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Career and Education Opportunities for Loan Counselors in Birmingham, Alabama

Loan counselors can find many career and educational opportunities in the Birmingham, Alabama area. About 740 people are currently employed as loan counselors in Alabama. By 2016, this is expected to grow by 9% to 800 people employed. This is not quite as good as the national trend for loan counselors, which sees this job pool growing by about 16.3% over the next eight years. Loan counselors generally provide guidance to prospective loan applicants who have problems qualifying for traditional loans.

Loan counselors earn approximately $16 per hour or $33,480 per year on average in Alabama. Nationally they average about $18 per hour or $37,470 per year. Loan counselors earn less than people working in the category of Accounting and Auditing generally in Alabama and less than people in the Accounting and Auditing category nationally. People working as loan counselors can fill a number of jobs, such as: pell coordinator, loan consultant, and credit counselor.

The Birmingham area is home to fifteen schools of higher education, including one within twenty-five miles of Birmingham where you can get a degree as a loan counselor. The most common level of education for loan counselors is a Bachelor's degree. You can expect to spend about four years studying to be a loan counselor if you already have a high school diploma.

CAREER DESCRIPTION: Loan Counselor

Loan Counselor video from the State of New Jersey Dept. of Labor and Workforce Development

In general, loan counselors provide guidance to prospective loan applicants who have problems qualifying for traditional loans. They also guidance may include determining the best type of loan and explaining loan requirements or restrictions.

Loan counselors interview applicants and request specified data for loan applications. They also contact applicants or creditors to deal with questions about applications or to help with completion of paperwork. Equally important, loan counselors have to check loan agreements to insure that they are complete and accurate, in line with policies. They are often called upon to maintain and review account records, updating and recategorizing them in line with status changes. They are expected to analyze applicants' financial status and property evaluations to establish feasibility of granting loans. Finally, loan counselors submit applications to credit analysts for verification and recommendation.

Every day, loan counselors are expected to be able to see details at a very fine level of focus. They need to listen to and understand others in meetings. It is also important that they speak clearly.

It is important for loan counselors to supervise loan personnel. They are often called upon to calculate amount of debt and funds available to develop methods of payoff and to estimate time for debt liquidation. They also maintain current knowledge of credit regulations. They are sometimes expected to inspect billing for accuracy. Somewhat less frequently, loan counselors are also expected to supervise loan personnel.

Loan counselors sometimes are asked to inspect accounts to establish write-offs for collection agencies. and match students' needs and eligibility with available financial aid programs to furnish informed recommendations. And finally, they sometimes have to compare data on student aid applications with eligibility requirements of assistance programs.

Like many other jobs, loan counselors must have exceptional integrity and be able to deal with stress and deal with situations calmly.

Similar jobs with educational opportunities in Birmingham include:

  • Accountant. Analyze financial information and prepare financial reports to determine or maintain records of assets, liabilities, profit and loss, tax liability, or other financial activities within an organization.
  • Auditor. Examine and analyze accounting records to determine financial status of establishment and prepare financial reports concerning operating procedures.
  • Budget Analyst. Examine budget estimates for completeness, accuracy, and conformance with procedures and regulations. Analyze budgeting and accounting reports for the purpose of maintaining expenditure controls.
  • Credit Analyst. Analyze current credit data and financial statements of individuals or firms to determine the degree of risk involved in extending credit or lending money. Prepare reports with this credit information for use in decision-making.
  • Financial Analyst. Conduct quantitative analyses of information affecting investment programs of public or private institutions.
  • Financial Examiner. Enforce or ensure compliance with laws and regulations governing financial and securities institutions and financial and real estate transactions. May examine, verify correctness of, or establish authenticity of records.
  • Income Tax Advisor. Prepare tax returns for individuals or small businesses but do not have the background or responsibilities of an accredited or certified public accountant.
  • Loan Officer. Evaluate, authorize, or recommend approval of commercial, real estate, or credit loans. Advise borrowers on financial status and methods of payments. Includes mortgage loan officers and agents, collection analysts, loan servicing officers, and loan underwriters.
  • Personal Financial Planner. Advise clients on financial plans utilizing knowledge of tax and investment strategies, securities, and real estate. Duties include assessing clients' assets, liabilities, and financial objectives to establish investment strategies.
  • Tax Examiner. Determine tax liability or collect taxes from individuals or business firms according to prescribed laws and regulations.

EDUCATIONAL OPPORTUNITIES: Loan Counselor Training

Jefferson State Community College - Birmingham, AL

Jefferson State Community College, 2601 Carson Rd, Birmingham, AL 35215-3098. Jefferson State Community College is a medium sized college located in Birmingham, Alabama. It is a public school with primarily 2-year programs and has 8,718 students. Jefferson State Community College has a less than one year and an associate's degree program in Banking and Financial Support Services which graduated five and four students respectively in 2008.

CERTIFICATIONS

Certified Personal Banker: Applicable to financial services professionals who have completed the AIB Personal Banking Diploma and who function as personal bankers.

For more information, see the Institute of Certified Bankers website.

Certified Investment Management Analyst: The CIMA offers an intense educational experience focusing on asset allocation, manager search and selection, investment policy and performance measurement.

For more information, see the Investment Management Consultants Association website.

LOCATION INFORMATION: Birmingham, Alabama

Birmingham, Alabama
Birmingham, Alabama photo by Eric_in_SF

Birmingham is located in Jefferson County, Alabama. It has a population of over 228,798, which has shrunk by 5.8% over the last ten years. The cost of living index in Birmingham, 81, is well below the national average. New single-family homes in Birmingham cost $187,300 on average, which is well above the state average. In 2008, one hundred thirty-two new homes were built in Birmingham, down from two hundred thirty-two the previous year.

The top three industries for women in Birmingham are health care, educational services, and finance and insurance. For men, it is construction, accommodation and food services, and health care. The average travel time to work is about 24 minutes. More than 18.5% of Birmingham residents have a bachelor's degree, which is lower than the state average. The percentage of residents with a graduate degree, 6.6%, is lower than the state average.

The unemployment rate in Birmingham is 12.5%, which is greater than Alabama's average of 10.7%.

The percentage of Birmingham residents that are affiliated with a religious congregation, 60.1%, is more than both the national and state average. Williams Chapel Christian Methodist Episcopal Church, Westminister Presbyterian Church and West End Methodist Church are all churches located in Birmingham. The most common religious groups are the Southern Baptist Convention, the United Methodist Church and the Catholic Church.

Birmingham is home to the Mineral Park Municipal Golf Course and the Cooper Green Golf Course as well as Avondale Mills Park and Smithfield Historic District. Shopping malls in the area include Acipco Shopping Center, Altadena Square Shopping Center and Parkway East Huffman Shopping Center. Visitors to Birmingham can choose from Marriott Hotel Birmingham, Rime Garden Extended Stay Suites and Studioplus for temporary stays in the area.