How Do I Become a Credit Analyst?

Research what it takes to become a credit analyst. Learn about education requirements, job duties, average wages and job outlook to find out if this is the career for you. Schools offering Finance degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

What Is a Credit Analyst?

Credit analysts are hired by banks and other lending organizations to assess the risks associated with lending money to businesses and individuals. They use computer software to account for all financial details related to the applicant's credit worthiness, including credit history and current assets. Based on their findings, they write up reports with a recommendation for final decision makers on whether or not they should grant the applicant's request for a loan.

Find out more about this career in the table below.

Degree Required Bachelor's
Education Field of Study Finance, accounting, business administration or economics
Certification Certification by the NACM (National Association of Credit Management) as a designated Credit Business Associate is not necessary, but may be helpful
Job Growth (2014-2024) 6%*
Average Salary (2015) $79,720*

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

What Would I Do as a Credit Analyst?

These professionals analyze personal and business loan applications. In this entry-level position, you work with financial decision-makers to evaluate an individual's or business's future cash flow and current financial situation. You then recommend that loan officers or senior management approve or deny the loans. Credit analysts also assess credit markets and manage client inquiries, as well as handle any bankruptcies. Customer service skills, in addition to a keen grasp of financial analysis, are essential to this career.

Earn Your Degree

According to March 2015 job postings on Monster.com, most employers look for credit analysts who hold a bachelor's degree in finance or a related subject, such as accounting, business administration or economics. Core required courses in these bachelor's programs often include statistics, financial reporting, microeconomics, business strategy and managerial finance. Some programs allow you to gain real-world experience through an internship.

A few colleges offer graduate or continuing education certificate programs in credit analysis or related fields, like financial analysis. These programs are typically designed for professionals who already hold a bachelor's degree. Certificate program coursework includes financial statement analysis, corporate financial policies and financial law.

Get Certified

While certification isn't required, earning a credential through a professional organization may improve your job prospects. The National Association of Credit Management offers the Credit Business Associate designation to individuals who complete three college-level courses in financial accounting, financial statements and business credit, in addition to a certification exam (www.nacm.org). If you have at least five years of experience in commercial credits and loans, you could apply to take the exam for the Risk Management Association's Credit Risk Certification (www.rmahq.org).

Where Could I Work?

Most credit analysts work for banks and other financial institutions. You could also find work in the finance departments of companies in the insurance, automotive service or telecommunications industries. Some employers look for credit analysts who have work experience in collections or accounts receivable departments. Though credit analysts can work in any state, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics notes that California, Texas, New York, Florida and Minnesota had the highest employment levels for this occupation in 2015 (www.bls.gov).

What Are Some Related Alternative Careers?

Instead of working as a credit analyst, you could consider a different job within the field of financial analysis. For example, as a risk analyst, you would design investment strategies for an organization that protect against unpredictable fluctuations that can result in financial losses. For instance, you might select a portfolio that includes a mix of stocks, bonds and mutual funds. To work as a risk analyst, you usually need at least a bachelor's degree. Alternatively, if you would rather work with individuals, you could become a personal financial advisor. In this position, you would advise people on topics such as taxes, investments, retirement savings and insurance. Personal financial advisors usually need to have a bachelor's degree as well.

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