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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

  • $42,220

    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  • Track down consumers who have an out-of-date address by using the Internet, post office, credit bureaus, or neighbors—a process called “skip tracing”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
Billing Specialist Specialist
Account Manager
5 Yearsyrs
Credit Analyst Accounts Receivable Specialist
Accounts Receivable Manager
6 Yearsyrs
Specialist Account Manager Billing Specialist
Billing Manager
7 Yearsyrs
Billing Specialist Accounts Receivable Specialist Accountant
Business Manager
7 Yearsyrs
Collection Supervisor Office Manager Business Office Manager
Business Office Director
8 Yearsyrs
Account Manager Account Executive Office Manager
Business Office Manager
8 Yearsyrs
Specialist Case Manager
Career Manager
6 Yearsyrs
Service Representative Customer Care Representative Collections Representative
Collection Supervisor
5 Yearsyrs
Accounting Clerk Billing Specialist Collector
Collections Manager
5 Yearsyrs
Credit Analyst Credit Manager
Credit And Collection Manager
7 Yearsyrs
Collections Manager Branch Manager Credit Analyst
Credit Manager
5 Yearsyrs
Service Representative Operations Manager Assistant Director
Director Of Admissions
7 Yearsyrs
Collections Manager Operations Manager Sales Consultant
Internet Sales Manager
6 Yearsyrs
Accounts Receivable Specialist Accounts Receivable Manager
Office Manager
5 Yearsyrs
Customer Care Representative Member Service Representative Service Supervisor
Patient Services Manager
8 Yearsyrs
Accounts Receivable Specialist Human Resources Coordinator Payroll Specialist
Payroll Manager
7 Yearsyrs
Recovery Specialist Billing Specialist Practice Manager
Practice Administrator
10 Yearsyrs
Account Manager Sales Manager Office Manager
Practice Manager
9 Yearsyrs
Security Officer Night Auditor Front Office Manager
Revenue Manager
8 Yearsyrs
Accounting Clerk Specialist Warehouse Associate
Warehouse Manager
5 Yearsyrs
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Help others decide if this is a good career for them

Average Length of Employment
Collection Analyst 2.7 years
Bill Collector 2.4 years
Collector 2.1 years
Debt Collector 1.9 years
Top Employers Before
Cashier 6.9%
Collector 5.4%
Teller 5.4%
Manager 2.9%
Specialist 2.3%
Internship 2.2%
Top Employers After
Collector 5.3%
Teller 4.1%
Specialist 3.9%
Cashier 3.5%
Manager 2.7%

Do you work as a Collections Specialist?

Collections Specialist Demographics

Gender

Female

69.7%

Male

28.5%

Unknown

1.9%
Ethnicity

White

62.0%

Hispanic or Latino

16.9%

Black or African American

11.4%

Asian

6.3%

Unknown

3.3%
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Languages Spoken

Spanish

75.0%

French

7.8%

Portuguese

3.5%

German

2.4%

Carrier

1.3%

Arabic

1.3%

Italian

1.1%

Hindi

0.9%

Korean

0.9%

Chinese

0.9%

Romanian

0.7%

Mandarin

0.7%

Russian

0.7%

Tagalog

0.7%

Urdu

0.7%

Hebrew

0.4%

Thai

0.4%

Cantonese

0.4%

Swahili

0.2%

Vietnamese

0.2%
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Collections Specialist Education

Schools

University of Phoenix

30.7%

Kaplan University

7.2%

Strayer University

6.7%

Southern New Hampshire University

6.6%

Ashford University

4.9%

American InterContinental University

4.4%

Liberty University

4.3%

Erie Community College

3.7%

Bryant and Stratton College

3.1%

Grand Canyon University

2.9%

University of North Carolina at Greensboro

2.8%

Houston Community College

2.7%

Colorado Technical University

2.7%

Miami Dade College

2.7%

Florida State College at Jacksonville

2.6%

Columbus State Community College

2.5%

Ivy Tech Community College of Indiana

2.4%

Central Piedmont Community College

2.3%

Saint Louis Community College

2.2%

Greenville Technical College

2.2%
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Majors

Business

33.2%

Accounting

9.4%

Health Care Administration

8.0%

Criminal Justice

6.0%

Medical Assisting Services

4.7%

Psychology

4.4%

General Studies

4.3%

Nursing

4.1%

Finance

3.4%

Management

2.8%

Communication

2.7%

Marketing

2.3%

Legal Support Services

2.3%

Education

2.2%

Liberal Arts

2.2%

Human Resources Management

1.9%

Computer Science

1.9%

Computer Information Systems

1.4%

Human Services

1.4%

Information Technology

1.3%
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Degrees

Other

37.6%

Bachelors

28.5%

Associate

17.5%

Masters

6.4%

Certificate

6.3%

Diploma

2.5%

License

0.7%

Doctorate

0.5%
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Part Time
Internship
Temporary

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

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  1. Payment Arrangements
  2. Customer Service
  3. Debt
You can check out examples of real life uses of top skills on resumes here:
  • Identified, initiated, and facilitated resolution of customer issues Negotiated payment arrangements on past owing receivables.
  • Changed customer's perspectives on collections agents through outstanding customer service generating more resolved accounts and a positive company outlook.
  • Managed group projects while utilizing communication and leadership skills Collected debt from customers while overcoming numerous rejections
  • Based on information provided qualified to determine financial hardship and establish ability to pay plans to eliminate delinquent accounts.
  • Handled delinquent accounts 11 to 120 days past due on a daily basis which increased cash flow for lessors.

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