How to Become a Credit Analyst


Although there are other paths you can take, a very effective route for becoming a credit analyst is to follow these general steps:


1. Excel in math, economics, business and computer studies in high school

2. Determine if this field is compatible with your attributes and ambitions 

3. Pursue a degree related to finance

4. Find an entry-level job in an industry in which you want to work, preferably while you’re still a student

5. Apply for Credit Analyst jobs

6. Advance your career as you gain experience and skill


If you’re thinking about getting into this line of work, then keep reading to find out more about what they do, how much money they typically earn, and what you can do to become one! 




How Can I Prepare for This Career in High School?

While you’re in high school, excelling at math, economics, business, and computer studies will serve as excellent preparation for a future career as a credit analyst.


Excelling at coursework and gaining experience in these areas will help prepare you for the work involved in this career at an early age, and will help you qualify for finance and related degree programs.



What Formal Education Will I Need?

The educational requirements for becoming a credit analyst can vary, typically depending on whether you will be working in personal or commercial credit. If working in personal credit (car loans, personal lines of credit, etc.) you will likely only need a high school diploma. 


If you plan on working in commercial credit, which involves analyzing institutional credit and financial information, you will likely need a bachelor’s degree, or in some cases a graduate degree, in a field such as Finance, Accounting, Economics or Business Administration.





What is a Credit Analyst?

Credit analysts are responsible for analyzing the credit data and financial statements of individuals or firms in order to determine their credit worthiness. They typically work in consumer or personal credit, or in commercial credit.


If working in consumer/personal credit, they gather a customer’s financial information, such as salary, savings, payment history and debts, and use that information to recommend an action, such as approving a loan or reducing a credit line.


If working in commercial credit, their jobs are much more complex; they support their company’s revenue growth by recommending approvals on new business deals and additional business for existing accounts, which involves gathering and analyzing much more financial data than in consumer credit.



What Does a Credit Analyst Do?

Although their duties can vary based on various factors, credit analysts are generally responsible for the following:


• Determining the degree of risk involved in lending money or credit to individuals or firms

• Analyzing credit data and financial information on loan applications

• Preparing reports related to the degree of risk involved in lending credit or money

• Using computer programs to determine the financial status of a potential borrower

• Consulting with customers in order to verify financial transactions

• Analyzing the potential profitability of loans

• Conferring with credit associations and other business representatives to exchange credit information

• Submitting loan applications to loan committee for approval or rejection



What Experience Will I Need?

If you’re working in the personal credit sector, then you likely won’t need any specific type of work experience, as most employers will provide on-the-job training. However, if you’re looking to work in the commercial sector, you’ll need to develop an in-depth knowledge of the industry you’re analyzing. 


For example, if you’re going to be analyzing real estate transactions, employers will likely require that you have in-depth knowledge of the real estate industry. Such knowledge is typically gained by working in positions of progressive responsibility in that industry, over the course of a few years. 



What is the Work Environment Like in This Profession

Working Hours: Many credit analysts work normal, weekday working hours, with occasional overtime for the purpose of attending meetings or finishing a project before a deadline. Some however, will have shifts that fall anywhere within their employer’s operating hours. For example, if working in a car dealership, a credit analyst may have to work evenings and weekends so there is on-site financing coverage for vehicle purchases. 


Work Setting: Credit analysts work out of an office, which may be in an office building, government facility, car dealership, bank, large retail store, or within any number of other possible building types. 


Working Conditions: Credit analysts often work under pressure in order to meet strict deadlines and make accurate recommendations; their work can affect the financial well-being of their employers, so they must be able to stand behind their decisions. Those that work in public facing positions will get to meet and help a lot of people, but will occasionally have to deal with dissatisfied or confrontational customers. 





Do I Have the Right Personality for This Profession?

