To work as a financial counselor, you typically need to:
- have a high school diploma or equivalent;
- have a bachelor's degree; and
- complete long-term, on-the-job training.
Education after high school
Most financial aid counselors have at least a bachelor's degree. One of the best ways to prepare for this occupation is to major in student personnel administration. If you want a less specialized degree, major in finance, economics, or counseling.
Consumer credit counselors usually have a bachelor's degree as well. Common areas of study are family and consumer sciences, family resource management, and consumer economics.
Gaining experience in the field is very important while attending school. A good source of experience is a student job or internship at the financial aid office at your school. This experience allows you to learn about various state and federal funding sources.
If your goal is to be a consumer credit counselor, consider volunteering at a non-profit credit counseling office.
Many counselors have at least three years of related experience before entering this field.
Once on the job, financial counselors receive on-the-job training. During this time, you work under the supervision of a senior advisor and learn how to build a client network and develop investment portfolios. This training usually lasts for more than a year.
Financial counselors also take continuing education classes. Many groups offer workshops to keep you up to date on changes in this field. Those that work for specific financial companies may train for several months up to a year.