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How to Become a Credit Specialist

So much of the world today relies on credit. It’s often the thing that enables individuals and businesses to grow, make investments, purchase essential items, and run things on a day-to-day basis.

Credit specialists are at the heart of the credit approval process. Among their many duties, they review credit applications and related information, determine the degree of risk involved in extending credit to applicants, make sure applications conform to the criteria set by lenders, and assist with audits when needed.

If you’re someone with an eagle eye for details, a talent for math, analysis, and working with numbers, maybe the time is right to consider putting those skills to work as a credit specialist.

Sample job description

The credit specialist is responsible for working with customers and clients to establish credit terms, reviewing and approving credit applications, and maintaining customer credit files. They will also work with sales staff to identify and mitigate risks associated with extending credit to customers. This position is designed to assist the sales team by mitigating the risk associated with extending credit to customers. The ideal candidate will have excellent communication skills, be able to maintain composure when dealing with difficult customers or clients, and have some college coursework in business or marketing. At [Your Company Name] we work to showcase our passion for our consumers, and we need a credit specialist to share that passion when extending credit. 

Typical duties and responsibilities

  • Enter, update and retrieve information for credit applications
  • Determine the creditworthiness of applicants
  • Designate the degree of risk involved in extending credit by performing cash flow analyses of businesses
  • Ensure all approved applications comply with firm and lender criteria
  • Respond to inquiries from lenders
  • Assist with company and client audits

Education and experience

This position requires a bachelor’s degree in accounting, finance, or a related field.

Required skills and qualifications

  • Ability to research and evaluate data to make informed decisions and solve problems
  • Strong mathematical and analytical skills
  • Sense of discretion and willingness to maintain strict confidentiality of pertinent and sensitive information
  • A high degree of accuracy and attention to detail
  • Proficient in Microsoft Office Suite

Preferred qualifications

  • Excellent communication skills
  • Some college coursework in business or marketing
  • 3+ years of Sales experience 
  • Experience with credit/debt instruments
  • Detail-oriented and organized

Typical work environment

Most of the work performed by a credit specialist will take place in an office setting. However, extended travel may be required to visit customers or clients at their place of business. The credit specialist will work with all levels of management within the organization and interact regularly with sales staff.

Typical hours

The typical work hours for a credit specialist can be from 9 AM to 5 PM, Monday through Friday in an office setting. However, longer or different hours can be necessary.

Available certifications

No specific certifications are required for this position. However, the credit specialist may find it beneficial to pursue industry-specific certifications, such as the Certified Credit and Risk Analyst (CCRA) designation from the National Association of Credit Management (NACM).

Career path

The career path for a credit specialist starts with obtaining a bachelor’s degree in accounting, finance, or a related field. Candidates can further their career prospects and potential by earning CCRA certification from the National Association of Credit Management.

US, Bureau of Labor Statistics’ job outlook

SOC Code: 43-4041

2020 Employment25,300
Projected Employment in 203024,100
Projected 2020-2030 Percentage Shift 5% decrease
Projected 2020-2030 Numeric Shift1,200 decrease

Although some aspects of credit and financial processes are being automated, jobs in this field are estimated to grow in the next handful of years at a rate that’s about average in comparison to careers across the board. Credit specialist looks to be a stable career for interested and talented candidates.