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Credit Specialist vs. Credit Analyst: What Are the Differences?

Learn about the two careers and review some of the similarities and differences between them.

A career in credit can be both exciting and rewarding. Two common positions in this field are that of a credit specialist and a credit analyst. Though these positions share some similarities, there are several key differences between them.

In this article, we discuss the differences between a credit specialist and a credit analyst, and we provide additional credit-related professions you may be interested in pursuing.

What is a Credit Specialist?

Credit specialists work in the credit department of a company to research and analyze credit data. They use this information to make recommendations to management about issuing credit, setting credit limits and extending payment terms. Credit specialists also work with customers to resolve past-due accounts and negotiate payment plans. They may also contact references to verify information on credit applications. Credit specialists typically have a bachelor’s degree in business, finance or a related field. They should also have strong analytical and problem-solving skills.

What is a Credit Analyst?

A Credit Analyst is a financial professional who assesses the creditworthiness of individuals or organizations. They use financial data to determine the probability that a borrower will repay a loan. Credit Analysts work in banks, credit unions, investment firms and other financial institutions. They review credit reports, tax returns and financial statements to determine a borrower’s creditworthiness. Credit Analysts also consider a borrower’s employment history, debts and assets when making their assessment. They typically make recommendations to loan officers or underwriters about whether to approve or deny a loan.

Credit Specialist vs. Credit Analyst

Here are the main differences between a credit specialist and a credit analyst.

Job Duties

A credit specialist’s job duties can vary depending on their employer and the nature of their work. For example, a credit specialist may have to contact clients to discuss their financial situations and determine how likely they are to repay a loan. Credit specialists may also analyze data to determine whether or not a client is eligible for a loan and calculate interest rates based on a client’s repayment plan.

In contrast, a credit analyst performs analysis throughout the entire lending process. A credit analyst typically begins their job duties by performing an initial evaluation of a client and determining if they’re eligible for a loan. Next, they’ll continue to perform analysis as a client undergoes the lending process to ensure that the final decision is accurate. Finally, a credit analyst may present their findings to a supervisor so that the company can make a decision about a client’s application.

Job Requirements

Credit specialists and credit analysts typically need at least a bachelor’s degree in finance, accounting or another business-related field. Some employers prefer candidates to have a master’s degree as well, but it is not required for entry-level positions. Additionally, many credit specialists and credit analysts pursue certifications through the Credit Research Foundation (CRF) or the American Bankers Association (ABA). These organizations offer training programs that teach professionals how to use credit analysis software and other tools they might need on the job.

Work Environment

Credit analysts typically work in an office setting, but they may also travel to meet with clients. They spend most of their time working on a computer and analyzing data. Credit analysts often work full-time during regular business hours, although overtime is sometimes required.

Credit specialists usually work in an office environment, but they may also travel to visit clients or attend conferences. Their job duties require them to be available during normal business hours, but overtime is sometimes necessary.


Both credit specialists and credit analysts use analytical skills to assess an individual or business’s financial history and make recommendations about issuing loans or extending lines of credit. They also both need to have excellent research skills to investigate a borrower’s background and identify any potential red flags that could indicate they may not be able to repay a loan.

Credit specialists typically work with individuals who are seeking personal loans, such as auto loans or mortgages. Because they are working with people, they need to have strong customer service skills to build relationships and help customers understand their options. Credit analysts usually work with businesses and may not have as much interaction with customers. However, they still need to be able to effectively communicate their findings and recommendations to their clients.

Both credit specialists and credit analysts need to stay up-to-date on changes in the lending industry and regulations governing loans. They also both need to have strong attention to detail to ensure accuracy in their work.


Credit specialists earn an average salary of $48,035 per year, while credit analysts earn an average salary of $60,854 per year. Both of these average salaries may vary depending on the size of the company at which you work, location of your job and the level of experience you have prior to pursuing either position.


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