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Jul 01 2018
An Educational What If?
Stephanie Johnson, CBA, NACM Education Committee Chair

I stumbled into credit management as a fluke. Truly. It is hard to believe that when I was a kid I didn't dream of being a credit manager when I grew up. I wanted to be a lawyer, actually, but then I learned how much schooling was involved. 10 years ago, when my boss asked me to transfer into the position of Director of Accounting, I had very little knowledge of how the accounting department functioned. I knew nothing about collections or credit management.

I struggled for a few years trying to figure it out on my own until the NACM Intermountain employees waltzed into my life. To be clearer, it was more of a march because I attended Credit Boot Camp with (the NACM angel) Georgette Bevan. What an eye opening few hours. Georgette introduced me to credit dos and don'ts, she told me about the Intermountain Credit Education League (ICEL), encouraged me to seek additional education opportunities, and told me about accreditation/certification programs. The rub is, although I work for a great organization, they do not currently offer tuition reimbursement. So, I put off education for too long. For far too long. Sadly. If you work for a company that does not offer tuition or training reimbursement as a perk, listen up!!

There are six Professional Certificate Programs available. I think most of us have heard of the basic 3: CBA, CBF, CCE. The information is comprehensively outlined on this page so I won't go into it in this article. What I did not really understand is that there are many options for scholarships for members from both NACM and ICEL. As members, a portion of our dues is allocated to these funds. I have taken advantage of these scholarships for my credit education. I would not be a CBA today were it not for the scholarships offered.

I cannot be clearer: THERE ARE SCHOLARSHIPS AVAILABLE for the members of NACM and ICEL to help pay for classes on the road to certification. The rules are fairly simple, too.

NACM Scholarship rules:

  • Applicant must be an employee of an NACM Business Credit Services Intermountain|Arizona member company in good standing for one year
  • One scholarship per member company per semester
  • Application must be received on time
  • Application must be filled out completely
  • A new application can be submitted each semester for each class
  • Class must be completed with a final grade "C" or higher


ICEL scholarships require same rules, but applicant must also have been a member of ICEL for one year and attend at least 80% of the meetings for the previous year. Applicant can apply for both NACM and ICEL scholarship for each semester, but only one scholarship may be awarded from either association at a time.

I wish I had paid closer attention to Georgette years ago when she encouraged education. I would have started my certification process sooner had I known there were resources to help pay for the classes. I struggled to learn how to do my job alone when there was no need. The classes have been illuminating and I am certainly a more adept credit professional than I was when I started the education process because of them.

If you have not started your educational or certification road with NACM, what is holding you back? Time? Fear of failure? Lack of support? Lack of funding? "We will all struggle and fall; we will know what it means to be both brave and brokenhearted." -- Brené Brown

If you are anything like me, you have big dreams but sometimes talk yourself out making an effort to work towards those dreams. When it comes to the education and certification programs offered by NACM, there should be little that holds you back from reaching for and achieving your dreams. The time commitment is at your pace. The staff at NACM Intermountain have done more hand holding with me through this than I would have expected. And with the scholarships available from both NACM and ICEL, your education and certification can be completed with the financial aid of scholarships.

"There is freedom waiting for you,
On the breezes of the sky,
And you ask "What if I fall?"
Oh but my darling,
What if you fly?"
-- Erin Hanson

Let NACM and the education committee help you be brave and fly!