are a leading forex broker. Offering the largest range of currency pairs (80+) and some of the tightest spreads in the industry.
NinjaTrader offer Traders Futures and Forex trading. Use Auto-trade algorithmic strategies and configure your own trading platform, and trade at the lowest costs.
Trade with leverage on the FX market.

See all Forex Brokers

How To Become A Professional Forex Trader

Now that we’ve covered what a professional forex trader is, what steps do you need to take to become one?

1. Set Realistic Goals

Professionals set achievable and quantifiable goals. For example, make a 15% return on investment, generate $25,000 in profit, or gain 50 pips a week. With that said, key objectives should be set over the longer-term, such as a year, as performance and income will vary from month-to-month.

Key characteristics of a professional forex trader also include being realistic. They know they won’t generate a salary in the millions if they just have a few thousand to invest, even with leverage. They also ensure the size of their trades reflect how much they’re willing to lose, keeping a handle on overall risk exposure.

Once you have clear objectives, you can look at the strategies and tools you’ll need.

2. Test Strategies

Being a professional forex trader requires the use of carefully refined strategies. But a common misconception is that professionals only use complex techniques. In fact, many serious incomes use simple systems, including those below.

Technical Trading

To become a professional, your technical analysis needs to be excellent. Most top performers focus on price pattern analysis to identify and capitalise on market trends. However, people often ask do you really need to use indicators? Some professionals believe indicators overcomplicate charts and decision making. Instead, pros try to minimise distractions, focusing only on those alerts and tools they really need.

Fundamental Trading

Those asking, ‘how do professionals trade?’ may be surprised to hear that many don’t heavily rely on market news. Yes, fundamental news can steer price, but the challenge is predicting when the market will react and to what extent. For this reason, lots of pros use fundamental analysis to complement their technical analysis.

Automated Trading

Many professional retail forex traders don’t rely on automated algorithms. They know these systems often aren’t flexible enough to adapt to sharp market fluctuations. Instead, their market aptitude allows them to stay agile in the face of changing market conditions.

For further guidance on strategies, see here.

3. Never Stop Learning

The life of a professional forex trader doesn’t need to be a lonely one. Most professionals utilise the resources around them. That might be getting tips from those in their network or from social copy platforms. It could also mean reading books and getting coaching from a mentor.

Mentors & Coaches

Professional advice through an online coach or mentor can prove useful. Many opt to go it alone, making the same mistakes again and again. Whereas if you hire a professional forex trader, errors are often quickly spotted and bad habits coached out of. Basically, the right mentor can shorten your journey to becoming a successful professional trader.

The problem is there are a host of online mentors and coaches parading as experienced investors and educators. So what should you look for when you hire a professional forex trading mentor?

  • Trading plan – The best online coaches and mentors will build a plan that meets your investment objectives, risk appetite, and lifestyle requirements.
  • Ongoing support – You’re understandably going to have a lot of questions. Avoid coaches only willing to give you a morsel of their time and who are unavailable to answer queries.
  • Personalised training – A good mentor will respect your trading style. They should also tailor their coaching to help cultivate the right mindset.
  • Safe space – One of the benefits of seeking professional forex advice is the opportunity to practice trades in a safe space. A good mentor will also live demo indicators and strategies to help improve your performance.

Professional Forex Trader Courses

Online courses can also be an effective way to learn from experienced forex professionals. But with so many courses available, what are the key characteristics to look for?

  • Up-to-date – Training should teach you about the latest technical advancements in trading tools and platforms.
  • Professionally led – An online trading academy will often use a library of professional forex traders to deliver their content. Look for courses with enthusiastic and passionate instructors.
  • Quality, not quantity – If part 1 of a course is littered with basic mistakes and technical issues, it’s likely a substandard programme. You’ll learn more from a few high-quality sessions than hundreds of hours of mediocre content.
  • Engaging content – The best online forex courses keep users engaged. Demonstrations in real-time and an opportunity to ask questions will help keep a course lively.
  • Outcome – Make sure the course provides the outcome you’re seeking. For example, are you after certification, a place to test new techniques, or do you want to interview professionals about which indicators and tools to use?

