Business Administration

How Much Does a Credit Manager Earn?

How Much Does a Credit Manager Earn?
Being a credit manager is more than just stamping sheets of paper with "approved" or "denied" and then stapling them together. Image from Unsplash
Lucien Formichella profile
Lucien Formichella March 23, 2020

If you want to earn a competitive salary while working with numbers and people, consider becoming a credit manager. You will evaluate financial risk, organize employees, and perform many of the duties of an accountant. The funny visor is optional.

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Did you know that you can earn a good salary lending other people’s money? Credit managers work in the credit department of banks and for midsize and large companies. where they assess the risks of offering loans to individuals and companies. Many credit managers work for banks, but not all of them; they also find work with manufacturers and service providers. Anyone who lends money or property—whether in the form of a mortgage, a loan, an advance, or a credit card—needs credit managers.

The average base salary for an entry-level job in finance is $59,184 (much less than the big guys, but higher than the average annual income for all US workers), but an experienced credit manager can earn close to $100,000 per year. Plus, if your career as a credit manager begins to stagnate, your financial management skills can speed the transition to a more lucrative job opportunity.

In this article on credit manager salary we will cover:

  • What does a credit manager do?
  • How much does a credit manager earn?
  • What are the education requirements to become a credit manager?
  • What certifications do credit managers need?
  • Will earning a graduate degree advance my career?

What does a credit manager do?

Credit managers are mid-level managers. Their jobs involve overseeing credit and collection; they approve loans, set risk limits, define terms of repayment, and manage lower-level personnel.

Do not confuse a credit manager with a loan officer. The latter works directly with borrowers—e.g., home buyers and students who need loans to fund their education—to formulate loans.

Being a credit manager is more than just stamping sheets of paper with “approved” or “denied” and then stapling them together. According to Brett Wegner, credit manager of the dairy company Kemps, “If anything breaks down in the process from the time an order is placed, fulfilled, delivered and paid, it ends up in the credit department.”

A credit manager’s job duties include:

  • Communicating with upper-level management and other departments
  • Assessing risk on credit applications
  • Approving/denying most credit requests
  • Facilitating a harmonious work relationship among staff
  • Managing the day-to-day operations of the department
  • Interacting with customers to ensure productive working relationships
  • Improving department functionality
  • Collecting debts

Excellent people skills are critical to a credit manager because much of the job revolves around communicating with clients. You need to negotiate credit rates clearly and effectively and uphold lending standards in a way that makes others want to borrow from you and not think, “After I shake their hand, I should check to make sure I still have all my rings.”

Staying on the right side of your company’s sales staff is also essential since they are the ones who find customers and start the credit process. Really, you should stay on the right side of everybody in your office, including the janitor and office manager. It’s just the right thing to do.

Most people do not begin their career in management—if that’s how things worked, we’d have a world full of managers and nobody to manage. Credit managers often gain work experience as credit assistants, then move to credit analysis before reaching a management position.

Credit assistants help credit analysts review applications and calculate the risk of lending. They are in charge of assembling the necessary paperwork so an analyst can get an accurate picture of the potential borrower. Analysts might make recommendations for the interest rate, help determine the total accounts receivable, and assist with collection.

Credit managers are considered middle management. With experience, however, they can rise through the ranks to become the:

  • Chief credit executive
  • Division general manager
  • Treasurer

Since there are so many corporate structures, titles and positions (as well as pay) may vary from company to company.


“Should I Get A MBA?”

The National Association of Colleges and Employers predicted an average starting salary for 2019 MBA graduates of $84,580—provided those graduates found jobs in computer science, engineering, science, or business. (source)

Students considering an MBA or graduate business degree can choose from varied career paths, including those focused on financial management, data analytics, market research, healthcare management, and operations management. The analytical skills and problem-solving techniques gained from graduate level business degrees are in high demand across business sectors. (source)

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How much does a credit manager earn?

According to PayScale, the average credit manager salary is $64,916, with salaries ranging from $45,000 to $97,000. ZipRecruiter says credit managers earn $61,925, while Glassdoor lists the average credit manager salary at $45,815. Most credit managers also receive benefits.

It’s hard to get a more precise salary estimate than the average because of all the factors that go into determining what you’ll earn in this job. If you are an experienced credit manager at a major bank, you will likely earn more than if you worked at a local insurance company.

Experience can have a huge impact on your salary. PayScale says a credit manager with around ten years of experience earns an average of just under $70,000, with a total compensation package that can include a $5,165 bonus, $7,000 in commissions, and $2,472 in profit sharing. One with more than 20 years of experience can earn around $90,000. According to Indeed, a senior credit manager can earn a yearly salary of $102,821.

