Find out the education you need to become a credit counsellor in Canada, what you have to do to get accredited, and then how to get a job in your field.
Managing personal finances is a problem for a growing number of Canadians. Every day it seems that there is news about downsizing and lower wages, paired with the increased cost of living. This is causing a lot of Canadians to lose confidence in their ability to get out of debt and start saving. According to Statistics Canada, only seven per cent of Canadians said they were "very knowledgeable" about basic financial issues. Canadians need trained financial experts they can turn to for advice.
Credit counsellors are trained professionals who can teach financial management skills to help individuals resolve money and debt problems. They give individuals a solid foundation to stand on so they can start pursuing a better, more secure financial future. A credit counsellor will help create realistic budgets, teach individuals how to eliminate debt, and communicate with credit agencies on behalf of their clients.
Educational requirements to get started
In order to become an accredited credit counsellor in Canada, prospective students must first have a combination of relevant skills, education, and experience.
Skills: Listening, counselling, financial analysis, personal money management strategies, problem solving, negotiation, using computers, good written and verbal communication, public speaking, accuracy, attention to detail, and organization.
Education: Degree or diploma from a Canadian accredited college or university in business administration, finance, or social science.
Experience: Must have at least two years of work experience in a field related to credit counselling, such as banking, credit industry, social work,
government or counselling.
Get professionally accredited
In order to become an accredited credit counsellor in Canada, individuals must complete the Accredited Financial Counsellor of Canada (AFFC) program through the Association of Financial Counselling & Planning Educational Institute (AFCPE).
- Once students are enrolled in this program, they will be mailed two course modules that they must complete within 45 days.
- They then will be tested on each module, and must receive a score of at least 70%.
Once individuals have become an accredited credit counsellor in Canada, it is time to start looking for a job.
- A great place to start is the Career Centre on the Association of Financial Counselling & Planning Educational Institute website. Here, job seekers can post their resume, search the job board, as well as take advantage of professional services designed to help build and manage their career.
- Also, job seekers should research companies in their area and create a list of of potential employers.
- Search their company job boards, look on professional social networks for mutual connections, and ask for an introduction.
Continue your education
Once you’ve started working as a credit counsellor, the Association for Financial Counseling and Planning Education requires all of its members to take ongoing courses so they are always up-to-date with the latest strategies, subject matter, and tools to help their clients.
Remember, becoming a credit counsellor is more than just getting a new job. It’s a career where you can make a real difference in someone’s life by helping him or her get back on track financially.