Credit CounselorCredit Counselors salary statistic
Credit – it’s a wonderful thing when people need it. It is what allows people to buy homes and cars and maybe take a vacation. In fact, 40% of all households in America carry some type of credit card debt. Those households with the least net worth, moreover, carry the highest average debt - $10,308 according to Value Penguin, a consumer spending data collection organization. When this is coupled with a mortgage, car payment and/or student loan debt, it is easy to see how debt can become unmanageable. For this reasons, there are credit counselors – professionally trained individuals who can help consumers manage their debt, repair their poor credit, and get out from under the weight that debt brings to bear.
Credit Counselor’s Major Duties
The majority of counselors work for public or non-profit organizations. As such, they do not receive commissions or “paybacks” for the work they do for any individual. Their main function is to meet with clients and conduct the following duties:
- Assess the current financial position, especially income-debt ratio
- Assist clients in setting up a budget that will manage their debt payments
- Help develop a strategy for paying off debt in a more efficient/faster way.
- Negotiate with creditors for lower interest rates and, sometimes, reduction in total amount owed
- Set up long-term credit-responsible behavior plans
- Monitor the follow-through of clients on the strategies that were developed
- In extreme instances, a counselor may recommend and assist clients through either Chapter 7 or Chapter 11 bankruptcy filings
Given the fact that credit card companies deal with unsecured debt, they are usually will to engage in negotiations with a credit counselor rather than face recovering nothing, which is usually the case with a bankruptcy.
No one should go into credit counseling with the goal of getting rich. This is a career that provides great rewards in helping others. The average credit counselor salary falls in the $43,000 range. Those who work in for-profit agencies may make a bit more. In general, however, the salaries of counselors are comparable to those of sociologists and teachers. Use our salary calculator to find out more.
Most counselors have a minimum of an associate’s degree, usually with specific coursework in math and finance/business. Those who want career growth and a higher credit counselor salary will have a Bachelor’s degree in finance and their career paths will lead to management.
Most counselors begin their careers as trainees, observing others and then gradually taking on more and more complex client issues.
Soft skills are particularly important for credit counselors, as they must have the ability to relate to individuals from all socio-economic backgrounds and establish rapport and trust. Individuals who are out-going and enjoy meeting people, especially strangers, are well-suited for this position.
While personal finance and budgeting is the subject of a lot of software tools and apps, there will always be a need for personal credit counseling one-to-one. Today, through video chat and tools like skype, credit counseling can occur online, and this allows greater flexibility for both clients and counselors. Counseling often occurs on evenings and weekends, and online availability can be helpful. Credit counseling positions are expected to grow at an average rate over the next 8-10 years.