Learning how to trade futures can be extremely profitable — but it takes a lot of dedication and careful study to learn to be a good futures trader. Futures trading isn’t for everyone, but to know for sure, why not check out a futures trading course to learn the basics? Or take a course to hone your skills if you’re already a dedicated trader. Here’s how to get started.
What is Futures Trading?
Futures trading has everything to do with the future. Futures trading is a contract between a seller and a buyer that some asset — typically a currency (dollars, euros, etc.), an index (group of stocks) or commodity (physical substance like gold or oil) — will be bought or sold for a specific price on a particular date in the future.
Futures traders do not trade contracts with the intent to actually take possession or distribute a particular commodity. Instead, futures traders take advantage of price fluctuations that might happen after a sale occurs.
You can trade futures contracts on specific exchanges. Markets like the Chicago Mercantile Exchange (CME) or Intercontinental Exchange (ICE) are 2 places where you can trade futures.
Unlike the stock market, futures trading doesn’t have restrictions like minimum capital required or time restrictions. You can sell and buy contracts whenever the market is open. In addition, futures traders don’t need to have $25,000 of equity in their account, which is the capital requirement for day trading on the stock market in the United States.
What Makes a Great Futures Trading Course?
Online courses can teach you about futures trading, but look for a course that will give you a strong understanding of the market that you want to trade, as well as strategies to maximize profits. Some courses even offer continued support and mentoring figures to help guide you in your journey once the class has ended.
Look for these characteristics when you choose a futures trading course:
- Strong foundation: You must first have an understanding of the futures market to learn how to start trading futures. These courses should teach you the strategies you need to help maximize your profits.
- Mentoring: Course leaders who are objective observers should be able to help you learn. A mentor can help give professional advice on how to correct any fatal flaws you might be making.
- Ongoing support: Some trading schools can offer continued support or allow you to revisit key lessons to continue your education in the futures trading market and learn new developments — particularly in technology.
The Best Futures Trading Courses
Here are Benzinga’s top choices for online futures trading courses. You’ll see beginner through advanced classes on many of these sites, so you must decide which one is best for you.
Are you looking for a course that has more interaction with a professional futures trader? If so, you might pay more because you’ll pay for a professional’s expertise and time. Maybe you’re simply looking for a course that can teach you the basics through videos. In that case, there are many cheaper (or free!) options.
Here are the following best futures trading courses:
- Khan Academy
- Linkedin Learning (Lynda.com)
- TRADEPRO Academy
- Online Trading Academy
- The Stock Whisperer
We’ve split them up into 3 categories: best futures trading courses for beginners, best overall futures trading course and best advanced futures trading courses. Each category is then split by the lowest price point, medium price point and the highest price point.
Best Futures Trading Courses for Beginners
These beginning trading courses teach the basic rules and terminology of futures trading and help you understand the market better.
Udemy is a low-risk way to try out futures trading — some classes like the Futures Trading Ninja: DIY Futures Trading Course are perfect for beginners. Most of the courses are between 5 – 20 hours, and you can try out several for a relatively low price of $11.99 per class. You won’t get any feedback on your trading skills, but it is an inexpensive way to understand how futures trading works.
2. CME Group
To be a successful futures trader, you have to start from the beginning. CME Group teaches a Learn To Trade Futures, a course that shows how contracts work, incorporates expiration dates and how to trade in tick increments. The best part? CME Group is 100% free, and you can revisit it as many times as you like. However, because it’s free, it won’t have as many strategies or tips that other courses on this list might have. This course is a great place to get your feet wet, but consider expanding your knowledge with a paid course.
3. Simpler Trading
Simpler Trading offers a crash-course on futures trading. For $97, the Quick Start to Futures is a good way to jumpstart your futures trading career. This is only an hour-long course, so it’s a good way for you to learn whether futures trading is right for you.
Best Futures Trading Courses for Intermediate Futures Traders
It’s easy to make mistakes as you hone your trading strategy. These futures trading courses for intermediate futures traders help you define your goals and understand your willingness to take risks.
1. Online Trading Academy
Online Trading Academy is one of the most extensive sources of information for day trading. You can take a set of core courses that will teach you everything from the basics to more advanced topics for about $2,000. You can take in-person classes at the Online Trading Academy in Brooklyn if you live in the New York City metropolitan area. During these in-person lessons, you get a taste of what live futures trading might offer and can learn about various support tools. Online Trading Academy is a good option for both beginners and more advanced learners.
2. Jake Bernstein
Jake Bernstein offers a wide variety of resources and classes that take the guesswork out of trading futures. You can find audio tapes led by experts, and you can watch it anytime on your computer or phone. These classes help to teach you the basics of futures trading and more advanced classes are available as your skills grow.
3. TRADEPRO Academy
TRADEPRO Academy is a good place for intermediate traders to create a trading plan based on your goals. You can get free advice to better understand what works and what doesn’t work in the marketplace. It has 3 different educational packages available, depending on your skill level. The packages vary in price, from $129 a month to $219 a month, and teach futures trading and trading psychology. This course even grants you access to a live trading room.
Best Advanced Futures Trading Courses
Advanced futures trading courses help you grow your account rapidly and make consistent income. These types of courses are perfect if you want trading experience, tips and insights.
1. The Stock Whisperer
For those who already know the basics, this is a chance to see a professional work in real time. Stefanie Kammerman allows people to watch her trade futures live. For just $9.95 for the first month and $69.95 per month after that, you can learn from Kammerman and the other futures brokers in her office. She also sends out weekly videos with a recap of her hottest trades.
Marketfy is a great resource for traders who’d like to gain financial insights from some of the best experts in the world. You can take advantage of what Marketfy has to offer if you already have a solid grasp of futures trading. You can watch a real trader and see what works and what doesn’t. The prices vary from $40 – $100 a month.
Tradenet has many popular trading courses and several levels, depending on your current trading knowledge and skill set. The most advanced course costs $9,000, but it comes with a variety of tools to help you advance your futures trading career. It also grants you access to a mentorship program for the first 3 months so you can learn from your mistakes and improve as the course continues. You can apply for a $240,000 funded traded account if you join this program. You will receive 85% of the net profits that you make with a drawdown of $12,000.
Put Your Skills to the Test
Make sure you choose your futures trading course wisely. Before you sign up, read all the reviews. Let’s say one person writes a bad review because he lost a lot of money from futures trading — it doesn’t necessarily mean that the course itself was bad. It could mean that the student didn’t put into practice what he learned. Take the time to read the description of a particular course to see what you might expect from your futures trading course.
If you do decide that you want to take one of these futures trading courses, make sure that you take full advantage of the opportunity — engage yourself and learn as much as possible.
Interested in more information about trading futures, check out how to trade futures.