An understanding of the industry hierarchy is in order.
To be considered by a bank as candidate for the trading program - yes, you’ll need a bachelor’s from a reputable university. Better to have also interned with them. You enter the program as a trainee and then to junior then senior and so on. The better traders go into the hedge funds where it’s more lucrative. Most of the work is client orders and then anything beyond that is where the real bonus money is made. The trainee program is cutthroat and rigorous. Most don’t make it. It’s an advantage to be in the system, it does has an edge. If you become a capable trader and have enough capital it can be better on your own after some years trading a bank desk.
There’s also the prop trading route. Firms like Susquehanna do take young candidates out of school. Ultimately, many of the top prop shops don’t require a degree. What matters is your experience and are you profitable. Your trailing 24 should be strong. There’s also a echelon of different proprietary trading firms. You can literally walk in the door and ask for an interview if you have the right stuff. Prop shops are just as cutthroat, but a little less rigid.
It’s good to have a strong grasp of writing code. A lot of automated quant shops.
I used to be a licensed, associated person with the NFA and then some.