It’s not always about ‘if you can’; whether or not you ‘should’ is of equal, if not greater importance. If the following traits, interests and attributes describe you, then a career as a credit analyst might be very compatible with you:


• You can deal with frequent interruptions when working

• You have excellent interpersonal skills

• You can give full attention when other people are speaking 

• You have tact and business acumen

• You enjoy taking a methodical approach to collecting and analyzing information

• You enjoy the idea of having structure and precedent to guide your work

• You're interested in a career that involves working normal weekday hours

• You’re thorough and well-organized enough to be able to ensure that all necessary data and documents are accounted for

• You’re interested in a career that involves working with the general public

• You’re willing to handle some unpleasant interactions, such as when a customer is denied financing

• You’re interested in a career wherein you’d have a variety of work activities (preparing reports, analyzing data to determine risks, talking with customers, etc.)



How Much Do Credit Analysts Make? 

The salary you could earn in this line of work varies based on a number of factors, including: 


• Whether you work in ‘buy-side’ or ‘sell-side’ credit 

• Your education and experience level

• The size and type of your employer

• The region in which you work

• The amount of responsibility involved in your position


Credit Analyst Salary Canada (Alberta): According to the 2015 Alberta Wage & Salary Survey, the average salary level of Albertans working in the Financial and Investment Analysts occupational group is $95,286 per year. Unfortunately, no similar statistics were available from reliable sources for other Canadian provinces or territories at the time of writing.


Credit Analyst Salary United States: According to the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median annual salary for Americans in the Credit Analysts occupational group is $69,930 per year, and the mean salary is $81,160 per year, with the lowest 10% earning below $40,860 and the top 10% earning above $137,730.


Please Note: These salary figures do not specify whether or not they include the “sell-side” credit analysts, such as those who deal with personal credit including mortgages and car loans.



Who Employs Them?

Credit analysts are typically employed by the following types of organizations:


• Banks and credit unions

• Business process outsourcing companies

• Investment firms 

• Credit rating agencies

• Credit card companies

• Car dealerships 

• Mortgage lenders

• Financial services firms

• 3rd party lenders that deal with auto/home loans

• Large businesses, including retail, that offer credit cards or credit accounts



Job Postings for Credit Analysts

Our job board below has a listing of "credit analyst" postings in your area of Canada, the United States, the United Kingdom or Australia.




What Career Advancement Opportunities Will I Have?

If you demonstrate skill, determination, integrity and ambition, you’ll put yourself in a position to move into roles of greater responsibility and pay as you gain experience, especially if you are willing to pursue additional education, or professional certification.


For example, your first promotion could have you becoming a senior credit analyst, and from there, you could move into supervisory and management positions, such as credit manager.


You could also move into other positions in finance, such as investment banker, investment advisor, or financial consultant. Alternatively, you could move into complementary roles in the same industry, such as business development officer, or account manager. 


Please Note: These are just examples, there could be many more opportunities for career advancement.



What Careers Are Similar to This One?

Listed below are careers similar in nature to 'credit analyst', as they are either in the same field, or they involve many of the same skills, competencies and/or responsibilities:


• Business Valuator

• Collector

• Credit Counselor 

• Credit Manager

• Data Analyst

• Financial Analyst

• Financial Planner

• Investment Analyst 

• Investment Consultant

• Risk Analyst



What Scholarships Are There for Aspiring Credit Analysts? 

The “Majors in Our Database Relevant for this Career” section below lists fields of study that are relevant to becoming a credit analyst. You can search for relevant scholarships by finding those majors on our "Any Field of Study Scholarships” page.


Success Tip: Be sure to apply for any scholarships that you qualify for, even if it's just because you meet 1 of the criteria, as there are millions of dollars of scholarships that go unused every year due to a lack of applicants!



Sources for This Career Guide

The following resources were used to gather information for this career path guide:


• Occupations & Education: “Financial Analyst.” (n.d.). Alberta Learning Information Service (ALIS). Retrieved November 8, 2019.

• Occupational Employment Statistics: “Credit Analysts.” (May, 2016). United States Government Bureau of Labor Statistics. Retrieved May 24, 2017.

• Business & Credit: “Skills for a Credit Analyst.” Lisa Magloff (n.d.). Houston Chronicle website. Retrieved May 24, 2017.

• Career Advice - Job Descriptions: “Credit Analyst.” (n.d.). Retrieved May 24, 2017.



Majors in Our Database Relevant for this Career

We have career guides for over 60 university majors in our database. Below, we've outlined those that are most relevant to this profession. Click on the links to see what else you can do with these majors!


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