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Become A Debt Collector

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Working As A Debt 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

  • $42,220

    Average Salary

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  • Track down consumers who have an out-of-date address by using the Internet, post office, credit bureaus, or neighbors—a process called “skip tracing”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

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Debt Collector Career Paths

Debt Collector
Billing Specialist Specialist
Account Manager
5 Yearsyrs
Collections Specialist Accounts Receivable Specialist
Accounts Receivable Manager
6 Yearsyrs
Collections Representative Collections Specialist Accounts Receivable Specialist
Accounts Receivable Supervisor
5 Yearsyrs
Accounts Receivable Specialist Accounts Receivable Manager Office Manager
Administrative Manager
6 Yearsyrs
Office Manager Billing Specialist
Billing Manager
7 Yearsyrs
Office Manager Accounts Payable Clerk Billing Specialist
Billing Supervisor
6 Yearsyrs
Collections Specialist Billing Specialist
Business Office Manager
8 Yearsyrs
Home Health Aid Customer Care Representative Collections Representative
Collection Supervisor
5 Yearsyrs
Accounts Receivable Clerk Collections Specialist
Collections Manager
5 Yearsyrs
Service Representative Accounting Clerk Credit Analyst
Credit And Collection Manager
7 Yearsyrs
Accounts Receivable Clerk Accounts Payable Clerk Credit Analyst
Credit Manager
5 Yearsyrs
Service Representative Customer Care Representative Customer Account Representative
Customer Account Manager
5 Yearsyrs
Collections Representative Service Representative Customer Care Representative
Customer Care Supervisor
5 Yearsyrs
Accounts Receivable Specialist Account Manager Billing Specialist
Medical Billing Manager
6 Yearsyrs
Billing Specialist Home Health Aid Unit Secretary
Office Manager
5 Yearsyrs
Account Representative Billing Representative Billing Supervisor
Patient Account Manager
6 Yearsyrs
Security Officer Service Representative Accounts Receivable Specialist
Senior Accounts Receivable Specialist
7 Yearsyrs
Home Health Aid Unit Secretary Billing Specialist
Senior Billing Specialist
7 Yearsyrs
Account Manager Sales Consultant Senior Sales Representative
Senior Representative
5 Yearsyrs
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Average Length of Employment
Revenue Collector 4.4 years
Senior Collector 3.7 years
Field Collector 3.3 years
Collector Lead 3.1 years
Recovery Collector 3.0 years
Collection Analyst 2.7 years
Customs Collector 2.6 years
Bill Collector 2.6 years
Recovery Agent 2.6 years
Claims Collector 2.4 years
Skip Tracer 2.2 years
Medical Collector 2.2 years
Collector 2.1 years
Debt Collector 2.0 years
Mortgage Collector 1.9 years
Collection Agent 1.6 years
Top Employers Before
Cashier 13.6%
Collector 3.2%
Server 3.1%
Manager 2.7%
Waitress 2.3%
Internship 2.2%
Teller 2.0%
Clerk 2.0%
Top Employers After
Cashier 7.2%
Manager 3.8%
Collector 3.3%
Server 2.9%
Supervisor 2.2%

Debt Collector Demographics

Gender

Female

69.5%

Male

28.5%

Unknown

2.0%
Ethnicity

White

78.0%

Hispanic or Latino

14.1%

Asian

6.0%

Unknown

1.5%

Black or African American

0.5%
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Languages Spoken

Spanish

74.5%

French

5.0%

German

3.0%

Portuguese

2.3%

Carrier

2.0%

Chinese

2.0%

Arabic

2.0%

Russian

1.7%

Hindi

1.3%

Mandarin

1.0%

Italian

1.0%

Urdu

1.0%

Hmong

0.7%

Vietnamese

0.3%

Gujarati

0.3%

Korean

0.3%

Bosnian

0.3%

Armenian

0.3%

Cantonese

0.3%

Filipino

0.3%
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Debt Collector Education

