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 »

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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: * (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.

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