Older people, particularly retirees, are entering the field of credit counseling.

Credit counselors have typically been young, about 30 on average, but according to David Jones, the president of the American Association of Independent Consumer Credit Counseling Agencies, more older people are entering the field.

If a client with a background in financial or social services is looking for a way to earn extra income, debt counseling could be an option.

The customers should get older too, as Americans age, with a gap in retirement savings estimated at more than 6 trillion, retirees may feel motivated to help their cohorts.

Credit counselors earn an average of $27,000 a year. A legitimate credit counseling agency should charge their customers little or nothing for significant help. Counselors help a customer consolidate debt into one lower payment, avoiding bankruptcy, or helping to determine bankruptcy is the best option. 

Sessions last an hour to ninety minutes. If the client is considering a bankruptcy, it will include an overview of the bankruptcy process, discussing the pros and cons of alternatives, and analyzing the client’s budget. Counselors need to be comfortable talking about emotional money issues and why the applicant fell into money troubles.  

Credit counseling agencies also offer the financial education course required to complete a bankruptcy at the end of the process.

Several organizations, including the National Association of Certified Credit Counselors and the Credit Union National Association, offer training and certification. New counselors can get started after a few weeks of full-time training, and be certified in six months. There is also a continuing education requirement to maintain certification.