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Career and Education Opportunities for Loan Counselors in Columbia, Maryland

Loan counselor career and educational opportunities abound in Columbia, Maryland. About 860 people are currently employed as loan counselors in Maryland. By 2016, this is expected to grow by 13% to 970 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 about $19 per hour or $40,920 per year on average in Maryland and about $18 hourly or $37,470 yearly on average nationally. Compared with people working in the overall category of Accounting and Auditing, people working as loan counselors in Maryland earn less. They earn less than people working in the overall category of Accounting and Auditing nationally. Loan counselors work in a variety of jobs, including: financial assistance advisor, credit counselor, and commercial lending vice president.

The Columbia area is home to 109 schools of higher education, including three within twenty-five miles of Columbia where you can get a degree as a loan counselor. Loan counselors usually hold a Bachelor's degree, so you can expect to spend about four years training to become a loan counselor if you already have a high school diploma.


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 Columbia 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.
  • Assessor. Appraise real and personal property to determine its fair value. May assess taxes in accordance with prescribed schedules.
  • 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.
  • Insurance Underwriter. Review individual applications for insurance to evaluate degree of risk involved and determine acceptance of applications.
  • 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.
  • Real Estate Appraiser. Appraise real property to determine its value for purchase, sales, or loan purposes.
  • Tax Examiner. Determine tax liability or collect taxes from individuals or business firms according to prescribed laws and regulations.


Baltimore City Community College - Baltimore, MD

Baltimore City Community College, 2901 Liberty Hts Ave, Baltimore, MD 21215-7893. Baltimore City Community College is a medium sized college located in Baltimore, Maryland. It is a public school with primarily 2-year programs and has 6,884 students. Baltimore City Community College has a one to two year program in Banking and Financial Support Services which graduated one student in 2008.

University of Maryland-University College - Adelphi, MD

University of Maryland-University College, 3501 University Blvd East, Adelphi, MD 20783-8010. University of Maryland-University College is a large university located in Adelphi, Maryland. It is a public school with primarily 4-year or above programs and has 34,130 students. University of Maryland-University College has a two to four year and a postbaccalaureate certificate program in Finance and Financial Management Services, Other Specialties which graduated seven and seven students respectively in 2008.

Southeastern University - Washington, DC

Southeastern University, 501 I St SW, Washington, DC 20024-2788. Southeastern University is a small university located in Washington, District of Columbia. It is a private not-for-profit school with primarily 4-year or above programs. It has 753 students and an admission rate of 67%. Southeastern University has associate's degree, bachelor's degree, and master's degree programs in Finance and Financial Management Services, Other Specialties which graduated one, seven, and sixteen students respectively in 2008.


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.


Columbia, Maryland
Columbia, Maryland photo by Jeff Kubina

Columbia is located in Howard County, Maryland. It has a population of over 96,421. The cost of living index in Columbia, 100, is near the national average.

The three most popular industries for women in Columbia are educational services, health care, and professional, scientific, and technical services. For men, it is professional, scientific, and technical services, public administration, and educational services. The average travel time to work is about 30 minutes. More than 59.0% of Columbia residents have a bachelor's degree, which is higher than the state average. The percentage of residents with a graduate degree, 28.7%, is higher than the state average.

The percentage of Columbia residents that are affiliated with a religious congregation, 49.3%, is less than the national average but more than the state average. Abiding Savior Lutheran Church, Atholton Seventh Day Adventist Church and Long Reach Interfaith Center are all churches located in Columbia. The most prominent religious groups are the Catholic Church, the United Methodist Church and the Southern Baptist Convention.

Columbia is home to the Symphony Woods Office Center and the Rivers Corporate Park as well as Middle Patuxent Environmental Area and Clarksville Environmental Area. Shopping centers in the area include Governor Century Plaza Shopping Center, Atholton Shopping Center and Owen Brown Village Shopping Center. Visitors to Columbia can choose from PFMG, Courtyard by Marriott and Hilton Inn Columbia for temporary stays in the area.