Bankruptcy counselors provide financial advice and create a personalized budget for bankruptcy candidates as well as explain possible options to avoid bankruptcy. Bankruptcy counseling is typically mandatory for people who are considering filing for bankruptcy. These counselors may also give clients a certificate that allows them to move to the next phase of filing.
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, credit counselors, who have several job duties and education requirements in common with bankruptcy counselors, are expected to see a faster-than-average increase in job opportunities of about 15% from 2014 to 2024.
|Degree Level||Bachelor's degree|
|Degree Field||Finance or related field|
|Experience||Varies; 1-3 years of financial experience common|
|Key Skills||Strong interpersonal and written and verbal communication skills; empathy; ability to multitask and ability to work both independently and within a team; familiarity with word processing software|
|Salary||$43,840 (2015 median salary for credit counselors)|
Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, (May, 2015)
Most employers require bankruptcy counselors to have a a bachelor's degree in finance or a related field. The experience requirements vary by job, but employers may look for applicants with 1-3 years of financial experience. The key skills include strong interpersonal, written and verbal communication skills, empathy, ability to multitask and ability to work both independently and within a team. You must also have a familiarity with word processing software. In 2015, credit counselors earned a median annual salary of $43,840, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.
Now let's check out the career steps for credit counselors.
Step 1: Complete a Bachelor's Degree Program
Prospective bankruptcy counselors may pursue a degree in finance or a related subject. Finance programs typically include courses in financial analysis, planning and ethics. Students can also prepare for the career with coursework in accounting, business, cash operations and budgeting.
To get the most out of your bachelor's degree, complete an internship. Students can gain practical skills by working with financial advisors, analysts or counselors. Their duties may include compiling information or answering client questions.
Step 2: Gain Work Experience
Although many bankruptcy counseling positions are entry-level, aspiring counselors may start their careers in the sectors of social service, counseling, finance, credit or mortgage. Some employers prefer candidates to have experience in both counseling and finance management. Counselors may be able to substitute a master's degree in a relevant program for work experience in some positions.
Step 3: Advance Your Career
Earn counseling certification to make yourself a more valuable employee. Organizations such as the National Foundation for Credit Counseling and the National Association of Certified Credit Counselors provide certification for counselors. These programs may require training and completion of written exams.
To recap, with a bachelor's degree and experience, a bankruptcy counselor can earn about $44,000 a year to provide financial advice and create a personalized budget for bankruptcy candidates as well as explaining possible options to avoid bankruptcy.