Credit Counseling Certification and Certificate Programs

Read about credit counseling certificate and certification programs. See what these programs teach and learn about professional certification exams for credit counselors.

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Essential Information

Credit counseling certificate programs, offered by several post-secondary schools, are designed to enhance the customer service skills of financial professionals employed at banks, credit unions, and other lending institutions. These programs prepare graduates to advise consumers on debt resolution, personal finance planning, and budgeting strategies.

Many programs are offered through workshops, on-site classes or self-study sequences and award a certificate upon completion. Some programs are offered entirely online. These may be offered through colleges and universities or private professional organizations which also issue certification upon completion of the training program. These certification programs usually allow students to complete the lessons online at their own pace and take the certification exam online as well.

Most credit counseling educational programs are designed for individuals already working as financial advisors or debt specialists. They provide working professionals with a better understanding of how to help clients negotiate debt and improve their credit. Topics covered include bankruptcy regulations, budgeting and credit law.

Program Coursework

Certificate program and training courses provide aspiring credit counselors with the knowledge and tools to help customers manage various kinds of credit. Topics covered throughout a curriculum may include:

  • Credit counseling techniques
  • Personal finance
  • Budgeting
  • Credit laws and regulations
  • Bankruptcy

Employment Outlook and Salary Information

While little employment data is available for credit counselors, job growth in the closely related area of personal financial advising is expected to increase at a much-faster-than-average rate, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS, The BLS also published the median annual salary earned by personal financial advisors as $67,520 in May 2012.

Certification and Continuing Education

Most credit counseling certification organizations require candidates to complete a corresponding training program and exam in order to be awarded certification. Continuing education may be needed in order to maintain or renew certification. The National Association for Certified Credit Counselors and the Associate for Financial Counseling and Planning Education both provide continuing education programs for credit counseling certification.

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