Become a Collections Recovery Agent: Step-by-Step Career Guide

Learn how to become a recovery agent. Find out about the educational requirements, training, and experience needed to begin a career as a repossession or recovery agent. View article »

Find the perfect school

Video Transcript

Become a Collections Recovery Agent

Collections, recovery, or repossession agents contract with a business to collect a debt or work in a collections or repossession agency. To locate and recover property, collections agents must possess skills in communication, negotiation, and investigation.

Career Requirements

Degree Level High school diploma or GED
Experience Required; can be gained through an apprenticeship with a repossession agency
Licensure and Certification State-approved licensure required
Median Salary $40,385* (for collections specialists)
$34,440** (for bill and account collectors)

Source: *Payscale.com (October 2016), **U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (May 2015)

Step 1: State Training & Requirements

State licensing agencies for repossession agents may require that applicants complete a training program to qualify for a license. The coursework may cover laws and regulations regarding the repossession of property, rights of the property owner, and licensing eligibility.

Another state licensing requirement is a criminal background investigation. The background investigation requirements may include searches by the Department of Justice, state police, and the Federal Bureau of Investigation. New hires in a collection agency may be required to submit fingerprints.

Step 2: Gain Experience

State licensing boards may require experience as a repossession agent to qualify for a license. Collections agent employers may also require experience for a position with an agency. Experience can include work as an apprentice repossession agent in a collection agency. Some employers may require knowledge of the finance and credit industry for a position as a collections agent. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, collections agencies usually provide on-the-job training for collections and recovery agents.

Step 3: Licensure & Insurance

When ready to apply for a state license, states may require applicants to provide the following: fingerprints, proof of work history, authorization for a background investigation, and proof of completion of a state-approved education or certification program. In addition, recovery agents must pay a fee to the state licensing agency.

This career may also require the agent to obtain a surety bond to protect against unforeseen incidents while collecting property. State licensing boards may require a surety bond for a specific amount to qualify for a collections agent's license. A surety bond is an insurance policy that protects the property owner and repossession agent against damages caused during a property recovery. Repossession agents working in an agency may be covered by their employer's surety bond.

Step 4: Career Advancement

There is some room in this career field for advancement. After several years of experience, a collections agent could potentially open their his or her own collections agency. An experienced agent could also take on an apprentice, so as to prepare an up-and-coming trainee for the business.

Working as a recovery agent necessitates that the individual meet a few requirements: a high school diploma or GED, experience in this line of work, and a state license. These agents need knowledge of repossession laws and the credit industry in order to locate and return property to a legal owner.


What is your highest level of education?

Some College
Complete your degree or find the graduate program that's right for you.
High School Diploma
Explore schools that offer bachelor and associate degrees.
Still in High School
Earn your diploma or GED. Plan your undergraduate education.

Schools you may like:

Popular Schools

The listings below may include sponsored content but are popular choices among our users.

Find your perfect school

What is your highest level of education?