What do Credit Counselors Do?
Credit counselors educate and advise individuals on managing and reducing debt. This debt is accumulated through a variety of mediums: personal loans, credit cards, medical bills, etc. If an individual is in the market for a loan, a credit counselor can help him or her select the best one based on that individuals personal needs and finances. If someone wishes to reduce or eliminate a significant portion of their debt, the counselor can assist that person with crafting a plan to do so. Many counselors also assist with creating budgets and helping clients to avoid bankruptcy.
Credit Counselors Skills and Abilities
Credit counselors must be financially savvy and have an affinity for numbers and finance. The ideal counselor should have wonderful communication and interpersonal skills, since you will be charged with counseling others. These skills are especially important when dealing with clients facing overwhelming financial difficulties. This particular line of work also requires the ability to think creatively and critically when drafting plans for clients. If you enjoy working with numbers and helping people escape debt, this is certainly a career to consider.
Credit Counselors Duties
The primary role of a credit counselor is to review various pieces of information and assess a clients overall financial health. Counselors do this by reviewing documents such as receipts, statements, and credit reports in other to gain a clearer picture of a clients debts and assets. After reviewing the necessary information, the counselor assists clients on drafting a tangible plan to fit their financial needs. Experienced counselors can help clients avoid financial ruin through education and prevention. Credit counselors may also perform the following functions:
- Disburse funds from clients to creditors
- Explain state and local financial laws and regulations
- Recommend investments
- Prepare financial documents
- Establish debt repayment schedules
- Approve and deny loans
Credit Counselors Tools and Technology
Credit counselors take advantage of a wide variety of financial planning and accounting software programs. Debtor Trace, LexisNexis, and Microsoft Access are a few of the more popular programs that counselors employ. They may also use programs that help evaluate loans and credit offers. Since financial software is so heavily utilized in this industry, you should feel comfortable operating a computer and accurately inputting numerical data. Other office equipment such as printers, fax machines, and scanners are also used regularly.
Education and Training for Credit Counselors
In order to become a credit counselor, a college degree is typically required. According to statistics, nearly 41% of credit counselors held a bachelors degree and almost 10% were in possession of a masters. Roughly a quarter had at least some college education. Many of these bachelor degrees were in finance and accounting. This is a relatively stable career for college-educated individuals looking to break into the credit management field.
Credit Counselors Salary
The median annual salary for a credit counselor is $42,100. The highest paid 10% earned over $72,000 while the lowest paid 10% earned roughly $29,000. The median salary for a credit counselor increased by nearly 1.2% over the last year, so wages are steadily rising in this industry. The highest paid counselors worked in the automotive dealership and financial investment industries.
Credit Counselors Jobs by Geography
As with any job, the salary and career prospects for counselors vary from region to region. Utah, Rhode Island, and Florida had the highest concentration of credit counselors in respect to the general population. Counselors in Massachusetts earned the highest salaries in the country. The San Diego-Carlsbad-San Marcos, CA area was the highest paying metro area in the nation. There was a 21% growth in employment for counselors over the last year, so plenty of jobs are available. This massive spike in growth is believed to be caused by societys increasing reliance on credit cards and loans, which in turn creates more debt.