Securities Licensing


To qualify and register as securities professionals, individuals must pass two FINRA exams:

  • Securities Industry Essentials exam (SIE or Essentials exam)
  • Specialized knowledge exam (SKE) commonly called “top-off” exam

The SIE is an entry-level FINRA exam testing a range of securities industry fundamentals. Broker-dealer sponsorship is not required to take the SIE; anyone aged 18 or older may do so. This allows anyone looking to enter the securities industry to pass the exam, demonstrating sincerity and basic industry knowledge on their resume. However, passing the SIE alone does not qualify a candidate to register with FINRA or perform securities business.

Each candidate must also pass a corequisite Specialized Knowledge Exam (SKE), commonly referred to as a top-off exam which is specific to the candidate’s career path. Top-off exams include the Series 6 and Series 7. They test specific job functions required by a chosen career path and candidates must be sponsored by a FINRA-registered broker-dealer to take these exams.

Though the SIE and top-off exams may be taken in either order, we strongly encourage taking the SIE first, since the top-offs assume basic knowledge tested in the SIE.


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