Loan officers analyze creditworthiness of loan applicants and approve or deny loans. This job generally requires more education and training or experience than a mere loan clerk and also pays a higher salary.
Many high-paying jobs have very few actual positions, but there were 283,330 loan officers in May of 2010, according to a study completed by the United States Department of Labor Bureau of Labor Statistics. However, these jobs are generally reserved for those with a high degree of education. In return for that, loan officers earn a good salary. In that BLS study, they were earning a median yearly salary of $56,490.
The vast majority of loan officers work for banks or other lending institutions. Some also work in company management, and there are a few thousand that get jobs with the federal government.
In terms of job location, loan officers will find that the number of jobs is similar to the population of the state. Thus, it is not surprising that California, Texas, New York, Florida and Illinois have the most jobs for loan officers.
All applicants should at least have a high school diploma. While some loan officers get on-the-job training, it is increasingly difficult to get some jobs without a college education. Degrees which fit well for a career as a loan officer include accounting, finance, and economics.
Because people do not often specifically train or get a degree for a job as a loan officer, a more comprehensive approach to career development is the norm. A master’s degree in these disciplines would not be necessary for most jobs as a loan officer, but that would not be a bad idea since it may also qualify you for licensing as a CPA or open up other doors like financial management. However, considering the median yearly salary of over $55,000, a career as a loan officer is hardly a bad place to fall back on if the need arises.
Bureau of Labor Statistics: Job and Salary Information for Loan Officers