Platforms for Forex Professionals

The professional forex trader is acutely aware of the importance of choosing a top trading platform. As your gateway to the currency market, the platform’s suite of tools, market coverage, and reliability can all contribute to overall performance. And in a market where margins are slim, every edge counts.

Today the aspiring professional forex trader has multiple platforms to choose from, some of which are listed below. Please note that these are general platform tips – all traders need to individually research and choose a platform that suits their needs.

MetaTrader 4

The MetaTrader 4 (MT4) system is the most popular choice among forex professionals. The customisable platform and comprehensive repertoire of tools make it a fantastic option. The software is home to over 2,000 custom indicators, one-click trading, nine different time-frames, economic calendars, plus real-time market news.

However, the industry-leading platform for forex does have some drawbacks. Firstly, some professionals believe it’s slower than other options. Also, some brokers offer wider spreads on the MT4 system vs their primary platform.

Trading Station

The Trading Station platform from FXCM is another top provider for retail forex professionals. The system offers advanced charting capabilities, a breadth of indicators, and trade automation. The platform is available via web or download on both desktop and mobile devices.


The ZuluTrade platform is a good option for strategies that use automated investing. It’s also an active social platform, meaning you can interact and copy the indicators and strategies used by retail forex professionals from around the world.


The NinjaTrader platform offers customisation through its Strategy Builder. The Market Analyser and Market Replay trading tools also allow you to test strategies on recent market data. The powerful and user-friendly platform will meet the needs of most professional traders.

For more information on what forex brokers and platforms to use, see here.

Professional Forex Trader Psychology

One of the distinguishing characteristics of a professional forex trader is their mindset. Often you’ll find the top performers share similar traits:

  • Discipline – Regardless of whether you’re a professional stock or forex swing trader, high performers recognise when strategies aren’t working and won’t bow to emotional triggers, such as fear or greed.
  • Risk control – Professionals understand the risks and rewards of each trade – consistently utilising risk management alerts and tools to mitigate losses.
  • Confidence – The professional retail trader in forex dares to operate differently, testing and developing innovative investing techniques.
  • Awareness – Pros can, to a certain degree, measure how perceptions are influencing market trends.

While the professional mindset may come naturally to some, it usually takes years of training and experience.

How Much Does A Professional Forex Trader Make?

The income earned by professional forex traders varies and a consistent salary is rare. Earnings one month may be several thousand US dollars while next month you may see no profits at all. With that said, many aim to make a 20% profit over the year.

How much a retail trader makes also depends on the capital at their disposal. For example, a 20% return on a $50,000 pot will give you $10,000 in profit, while a 20% profit on $200,000 would give you $40,000.

Final Word

Professional forex traders never stop learning – exploring new strategies and platforms, investing time in online training and courses, as well as developing a robust mindset. If you are trying to find out how to become a professional forex trader and secure that big salary, use this article for directions.


What is a professional forex trader?

A professional forex trader gets their income from trading on the currency market. In contrast to beginners, earnings from the FX market tend to be the primary source of income for professionals.

How much do professional forex traders make?

How much professional retail forex traders make varies. Successful pros may aim for a 20% return on their capital, but plenty of professionals will actually lose money. The more capital professional forex traders have to invest, the greater the profit potential.

How long does it take to become a professional forex trader?

How long it takes to become a professional forex trader varies between individuals. For some it may take several months, for others it will take many years. However, professional forex traders never stop learning. They’re continually looking to develop trading strategies and tools to test on the markets.

How do I become a professional forex trader?

To become a professional forex trader you need to follow a number of steps. Firstly, you need to set realistic profit objectives depending on the amount of capital and time you have to dedicate. You’ll then need to learn and test strategies to find a style that works for you, potentially with the help of online coaches and social trading platforms. The top pros also sign-up for the best brokers to ensure they have excellent platforms and tools at their disposal.

What brokers do professional forex traders use?

Professional retail forex traders may use any number of brokers, depending on individual preference. Oanda, IG, FxPro, and IC Markets are just some of the popular options. See our list of the best forex brokers.