A credit counselor is a person who helps others learn how to manage their finances and make responsible and intelligent decisions with money. They usually have clients who are already experiencing financial difficulties. Oftentimes, the individuals who are being counseled have gotten into so much debt that they are having trouble making the minimum monthly payments. They come to a credit counselor for guidance on what their options are and how to choose the best course of action. Other clients may have a smaller amount of debt and want to know the best way to pay it off quickly.
One of the jobs of a credit counselor is to provide people with a clear list of steps to take that will reduce or eliminate debt. They may set up a specific monthly budget, analyze income versus expense amounts, and provide assistance for dealing with creditors and collection agencies. They sometimes make calls to creditors on behalf of the client and try to negotiate better terms of repayment. Another task of credit counselors is to teach people how to avoid getting back into the same financial situation in the future. They might suggest using a certain debt consolidation program to reduce monthly payments. They show how paying off debts quickly can save an individual a lot of money in interest charges.
In order to provide clients with good and accurate information, a credit counselor needs to be an expert in the subjects of personal finance, collection agencies, consumer rights, and related laws. They should enjoy working with people. The ability to listen and wisely counsel is also very important. Many employers look for job candidates who have a bachelorís degree, but some people have become credit counselors with only a high school diploma and related experience or knowledge.
The National Foundation for Credit Counseling offers a training and certification program. Becoming licensed can be well worth the effort when looking for a good job. In order to become a credit counselor, good college degree fields to choose include business, education, economics, or another social or behavioral science. Individuals who don't want to get a bachelor's degree should consider taking some basic college courses to get an introduction to economics, accounting, and counseling. Most companies also provide credit counselors with additional training after they're hired.
Credit counseling is a growing field in the United States and many other countries. There is a great need for these professionals as an increasing number of people are taking on more debt than they can handle and finding themselves in dire financial situations. It is expected that this unfortunate trend of overspending will result in many more job positions for credit counselors in the coming years. There are many companies that have trouble meeting their needs for qualified credit counselors. With additional experience or education, people in this field can move from handling general credit problems to counseling clients about more complex situations like bankruptcies and bad mortgages.
Many types of companies and organizations hire credit counselors. Employers include everything from non-profit organizations and churches to major credit counseling associations. Beware of companies that seem willing to hire anyone as a credit counselor, whether or not they have a license, education, or experience. In this field, working for a place with a bad reputation can hurt one's chances of finding better employment in the future.