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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

  • $35,786

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  • Track down consumers who have an out-of-date address by using the Internet, post office, credit bureaus, or neighbors—a process called “skip tracing”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

Collector
Collections Specialist Accounts Receivable Specialist Staff Accountant
Accounting Manager
8 Yearsyrs
Collections Representative Collections Specialist Accounts Receivable Specialist
Accounts Receivable Manager
6 Yearsyrs
Debt Collector Office Manager
Administrative Manager
6 Yearsyrs
Collections Representative Account Representative Billing Specialist
Business Office Manager
8 Yearsyrs
Personal Banker Banking Center Manager Client Manager
Client Account Manager
6 Yearsyrs
Loss Mitigation Specialist Loan Processor Senior Loan Processor
Client Relations Manager
6 Yearsyrs
Billing Specialist Collections Specialist
Collection Supervisor
5 Yearsyrs
Service Representative Billing Specialist Collections Specialist
Collections Manager
5 Yearsyrs
Collections Manager Branch Manager Territory Sales Manager
Commercial Account Manager
8 Yearsyrs
Collection Supervisor Collections Manager
Credit And Collection Manager
7 Yearsyrs
Collections Specialist Credit Analyst
Credit Manager
5 Yearsyrs
Account Manager Account Executive
District Sales Manager
7 Yearsyrs
Loan Officer Inside Sales Representative Director, Inside Sales
Lead Generator
5 Yearsyrs
Account Manager Sales Manager Regional Sales Manager
National Account Manager
8 Yearsyrs
Accounts Receivable Specialist Accountant Human Resources Coordinator
Office Manager Of Human Resources
7 Yearsyrs
Accounts Receivable Specialist Account Manager Property Manager
Portfolio Manager
7 Yearsyrs
Specialist Account Manager Account Executive
Relationship Manager
6 Yearsyrs
Service Representative Accounts Payable Clerk Collections Specialist
Senior Collection Specialist
5 Yearsyrs
Specialist Operations Manager Branch Manager
Vice President And Manager
10 Yearsyrs
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Help others decide if this is a good career for them

Average Length of Employment
Senior Collector 3.8 years
Collector Lead 3.2 years
Recovery Collector 2.8 years
Customs Collector 2.7 years
Bill Collector 2.4 years
Medical Collector 2.1 years
Collector 2.0 years
Debt Collector 1.9 years
Mortgage Collector 1.8 years
Collection Agent 1.6 years
Top Careers Before Collector
Cashier 11.9%
Teller 7.2%
Manager 3.6%
Supervisor 2.5%
Server 2.3%
Top Careers After Collector
Teller 6.1%
Cashier 5.9%
Manager 3.9%
Specialist 3.3%
Supervisor 2.9%

Do you work as a Collector?

Collector Demographics

Gender

Female

64.3%

Male

33.4%

Unknown

2.3%
Ethnicity

White

60.6%

Hispanic or Latino

18.3%

Black or African American

11.3%

Asian

6.4%

Unknown

3.3%
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Foreign Languages Spoken

Spanish

68.9%

French

4.7%

Arabic

3.4%

German

3.1%

Portuguese

2.7%

Chinese

2.6%

Mandarin

2.2%

Russian

2.0%

Korean

1.8%

Italian

1.4%

Japanese

1.1%

Persian

1.1%

Tagalog

0.8%

Vietnamese

0.6%

Hindi

0.6%

Navajo

0.6%

Carrier

0.6%

Croatian

0.6%

Hmong

0.5%

Dari

0.5%
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Collector Education

Schools

University of Phoenix

24.9%

Cochise College

5.8%

Ashford University

5.8%

Des Moines Area Community College

5.1%

Florida State College at Jacksonville

4.9%

Strayer University

4.7%

Kaplan University

4.6%

Liberty University

4.6%

Erie Community College

4.2%

Southern New Hampshire University

4.1%

Troy University

3.7%

Texas Southern University

3.7%

Columbus State Community College

3.6%

Houston Community College

3.4%

Grand Canyon University

3.4%

American InterContinental University

3.3%

Johnson County Community College

2.6%

Iowa State University

2.6%

Arizona State University

2.5%

Ball State University

2.5%
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Majors

Business

32.0%

Criminal Justice

8.1%

Accounting

8.1%

Health Care Administration

7.0%

General Studies

4.8%

Psychology

4.7%

Medical Assisting Services

4.3%

Nursing

3.8%

Communication

3.0%

Management

2.9%

Finance

2.8%

Education

2.5%

Liberal Arts

2.5%

Computer Science

2.4%

Legal Support Services

2.2%

Human Resources Management

2.1%

Marketing

1.9%

Computer Information Systems

1.8%

Political Science

1.5%

Human Services

1.5%
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Degrees

Other

37.9%

Bachelors

29.2%

Associate

16.9%

Masters

7.0%

Certificate

5.5%

Diploma

2.4%

Doctorate

0.6%

License

0.6%
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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

  1. Payment Arrangements
  2. Debt
  3. Customer Service
You can check out examples of real life uses of top skills on resumes here:
  • Contacted clients on their delinquent advertising accounts and negotiated payment arrangements while maintaining a positive business relationship.
  • Negotiate professionally to make debtors and clients happy with financial resolutions.
  • Provide comprehensive customer service assistance by handling incoming calls providing customers with vital information needed while updating account information.
  • Achieve numeric standards for servicing delinquent accounts without sacrificing quality of service.
  • Contacted consumers holding defaulted government insured student loans.

How Would You Rate Working As a Collector?

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