Credit managers work within banks, financial organizations or other companies to collect payments from customers and clients. While it is possible to get a job as a credit specialist or credit manager with just an associate's degree in the field, many employers prefer to hire those candidates who have a bachelor's degree. A bachelor's or even a graduate degree in business management or business administration often offers courses in credit management that can prepare graduates for the career. These programs include Bachelor of Science in Finance, Bachelor of Science in Financial Management, Master of Science in Finance and Master of Science in Economics. Completion of most of these programs requires the completion of an internship. A high school diploma or its equivalent is required for entry into an associate's or bachelor's program, and a bachelor's degree is required for entry into a master's program.
Associate's Degree in Credit Management
An associate's degree program in credit management can assist a student in developing leadership skills. As a result of the program, students may also gain knowledge of how the credit industry is affected by current economic policies. Programs might require that students complete internship experiences, which can teach students to perform a variety of tasks relevant to credit management, such as conducting credit investigation, processing credit applications and analyzing financial statements.
Curriculum for this two-year program often includes introductory coursework in a number of subject areas applicable to the field of credit management, such as communications or business. Coursework specific to credit management may include topics such as:
- Selling practices
- Credit law
- Business credit
- Money management
- Consumer credit
- Corrections methods
Bachelor's Degree in Business Management
Aspiring credit managers might benefit from acquiring core business skills and a foundational knowledge of business management from a four-year degree program. In addition, students might emerge from the program demonstrating an understanding of capital risk, and are able to use financial knowledge to make successful business decisions and execute contract agreements. Students may also be exposed to real-world business problems through case studies so that they can develop skills applicable to current challenges in the business world. Course topics applicable to the aspiring credit manager might include:
- Quantitative analysis for business
- Business law
- Leadership and motivation
- Financial accounting
- Applying quantitative methods
Master's Degree in Finance or Business Administration
Credit managers who would like to enhance their education at the master's degree level can pursue a two-year business degree program with a focus in financial management. Program options might include a Master of Science in Finance or a Master of Business Administration (MBA) with a concentration in finance. Through a master's degree program in finance or business administration, a student might have the opportunity to develop an understanding of current financial markets or to gain a strong background in financial economics. Students may find that learned techniques in probability, statistics and computer science will assist them in the future credit management career. Generally, students also have an opportunity to select a number of elective courses, which allow students the ability to choose which courses are most fitting to a future career in credit management. Course topics applicable to credit management might include:
- Financial markets, institution and money
- Corporate finance, governance and banking
- Cases in financial risk management
- Ethics and financial markets
- Statistical data analysis
Popular Career Options
Generally, an associate's degree program in credit management prepares students for entry-level employment. Entry-level career options may include:
- Assistant credit manager
- Credit specialist
- Collection specialist
- Personal banker
- Loan officer
A master's degree program with a focus in finance may prepare students for management or leadership positions within the finance field. More specifically, the program might prepare a student for a career as a credit manager. Other areas related to credit management might include:
- Risk management
- Asset management
- Financial forecasting
Employment Outlook and Salary Info
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the median salary for financial managers, which includes credit managers, was $127,990, as reported in 2018 (www.bls.gov). The BLS also expected employment opportunities for financial managers to increase by 16% from 2018 to 2028.
Continuing Education Information
Students aspiring to be a credit manager might consider professional certification. The National Association of Credit Management (NACM) offers certification through the successful completion of an exam.
Students wishing to advance their education beyond the master's degree level might consider a Ph.D. program in a related field. A Ph.D. program might focus on business management or finance. This could lead to careers in research, consultation or academia in related fields.
Degree options for aspiring credit managers range from the associate's degree to the master's degree level. Many employers prefer applicants possessing a bachelor's or master's degree in a related financial field.