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Career profile Credit Counselor

Also known as Accredited Financial Counselor, Certified Consumer Credit and Housing Counselor, Certified Credit and Housing Counselor, Certified Credit Consultant, Certified Credit Counselor, Credit Counselor, Financial Health Counselor, Housing Counselor, Personal Finance Counselor

Credit Counselor

Also known as Accredited Financial Counselor, Certified Consumer Credit and Housing Counselor, Certified Credit and Housing Counselor

Interests Profile
  • Social
  • Enterprising
  • Conventional
Pay Range
$32,160 - $74,410 (annual)
Required Skills
  • Speaking
  • Reading Comprehension
  • Active Listening
Knowledge Areas
  • Customer and Personal Service
  • Mathematics
  • Administrative
Core tasks
  • Calculate clients' available monthly income to meet debt obligations.
  • Explain services or policies to clients, such as debt management program rules, advantages and disadvantages of using services, or creditor concession policies.
  • Create debt management plans, spending plans, or budgets to assist clients to meet financial goals.
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What does a Credit Counselor do?

Credit Counselors advise and educate individuals or organizations on acquiring and managing debt.

In addition, Credit Counselors

  • may provide guidance in determining the best type of loan and explain loan requirements or restrictions,
  • may help develop debt management plans or student financial aid packages,
  • may advise on credit issues, or provide budget, mortgage, bankruptcy, or student financial aid counseling.

What kind of tasks does a Credit Counselor perform regularly?

Credit Counselors are often responsible for overseeing or executing some or all of the following tasks:

  • Calculate clients' available monthly income to meet debt obligations.
  • Explain services or policies to clients, such as debt management program rules, advantages and disadvantages of using services, or creditor concession policies.
  • Create debt management plans, spending plans, or budgets to assist clients to meet financial goals.
  • Prioritize client debt repayment to avoid dire consequences, such as bankruptcy or foreclosure or to reduce overall costs, such as by paying high-interest or short-term loans first.
  • Assess clients' overall financial situations by reviewing income, assets, debts, expenses, credit reports, or other financial information.
  • Recommend strategies for clients to meet their financial goals, such as borrowing money through loans or loan programs, declaring bankruptcy, making budget adjustments, or enrolling in debt management plans.
  • Explain general financial topics to clients, such as credit report ratings, bankruptcy laws, consumer protection laws, wage attachments, or collection actions.
  • Interview clients by telephone or in person to gather financial information.
  • Estimate time for debt repayment, given amount of debt, interest rates, and available funds.
  • Prepare written documents to establish contracts with or communicate financial recommendations to clients.
  • Maintain or update records of client account activity, including financial transactions, counseling session notes, correspondence, document images, or client inquiries.
  • Negotiate with creditors on behalf of clients to arrange for payment adjustments, interest rate reductions, time extensions, or payment plans.
  • Advise clients on housing matters, such as housing rental, homeownership, mortgage delinquency, or foreclosure prevention.
  • Advise clients or respond to inquiries about financial matters in person or via phone, email, Web site, or Internet chat.
  • Create action plans to assist clients in obtaining permanent housing via rent or mortgage programs.
  • Review changes to financial, family, or employment situations to determine whether changes to existing debt management plans, spending plans, or budgets are needed.
  • Recommend educational materials or resources to clients on matters, such as financial planning, budgeting, or credit.
  • Refer clients to social service or community resources for needs beyond those of credit or debt counseling.
  • Explain loan information to clients, such as available loan types, eligibility requirements, or loan restrictions.
  • Teach courses or seminars on topics, such as budgeting, management of personal finances, or financial literacy.
  • Conduct research to help clients avoid repossessions or foreclosures or remove levies or wage garnishments.

The above responsibilities are specific to Credit Counselors. More generally, Credit Counselors are involved in several broader types of activities:

Getting Information
Observing, receiving, and otherwise obtaining information from all relevant sources.
Working with Computers
Using computers and computer systems (including hardware and software) to program, write software, set up functions, enter data, or process information.
Documenting/Recording Information
Entering, transcribing, recording, storing, or maintaining information in written or electronic/magnetic form.
Making Decisions and Solving Problems
Analyzing information and evaluating results to choose the best solution and solve problems.
Updating and Using Relevant Knowledge
Keeping up-to-date technically and applying new knowledge to your job.

What is a Credit Counselor salary?

The median salary for a Credit Counselor is $46,170, and the average salary is $49,940. Both the median and average roughly describe the middle of the Credit Counselor salary range, but the average is more easily affected by extremely high or low salaries.

Many Credit Counselors earn significantly more or less than the average, due to several factors. About 10% of Credit Counselors earn less than $32,160 per year, 25% earn less than $37,640, 75% earn less than $57,220, and 90% earn less than $74,410.

Between the years of 2020 and 2030, the number of Credit Counselors is expected to change by 9.2%, and there should be roughly 3,000 open positions for Credit Counselors every year.

Median annual salary
$46,170
Typical salary range
$32,160 - $74,410
Projected growth (2020 - 2030)
9.2%

What personality traits are common among Credit Counselors?

Interests

Career interests describe a person's preferences for different types of working environments and activities. When a person's interest match the demands of an occupation, people are usually more engaged and satisfied in that role.

Compared to most occupations, those who work as a Credit Counselor are usually higher in their Social, Enterprising, and Conventional interests.

Credit Counselors typically have strong Social interests. Social occupations frequently involve working with, communicating with, and teaching people. These occupations often involve helping or providing service to others.

