Career Definition of a Bill Collector
In general, bill collectors are responsible for locating businesses and customers with back-due accounts and notifying them by mail, email or telephone. Daily activities include negotiating repayment plans and maintaining electronic account and collection records. When appropriate, some bill collectors provide delinquent customers with credit guidance or referrals to professional debt counselors; they may also forward statements of those who remain in arrears to the original creditors for possible legal action. Bill collectors typically work for call centers and have daily, weekly or monthly productivity targets.
|Educational Requirements||High school diploma|
|Job Skills||Good interpersonal and communication skills, problem-solving ability and good negotiation skills|
|Median Salary (2018)*||$36,020 (bill and account collectors)|
|Job Outlook (2016-2026)*||Decline of 3% (bill and account collectors)|
Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics
Entry-level requirements for bill collectors include a high school diploma and on-the-job training, typically for a period of 1-3 months. Candidates who have completed postsecondary coursework in accounting, computer technology and communications may be preferred. During the training process, new bill collectors become acquainted with the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act. They also learn how to use the company software and negotiate with consumers in accordance with corporate collection policies.
Bill collectors must have the interpersonal and listening skills necessary to work with customers who may be in stressful financial situations. The ability to explain debt repayment options is important; negotiation and problem-solving skills are key.
Employment and Salary Outlook
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), employment of bill and account collectors is expected to decline by 3% from 2016 to 2026, as new software and automated systems within the industry has led to overlapping jobs being eliminated. However, the high rate of turnover within the occupation should result in a number of job openings. Those employed as bill collectors in May 2018 earned a median hourly wage of $17.32, or $36,020 per year, also according to the BLS. Commissions may provide additional income when available.
Alternate Career Options
Those who enjoy problem-solving and communicating with customers may also consider the following careers.
Customer Service Representative
Customer service representatives use their communication and computer skills to provide consumers with information and resolve their complaints about products and services in a courteous and satisfactory manner. In addition to a high school diploma, entry-level requirements include 2-3 weeks of on-the-job training. As reported by the BLS, the number of jobs for customer service representatives is expected to increase by 5% nationwide, or as faster as average, from 2016-2026. Customer service reps who were employed in May 2018 were paid median hourly wages of $16.23, or $33,750 a year, according to the BLS.
Loan officers advise businesses and consumers about credit and repayment options, as well as weigh their credit-worthiness and approve applications. Qualified entry-level loan officers usually have a 4-year degree in business or finance and train on the job; all mortgage loan officers must have a professional license. The BLS has projected an 11%, or faster than average, growth in jobs for loan officers nationwide from 2016-2026. In May 2018, those employed in this position earned median hourly wages of $30.31, or $63,040 per year.