What Are the Differences Between the Credit Counseling and Debtor Education Courses in Bankruptcy?

By Cara O'Neill, Attorney
Learn about the two courses you must take when filing for bankruptcy.

You’ll take two classes when you file for bankruptcy: The first is a credit counseling class, and the second is debtor education training. Here is a brief explanation of each course.

Filing for bankruptcy isn’t for everyone, and it has a lasting effect on your credit. So before you file, you must explore alternative options. The first course—the pre-filing credit counseling course—helps you do just that.

In the course, you’ll review the type of debt you have, your income, and debt repayment strategies. If after completing the class it appears that bankruptcy is a good match, you’ll submit your completion certificate along with your bankruptcy petition and schedules (the official bankruptcy paperwork) to the court.

(Find out more by reading What Is the Credit Counseling Requirement in Bankruptcy?)

The second class—the post-filing debtor education course—teaches sound financial management techniques that will help you remain solvent after your bankruptcy case. You can expect topics to explore the following areas:

  • establishing a budget
  • saving for unexpected expenses
  • purchasing insurance
  • building a retirement account, and
  • avoiding financial scams.

You’ll take the debtor education course after you file for bankruptcy. If you filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy, it’s due within 60 days of the date first set for the 341 meeting of creditors. (It’s a good idea to complete it soon after filing so that you don’t forget to take it later.) In a Chapter 13 bankruptcy, you'll want to finish the course before making your last monthly repayment installment.

(To learn more about the personal financial management course, read What Is the Debtor Education Requirement in Bankruptcy?)

Go to the main bankruptcy FAQ page.

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