Those looking to become a credit counselor will need the proper mix of education, training, and ability to be successful in the field. Minimum education requirements and certification are among the typical requirements to become a credit counselor. In addition, analytical ability and good communication skills are also necessary.
Credit counselors help clients regain control of their finances. They typically meet with clients in an office setting and help clients set a budget and get spending under control. Those wishing to become a credit counselor should demonstrate an ability to discuss personal finances and maintain strict confidentiality standards set by the industry.
The knowledge necessary to work as a credit counselor will require candidates to obtain a minimum level of education. This can be achieved by obtaining a high school diploma or equivalent. Success in classes focused on mathematics and business can be a good predictor of success as a credit counselor. Some employers will require that candidates have at minimum an associate’s or bachelor’s degree in finance or a related field, such as economics or business administration.
Various agencies offer training for credit counselors. Training will include education in financial planning and credit management basics. It will also provide students with training related to consumer rights and handling collection agencies. When training concludes, candidates will often take a written examination in order to gain certification as a credit counselor. Employers will often provide opportunities for continuing education once hired.
In addition to the knowledge and skills gained through education and certification, those looking to become a credit counselor should also have an ability to analyze a large amount of information. This analytical ability helps credit counselors analyze a client’s budget and make recommendations to help them get their finances in order. Analytical skills can also help credit counselors prioritize and organize important steps in the credit counseling process.
Since credit counselors interact directly with clients, those hoping to become a credit counselor should have excellent communication skills. Communication skills will enable a credit counselor to actively listen to the client’s needs and wishes and then discuss possible strategies to meet those goals. Credit counselors also need to be able to provide a coherent plan for the average consumer in order to help them succeed in managing finances and debt in the future. Other characteristics credit counselors often have are an outgoing personality and an ability to work with a wide range of people in various circumstances.