What Is a Debt Consultant?
Debt consultants are financial experts who provide advice and education to individuals in matters related to debt. They typically work with government agencies, for credit counseling agencies, or even privately. Debt consultants examine client finances, review mortgage applications, offer advice on loans, devise budgets, and negotiate with creditors on the behalf of their clients. Aspiring debt consultants will need extensive knowledge of financial matters; this training can be acquired via job experience, education (such as a bachelor's in finance or accounting), or both.
|Educational Requirements||High school diploma (some positions may prefer or require a bachelor's degree), financial expertise|
|Job Skills||Expert knowledge of various debt-related matters, quantitative skills (primarily mathematics), communication and customer service skills|
|Median Salary (2017)*||$44,710 (credit counselors)|
|Job Outlook (2016-2026)*||10%-14% (credit counselors)|
Source: *US Bureau of Labor Statistics
At the absolute minimum, debt consultants will need a high school diploma in order to be considered for any job openings. Once this level is attained, there are a couple of different avenues that individuals can take in order to get a foothold in the industry.
Those looking to start working immediately can find jobs as debt consultants. Most job postings tend to prefer a bachelor's degree, but positions are available to those with only a high school education. Taking a lower-level position, such as an internship, is an excellent way to gain experience and eventually move into a more senior role in the debt consulting field.
Individuals who wish to gain more knowledge before entering the job market can take the academic route and complete an undergraduate program, usually in a major related to debt consulting, such as accounting, finance, or business administration. These programs require patience and a fairly hefty financial commitment, but do lead to much brighter job prospects after graduation.
Regardless of the route one takes in the effort to become a debt consultant, enrolling in a certification program is an excellent way to demonstrate your knowledge. These programs offer instruction and training and are offered by organizations such as the the National Association of Certified Credit Counselors (NACCC) and the Association for Financial Counseling Planning Education (AFCPE). As a debt consultant makes career progress and learns new skills, acquiring progressively more advanced certifications can help develop these skills and serve as proof of one's talents.
The most important skill in a debt consultant's toolbox is, naturally, advanced knowledge of financial matters. Consultants will need to know about loan applications, tax laws, mortgage rates, and any local or state laws that may impact the area in which they work.
Communication is another extremely important skill. Consultants spend a lot of time working with clients and need to possess the ability to communicate complicated laws in terms that even inexperienced people can understand. Negotiation can also be a common occurrence, so debt consultants should know how to hold their own in an intense meeting.
Career Outlook and Salary
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported in 2017 that almost 36,000 credit counselors were employed in the United States. The median salary was $44,710, with the top 10% of employees earning $76,190 or more. The highest-paying industry was automobile dealers, as credit counselors in this field had a mean annual wage of $77,890. From 2016-2026, the BLS predicts 10%-14% job growth for credit counselors, which is faster than average compared to all careers.
Job seekers who are interested in debt consulting may also want to check out the careers featured below that deal with finances and credit.