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Become A Collections Specialist

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Working As A Collections Specialist

  • Getting Information
  • Interacting With Computers
  • Communicating with Supervisors, Peers, or Subordinates
  • Documenting/Recording Information
  • Communicating with Persons Outside Organization
  • Deal with People

  • Unpleasant/Angry People

  • Mostly Sitting

  • Repetitive

  • $33,000

    Average Salary

What Does A Collections Specialist Do

Bill and account collectors try to recover payment on overdue bills. They negotiate repayment plans with debtors and help them find solutions to make paying their overdue bills easier.

Duties

Bill and account collectors typically do the following:

  • Find consumers and businesses who have overdue bills
  • Track down consumers who have an out-of-date address by using the Internet, post office, credit bureaus, or neighbors—a process called “skip tracing”
  • Inform debtors that they have an overdue bill and try to negotiate a payment
  • Explain the terms of sale or contract with the debtor, when necessary
  • Learn the reasons for the overdue bills, which can help with the negotiations
  • Offer credit advice or refer a consumer to a debt counselor, when appropriate

Bill and account collectors generally contact debtors by phone, although sometimes they do so by mail. They use computer systems to update contact information and record past collection attempts with a particular debtor. Keeping these records can help collectors with future negotiations.

The main job of bill and account collectors is finding a solution that is acceptable to the debtor and maximizes payment to the creditor. Listening to the debtor and paying attention to his or her concerns can help the collector negotiate a solution.

After the collector and debtor agree on a repayment plan, the collector continually checks to ensure that the debtor pays on time. If the debtor does not pay, the collector submits a statement to the creditor, who can take legal action. In extreme cases, this legal action may include taking back goods or disconnecting service.

Collectors must follow federal and state laws that govern debt collection. These laws require that collectors make sure they are talking with the debtor before announcing that the purpose of the call is to collect a debt. A collector also must give a statement, called “mini-Miranda,” which informs the account holder that they are speaking with a bill or debt collector.

Although many collectors work for third-party collection agencies, some work in-house for the original creditor, such as a credit-card company or a health care provider. The day-to-day activities of in-house collectors are generally the same as those of other collectors.

Collectors usually have goals they are expected to meet. Typically, these include calls per hour and success rates.

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How To Become A Collections Specialist

Collectors usually must have a high school diploma. A few months of on-the-job training is common.

Education

Most bill and account collectors are required to have a high school diploma, although some employers prefer applicants who have taken some college courses. Communication, accounting, and basic computer courses are examples of classes that are helpful for entering this occupation.

Training

Collectors usually get 1 to 3 months of on-the-job training after being hired. Training includes learning the company’s policies and computer software and learning the laws for debt collection in the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act, as well as their state’s debt-collection regulations. Collectors also may be trained in negotiation techniques.

Important Qualities

Listening skills. Collectors must pay attention to what debtors say when trying to negotiate a repayment plan. Learning the particular situation of the debtors and how they fell into debt can help collectors suggest solutions.

Negotiating skills. The main aspects of a collector’s job are reconciling the differences between two parties (the debtor and the creditor) and offering a solution that is acceptable to both parties.

Speaking skills. Collectors must be able to speak to debtors to explain their choices and ensure that they fully understand what is being said.

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Collections Specialist Jobs

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Collections Specialist Career Paths

Collections Specialist
Accounts Receivable Specialist Accountant Office Manager
Business Office Manager
7 Yearsyrs
Accounts Receivable Specialist Staff Accountant Accountant
Accountant And Office Manager
6 Yearsyrs
Accounts Receivable Specialist Accountant Account Manager
National Account Manager
8 Yearsyrs
Specialist Team Leader Account Manager
Senior Account Manager
7 Yearsyrs
Specialist Consultant Account Manager
Account Director
9 Yearsyrs
Specialist Team Leader Office Manager
Office Manager Of Human Resources
6 Yearsyrs
Team Leader Manager Office Manager
Accounts Receivable Manager
6 Yearsyrs
Credit Analyst Credit Manager
Credit And Collection Manager
7 Yearsyrs
Credit Analyst Finance Analyst Project Manager
Portfolio Manager
7 Yearsyrs
Credit Analyst Underwriter Branch Manager
Relationship Manager
6 Yearsyrs
Legal Assistant Executive Assistant Customer Service Manager
Call Center Manager
6 Yearsyrs
Legal Assistant Consultant Senior Accountant
Accounts Payable Manager
7 Yearsyrs
Legal Assistant Account Executive Customer Service Manager
Inside Sales Manager
6 Yearsyrs
Loan Processor Account Executive Customer Service Manager
Collections Manager
5 Yearsyrs
Loan Processor Underwriter Senior Credit Analyst
Credit Manager
5 Yearsyrs
Analyst Medical Coder Billing Manager
Revenue Manager
8 Yearsyrs
Loan Processor Billing Specialist Customer Service Supervisor
Collection Supervisor
5 Yearsyrs
Senior Collection Specialist
5 Yearsyrs
Accounts Receivable Analyst Credit And Collections Analyst
Senior Accounts Receivable Specialist
7 Yearsyrs
Claims Representative Field Specialist Energy Consultant
Lead Generator
5 Yearsyrs
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Help others decide if this is a good career for them

Average Length of Employment
Customs Collector 2.7 years
Collector 2.2 years
Debt Collector 2.1 years
Collection Agent 1.7 years
Top Careers Before Collections Specialist
Cashier 10.7%
Collector 5.7%
Manager 2.8%
Specialist 2.2%
Top Careers After Collections Specialist
Cashier 7.1%
Collector 5.8%
Specialist 3.6%

Do you work as a Collections Specialist?