Schools

University of Phoenix

23.5%

Erie Community College

8.1%

Ashford University

6.8%

Kaplan University

5.9%

Niagara County Community College

4.7%

Strayer University

4.5%

Miami Dade College

4.4%

Hawkeye Community College

4.2%

Florida State College at Jacksonville

3.8%

Houston Community College

3.4%

Genesee Community College

3.4%

Harrisburg Area Community College - Harrisburg

3.4%

Camden County College

3.4%

Liberty University

3.2%

Bryant and Stratton College

3.2%

Southern New Hampshire University

3.0%

Cuyahoga Community College

2.8%

Monroe Community College

2.8%

Tidewater Community College

2.7%

University of Northern Iowa

2.7%
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Majors

Business

27.7%

Accounting

10.3%

Health Care Administration

8.0%

Criminal Justice

7.3%

Psychology

5.2%

General Studies

4.6%

Medical Assisting Services

4.4%

Nursing

3.9%

Liberal Arts

3.3%

Legal Support Services

3.2%

Education

2.8%

Management

2.6%

Finance

2.5%

Computer Science

2.4%

Communication

2.4%

Cosmetology

2.1%

English

2.0%

Information Technology

1.8%

Marketing

1.8%

Human Resources Management

1.8%
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Degrees

Other

38.7%

Bachelors

25.6%

Associate

18.9%

Certificate

7.1%

Masters

5.8%

Diploma

2.9%

Doctorate

0.5%

License

0.3%
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Job type you want
Full Time
Part Time
Internship
Temporary

Real Debt Collector Salaries

Job Title Company Location Start Date Salary
Bill and Account Collector Gwinnett International Farmers Market, Inc. Duluth, GA May 27, 2015 $38,542
Bill and Account Collectors Transperfect Translations International Inc. New York, NY Apr 25, 2008 $37,399
Bill and Account Collectors (Medical Services) Sumter Pediatrics, LLC Americus, GA Apr 01, 2010 $36,400
Bill and Account Collector Gwinnett International Farmers Market, Inc. Duluth, GA Apr 18, 2011 $36,067
Bill and Account Collector Gwinnett International Farmers Market, Inc. Duluth, GA Jun 22, 2012 $36,067
Bill and Account Collectors Muzzanghee, Inc. Los Angeles, CA May 14, 2010 $34,895
Bill and Account Collector K&J World, Inc. Suwanee, GA Feb 24, 2011 $34,780
Billing and Account Collector AP Diagnostic Imaging, Inc. Edison, NJ Jan 09, 2016 $33,392
Bill and Account Collectors OPI Products Inc. CA Nov 04, 2010 $32,870
Bill and Account Collectors Baxani Corporation Richmond, VA Mar 19, 2008 $32,302
Bill and Account Collector Sigue Corp Selma, CA Dec 09, 2009 $31,618
Bill and Account Collectors Citibank, N.A. Apr 24, 2009 $27,068
Bill and Account Collectors Martinez Millwork, Inc. Houston, TX Apr 29, 2008 $23,000
Bill and Account Collectors Greenluc LLC Houston, TX Aug 27, 2014 $22,957
Bill and Account Collectors Riverview Health Services, Inc. Flandreau, SD Mar 15, 2013 $17,113
Bill and Account Collectors Riverview Health Services, Inc. Flandreau, SD Nov 16, 2012 $17,113
Bill and Account Collectors Riverview Health Services, Inc. Flandreau, SD Oct 12, 2012 $17,113
Bill and Account Collectors Riverview Health Services, Inc. Flandreau, SD Nov 06, 2012 $17,113
Bill and Account Collectors Riverview Health Services, Inc. Flandreau, SD Oct 24, 2012 $17,113

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Top Skills for A Debt Collector

CustomerServiceDelinquentAccountsPaymentArrangementsPaymentPlansCreditCardPaymentsOutboundCallsDebtCollectionPastDueAccountsFdcpaDataEntryDebtRepaymentPhoneCallsOverdueAccountsRepaymentSchedulesCustomerAccountsFinancialStatusInboundCallsCollectionEffortsNecessaryActionsInsuranceCompanies

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Top Debt Collector Skills

  1. Customer Service
  2. Delinquent Accounts
  3. Payment Arrangements
You can check out examples of real life uses of top skills on resumes here:
  • Requested adjustments as needed on all claims through customer service representatives.
  • Handle all aspects of delinquent accounts, customer questions and concerns accurately.
  • Negotiated payment arrangements with debtors and alternative payment methods.
  • Collected payments on delinquent accounts 30-120 days past due and arranged payment plans on debtors' accounts until full payment.
  • Reached out to customers to collect overdue payment for loans, bills and credit card payments

Top Debt Collector Employers

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Debt Collector Videos

What to Do If You're Sued by a Debt Collector

Outrageous Calls From Debt Collectors ABC News

How to Settle Unpaid Bills with Debt Collectors and Collection Agencies

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