Get a degree in a business related field
A bachelor’s degree is the bare minimum requirement for a job as a commercial loan officer. You will be expected to possess strong analytical, investigative and numerical skills, so taking courses like calculus and statistics will help to prepare you for the job.
Also, since you will largely be dealing directly with people, having a friendly outgoing disposition will help you perform better.
Get an advanced degree
Although an undergraduate degree really is sufficient for the type of work you will be doing, positions for places as a commercial loan officer are very competitive and you will need to stand out. Getting an advanced business degree, usually an MBA is a great way to achieve this. It also goes without saying that with an advanced degree, your career trajectory and earnings are likely to be much steeper than otherwise.
Depending on where you live you may need a license to operate as a commercial loan officer. In the US you are required to take certain courses, pass certain exams and undergo a background check by the Nationwide Mortgage Licensing System & Registry (NMLS).
Getting some work experience as a low level banking staff or as an intern in a financial services related firm would be the perfect move for an undergraduate business student interested in a career as a commercial loan officer. Once you graduate, you might be under a bit more pressure to find a full time job. However, it’s still not too late to go through an internship, particularly if you get accepted at a reputable firm.
All relevant work experience will stand you in very good stead later on, particularly if you excelled at it and have good referrals.
Financial markets are usually very dynamic. You will need to make sure that you are fully informed about the latest trends as recruiters will most likely want to test your degree of current economic and financial knowledge. This is relatively easy to achieve by following the news and by reading respectable business magazines such as the “financial times”.
Because there is so much competition in the job market and particularly so in the financial industry, you will need to send out your CV to as many potential employers as possible in order to stand a chance of getting that interview opportunity. As noted earlier, you should be prepared to start at entry level or even in a different job.
You may consider temporarily switching career fields if you can find a job elsewhere that will give you the exposure to the kind of skills you need to succeed as a commercial loan officer.