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How to Become a Certified Budget Counselor

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Counselors help people of all community settings and economic backgrounds, assisting them with all kinds of life choices. A certified budget counselor aids in budget creation for economically challenged individuals or those who wish to get a more accurate picture of their finances. Those interested in a budget counseling career should hold a strong desire to help others through financial crises and be able to maintain a high level of confidentiality.

Get a two-year or four-year degree in accounting, business, economics, social work and/or counseling. Take classes in credit counseling, if available.

Talk to your school's career counselor about job placement and resume assistance. She may be able to direct you toward areas in the region that have a demand for certified budget counselors. While still in school, look into internships with local budget or credit counseling firms. Apply for several entry-level jobs in the field, like a clerk, support credit counselor or customer support adviser. Most of your training will be on the job, working with people and their budgets.

After a year in the field, you may become certified. Often, your employers will pay for your NFCC certification from the National Foundation of Credit Couselors, which is a test of the skills you've learned during your schooling and experience on the job. To be certified, you must provide low-cost services and test in six areas: budgeting and planning, consumer rights, credit, debt management, psychological effects of economics and counseling.

Read books like "Thorny Issues in Consumer Bankruptcy Cases" by Jack F. Williams and Susan Seabury and "Prebankruptcy Credit Counseling" by Noreen Clancy to get a thorough picture of the credit environment. Ask your employer to sign you up for the next available testing date or visit NFCC.org to register yourself for additional training courses or the certification test. You may take the test once per year.

Warning

Depending on where you live, you may need a Masters degree to become a licensed budget counselor.

About the Author

Glenna Parks' work has appeared in "Missouri Life" magazine, "Marshall Democrat-News," "Central Collegian," and the Union Pacific and Amtrak employee publications, "BNSF Today" and "BNSF Railway." Parks received a Bachelor of Arts in communications from Central Methodist University in Fayette, Mo., in 2007.

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