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Become A Collector

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Working As A Collector

  • 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

  • $34,440

    Average Salary

What Does A Collector 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  • Track down consumers who have an out-of-date address by using the Internet, post office, credit bureaus, or neighbors—a process called “skip tracing”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 Collector

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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Collector jobs

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Average Length of Employment
Coin Collector 6.5 years
Fare Collector 6.2 years
Revenue Collector 4.4 years
Senior Collector 3.7 years
Tax Collector 3.7 years
Refuse Collector 3.6 years
Field Collector 3.3 years
Rent Collector 3.2 years
Collector Lead 3.1 years
Recovery Collector 3.0 years
Customs Collector 2.6 years
Bill Collector 2.6 years
Toll Collector 2.5 years
Claims Collector 2.4 years
City Collector 2.4 years
Garbage Collector 2.3 years
Payment Collector 2.3 years
Skip Tracer 2.2 years
Medical Collector 2.2 years
Collector 2.0 years
Sample Collector 1.9 years
Mortgage Collector 1.9 years
Debt Collector 1.9 years
Trash Collector 1.7 years
Collection Agent 1.6 years
Data Collector 1.4 years
Rag Collector 1.1 years
Top Employers Before
Cashier 11.2%
Manager 3.7%
Teller 2.6%
Supervisor 2.4%
Server 2.3%
Top Employers After
Cashier 5.4%
Manager 3.9%
Specialist 3.1%
Supervisor 2.7%

Collector Demographics

Gender

Female

65.9%

Male

31.9%

Unknown

2.2%
Ethnicity

White

78.2%

Hispanic or Latino

13.9%

Asian

6.0%

Unknown

1.4%

Black or African American

0.5%
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Languages Spoken

Spanish

75.0%

French

4.8%

German

3.2%

Portuguese

2.4%

Russian

1.8%

Arabic

1.8%

Chinese

1.4%

Korean

1.2%

Italian

1.2%

Mandarin

0.9%

Tagalog

0.9%

Vietnamese

0.8%

Navajo

0.8%

Hindi

0.6%

Carrier

0.6%

Japanese

0.6%

Croatian

0.6%

Hmong

0.5%

Bosnian

0.5%

Greek

0.5%
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Collector Education

Schools

University of Phoenix

25.4%

Des Moines Area Community College

5.6%

Ashford University

5.5%

Florida State College at Jacksonville

5.3%

Strayer University

4.9%

Liberty University

4.5%

Erie Community College

4.5%

Kaplan University

4.5%

Southern New Hampshire University

4.1%

Texas Southern University

4.0%

Columbus State Community College

3.9%

Troy University

3.7%

Houston Community College

3.6%

American InterContinental University

3.4%

Grand Canyon University

3.4%

Arizona State University

2.7%

Glendale Community College

2.7%

Johnson County Community College

2.7%

Iowa State University

2.7%

Ball State University

2.7%
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Majors

Business

32.7%

Accounting

8.2%

Criminal Justice

7.4%

Health Care Administration

7.1%

General Studies

4.6%

Psychology

4.6%

Medical Assisting Services

4.5%

Nursing

3.9%

Communication

2.9%

Management

2.9%

Finance

2.9%

Education

2.5%

Liberal Arts

2.4%

Computer Science

2.3%

Legal Support Services

2.3%

Human Resources Management

2.1%

Marketing

1.9%

Computer Information Systems

1.9%

Human Services

1.6%

Information Technology

1.4%
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Degrees

Other

39.0%

Bachelors

28.3%

Associate

16.9%

Masters

6.5%

Certificate

5.6%

Diploma

2.5%

Doctorate

0.6%

License

0.6%
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Job type you want
Full Time
Part Time
Internship
Temporary

Real Collector Salaries

Job Title Company Location Start Date Salary
Sport Drug Testing Collector The National Center for Drug Free Sport, Inc. Verona, NJ Sep 24, 2011 $35,547
Collector Santos Rubbish Removal Inc. MA Jun 01, 2011 $35,416
Sport Drug Testing Collector The National Center for Drug Free Sport, Inc. Verona, NJ Jun 01, 2010 $32,822
Sport Drug Testing Collector The National Center for Drug Free Sport, Inc. Verona, NJ Jun 10, 2010 $32,822

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Top Skills for A Collector

CustomerServiceSkillsDebtRepaymentPaymentArrangementsStudentLoansFinancialSituationsDelinquentAccountsPaymentPlansPastDueAccountsFdcpaDataEntryDaysPastPhoneCallsOutboundCollectionCallsInsuranceCompaniesLossCustomerAccountsOverdueAccountsMonthlyGoalsCollectionEffortsRepaymentPlans

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Top Collector Skills

  1. Customer Service Skills
  2. Debt Repayment
  3. Payment Arrangements
You can check out examples of real life uses of top skills on resumes here:
  • Demonstrated communication and customer service skills.
  • Negotiate for debt repayment, established repayment schedules based on customer financial situations.
  • Collect past due amounts, negotiating payment arrangements.
  • Maintain a file of over 1,300 delinquent student loans and tuition accounts.
  • Reviewed and analyzed financial situations and arranged repayment programs with procedural criteria.

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