Bill Collector: Job Description & Career Info

Bill collectors locate customers and inform them of unpaid or overdue accounts. Learn about the job duties and educational requirements for bill collectors, as well as what to expect in terms of job growth and salary.

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Career Definition

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.

How to Become a Bill Collector

Required Education

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.

Skills Required

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 grow by 15% nationwide from 2012 to 2022, a faster-than-average rate in comparison to all other occupations. Growth-related factors can be attributed to the high rate of turnover in the collections field, as well as the rising cost of healthcare and use of third-party agencies. Those employed as bill collectors in May 2012 earned median hourly wage of $15.61, or $32,480 per year, also according to the BLS. Commissions may provide additional income when available (www.bls.gov).

Alternate Career Options

Customer Service Representatives

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 13% nationwide, or as fast as average, from 2012-2022. Customer service reps who were employed in May 2102 were paid median hourly wages of $14.70, or $30,580 a year (www.bls.gov).

Loan Officers

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 8%, or fast-as-average, growth in jobs for loan officers nationwide from 2012-2022. In May 2012, those employed in this position earned median hourly wages of $28.76, or $59,820 a year (www.bls.gov).

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