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In order to become a trust officer, a minimum of a bachelor's degree in a business or finance-related subject area should be pursued. Obtaining a Masters in Business Administration (MBA) is also advisable for those looking to work in the profession. Individuals who would like to work as a trust officer should also consider applying for an internship to work under a senior trust officer. Trust administration is complex, and on-the-job training is a reliable method to gain real practical experience managing trust accounts. Internships are often unpaid but can provide valuable exposure to the career.
A trust officer works for a trust company, bank, or money management firm that offers trust services. He or she manages and administers trust accounts to ensure that the administration of the accounts is in compliance with current laws. Having a well-rounded education in business, economics, or finance is vital to working in the financial services industry and maybe even more so to become a trust officer. Obtaining a degree that has introduced the process of trust accounting will be helpful in understanding this job. It is possible to get a job as a trust officer with a non-business or math-focused degree, but the employment outlook is more favorable for those who have an undergraduate degree in more relevant subjects.
In addition to the administration of trust accounts, most employers require trust officers to conduct sales. If this is the case, the trust officer will usually have sales goals to meet and will be responsible for bringing business into the bank or firm; experience selling would be helpful for anyone who would like to become a trust officer. Trust officers also often serve as financial advisors and assist clients with financial and estate planning. The duties and responsibilities may vary with the institution, so those who would like to work in trust account services should have exposure to a variety of finance-related topics. Having a healthy understanding of the probate process is also useful.
Although a license is not required to become a trust officer, some individuals pursue certification in trust and financial advisement. Certifications can bring about prestige for trust officers because obtaining them often requires the passage of a comprehensive exam that assesses trust knowledge. Certified individuals typically maintain their certification by attending continuing education classes that cover current trust topics. Not all certifications are created equal; be sure to do research on the certifying agency before paying for certification courses or exams.
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