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Ultimate Guide to Credit Counseling

The First Bankruptcy Course

What is the purpose of Credit Counseling?

The first credit counseling session is generally required to be completed prior to filing for bankruptcy. Many clients take our course before they even meet with a bankruptcy attorney. However, there is no requirement that you have to be considering bankruptcy or that you file bankruptcy in order to take our course. Our counselors make no assumptions that you will necessarily be filing for bankruptcy. Our course is available to anyone in financial trouble, or to anyone who simply wants to learn more about their finances.

Your particular financial situation is reviewed by a certified credit counselor. They take a look at your debt to income ratio, your budget, your debts and assets, and review with you any and all possible alternatives to resolve your debt issues that may be available in your particular circumstance. Specifically, the counselor will be analyzing your current financial situation, discussing the factors that caused that financial situation, and assist in developing a plan to respond to those financial problems without incurring negative amortization of debt.

How long does the counseling session generally take?

You go at your own pace. Typically, most of our clients take an average of somewhere between 60 to 90 minutes to complete the entire session, but more or less time may be appropriate depending on your particular situation. While our course is not timed, you do want to make a good faith effort to fill out the financial questionnaire to the best of your ability.

You also want to make sure you read all of the various sections to make sure you have a full understanding prior to your chat with a counselor. Your chat with a counselor is also not timed, but the counselor does have specific areas they need to cover with you to ensure you have a complete session. Completion times vary depending on how fast you type. Your counseling session is kept completely confidential, so being cooperative and answering the counselor’s questions honestly helps speed the process along. Keep in mind that a real person is typing responses back to you, so you may need to wait a few moments for them to respond.

What information do I need to take the course?

We ask for information related to your income and monthly budget expenses, along with your debts, what factors led you to seek counseling, information regarding any lawsuits, garnishments, or foreclosures you may be facing, and we may ask about any assets you may have. Estimates are fine. There is no section of our course that requires you to have exact amounts. Do keep in mind though that your counselor is basing their advice to you off of the numbers you are providing to them, so the more accurate you are, the better off you will be.

You must take the credit counseling session from an approved provider

The credit counseling session must be taken from an approved, nonprofit provider. CC Advising is approved in all U.S. States and territories, and not every provider is, so you definitely want to check to see whether the provider you choose is approved, either by the US Trustee’s office or by the Bankruptcy Administrators (in Alabama and North Carolina).

How do I sign up for the course?

When signing up for the credit counseling session, you need to create a brand new account, which you can do here. You will also want to have your court district handy.

How can I find my Court District?

Your attorney will be able to provide you with your court district. If you do not have an attorney, are unable to contact your attorney, or are unsure of the correct district, you can make a guess, and we can always change it later if it is wrong.

Will my progress be saved?

If you sign up with CC Advising, our web site automatically saves each page after you submit it. If you are partially through filling out a section and leave, it will not be saved. If you submit the page you are currently on, though, it will be saved. You can log out and log back in as many times as you want, and your progress will be saved.

What types of subjects does the credit counseling session cover?

The CC Advising credit counseling session is broken down into the following sections:

  • Introduction
  • Reasons for Seeking Counseling
  • Reasons for Seeking Credit Counseling Explained
  • Debt Structure
  • Budget
  • Budget Chart and Analysis
  • Debt-to-Income Ratio
  • Alternatives to Bankruptcy
  • Consumer Laws
  • Rebuilding Credit After Bankruptcy
  • Identity Check
  • Chat with a Credit Counselor

Why do I have to fill out a budget?

A credit counselor uses your budget information to determine whether you have other options available to resolve your debt issues. They are particularly interested in giving you tips and tricks to stay out of debt and put you on the path to success moving forward. Your credit counselor is looking for a snapshot of your financial situation prior to meeting with an attorney. If you have been advised to stop paying specific bills, for example, that is fine, but we want to know what you were paying.

Is it possible to fail the session?

No, you cannot fail the credit counseling. However, you do need to take your time going through the material and make a good-faith effort to submit the financial information required to allow us to provide you with a complete credit counseling session.

Will my attorney or bankruptcy court accept your certificate?

Yes, the certificate you receive after completing the CC Advising credit counseling course is accepted everywhere, by all attorneys and by all bankruptcy courts.

How long is my certificate good for?

Your certificate of completion of credit counseling is valid for 180 days (about 6 months). After this time, the certificate expires, and you are required to retake the session all over again to receive an updated certificate. This is because your financial situation can change drastically over this long period of time, and so our counselors are required to conduct a new credit counseling session. You can simply log in to your pre-existing account, and you will have the option to reset it, and start from the beginning again.

Can I get assistance?

Yes, we have online chat and telephone support Monday - Friday 9am – Midnight Eastern Standard Time, and Saturday and Sunday from 10am – Midnight Eastern Standard Time, and we answer e-mail around the clock at


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