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How Do I Become a Debt Counselor?

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  • Written By: Mary McMahon
  • Edited By: Kristen Osborne
  • Last Modified Date: 05 April 2014
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A person who wants to become a debt counselor can explore a number of possible career paths that will lead to work in this area including getting experience in the credit industry first or getting a college degree and then applying to work for debt counseling agencies. Most nations do not have formal regulations pertaining to debt counseling services and there are no specific requirements that need to be met. However, there are some steps people can take to be better debt counselors and to increase their marketability as counselors.

The best way to become a debt counselor is to work for an organization that offers debt counseling services. These organizations usually look for people with qualifications, experience, or both. People who are already working in the credit industry have experience, while people with bachelor's degrees in finance, psychology, and related fields have qualifications that would make them good debt counselors. Counseling agencies usually hire on rolling schedules and it is advisable to keep up with job listings and apply aggressively. A strong resume and interviewing skills are key to success in landing jobs.

A new hire will be given training to become a debt counselor. The best organizations provide extensive training to all of their employees and prepare them for certification with a professional organization of debt counselors. While applying for jobs, people should seek out agencies accredited by such organizations and they should review the accreditation requirements and reputation of the professional organization to confirm that it is legitimate.

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After receiving training in debt counseling and meeting the standards for professional membership, usually by taking an exam, a person can start working as a debt counselor. Someone who has become a debt counselor can choose to specialize in a particular area like helping people with foreclosures or answering questions about bankruptcy. Others focus on education and prevention and assist people with consolidating and paying off debt. Someone with sufficient professional experience can consider opening a private counseling service or a new debt counseling company.

Once someone has become a debt counselor, it is advisable to keep up a professional membership. This provides access to trade publications, conferences, and other valuable resources. Because the law is always changing along with the economy, it is very important to be aware of the latest changes that might pertain to clients. This will allow a debt counselor to offer the most relevant, helpful information to clients to help them manage their debt.

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