With the credit-based currency system becoming highly popular in our culture, the need for credit counselors is increasingly gaining recognition. Many people resort to credit facilities to meet their demands and needs, especially when their monthly income is not sufficient to look after them. As such, they seek a certified credit counselor for assistance to help them out. The more easy availability of credit, the more is the demand for credit counselors. After consumers and businesses state their problem to a credit counselor, it is his duty to figure out the reason and cause for financial troubles and find a solution. While the job isn’t as easy as you can think of, becoming a credit counselor, nevertheless, helps you get satisfying salaries if you have appropriate skills for the same. The more qualified and experienced you are in the field, the higher are the potentials of your good earnings.
Becoming A Credit Counselor
Since credit counselors provide financial assistance and guidance to clients and customers, you need to pursue at least an undergraduate degree, preferably in accounting, finance, or business. Alternatively, you can undertake an associate degree in business or finance. You need to have a thorough understanding of financial matters since you will be meeting clients stating numerous problems and circumstances to meet their financial needs. As such, you should have a comprehensive know-how about dealing with a multitude of financial troubles. If you have an experience of working in a bank, other financial services agency, counseling environment, human resources, or education counseling, or have performed peer counseling in college, it will be an added advantage for you to easily absorb the basics of convincing skills required to become a credit counselor.
Take up courses in personal finance, microeconomics, accounting, and banking practices to get all the background knowledge required to deal with clients and understand their issues. Find universities that offer certification programs to help with your financial training. You can also pass a certification examination from a professional credit association. Though certification is not necessary for becoming a credit counselor, most employers and prospective clients, today, prefer certified professionals, thanks to the rising number of phony credit couselors. Plus with certification, your clients will be more comfortable while trusting you with their finances.
Apart from being a financial analyst, a credit counselor is an advisor who is required to provide the right kind of guidance to his clients, thereby helping them with their issues that can at times be very emotional and sensitive also. Since the clients are surrounded with so much debt and have no idea about how to pay them, a credit counselor should be capable of handling these issues and make them comfortable while conversing with them. A general understanding of consumer-protection laws and credit-lending laws will be an added advantage to identify different debt-settlement options so that you can accordingly negotiate with credit card companies. Correct math skills are also essential for evaluating the client’s financial needs using which you have to prepare a debt-management plan (DMP) that will help the client to pay off his/her debts. Besides, excellent communication skills are highly significant as a credit counselor works over the phone, in person, and online.
Roles & Responsibilities
Firstly, a credit counselor has to research his client’s financial history and current debt-to-income ratio. Thereafter, he has to create a plan so that his client can pay off the delinquent accounts first. For doing this, he has to talk and negotiate with creditors, such as credit card companies, mortgage companies, third-party bill collectors. In return, the creditor will offer a better pay-off term to his debtor who has a credit counselor to handle with the debts. Accordingly, he has to draft a plan so that the debts are cleared in a specific period of time. Further, on clearing of all debts, a credit counselor has to make sure that his client does not accumulate sufficient debts that cannot be repaid, thereby facing the same consequences all over again. After preparing a DMP to repay the debts, he is even required to ensure that the payment is made on time without any delays. Further, he should see that the debts are paid at a lower interest rate with no additional fees. He is responsible for providing services, like money management, debt management, consumer education, and housing issues. He has to deal with people from different backgrounds and explain complicated terms to them via phone, online, or in person.
With the increase in credit facilities for consumers and businesses, the demand for credit counselors is likely to increase drastically in the coming years. Every consumer opting for credit will require a credit counselor to handle his finances and debts. Career progression largely depends upon experience and location, in particular. Say for example, Americans lead their lives on credit and end up making payments only on interest. In such cases, if this trend continues, then there are good prospects for credit counselors to make their career and help such people with their financial problems. With experience, a credit counselor can be promoted to supervisory or management positions, like credit manager or director of a consumer credit counseling agency. If a credit counselor is able to exhibit fluency in many languages and develop a rapport amongst his clients, then he has better chances of receiving good promotion.
With many people and organizations opting for credit to fulfill their needs and requirements, the demand for credit counselors only seems to be increasing, particularly in the next five years considering the present scenario. Pick up credit counseling as your career and see how you can manage others’ lives apart from establishing your own future as well.