Virtually all individuals who file for bankruptcy must complete a pre-filing and a post-filing credit counseling course to be eligible to file and obtain a discharge of debts. These courses are usually completed on the internet, though telephone and in-person options are available. Each course typically lasts around 2 hours. There are many providers that offer these services (I generally recommend Summit Financial Education for their level of service and pricing). Ultimately, every provider issues the same certificate, so cost is usually the biggest variable. Expect to pay $10-25 per course (or more for telephone and in-person counseling), depending on the provider.
I have had clients express concern about whether they are providing correct information during these courses. Thankfully, these are not courses you can fail. Some will consider the courses valuable for dealing with finances post-bankruptcy. Others may say that it feels like a waste of time. Regardless, the key is to complete the courses to obtain the necessary certificates. The pre-filing course is valid if taken within 180 days prior to filing of the case. The post-filing course must be taken prior to 60 days after the meeting of creditors in the case, though I recommend that it be taken within a couple weeks of filing because the consequence of failing to take the second course is that the case is closed without a discharge, a terrible result! I always remind my clients, but if it isn’t taken right away after filing it is easy to forget to take it.
To sum up: the two required bankruptcy credit counseling courses are easy, inexpensive, and (for some people) educational.