career-counselor
How to Become a

Credit Counselor

The complete career guide to be a Credit Counselor: salary, job growth, employers, best schools, and education you may need to get started.

Why We Love It

  • $49,310
    Potential Avg. Salary
  • 15.3%
    Job Growth Rate
  • Growing Demand
    Job Outlook
  • Deal Making
    Career Attribute

Credit counselors coach individuals to overcome debt and make smart financial decisions. Often, credit counselors work with individuals who are deep in debt and considering bankruptcy. Credit counselors provide advice to these individuals and work with their creditors to form plans for paying off loans.


What is a Credit Counselor?

The following job responsibilities are common for individuals in credit counselor roles:

  • Review client income, debts, and expenses in order to assess his/her financial situation, provide guidance, and form a plan for eliminating debt
  • Work with client to prioritize debts in a way that allows for higher interest loans to be paid off more quickly than lower interest loans
  • Work with client creditors to negotiate an agreed-upon plan for clients to pay off outstanding debts
  • Recommend alternate solutions to bankruptcy or foreclosure that may include consolidation loans, acquisition of a second or higher-paying job, or the selling of unnecessary assets
  • Educate clients on financial topics, evaluate potential loans to form recommendations, and review client credit reports for mistakes and inaccuracies

A Day in the Life

Most credit counselors work for either private or nonprofit agencies that provide debt counseling to individuals, businesses, or both. Credit counselors spend their time reviewing client debts in order to find alternate solutions to bankruptcy, foreclosure, or reposition of assets. They review a client’s income, debts, and assets in order to prioritize repayment of debts, form plans to avoid collections, repossessions, and foreclosures, and guide clients on a path to debt relief.

Credit counselors work with clients and their creditors to form repayment plans that are suitable for both parties. In some cases, their role is to encourage clients to find second jobs or sell off assets to pay down debts more quickly. In other cases, their role is to convince creditors to accept lower payments for a period of time in order to continue being paid and avoid taking a total loss if the client is forced to file bankruptcy. For this reason, negotiation skills are critical for individuals in credit counseling roles.

Beyond counseling indebted individuals, credit counselors may also help individuals form plans for building or repairing credit, or they may advise clients on financial matters. For example, if a client is considering purchasing a car, they may consult with their credit counselor to determine if taking out a loan is advisable, to form a plan for building credit prior to loan application, or to identify the best financing terms from a variety of loans offered.

Typical Work Schedule

Credit counselors typically work traditional 9-5, Monday-Friday schedules and have major holidays off.

Projected Job Growth

Due to more stringent federal requirements for banks and other financial lending institutions, it’s expected that there will be a higher than average demand for credit counselors in the coming decade.

Career Progression

  • Early Career: Credit Counselor
  • Mid-Career: Credit Manager
  • Late Career: Finance Director

Typical Employers

Financial institutions commonly employ credit counselors, so jobs are often available through banks, credit unions, and other loan providers. Additionally, private and nonprofit credit consulting agencies that provide credit counseling and debt relief services to clients commonly hire credit counselors.


How To Become a Credit Counselor

Different organizations will have different requirements for the amount of education needed to be hired as a credit counselor. In some cases, a high school diploma, relevant experience, and a credit counseling certification may be sufficient for securing employment. A credit counseling certification teaches you about concepts specific to credit, debt, and loans that are critical for success as a credit counselor.

However, the role of a credit counselor requires skills beyond simple knowledge of credit, debt, and loan concepts. Credit counselors must be proficient in math, must have exceptional people skills, and must be skilled in negotiation in order to succeed in their roles. In many cases, earning a bachelor’s degree in addition to a credit counseling certification can assist you in developing these other needed skills.

Some credit counselors pursue degrees in finance or accounting in order to develop knowledge and skills in math. Others pursue degrees in social work or psychology to learn how to deal with people and negotiate. Being in debt is stressful for clients, and emotions often run high when working with a credit counselor. It helps in these situations to have a firm understanding of personalities and emotions in order to succeed in helping clients and to convince their creditors to accept alternative payment plans.


Credit Counselor Salary Data

We’ve provided you the following to learn more about this career. The salary and growth data on this page comes from recently published Bureau of Labor Statistics data while the recommendations and editorial content are based on our research.

National Anual Salary

Low Range

$35,610

Average

$49,310

High Range

$74,500

National Hourly Wage

Low Range

$17/hr

Average

$24/hr

High Range

$36/hr

How do Credit Counselor salaries stack up to other jobs across the country? Based on the latest jobs data nationwide, Credit Counselor's can make an average annual salary of $49,310, or $24 per hour. This makes it an Above Average Salary. On the lower end, they can make $35,610 or $17 per hour, perhaps when just starting out or based on the state you live in.

Salary Rankings And Facts

  • #399 Nationally for All Careers


Highest Education Among Credit Counselors

  • 1.1%   Doctorate
  • 9.7%   Masters
  • 41.4%   Bachelors
  • 9.5%   Associates
  • 24.3%   College
  • 13.3%   High School
  • 0.6%   Less than High School

Job Growth Projections and Forecast

2014 Total Jobs

32,600

2024 Est. Jobs

37,600

Job Growth Rate

15.3%

Est. New Jobs

5,000

How does Credit Counselor job growth stack up to other jobs across the country? By 2024, there will be a change of 5,000 jobs for a total of 37,600 people employed in the career nationwide. This is a 15.3% change in growth over the next ten years, giving the career a growth rate nationwide of Below Average.

Growth Rankings And Facts

  • #99 Nationally for All Careers


What Companies Employ The Most Credit Counselors

Industry Current Jobs New Jobs Needed % Increase
Colleges, universities, and professional schools; private 6,000 800 1%
Depository credit intermediation 3,100 200 0%
Other nondepository credit intermediation, including real estate credit and consumer lending 2,000 200 0%

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