There are a few straightforward steps to follow if you want to become a financial aid consultant. You should first get the appropriate financial aid consultant training, which usually involves a bachelor's degree in a related subject, such as math or counseling. You should then gain some experience, either through an internship or an entry-level position in this field. After you have the experience and education to take on financial aid consultant duties, you should begin applying to colleges, universities and technical schools that have such positions available.
You may be able to become a financial aid consultant without going to college, but getting at least a bachelor's degree should increase your success when trying to find a job in this field. If your college does not have a program specifically aimed at preparing students for a career as a financial aid consultant, then you should find a related subject in which to major. For example, you can expect to use a lot of math as a financial aid consultant, so accounting, statistics and other math-based majors may be helpful. At the same time, you will be counseling students and their parents on a daily basis in this position, so a background in social work or communications also may assist you. It is possible to further improve your chances of becoming a financial aid consultant by obtaining a master's degree in a related field, but most job openings do not require this level of education.
The next step in your endeavor to become a financial aid consultant is to get experience in this subject, which often is a requirement of earning a degree. Many schools offer internships or work study, which may allow you to work in your school's financial aid office as you attend college, giving you hands-on experience. This many be helpful, because many jobs require that you have at least one year of experience to become a financial aid consultant. If you cannot get experience through an internship during college and are having trouble breaking into this career, then the next best move often is to start out in an entry-level position in a financial aid office and work your way up to being a consultant.
Once you have both the education and experience to become a financial aid consultant, you are advised to start applying for jobs. In general, the best place to start looking is universities, which often hire several financial aid consultants. Smaller schools, such as community colleges and vocational schools, also usually have positions of this type. You can look for job ads in the newspaper or on websites that post such openings, or you can contact local schools directly to ask if they are hiring.