Home page

Credit Counselors

At a Glance

  • Help customers reduce and get rid of debt
  • Always work indoors
  • Have strong communication and math skills
  • Usually must be certified
  • Must have some coursework in business, economics, or finance

Career summary

Credit counselors help customers manage and pay down their debt.

#checked 3/10/15 lh

They look at a client's:

This helps them develop reasonable budgets and a payment plan that customers can easily follow.

Credit counselors usually work with people who have too much debt compared to their income. They often work with people who may need to declare bankruptcy or may even lose their home.

To help these clients, credit counselors often negotiate with banks and credit card companies to reduce payments or interest rates. They may also set up special loans to help clients pay back what they owe.

To do this work, counselors work one-on-one to review financial information in detail. Much of their job involves teaching clients about housing programs, credit cards, financial information, and budgeting techniques.

Credit counselors sometimes handle payments themselves. They keep written records of payment plans, budgets, and reports.

Related careers

This career is part of the Human Services cluster of careers.

Related careers include:

Job duties

Task list

The following list of tasks is specific to credit counselors.

Common work activities

Credit counselors perform the following tasks. These tasks are common to many careers.

Work requirements

Working conditions

In a typical work setting, credit counselors:

Interpersonal relationships

Physical work conditions

Work performance


Physical demands

Credit counselors frequently:

It is important for credit counselors to be able to:

It is not as important, but still necessary, for credit counselors to be able to:

Skills and abilities

Credit counselors need to:


Reason and problem solve

Use math and science

Manage oneself, people, time, and things

Work with people

Education and training

Educational programs

The programs of study listed below will help you prepare for the occupation or career cluster you are exploring.

Programs of study directly related to this occupation

Other programs of study to consider


To work as a credit counselor, you typically need to:

Education after high school

Most credit counselors have a bachelor's degree. Common areas of study are family and consumer sciences, family resource management, and consumer economics.

Work experience

Volunteering at a non-profit credit counseling office provides good experience.

On-the-job training

Employers provide new counselors with training in customer relations, and other areas. Training generally lasts between two and six months.

Helpful high school courses

In high school, take classes that prepare you for college. A college preparatory curriculum (external link) may be different from your state's graduation requirements (external link).

You should also consider taking some advanced courses in high school. This includes Advanced Placement (AP) and International Baccalaureate (IB) courses if they are available in your school. If you do well in these courses, you may receive college credit for them. Advanced courses can also strengthen your college application.

Helpful electives to take in high school that prepare you for this career include:

The courses listed above are meant to help you create your high school plan. If you have not already done so, talk to a school counselor or parent about the courses you are considering taking.

You should also check with a teacher or counselor to see if work-based learning opportunities are available in your school and community. These might include field trips, job shadowing, internships, and actual work experience. The goal of these activities is to help you connect your school experiences with real-life work.

Join some groups, try some hobbies, or volunteer with an organization that interests you. By participating in activities you can have fun, make new friends, and learn about yourself. Maybe one of them will help direct you to a future career. Here are examples of activities and groups (PDF file) that may be available in your high school or community.

Things to know

Employers prefer credit counselors with strong communication skills. Some may prefer counselors with a bachelor's degree in business or economics. Employers may seek out credit counselors with specific certifications.


Many states require credit counselors to have a license. Requirements vary by state.


Credit counselors (SOC 13-2071)

Pay Period
Washington Hourly $14.29 $18.16 $22.22 $27.16 $34.14
Monthly $2,476 $3,147 $3,851 $4,707 $5,916
Yearly $29,730 $37,760 $46,220 $56,490 $71,010
    Kennewick-Richland Hourly $20.41 $21.86 $24.26 $29.54 $38.92
Monthly $3,537 $3,788 $4,204 $5,119 $6,745
Yearly $42,447 $45,451 $50,457 $61,455 $80,959
    Olympia-Tumwater Hourly $16.00 $18.23 $21.97 $25.22 $28.80
Monthly $2,773 $3,159 $3,807 $4,371 $4,991
Yearly $33,285 $37,914 $45,700 $52,459 $59,892
    Seattle-Tacoma-Bellevue Hourly $17.58 $21.05 $24.54 $30.92 $38.57
Monthly $3,047 $3,648 $4,253 $5,358 $6,684
Yearly $36,583 $43,774 $51,044 $64,308 $80,225
    Spokane-Spokane Valley Hourly $12.12 $14.68 $18.06 $22.94 $28.59
Monthly $2,100 $2,544 $3,130 $3,976 $4,955
Yearly $25,203 $30,536 $37,569 $47,702 $59,476
    Vancouver Hourly $17.19 $19.66 $22.39 $25.72 $33.16
Monthly $2,979 $3,407 $3,880 $4,457 $5,747
Yearly $35,758 $40,899 $46,569 $53,501 $68,978
United States Hourly $14.63 $17.42 $21.72 $27.79 $36.87
Monthly $2,535 $3,019 $3,764 $4,816 $6,390
Yearly $30,440 $36,230 $45,180 $57,800 $76,690

Wages vary by the counselor's level of experience and formal training. In general, earnings increase with higher levels of experience and training. Those who work for the federal government may be on a fixed pay scale. They advance based on their experience and additional training. 

Some employers provide benefits for full-time credit counselors. Typical benefits include health insurance, sick leave, paid vacation, and a retirement plan. 

Employment and outlook

Washington outlook


The table below provides information about the number of workers in this career in various regions. It also provides information about the expected growth rate and future job openings.

Loan Counselors (SOC 13-2071)

Location Current employment Growth over 10 years Annual openings
Washington 442 18.8% 16.1% 55
    Adams, Chelan, Douglas, Grant, and Okanogan Counties 12 16.7% 13.4% 1
    Asotin, Columbia, Ferry, Garfield, Lincoln, Pend Oreille, Stevens, Walla Walla, and Whitman Counties 26 19.2% 8.6% 3
    Benton and Franklin Counties 13 23.1% 15.0% 1
    Clallam, Jefferson, and Kitsap Counties 25 32.0% 11.9% 4
    Grays Harbor, Lewis, Mason, Pacific, and Thurston Counties 10 20.0% 14.1% 1
    King County 154 18.8% 19.6% 19
    Kittitas, Klickitat, Skamania, and Yakima Counties 15 20.0% 13.8% 2
    Pierce County 19 26.3% 15.2% 2
    Snohomish County 19 10.5% 12.4% 2
    Spokane County 120 9.2% 13.9% 12
United States 40,100 8.7% 5.2% 3,800

National employment

Major employers:

National outlook

This occupation will see strong growth, however, it is a small occupation and not many new jobs will be created. Demand will grow as more people take on and manage debt. Demand will also increase as many young people try to manage large amounts of student debt.

Other resources

Association of Credit Counseling Professionals (external link)
Credit Counselor Certifications (external link)
from the National Association of Certified Credit Counselors (NACCC)
National Association of Certified Credit Counselors (external link)
322 5th Avenue
Indialantic, FL 32903


Career cluster

Career path

O*Net (external link) occupation

O*Net job zone (external link)

DOT occupation

Holland occupational clusters