What is a Credit Counselor?

Starting a career as a credit counselor is financially and emotionally rewarding. With consumer debt levels rising and individual financial security dropping, credit counselors are needed more than ever. In this role, you will help consumers manage their spending and debt levels through compassionate, expert-level advice. You’ll enjoy a competitive salary and fun working environment as you make a difference in clients’ lives. No specific college degree is necessary for working as a credit counselor, but certain programs will give you the best preparation for your new role.

What Is Credit Counseling?

American families are struggling under huge debt loads. It’s hard for families to pay their mortgage, car loan, student loan payments and household bills every month, and it can seem impossible to find a way out of the financial bind, according to Slate. As a credit counselor, you can help Americans find financial freedom. Credit counselors work at non-profit organizations that help consumers manage money, build a budget and pay down loans. You will also work directly with lending institutions to consolidate your debts and negotiate lower interest rates.

How Can You Become a Credit Counselor?

Although there is no specific college degree for starting a career in credit counseling, certain majors can be helpful for this job. Because you’ll need a basic understanding of personal finance, studying in accounting, business or finance programs will be helpful. Coursework in psychology or human counseling can help you be a more effective communicator with clients. Many credit counselors work for universities, so a few classes in higher education administration or student engagement will boost your resume. You can choose to earn a bachelor’s degrees in one of the above subjects, minor in two or three of them or create an individualized degree program in credit counseling.

In addition to college courses, you’ll need the right experience to be a competitive candidate for credit counseling positions. See if your university offers a finance club or if you can become treasurer of a student organization. You can also look for part-time work as a bank teller, cashier or student counselor. Some credit counselors have full-time experience in finance or banking before switching to a counseling role. Overall, you should have a strong interest in personal finance and enjoy reading about debt management, counseling services and household budgeting.

How Much Do Credit Counselors Earn?

Because most credit counselors work for non-profit organizations, your total compensation package will include generous benefits. You can expect several weeks of unpaid time off, regular employee appreciation events and quality health insurance options. The average annual salary for credit counselors is $49,310 or $21.08 per hour, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. You can earn even more by working overtime hours or moving into a management position. Some credit counselors open their own consulting firms and work directly with clients. This is a great way to grow your income after a few years working for an established company.

Related Resource: What is a Loan Officer?

Credit counseling is a growing industry as consumers increasingly look for ways to get out of debt and experience less financial stress. If you love personal finance and helping people realize their full potential in life, a job as a credit counselor could be a great fit for you.