Also, Credit Counselors typically have strong Enterprising interests. Enterprising occupations frequently involve starting up and carrying out projects. These occupations can involve leading people and making many decisions. Sometimes they require risk taking and often deal with business.

Lastly, Credit Counselors typically have strong Conventional interests. Conventional occupations frequently involve following set procedures and routines. These occupations can include working with data and details more than with ideas. Usually there is a clear line of authority to follow.

Values

People differ in their values, or what is most important to them for building job satisfaction and fulfillment.

Compared to most people, those working as a Credit Counselor tend to value Relationships, Achievement, and Independence.

Most importantly, Credit Counselors strongly value Relationships. Occupations that satisfy this work value allow employees to provide service to others and work with co-workers in a friendly non-competitive environment.

Second, Credit Counselors strongly value Achievement. Occupations that satisfy this work value are results oriented and allow employees to use their strongest abilities, giving them a feeling of accomplishment.

Lastly, Credit Counselors strongly value Independence. Occupations that satisfy this work value allow employees to work on their own and make decisions.

Psychological Demands

Each occupation brings its own set of psychological demands, which describe the characteristics necessary to perform the job well.

In order to perform their job successfully, people who work as Credit Counselors must consistently demonstrate qualities such as integrity, dependability, and concern for others.

Below, you'll find a list of qualities typically required of Credit Counselors, ranked by importance:

Integrity
Job requires being honest and ethical.
Dependability
Job requires being reliable, responsible, and dependable, and fulfilling obligations.
Concern for Others
Job requires being sensitive to others' needs and feelings and being understanding and helpful on the job.
Attention to Detail
Job requires being careful about detail and thorough in completing work tasks.
Self-Control
Job requires maintaining composure, keeping emotions in check, controlling anger, and avoiding aggressive behavior, even in very difficult situations.

What education and training do Credit Counselors need?

Many Credit Counselors will have a four-year bachelor's degree, but some do not.

Credit Counselors usually need several years of work-related experience, on-the-job training, and/or vocational training.

Educational degrees among Credit Counselors

  • 0.9% did not complete high school or secondary school
  • 13.1% completed high school or secondary school
  • 21.7% completed some college coursework
  • 10.4% earned a Associate's degree
  • 42.3% earned a Bachelor's degree
  • 10.5% earned a Master's degree
  • 1.0% earned a doctorate or professional degree

Knowledge and expertise required by Credit Counselors

Credit Counselors may benefit from understanding of specialized subject areas, such as customer and personal service, mathematics, or administrative knowledge.

The list below shows several areas in which most Credit Counselors might want to build proficiency, ranked by importance.

Customer and Personal Service
Knowledge of principles and processes for providing customer and personal services. This includes customer needs assessment, meeting quality standards for services, and evaluation of customer satisfaction.
Mathematics
Knowledge of arithmetic, algebra, geometry, calculus, statistics, and their applications.
Administrative
Knowledge of administrative and office procedures and systems such as word processing, managing files and records, stenography and transcription, designing forms, and workplace terminology.
Education and Training
Knowledge of principles and methods for curriculum and training design, teaching and instruction for individuals and groups, and the measurement of training effects.
Economics and Accounting
Knowledge of economic and accounting principles and practices, the financial markets, banking, and the analysis and reporting of financial data.

Important Abilities needed by Credit Counselors

Credit Counselors must develop a particular set of abilities to perform their job well. Abilities are individual capacities that influence a person's information processing, sensory perception, motor coordination, and physical strength or endurance. Individuals may naturally have certain abilities without explicit training, but most abilities can be sharpened somewhat through practice.

For example, Credit Counselors need abilities such as oral expression, oral comprehension, and written comprehension in order to perform their job at a high level. The list below shows several important abilities for Credit Counselors, ranked by their relative importance.

Oral Expression
The ability to communicate information and ideas in speaking so others will understand.
Oral Comprehension
The ability to listen to and understand information and ideas presented through spoken words and sentences.
Written Comprehension
The ability to read and understand information and ideas presented in writing.
Written Expression
The ability to communicate information and ideas in writing so others will understand.
Problem Sensitivity
The ability to tell when something is wrong or is likely to go wrong. It does not involve solving the problem, only recognizing that there is a problem.

Critical Skills needed by Credit Counselors

Skills are developed capacities that enable people to function effectively in real-world settings. Unlike abilities, skills are typically easier to build through practice and experience. Skills influence effectiveness in areas such as learning, working with others, design, troubleshooting, and more.

Credit Counselors frequently use skills like speaking, reading comprehension, and active listening to perform their job effectively. The list below shows several critical skills for Credit Counselors, ranked by their relative importance.

Speaking
Talking to others to convey information effectively.
Reading Comprehension
Understanding written sentences and paragraphs in work-related documents.
Active Listening
Giving full attention to what other people are saying, taking time to understand the points being made, asking questions as appropriate, and not interrupting at inappropriate times.
Writing
Communicating effectively in writing as appropriate for the needs of the audience.
Critical Thinking
Using logic and reasoning to identify the strengths and weaknesses of alternative solutions, conclusions, or approaches to problems.

What is the source of this information?

The information provided on this page is adapted from data and descriptions published by the U.S. Department of Labor, Employment and Training Administration under the CC BY 4.0 license. TraitLab has modified some information for ease of use and reading, and the U.S. Department of Labor, Employment, and Training Administration has not approved, endorsed, or tested these modifications.

If you have any questions or suggestions about this information, please send a message.