Collections Specialist Demographics

Gender

Female

62.4%

Male

26.8%

Unknown

10.9%
Ethnicity

White

62.3%

Hispanic or Latino

16.7%

Black or African American

11.7%

Asian

6.1%

Unknown

3.2%
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Foreign Languages Spoken

Spanish

79.8%

French

6.4%

Portuguese

2.9%

German

1.8%

Arabic

1.1%

Carrier

1.0%

Hindi

0.7%

Italian

0.7%

Chinese

0.7%

Romanian

0.6%

Korean

0.6%

Russian

0.6%

Urdu

0.6%

Mandarin

0.4%

Tagalog

0.4%

Japanese

0.4%

Polish

0.4%

Hebrew

0.3%

Armenian

0.3%

Thai

0.3%
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Collections Specialist Education

Schools

University of Phoenix

33.5%

Kaplan University

7.4%

Strayer University

6.5%

Ashford University

5.8%

Southern New Hampshire University

4.0%

Florida State College at Jacksonville

4.0%

Erie Community College

3.3%

Bryant and Stratton College

3.2%

Liberty University

3.2%

Houston Community College

3.0%

American InterContinental University

3.0%

Everest Institute

2.9%

Colorado Technical University

2.8%

Miami Dade College

2.7%

Ivy Tech Community College of Indiana

2.7%

Columbus State Community College

2.6%

University of North Carolina at Greensboro

2.5%

The Academy

2.4%

Grand Canyon University

2.3%

Ohio State University

2.3%
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Majors

Business

32.3%

Accounting

10.0%

Health Care Administration

8.3%

Criminal Justice

5.7%

Medical Assisting Services

5.7%

Nursing

4.6%

General Studies

4.3%

Psychology

4.1%

Finance

3.2%

Communication

2.8%

Management

2.7%

Education

2.2%

Liberal Arts

2.1%

Marketing

2.1%

Legal Support Services

2.1%

Computer Science

2.0%

Human Resources Management

1.8%

Human Services

1.4%

Computer Information Systems

1.4%

Cosmetology

1.4%
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Degrees

Other

36.5%

Bachelors

28.2%

Associate

18.8%

Certificate

6.6%

Masters

5.7%

Diploma

3.1%

License

0.8%

Doctorate

0.4%
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Job type you want
Full Time
Part Time
Internship
Temporary
Average Yearly Salary
$33,000
View Detailed Salary Report
$24,000
Min 10%
$33,000
Median 50%
$33,000
Median 50%
$33,000
Median 50%
$33,000
Median 50%
$33,000
Median 50%
$33,000
Median 50%
$33,000
Median 50%
$47,000
Max 90%
Best Paying Company
Favorite Healthcare Staffing
Highest Paying City
Richmond, VA
Highest Paying State
Virginia
Avg Experience Level
2.5 years
How much does a Collections Specialist make at top companies?
The national average salary for a Collections Specialist in the United States is $33,876 per year or $16 per hour. Those in the bottom 10 percent make under $24,000 a year, and the top 10 percent make over $47,000.

Real Collections Specialist Salaries

Job Title Company Location Start Date Salary
Jewelry Collections Specialist Faerber New York, Inc. New York, NY Sep 16, 2016 $62,000
Jewelry Collections Specialist Faerber New York, Inc. New York, NY Sep 22, 2016 $62,000
Digital Collections Specialist Johns Hopkins University Baltimore, MD Mar 30, 2013 $42,120
Collections Specialist OOCL (USA) Inc. South Jordan, UT Sep 02, 2014 $39,820 -
$40,676
Collection Specialist Transperfect Translations International Inc. New York, NY Nov 26, 2008 $31,806
Collections Specialist Penn Foster, Inc. Scranton, PA Dec 13, 2010 $31,200

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Top Skills for A Collections Specialist

  1. Payment Arrangements
  2. Customer Service
  3. Debt Repayment
You can check out examples of real life uses of top skills on resumes here:
  • Contacted customers by phone and letter correspondence to negotiate payment arrangements.
  • Recognized for providing exemplary customer service in a fast pace environment
  • Negotiated with debtors for debt repayment and established repayment schedules.
  • Provide excellent customer service while providing payment options and credit extensions on delinquent accounts.
  • Communicated with consumers via inbound and outbound telephone calls and assisted them in finding the right solutions to resolve their debts.

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