Students in financial counseling certificate programs explore topics like personal finance applications, bankruptcy filing procedures and debt management strategies. They also learn about regulations regarding consumer credit protection and steps to improve credit scores. Graduates may consider pursuing certification in debt counseling.
Applicants should have a background in a related field. These programs in financial and debt counseling are open to students and working professionals from a variety of academic backgrounds. Many are intended for college graduates seeking to make a career change into personal financial planning and debt counseling. Others are geared toward professionals who are currently employed at a financial institution and are interested in improving their debt counseling skills.
Certificate Programs in Debt Counseling
Financial counseling certificate programs feature courses that introduce students to financial trends, while at the same time providing them with an advanced understanding of the nature of debt. Specific courses might include:
- Personal financial planning
- Consumers and debt
- Credit counseling
- Current economic trends
- Retirement planning
- Real estate and mortgages
Popular Career Options
While some debt counselors open their own practices to help individuals in financial distress, others work for financial institutions, nonprofit organizations, government agencies or corporations. Career options include:
- Loan officer
- Credit counselor
- Financial planner
- Debt management specialist
Employment Outlook and Salary Info
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reported that personal financial advisors should see employment growth of 30% between 2014 and 2024 (www.bls.gov). During that same interval, loan officers should see job openings increase by 8%. As of May 2015, the BLS reported that personal financial advisors earned a mean salary of $118,050, while loan officers made a mean of $75,170.
Certification is often recommended for debt and financial counselors as a way of providing quality assurance to their customers. In order to qualify for professional certification, counselors must pass a skills examination in debt counseling practices, uphold industry standards, maintain professional ethical standards and have verifiable experience in debt counseling.
Several organizations offer certification programs for this profession, including the National Association of Certified Credit Counselors and the Credit Union National Association. These organizations also might offer certification training programs that can take the place of financial counseling certificate programs.
Financial counseling certificate programs include courses in key topics, such as financial planning, property mortgages, consumer behavior and financial regulations. In addition to debt counseling, graduates may work as financial advisors or loan officers.