Where you live is another major variable. Living in a city will almost always pay better than a rural area. The average credit manager in New York City will earn more ($76,336) than a credit manager in Minneapolis, Minnesota ($67,961). Other major cities that pay well include:

  • Houston, Texas ($78,062)
  • Atlanta, Georgia ($69,295)
  • Los Angeles, California ($69,468)
  • Louisville, Kentucky ($69,337)
  • Portland, Oregon ($70,190)

You can also improve your income by climbing the corporate ladder. Treasurer is usually the highest-ranking position for credit managers; it commands an average salary of $145,218, according to Glassdoor.

With careful maneuvering—and most likely a graduate degree—you might become a Chief Operating Officer and join the c-suite. COOs are executives who use accounting and management skills to keep a company running. It’s a much bigger job than being a credit manager, and you will be paid accordingly (nearly half a million dollars a year, on average).

What are the education requirements to become a credit manager?

There is no undergraduate major called “credit manager-ology,” so you have some leeway in deciding what to study in college. Keep in mind this analysis from the University of Kansas: “Many careers do not require a specific major… Employers are often more interested in the experiences you have had and the skills, interests, abilities, and strengths you have developed through these experiences that enhance your academic program.” What it boils down to is: pick something and do it well.

Some potential majors include:

  • Accounting
  • Mathematics
  • Business Administration
  • Economics
  • Finance

According to US News and World Report, excellent finance programs can be found at:

What certifications do credit managers need?

Many companies seek candidates who have an understanding of Generally Accepted Accounting Principles (GAAP). As nonspecific as they sound, the GAAP serves as the basis for most American financial information systems, from government organizations to private companies.

The four principles are:

  • Recognition
  • Measurement
  • Presentation
  • Disclosure

There’s no denying it: those are pretty general. They get a little more specific in the fine print.

You can get GAAP certification through the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA).

The other main certifications that you will need are doled out by the National Association of Credit Management. They offer six certification options for credit management. The levels are:

  • Credit Business Associate (CBA): This basic certification measures business credit knowledge.
  • Certified Credit and Risk Analyst (CCRA): This certification allows you to evaluate financial statements and assess credit risk.
  • Credit Business Fellow (CBF): You must complete a CBA to hold this certification, which measures the ability to understand business and credit law.
  • Certified Credit Executive (CCE): This tests an executive’s accounting, financial, management, legal, and analytical skills as well as their understanding of credit on domestic and international levels. You need to complete continuing education every three years to renew this certification.
  • International Certified Credit Executive (ICCE): One step beyond the CCE, this certification requires even more continuing education and is designed specifically for “international credit and risk analysis professionals who are ready to make an impact on the world stage.”

Will earning a graduate degree advance my career?

Most credit managers do not need graduate degrees. Even job postings for senior positions stress experience over education. However, earning the right graduate degree can help if you want to change careers to pursue a higher-paying position where you can utilize your credit managing abilities. Earning a Master in Business Administration is an excellent way to increase your:

  • Management skills
  • Earning potential
  • Job security and prospects (i.e., that tasty COO position)

MBA programs typically target current professionals looking to advance or change their careers. A background in finance is a plus on applications, though most programs seek applicants of diverse professional and educational backgrounds. MBAs usually take two years of full-time study (longer for part-time students) and can be completed in person or online.

In 2018, MBA candidates earned an average salary of $84,580 (representing an 8 percent raise over their previous year’s salary), according to the National Association of Colleges and Employers. Graduates from top business schools earned six-figure incomes.

As a credit analyst, earning an MBA in risk management might prepare you to become a:

  • Risk manager ($113,106)
  • Senior credit examiner ($84,620)
  • Bank examiner ($106,000)
  • Actuary ($120,000)

Each of these jobs comes with better compensation and new expectations, though you will utilize many of the same skills that you cultivated as a credit manager.

You might also decide to earn a more accounting-focused MBA, Master of Science in Finance (MSF), or Master of Accounting (MAcc). These degrees can prepare graduates to become financial controllers or financial managers. Both jobs have overlapping skills with credit management (e.g., working with investors, developing basic accounting knowledge). Plus, they offer a good shot at a six-figure income.

Some well-regarded finance MBA programs can be found at:

You may ultimately decide that a graduate degree is not worth pursuing since it can be expensive and time-consuming. Some employers offer to pay for graduate school, but in return, you typically must commit to remaining in your job for a fixed number of years.

Whatever your feelings are about graduate school, working as a credit manager is a great job. It allows you to earn an above-average annual salary and build skills that can be utilized in different, higher-paying careers. Plus, you get to tell people whether they can have money, which is always fun.

(Last Updated on February 26, 2024)

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About the Editor

Tom Meltzer spent over 20 years writing and teaching for The Princeton Review, where he was lead author of the company's popular guide to colleges, before joining Noodle.

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