5 Steps to Become a Certified Credit Counselor
Certified credit counselors help families manage their financial obligations and reduce their debt. This can increase their financial security and opportunities. Counselors can help individuals understand their financial situation and provide feedback. This is a rewarding career if you are a good listener and understand money management. This article will discuss the qualifications required to be a certified credit counselor, how they are trained and what it takes to become one.
What does it mean to be a certified credit counselor?
A certified credit counselor can be described as a financial professional who uses their knowledge about credit and debt to help people who are in financial trouble. They help people achieve financial security and reduce their personal debt. While they may be employed by a non-profit or financial company, sometimes they work for hospitals, colleges, and banks that manage many people’s loans.
A certified credit counselor is familiar with many situations and challenges people may face, such as credit card debt, housing, student loans, and bankruptcy. They are skilled in money management, and have a good understanding of ethics and diversity to help families.
What is a certified credit counselor?
A certified credit counselor can provide professional advice via in-person counseling, or over the phone. The counselors establish a rapport with the client and lead a conversation in three parts.
Interview: A credit counselor interview the client to get information about their financial situation.
Budget: The credit counselor will review any budgets that the client might have in place to manage their finances. If the client doesn’t have a budget, they can help them create one.
Advice: Based on your interview and budgeting process, the credit counselor will offer professional advice on managing and reducing debt.
How to become a certified credit counselor
The certification course for certified credit counselors usually takes less than one year. This can be a great career path if your college degree is not required and you are looking for a more specialized job that does not require additional education. These are the steps required to become a certified credit counsellor.
- Finish your bachelor’s degree
You can earn a bachelor’s degree that focuses on finance or social skills to help you become a credit counselor. You might consider majoring in counseling, psychology, or social work. These types of majors will help you to develop the social skills necessary to help clients effectively.
- Gain experience
Think about where you would like to work. If you are looking for a job in customer service, or working with families with low incomes, it may be a good idea to consider options. You can use your experience to improve your interpersonal communication skills as well as gain an understanding of the financial difficulties people face.
- Earn a certification
You can find the right certification by doing some research on your area or reaching out to potential employers to see what they need. This step will help you determine the best path forward. Some employers will hire people without certifications, and then pay them to complete it.
There are three widely accepted certifications offered by the National Foundation for Credit Counseling, National Association of Certified Credit Counselors and Financial Counseling Association of America. The National Association of Certified Credit Counselors requires that you complete an online course and take a multiple-choice exam. The course can be completed in one year.
You can renew your certification once you have it. Continue education is a great way to keep your certification current and up-to-date.
- Locate a credit counseling agency that is legitimate
You can find credit counseling agencies or organizations that have been accredited by the International Organization for Standardization and Council on Accreditation if you are looking for a job at a legitimate financial institution. Accreditation ensures that the organization provides quality assistance and is honest. A bank, hospital, or credit company can also be a place where you will help to negotiate terms for people with significant debt.
Credit counseling jobs are not often posted publicly. It may be worth contacting credit counseling agencies directly. Send them your resume and a cover note explaining why you are interested. They may retain your information for future opportunities, regardless of whether they have an opening.
- Look into specialization and more certification
You may be interested in specialized areas such as student loans, housing, and retirement to help you with your financial problems. If you are looking to change your career or gain valuable experience in a different field, these may be a great way to get credit counseling expertise.
The average salary for a certified credit counselor
The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that the average salary for certified credit counselors in the United States is $50,230 per year. Pay is heavily dependent on the industry. Jobs at car dealerships or grant services often pay more than those with non-profits. Your location may affect your pay.
The skills required to become a certified credit counselor
Credit counselors should be able to communicate effectively with clients and manage their finances. These are the essential skills that a credit counselor should have:
Interpersonal skills Counselors build relationships with their clients. They need to have strong interpersonal skills as well as an understanding of how to keep professional counseling relationships ethical.
Communication: Financial agreements can be complex, so it is important that a credit counselor understands how to communicate complex ideas clearly.
Empathy Credit counselors can help people in difficult situations.
Math: Credit counselors need to be able to use fast and accurate math skills in order to determine the best ways of reducing debt and managing a financial budget.
Teaching: Credit counsellors teach others about good financial management principles, from how to manage a budget to details of loans or mortgages.
Money management: Credit counselors need to know how to implement good financial strategies in their own lives.
As a certified credit counselor, you can help with advising
Although there are no clear paths to a higher position as a credit counselor, your skills could help you get more opportunities. You might consider becoming a financial manager or financial advisor if you enjoy the financial aspects associated with being a certified credit counsellor. A career in banking, or customer advocacy for credit companies could be an option.
As a psychologist or social worker, your counseling skills could be a benefit. You might even consider a career as a financial educator. This could be teaching financial literacy classes, or creating educational materials that help people understand how to keep their finances in good shape.
Similar jobs to a certified credit counselor
To start a rewarding career, you can choose from a variety of credit and debt counseling jobs. These are just a few of the options you should consider when looking for a job.
- Case manager
- Collections Compliance Specialist
- Budget analyst
- Financial health counselor
- Financial planner
- Housing counsel
- Finance instructor
- Credit analyst
- Debt counsel
- Loan officer